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Title: The Crest of the Continent - A Summer's Ramble in the Rocky Mountains and Beyond
Author: Ingersoll, Ernest
Language: English
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[Illustration: GARFIELD PEAK.]


A Record of a Summer's Ramble in the Rocky Mountains and Beyond.



    "We climbed the rock-built breasts of earth!
     We saw the snowy mountains rolled
     Like mighty billows; saw the birth
     Of sudden dawn; beheld the gold
     Of awful sunsets; saw the face
     Of God, and named it boundless space."

Twenty Ninth Edition.

R. R. Donnelley & Sons, Publishers.

By S. K. Hooper,

R. R. Donnelley & Sons, The Lakeside Press, Chicago.

                        THE PEOPLE OF COLORADO,
                          AND WISE IN ENJOYING
                         THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED
                             THE HOMAGE OF
                                                       THE AUTHOR.


Probably nothing in this artificial world is more deceptive than
absolute candor. Hence, though the ensuing text may lack nothing in
straightforwardness of assertion, and seem impossible to misunderstand,
it may be worth while to say distinctly, here at the start, that it is
all true. We actually _did_ make such an excursion, in such cars, and
with such equipments, as I have described; and we would like to do it

It was wild and rough in many respects. Re-arranging the trip, luxuries
might be added, and certain inconveniences avoided; but I doubt whether,
in so doing, we should greatly increase the pleasure or the profit.

"No man should desire a soft life," wrote King Ælfred the Great.
Roughing it, within reasonable grounds, is the marrow of this sort of
recreation. What a pungent and wholesome savor to the healthy taste
there is in the very phrase! The zest with which one goes about an
expedition of any kind in the Rocky Mountains is phenomenal in itself; I
despair of making it credited or comprehended by inexperienced
lowlanders. We are told that the joys of Paradise will not only actually
be greater than earthly pleasures, but that they will be further
magnified by our increased spiritual sensitiveness to the "good times"
of heaven. Well, in the same way, the senses are so quickened by the
clear, vivifying climate of the western uplands in summer, that an
experience is tenfold more pleasurable there than it could become in the
Mississippi valley. I elsewhere have had something to say about this
exhilaration of body and soul in the high Rockies, which you will
perhaps pardon me for repeating briefly, for it was written honestly,
long ago, and outside of the present connection.

"At sunrise breakfast is over, the mules and everybody else have been
good-natured and you feel the glory of mere existence as you vault into
the saddle and break into a gallop. Not that this or that particular day
is so different from other pleasant mornings, but all that we call _the
weather_ is constituted in the most perfect proportions. The air is
'nimble and sweet,' and you ride gayly across meadows, through sunny
woods of pine and aspen, and between granite knolls that are piled up in
the most noble and romantic proportions....

"Sometimes it seems, when camp is reached, that one hardly has strength
to make another move; but after dinner one finds himself able and
willing to do a great deal....

"One's sleep in the crisp air, after the fatigues of the day, is sound
and serene.... You awake at daylight a little chilly, re-adjust your
blankets, and want again to sleep. The sun may pour forth from the
'golden window of the east' and flood the world with limpid light; the
stars may pale and the jet of the midnight sky be diluted to that pale
and perfect morning-blue into which you gaze to unmeasured depths; the
air may become a pervading Champagne, dry and delicate, every draught of
which tingles the lungs and spurs the blood along the veins with joyous
speed; the landscape may woo the eyes with airy undulations of prairie
or snow-pointed pinnacles lifted sharply against the azure--yet sleep
chains you. That very quality of the atmosphere which contributes to all
this beauty and makes it so delicious to be awake, makes it equally
blessed to slumber. Lying there in the open air, breathing the pure
elixir of the untainted mountains, you come to think even the
confinement of a flapping tent oppressive, and the ventilation of a
sheltering spruce-bough bad."

That was written out of a sincere enthusiasm, which made as naught a
whole season's hardship and work, before there was hardly a wagon-road,
much less a railway, beyond the front range.

This exordium, my friendly reader, is all to show to you: That we went
to the Rockies and beyond them, as we say we did; that we knew what we
were after, and found the apples of these Hesperides not dust and ashes
but veritable golden fruit; and, finally, that you may be persuaded to
test for yourself this natural and lasting enjoyment.

The grand and alluring mountains are still there,--everlasting hills,
unchangeable refuges from weariness, anxiety and strife! The railway
grows wider and permits a longer and even more varied journey than was
ours. Cars can be fitted up as we fitted ours or in a way as much better
as you like. Year by year the facilities for wayside comforts and short
branch-excursions are multiplied, with the increase of population and

If you are unable, or do not choose, to undertake all this preparation,
I still urge upon you the pleasure and utility of going to the Rocky
Mountains, travelling into their mighty heart in comfortable and
luxurious public conveyances. Nowhere will a holiday count for more in
rest, and in food for subsequent thought and recollection.



  First Impressions of the Mountains. A Problem, and its Solution.
     Denver--Descriptive and Historical. The Resources which Assure
     its Future. Some General Information concerning the Mining, Stock
     Raising and Agricultural Interests of Colorado. 13


  The Expedition Moves. Its Personnel. The Romantic Attractions of the
     Divide. Light on Monument Park. Colorado Springs, a City of
     Homes, of Morality and Culture. Its Pleasant Environs: Glen
     Eyrie, Blair Athol, Austin's Glen, the Cheyenne Cañons 26


  Manitou, and the Mineral Springs. The Ascent of Pike's Peak;
     bronchos and blue noses. Ute Pass, and Rainbow Falls. The Garden
     of the Gods. Manitou Park. Williams' Cañon, and the Cave of the
     Winds. An Indian Legend.                                         36


  The Largest Smelter in the World. The Colorado Coal and Iron Company.
     Pueblo's Claims as a Trade Center, and its Tributary Railway
     System. A Chapter of Facts and Figures in support of the New
     Pittsburgh.                                                      51


  Up and down Veta Mountain, with some Extracts from a letter. Veta
     Pass, and the Muleshoe Curve. Spanish Peaks. Beautiful Scenery,
     and Famous Railroading. A general outline of the Rocky Mountain
     Ranges.                                                          60


  A Fertile and Well-watered Valley. The Method of Irrigation. Sierra
     Blanca. A Digression to describe the Home on Wheels. Alamosa,
     Antonito and Conejos. Cattle, Sheep and Agriculture in the largest
     Mountain Park.                                                   71


  Barranca, among the Sunflowers. An Excursion to Ojo Caliente, and
     Description of the Hot Springs. Pre-historic Relics--a Rich Field
     for the Archæologist. Señor _vs._ Burro. An Ancient Church, with
     its Sacred Images.                                               81


  Comanche Cañon and Embudo. The Penitentes. The Rio Grande Valley;
     Alcalde, Chamita and Espanola. New Mexican Life, Homes and
     Industries. The Indian Pueblos, and their Strange History.
     Architecture, Pottery, and Threshing.                            92


  Santa Fe, the Oldest City in the United States. Fact and Tradition.
     San Fernandez de Taos--the Home of Kit Carson. Pueblo de Taos
     Birthplace of Montezuma, and Typical and Well-Preserved. The
     Festival of St. Geronimo. Exit Amos.                            106


  Heading for the San Juan Country. From Mesa to Mountain Top. The
     Curl of the Whiplash. Above the silvery Los Pinos. Phantom
     Curve. A Startling Peep from Toltec Tunnel. Eva Cliff. "In
     Memoriam."                                                      115


  The Piños-Chama Summit. Trout and Game. The Groves of Chama.
     Mexican Rural Life at Tierra Amarilla. The Iron Trail. Rio San
     Juan and its Tributaries. Pagosa Springs. Apache Visitors. The
     Southern Utes. Durango.                                         120


  Geology of the Sierra San Juan. The Attractions of Trimble Springs.
     Beauty and Fertility of the Animas Valley. The Cañon of the
     River of Lost Souls. Engineering under difficulties. The Needles,
     and Garfield Peak.                                              129


  Geological Resume. Scraps of History. Snow-shoes and Avalanches.
     The Mining Camps of Animas Forks, Mineral Point, Eureka and
     Howardville. Early Days in Baker's Park. Poughkeepsie, Picayune
     and Cunningham Gulches. The Hanging.                            136


  Ophir, Rico, and the La Plata Mountains. Everything triangular.
     Mixed Mineralogy, Real bits of Beauty. "When I sell my Mine."
     An Unbiased Opinion. Placer _vs._ Fissure Vein Mining.          149


  Rugged Trails. Searching for Antiquities. The Discovery.
     Habitations of a Lost Race. Prehistoric Architecture, "Temple
     or Refrigerator." "Ruins, Ancient beyond all Knowing." Guesses
     and Traditions. Some Appropriate Verses.                        156


  Good-bye and Welcome. Del Norte and the Gold Summit. Among the
     River Ranches. Wagon Wheel Springs. Healing Power of the
     Waters. The Gap and its History. A Day's Trout Fishing.         166


  A Great Natural Fortress. Down in a Coal Mine. The Coke Ovens.
     Huerfano Park and its Coal. Cañon City Historically. Coal
     Measures. Resources of the Foothills.                           177


  Grape Creek Cañon. The Dome of the Temple. Wet Mountain Valley.
     The Legend of Rosita. Hardscrabble District. Silver Cliff and
     its Strange Mine. The Foothills of the Sierra Mojada.
     Geological Theories.                                            185


  The Grand Cañon of the Arkansas. Its Culminating Chasm the Royal
     Gorge. Beetling Cliffs and Narrow Waters. Running the Gauntlet.
     Wonders of Plutonic Force. A Story of the Cañon.                193


  Entering Brown's Cañon. The Iron Mines of Calumet. Salida.
     Farming on the Arkansas. Buena Vista. Granate and its Gold
     Placers,--Twin Lakes. Malta and its Charcoal Burners. A
     Burned-out Gulch.                                               201


  California Gulch. How Boughtown was Built. Some Lively Scenes.
     Discovery of Carbonates. The Rush of 1878. The Founding of
     Leadville. A Happy Grave Digger. Practice and Theory of Mining.
     Reducing the Ores.                                              209


  Hay Meadows on the Upper Arkansas. Climbing Tennessee Pass. Mount
     of the Holy Cross. Red Cliff. Ore in Battle Mountain. Through
     Eagle River Cañon. The Artist's Elysium. Two Miles in the Air.
     On the Blue.                                                    222


  In Hot Water. A Pretty Village and Fine Outlook. Pluto's
     Reservoirs. The Madame's Letter. Poncho Pass. The Sangre de
     Cristo Again. Villa Grove. Silver and Iron.                     225


  The Unknown Gunnison. A Wonder of Progress. Climbing the Mountains
     in a Parlor Car. Four Hours of Scenic Delight. Culmination of
     Man's Skill. On the Crest of the Continent. The Mysterious
     Descent.                                                        243


  Tomichi Valley. Gunnison from Oregon to St. Louis. Captain
     Gunnison's Discoveries. A Discussion with Chief Ouray. A
     Beautiful Landscape. Crested Butte. Anthracite in the Rockies.


  Lake City. A Picture from Nature. A Hard Pillow. The Mining
     Interests. Alpine Grandeur of the Scenery. The Home of the Bear
     and the Elk. Game, Game, Game.                                  262


  The Observation Car. Gunnison River. Trout Fishing Again. The Rock
     Cleft in Twain. A Beautiful Cataract. A Mighty Needle. The
     Cañon Black yet Sunny. Impressions of the Cañon. Majestic Forms
     and Splendid Colors.                                            266


  Cline's Ranch. Montrose. The Madame and Chum Respectfully Decline.
     The Trip to Ouray. The Military Post. Chief Ouray's Widow. The
     Road on the Bluff. Hot Springs. Brilliant Stars.                273


  A Pretty Mountain Town. Trials of the Prospectors. A Tradition.
     From Silverton to Ouray by Wagon. Enchanting Gorges and
     Alluring Peaks. The Yankee Girl. A Cave of Carbonates.
     Vermillion Cliffs. Dallas Station.                              278


  Playing Billiards. Caught in the Act. A Well-Watered District.
     Coal and Cattle. A Fruit Garden. A Big Irrigating Ditch. The
     Snowy Elk Mountains. A Substantial Track. A Long Bridge.        290


  An Honest Circular. Grand Junction. Staking Out Ranches. The
     Recipe for Good Soil. Watering the Valley. Value of Water. Some
     Big Corn in the Far West. A Land of Plenty. Going West.         296


  A Memorable Night-Journey. Skirting the Uncompahgre Plateau.
     Origin of the Sierra La Sal. Crossing the Green River. Wonders
     of Erosive Work. An Indian Tradition. The Marvelous Cañons of
     the Colorado.                                                   303


  The Tall Cliffs of Price River and Castle Cañon. Castle Gate. The
     Summit of the Wasatch. "Indians!" San Pete and Sevier Valleys.
     "Like Iser Rolling Rapidly." Through the Cañon of the Spanish
     Fork. Mount Nebo.                                               312


  Rural Scenes Beside Lake Utah. Spanish Fork, Springville, Provo
     and Nephi. Relics of Indian Wars. Pretty Fruit Sellers. First
     Sight of Deseret and the Great Salt Lake. Ogden and Its
     History.                                                        317


  Sunday in Salt Lake City. The Tabernacle and the Temple. Early
     Days in Utah. Shady Trees and Sparkling Brooks. Social
     Peculiarities of the City. Mining and Mercantile Prosperity.
     Religious Sects. Schools and Seminaries.                        324


  The Ride to Salt Lake. A Salt Water Bath. Keep Your Mouth Shut.
     The Shore of the Lake. An Exciting Chase. A Trip to Alta. Stone
     for the Temple. An Exhilarating Ride.                           335


  At Last. On Jordan's Banks. Chum's Grandfather. Let Every Injun
     Carry his Own Skillet. The Parting Toast. Good-Night.           342



  GARFIELD PEAK                                        _Frontispiece._

  DENVER                                                              17

  DEPOT AT PALMER LAKE                                                20

  PHOEBE'S ARCH                                                       21

  MONUMENT PARK                                                       24

  IN QUEEN'S CAÑON                                                    28

  CHEYENNE FALLS                                                      31

  IN NORTH CHEYENNE CAÑON                                             34

  A GLIMPSE OF MANITOU AND PIKE'S PEAK                                37

  THE MINERAL SPRINGS                                                 40

  PIKE'S PEAK TRAIL                                                   45

  RAINBOW FALLS                                                       49

  GARDEN OF THE GODS                                                  53

  ENTRANCE TO CAVE OF THE WINDS                                       57

  ALABASTER HALL                                                      62

  VETA PASS                                                           67

  CREST OF VETA MOUNTAIN                                              69

  SPANISH PEAKS FROM VETA PASS                                        75

  SANGRE DE CRISTO SUMMITS                                            78

  SIERRA BLANCA                                                       83

  OJO CALIENTE                                                        86

  EMBUDO, RIO GRANDE VALLEY                                           89

  NEW MEXICAN LIFE                                                    94

  A PATRIARCH                                                         98

  MAID AND MATRON                                                     99

  OLD CHURCH OF SAN JUAN                                             102

  PUEBLO DE TAOS                                                     107

  PHANTOM CURVE                                                      112

  PHANTOM ROCKS                                                      118

  IN MEMORIAM                                                        119

  TOLTEC GORGE                                                       125

  EVA CLIFF                                                          130

  GARFIELD MEMORIAL                                                  131

  NEAR THE PIÑOS-CHAMA SUMMIT                                        136

  CHIEFS OF THE SOUTHERN UTES                                        141

  CAÑON OF THE RIO DE LAS ANIMAS                                     146

  ON THE RIVER OF LOST SOULS                                         152

  ANIMAS CAÑON AND THE NEEDLES                                       157

  SILVERTON AND SULTAN MOUNTAIN                                      162

  CLIFF DWELLINGS                                                    168

  WAGON WHEEL GAP                                                    173

  UP THE RIO GRANDE                                                  178

  GRAPE CREEK CAÑON                                                  181

  GRAND CAÑON OF THE ARKANSAS                                        186

  THE ROYAL GORGE                                                    191

  BROWN'S CAÑON                                                      194

  TWIN LAKES                                                         199

  THE OLD ROUTE TO LEADVILLE                                         202

  THE SHAFT HOUSE                                                    204

  BOTTOM OF THE SHAFT                                                205

  ATHWART AN INCLINE                                                 206

  THE JIG DRILL                                                      207

  FREMONT PASS                                                       211

  CASCADES OF THE BLUE                                               214

  MOUNT OF THE HOLY CROSS                                            219

  MARSHALL PASS--EASTERN SLOPE                                       223

  MARSHALL PASS--WESTERN SLOPE                                       227

  CRESTED BUTTE MOUNTAIN AND LAKE                                    230

  RUBY FALLS                                                         232

  APPROACH TO THE BLACK CAÑON                                        235

  BLACK CAÑON OF THE GUNNISON                                        241

  CURRECANTI NEEDLE, BLACK CAÑON                                     247

  A UTE COUNCIL FIRE                                                 251

  OURAY                                                              255

  GATE OF LODORE                                                     261

  WINNIE'S GROTTO                                                    264

  ECHO ROCK                                                          267

  GUNNISON'S BUTTE                                                   271

  BUTTES OF THE CROSS                                                274

  MARBLE CAÑON                                                       279

  GRAND CAÑON OF THE COLORADO                                        283

  GRAND CAÑON, FROM TO-RO-WASP                                       287

  EXPLORING THE WALLS                                                292

  CASTLE GATE                                                        297

  IN SPANISH FORK CAÑON                                              300

  TRAMWAY IN LITTLE COTTONWOOD CAÑON                                 305

  SALT LAKE CITY                                                     311


  GREAT SALT LAKE                                                    331


                      AT THE BASE OF THE ROCKIES.

  Old Woodcock says that if Providence had not made him a justice of
  the peace, he'd have been a vagabond himself. No such kind
  interference prevailed in my case. I was a vagabond from my cradle.
  I never could be sent to school alone like other children--they
  always had to see me there safe, and fetch me back again. The
  rambling bump monopolized my whole head. I am sure my godfather must
  have been the Wandering Jew or a king's messenger. Here I am again,
  _en route_, and sorely puzzled to know whither.--The LOITERINGS OF

"'There are the Rocky Mountains!' I strained my eyes in the direction of
his finger, but for a minute could see nothing. Presently sight became
adjusted to a new focus, and out against a bright sky dawned slowly the
undefined shimmering trace of something a little bluer. Still it seemed
nothing tangible. It might have passed for a vapor effect of the
horizon, had not the driver called it otherwise. Another minute and it
took slightly more certain shape. It cannot be described by any Eastern
analogy; no other far mountain view that I ever saw is at all like it.
If you have seen those sea-side albums which ladies fill with algæ
during their summer holiday, and in those albums have been startled, on
turning over a page suddenly, to see an exquisite marine ghost appear,
almost evanescent in its faint azure, but still a literal existence,
which had been called up from the deeps, and laid to rest with infinite
delicacy and difficulty,--then you will form some conception of the
first view of the Rocky Mountains. It is impossible to imagine them
built of earth, rock, anything terrestrial; to fancy them cloven by
horrible chasms, or shaggy with giant woods. They are made out of the
air and the sunshine which show them. Nature has dipped her pencil in
the faintest solution of ultramarine, and drawn it once across the
Western sky with a hand tender as Love's. Then when sight becomes still
better adjusted, you find the most delicate division taking place in
this pale blot of beauty, near its upper edge. It is rimmed with a mere
thread of opaline and crystalline light. For a moment it sways before
you and is confused. But your eagerness grows steadier, you see plainer
and know that you are looking on the everlasting snow, the ice that
never melts. As the entire fact in all its meaning possesses you
completely, you feel a sensation which is as new to your life as it is
impossible of repetition. I confess (I should be ashamed not to) that my
first view of the Rocky Mountains had no way of expressing itself save
in tears. To see what they looked, and to know what they were, was like
a sudden revelation of the truth that the spiritual is the only real and
substantial; that the eternal things of the universe are they which,
afar off, seem dim and faint."

       *       *       *       *       *

There are the Rocky Mountains! Ludlow saw them after days of rough
riding in a dusty stage-coach. Our plains journey had been a matter of a
few hours only, and in the luxurious ease of a Pullman sleeping car; but
_our_ hearts, too, were stirred, and we eagerly watched them rise higher
and higher, and perfect their ranks, as we threaded the bluffs into
Pueblo. Then there they were again, all the way up to Denver; and when
we arose in the morning and glanced out of the hotel window, the first
objects our glad eyes rested on were the snow-tipped peaks filling the

Thither _Madame ma femme_ and I proposed to ourselves to go for an early
autumn ramble, gathering such friends and accomplices as presented
themselves. But how? That required some study. There were no end of
ways. We were given advice enough to make a substantial appendix to the
present volume, though I suspect that it would be as useless to print it
for you as it was to talk it to us. We could walk. We could tramp, with
burros to carry our luggage, and with or without other burros to carry
ourselves. We could form an alliance, offensive and defensive, with a
number of pack mules. We could hire an ambulance sort of wagon, with
bedroom and kitchen and all the other attachments. We could go by
railway to certain points, and there diverge. Or, as one sober youth
suggested, we needn't go at all. But it remained for us to solve the
problem after all. As generally happens in this life of ours, the fellow
who gets on owes it to his own momentum, for the most part. It came upon
us quite by inspiration. We jumped to the conclusion; which, as the
Madame truly observed, is not altogether wrong if only you look before
you leap. That is a good specimen of feminine logic in general, and the
Madame's in particular.

But what was the inspiration--the conclusion--the decision? You are all
impatience to know it, of course. It was this:

Charter a train!

Recovering our senses after this startling generalization, particulars
came in order. Spreading out the crisp and squarely-folded map of
Colorado, we began to study it with novel interest, and very quickly
discovered that if our brilliant inspiration was really to be executed,
we must confine ourselves to the narrow-gauge lines. Tracing these with
one prong of a hair pin, it was apparent that they ran almost everywhere
in the mountainous parts of the State, and where they did not go now
they were projected for speedy completion. Closer inspection, as to the
names of the lines, discovered that nearly all of this wide-branching
system bore the mystical letters D. & R. G., which evidently enough
(after you had learned it) stood for--

"Why, Denver and Ryo Grand, of course," exclaims the Madame,
contemptuous of any one who didn't know _that_.

"Not by a long shot!" I reply triumphantly, "Denver and Reeo Grandy is
the name of the railway--Mexican words."

"Oh, indeed!" is what I _hear_; a very lofty nose, naturally a trifle
uppish, is what I _see_.

Deciding that our best plan is to take counsel with the officers of the
Denver and Rio Grande railway, we go immediately to interview Mr.
Hooper, the General Passenger Agent, among whose many duties is that of
receiving, counseling, and arranging itineraries for all sorts of
pilgrims. An hour's discussion perfected our arrangements, and set the
workmen at the shops busy in preparing the cars for our migratory

The realization that our scheme, which up to this point had seemed akin
to a wild dream, was now rapidly growing into a promising reality, did
not diminish our enthusiasm. Indeed we experienced an exhilaration which
was quite phenomenal. Was it the very light wine we partook at luncheon?
Perish the suspicion! Possibly it was the popularly asserted effect of
the rarefied atmosphere. But kinder to our self-esteem than either of
these was the thought that our approaching journey had something to do
with our elevation, and we accepted it as an explanation.

But we had yet a few days to spare, and we could employ them profitably
in looking over this Denver, the marvelous city of the plains. We
studied it first from Capitol Hill, as our artist has done, though his
picture, so excellently reproduced, can convey but the shadow of the
substance. Then we nearly encompassed the town, going southward on
Broadway until we had passed Cherry Creek, and _détouring_ across Platte
River to the westward and northward, on the high plateau which stretches
away to the foothills. The city lies at an altitude of 5,197 feet, near
the western border of the plains, and within twelve miles of the
mountains,--the Colorado or front range of which may be seen for an
extent of over two hundred miles. In the north, Long's Peak rears its
majestic proportions against the azure sky. Westward, Mounts Rosalie and
Evans rise grandly above the other summits of the snowy range, and
Gray's and James' Peaks peer from among their gigantic brethren; while
historic Pike's Peak, the mighty landmark that guided the gold-hunters
of '59, plainly shows its white crest eighty miles to the south. The
great plains stretch out for hundreds of miles to the north, east and
south. Near the smelting works at Argo, we retrace our way and re-enter
the city.

It is the metropolis of the Rocky Mountains, and a stroll through these
scores of solid blocks of salesrooms and factories exhibits at once the
fact that it is as the commercial center of the mountainous interior
that Denver thrives, and congratulates herself upon the promise of a
continually prosperous future. She long ago safely passed that crisis
which has proved fatal to so many incipient Western cities. Every year
proves anew the wisdom and foresight of her founders; and I think her
assertion that she is to be the largest city between Chicago and San
Francisco is likely to be realized. Most of her leading business men
came here at the beginning, but their energies were hampered when every
article had to be hauled six hundred miles across the plains by teams.
It frequently used to happen that merchants would sell their goods
completely out, put up their shutters and go a-fishing for weeks, before
the new semi-yearly supplies arrived. Everybody therefore looked
forward, with good reason, to railway communication as the beginning of
a new era of prosperity, and watched with keen interest the approach of
the Union Pacific lines from Omaha and Kansas City. These were
completed, by the northern routes, in 1869 and 1870; and a few months
later the enterprising Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe sent its tracks and
trains through to the mountains, and then came the Burlington route, a
most welcome acquisition, adding another link to the transcontinental
chain, which now binds the East to the West, the Atlantic to the Pacific
coast. At Pueblo, the Denver and Rio Grande, meeting the Atchison,
Topeka and Santa Fe, was already prepared to make this new route
available to Denver and much of Colorado, and adopting a liberal policy,
at once exerted an immense influence upon the speedy development and
prosperity of the State.

Thus, in a year or two, the young city found itself removed from total
isolation to a central position on various railways, east and west, and
to its mill came the varied grist of a circle hundreds of miles in
radius. Now blossomed the booming season of business which sagacious
eyes had foreseen. The town had less than four thousand inhabitants in
1870. A year from that time her population was nearly fifteen thousand,
and her tax-valuation had increased from three to ten millions of
dollars. It was a time of happy investment, of incessant building and
improvement, and of grand speculation. Mines flourished, crops were
abundant, cattle and sheep grazed in a hundred valleys hitherto tenanted
by antelope alone, and everybody had plenty of money. Then came a shadow
of storm in the East, and the sound of the thunder-clap of 1873 was
heard in Denver, if the bolt of the panic was not felt. The banks
suddenly became cautious in loans; speculators declined to buy, and sold
at a sacrifice. Merchants found that trade was dull, and ranchmen got
less for their products. It was a "set-back" to Denver, and two years of
stagnation followed. But she only dug the more money out of the ground
to fill her depleted pockets, and survived the "hard times" with far
less sacrifice of fortune and pride than did most of the Eastern cities.
None of her banks went under, nor even certified a check, and most of
her business houses weathered the storm. The unhealthy reign of
speculation was effectually checked, and business was placed upon a
compact and solid foundation. Then came 1875 and 1876, which were
"grasshopper years," when no crops of consequence were raised throughout
the State, and a large amount of money was sent East to pay for flour
and grain. This was a particularly hard blow, but the bountiful harvest
of 1877 compensated, and the export of beeves and sheep, with their
wool, hides and tallow, was the largest ever made up to that time.

[Illustration: DENVER]

The issue of this successful year with miner, farmer and stock-ranger,
yielding them more than $15,000,000, a large proportion of which was an
addition to the intrinsic wealth of the world, had an almost magical
effect upon the city. Commerce revived, a buoyant feeling prevailed
among all classes, and merchants enjoyed a remunerative trade. Money was
"easy," rents advanced, and the real estate business assumed a healthier
tone. Generous patronage of the productive industries throughout the
whole State was made visible in the quickened trade of the city, which
rendered the year an important one in the history of Denver's progress.
So, out of the barrenness of the cactus-plain, and through this
turbulent history, has arisen a cultivated and beautiful city of 75,000
people, which is truly a metropolis. Her streets are broad, straight,
and everywhere well shaded with lines of cottonwoods and maples,
abundant in foliage and of graceful shape. On each side of every street
flows a constant stream of water, often as clear and cool as a mountain
brook. The source is a dozen miles southward, whence the water is
conducted in an open channel. There are said to be over 260 miles of
these irrigating ditches or gutters, and 250,000 shade-trees.

For many blocks in the southern and western quarter of the town,--from
Fourteenth to Thirtieth streets, and from Arapahoe to Broadway and the
new suburbs beyond--you will see only elegant and comfortable houses.
Homes succeed one another in endlessly varying styles of architecture,
and vie in attractiveness, each surrounded by lawns and gardens
abounding in flowers. All look new and ornate, while some of the
dwellings of wealthy citizens are palatial in size and furnishing, and
with porches well occupied during the long, cool twilight characteristic
of the summer evening in this climate, giving a very attractive air of
opulence and ease. Even the stranger may share in the general enjoyment,
for never was there a city with so many and such pleasant hotels, the
largest of which, the Windsor and the St. James, are worthy of Broadway
or Chestnut street.

The power which has wrought all this change in a short score of years,
truly making the desert to bloom, is water; or, more correctly, that is
the great instrument used, for the _power_ is the will and pride of the
intelligent men and women who form the leading portion of the citizens.
Water is pumped from the Platte, by the Holly system, and forced over
the city with such power that in case of fire no steam-engine is
necessary to send a strong stream through the hose. The keeping of a
turf and garden, after it is once begun, is merely a matter of watering.
The garden is kept moist mainly by flooding from the irrigating ditch in
the street or alley, but the turf of the lawn and the shrubbery owe
their greenness to almost incessant sprinkling by the hand-hose.
Fountains are placed in nearly every yard. After dinner (for Denver
dines at five o'clock as a rule), the father of the house lights his
cigar and turns hose-man for an hour, while he chats with friends; or
the small boys bribe each other to let them lay the dust in the street,
to the imminent peril of passers-by; and young ladies escape the too
engrossing attention of complimentary admirers by busily sprinkling
heliotrope and mignonette, hinting at a possible different use of the
weapon if admiration becomes too ardent. The swish and gurgle and
sparkle of water are always present, and always must be; for so Denver
defies the desert and dissipates the dreaded dust.

Their climate is one of the things Denverites boast of. That the air is
pure and invigorating is to be expected at a point right out on a
plateau a mile above sea-level, with a range of snow burdened mountains
within sight. From the beginning to the end of warm weather it rarely
rains, except occasional thunder and hail storms in July and August.
September witnesses a few storms, succeeded by cool, charming weather,
when the haze and smoke is filtered from the bracing air, and the
landscape robes itself in its most enchanting hues. The coldest weather
occurs after New Year's Day, and lasts sometimes until April. Then come
the May storms and floods, followed by a charming summer. The barometer
holds itself pretty steady throughout the year. There is a vast quantity
of electricity in the air, and the displays of lightning are magnificent
and occasionally destructive. Sunshine is very abundant. One can by no
means judge from the brightest day in New York of the wonderful glow
sunlight has here. During 1884 there were 205 clear days, 126 fair, and
34 cloudy, the sun being totally obscured on only 18 days; and yet this
record is more unfavorable than the average for a number of years.
Summer heat often reaches a hundred in the shade at midday; but with
sunset comes coolness, and the nights allow refreshing sleep. In winter
the mercury sometimes sinks twenty degrees below zero; but one does not
feel this severity as much as he would a far less degree of cold in the
damp, raw climate of the coast. Snow is frequent, but rarely plentiful
enough for sleighing.

Denver is built not only with the capital of her own citizens, but
constructed of materials close at hand. Very substantial bricks, kilned
in the suburbs, are the favorite material. Then there is a pinkish
trachyte, almost as light as pumice, and ringing under a blow with a
metallic clink, that is largely employed in trimmings. Sandstone,
marble and limestone are abundant enough for all needs. Coarse lumber
is supplied by the high pine forests, but all the hard wood and fine
lumber is brought from the East. The fuel of the city was formerly
wholly lignite coal, which comes from the foothills; but the extension
of the railway to Cañon City, El Moro and the Gunnison, have made the
harder and less sulphurous coals accessible and cheap.

[Illustration: DEPOT AT PALMER LAKE.]

And while she has been looking well after the material attractions,
Denver has kept pace with the progress of the times in modern
advantages. She is very proud of her school-buildings, constructed and
managed upon the most improved plans; of her fine churches, of her State
and county offices, her seminaries of higher learning, and of her
natural history and historical association. Her Grand Opera House is the
most elegant on the continent, her business blocks are extensive and
costly, and the Union Depot ranks with the best of similar structures.
Gas was introduced several years ago, and the system, which now includes
nearly all sections of the city, is being constantly improved and
extended. The Brush electric light has been in very general use for
nearly three years, and the Edison incandescent lamps are now being
employed. The telephone is found in hundreds of business places and
residences, the exchange at the close of last year numbering 709
subscribers. The water supply is distributed through forty miles of
mains, the consumption averaging three million gallons per day,
exclusive of the contributions of the irrigating ditches and the
numerous artesian wells. The steam heating works evaporate one hundred
thousand gallons of water daily, delivering the product through three
miles of mains and nearly two miles of service pipes; this being the
only company out of twenty seven of its nature in the country which has
proved a financial success. Street car lines traverse the thoroughfares
in all directions, and transport over two million passengers annually.
Two district messenger companies are generously patronized. The regular
police force consists of some forty-five patrolmen and detectives, aside
from the Chief and his assistants; and a distinct organization is the
Merchant's Police, numbering twenty men. A paid Fire Department is
maintained, at an annual expense of $56,000, and the alarm system
embraces twenty-six miles of wire and fifty signal boxes. There are
published six daily newspapers, one being in German, and a score of
weeklies. All are well conducted and prosperous.

[Illustration: PHEBE'S ARCH.]

A branch of the United States Mint is located here, but is used for
assays only, and not for coinage. An appropriation has been made by
Congress for a handsome building, the site has been selected, and work
is now being pushed forward. The post-office is a source of considerable
revenue to the Government. There are six National and two State banks,
with a paid in capital of $870,000, and showing a surplus of $754,000 at
the close of 1883. The deposits for the year amounted to $8,396,200, and
the loans and discounts approximated $4,500,000. The shops of the Denver
and Rio Grande railway are doubtless the most extensive in the West,
employing over 800 men, and turning out during the year 2 express, 8
mail, 4 combination, 522 box, 303 stock, 25 refrigerator, 197 flat, and
300 coal cars, together with 8 cabooses. In addition they have produced
350 frogs, 200 switch stands, and all the iron work for the bridges on
350 miles of new road, The year's shipments of the Boston and Colorado
Smelting Company aggregate, in silver, gold, and copper, $3,907,000; and
in the same time the Grant smelter has treated, in silver, lead and
gold, $6,348,868. Finally, from the statistics at hand it appears that
the volume of Denver's trade for the year referred to, apart from the
industries above mentioned, and real estate transactions, has exceeded
the snug sum of $58,856,998. In the meantime the taxable valuation of
property in Arapahoe county has increased $6,600,000.

These facts establish, beyond the slightest doubt, the truth that Denver
stands upon a firm financial basis. This the casual stranger can hardly
fail to surmise when he glances at her magnificent buildings, and
statistics will confirm the surmise.

Denver society is cosmopolitan. Famous and brilliant persons are
constantly appearing from all quarters of the globe. Five hundred people
a day, it is said, enter Colorado, and nine-tenths of this multitude
pass through Denver. Nowadays, "the tour" of the United States is
incomplete if this mountain city is omitted. Thus the registers of her
hotels bear many foreign autographs of world-wide reputation. Surprise
is often expressed by the critical among these visitors (why, I do not
understand) at the totally unexpected degree of intelligence,
appreciation of the more refined methods of thought and handiwork, and
the knowledge of science, that greet them here. Matters of art and
music, particularly, find friends and cultivation among the educated and
generous families who have built up society; and there are schools and
associations devoted to sustaining the interest in them, just as there
are reading circles and literary clubs. And, withal, there is the most
charming freedom of acquaintance and intercourse--the polish and
good-breeding of rank, delivered from all chill and exclusiveness or
regard for "who was your grandfather." Yet this winsome good-fellowship
by no means descends to vulgarity, or permits itself to be abused. After
all, it is only New York and New England and Ohio, transplanted and
considerably enlivened.

Returning to our consideration of Denver's resources, it will readily be
seen that she stands as the supply-depot and money-receiver of three
great branches of industry and wealth, namely, mining, stock-raising and

The first of these is the most important. Many of the richest
proprietors live and spend their profits here. Then, too, the machinery
which the mining and the reduction of the ores require, and the tools,
clothing and provisions of the men, mainly come from here. Long ago
ex-Governor Gilpin, worthily one of the most famous of Colorado's
representative men, and an enthusiast upon the subject of her virtues
and loveliness, prophesied the immense wealth which would continue to be
delved from the crevices of her rocky frame, and was called a visionary
for his pains; but his prophesies have aggregated more in the
fulfillment than they promised in the foretelling, and his "visions"
have netted him a most satisfactory fortune. About 75,000 lodes have
been discovered in Colorado, and numberless placers. Only a small
proportion of these, of course, were worked remuneratively, but the cash
yield of the twenty years since the discovery of the precious metals,
has averaged over $7,000,000 a year, and has increased from $200,000 in
1869 to over $26,376,562 in 1883. Not half of this is gold, yet it is
only since 1870 that silver has been mined at all in Colorado. These
statistics show the total yield of the State in gold and silver thus far
to exceed $154,000,000, not to mention tellurium, copper, iron, lead and
coal. Surely this alone is sufficient employment of capital and
production of original wealth--genuine making of money--to ensure the
permanent support of the city.

The second great source of revenue to Denver, is the cattle and sheep of
the State. The wonderful worthless-looking buffalo grass, growing in
little tufts so scattered that the dust shows itself everywhere between,
and turning sere and shriveled before the spring rains are fairly over,
has proved one of Colorado's most prolific avenues of wealth. The herds
now reported in the State count up 1,461,945 head, and the annual
shipments amount to 100,000, at an average of $20 apiece, giving
$2,000,000 as the yearly yield. Add the receipts for the sales of hides
and tallow, and the home consumption, amounting to about $60,000, and
you have a figure not far from $3,500,000 to represent the total annual
income from this branch of productive industry. The whole value of the
cattle investments in the State is estimated by good judges at
$14,000,000, nearly one-fourth of which is the property of citizens of
Denver. Yet this sum, great as it is for a pioneer region, represents
only two-thirds of Colorado's live stock. Last year about 1,500,000
sheep were sheared, and more capital is being invested in them. Perhaps
the total value of sheep ranches is not less than $5,000,000, the annual
income from which approaches $1,300,000.

The third large item of prosperity is agriculture, although it advances
in the face of much opposition. In 1883 the production of the chief
crops was as follows: hay, 266,500 tons; wheat, 1,750,840 bushels; oats,
1,186,534 bushels; corn, 598,975 bushels; barley, 265,180 bushels; rye,
78,030 bushels, and potatoes, 851,000 bushels. Add to this vegetables
and small fruits, and the yield of the soil in Colorado is brought to
over $9,000,000 in value. Farmers are learning better and better how to
produce the very best results by means of scientific irrigation, and the
tillage is annually wider.

Nor is this the whole story. Denver is rapidly growing into a
manufacturing center. Here are rolling mills, iron foundries, smelters,
machine shops, woolen mills, shoe factories, glass works, carriage and
harness factories, breweries, and so on through a long list. The
flouring mills are very valuable, representing an investment of
$350,000, and handling half the wheat crop of Colorado. I have dwelt
upon these somewhat prosy statements in order to point out fully what
rich resources Denver has behind her, and how it happens that she finds
herself, at twenty-three years of age, amazingly strong commercially.
Not only a large proportion of the money which gives existence to these
enterprises (nearly every householder in the city has a financial
interest in one or several mines, stock-ranges or farms), but, as I
have intimated, the current supplies that sustain them, are procured in
Denver, and a very large percentage of their profits finds its way
directly to this focus.

[Illustration: MONUMENT PARK.]

Denver thus becomes to all Colorado what Paris is to France. Through all
the enormous area, from Wyoming far into New Mexico, and westward to
Utah, she has had no formidable rival until South Pueblo rose to contest
the trade of all the southern half of this commercial territory. That
she advances with the rapidly thickening population of the State and
its increasing needs, is apparent to every one who has noted the
gigantic strides with which Denver has grown, and the ease with which
she wears her imperial honors. Every extension of the railways, every
good crop, every new mineral district developed, every increase of
stock-ranges, directly and instantly affects the great central mart.
This sound business basis being present, the opportunity to pleasantly
dispose of the money made is, of course, not long in presenting itself.
It thus happens that Denver shows, in a wonderful measure, the amenities
of intellectual culture that make life so attractive in the
old-established centers of civilization, where selected society,
thoughtful study, and the riches of art, have ripened to maturity
through long time and under gracious traditions. There is an abundance
here, therefore, to please the eye and touch the heart as well as fill
the pockets, and year by year the city is becoming more and more a
desirable place in which to dwell as well as to do business.


                          ALONG THE FOOTHILLS.

                    We've left behind the busy town,
                      Its woof and warp of care;
                    Our course is down the foothills brown
                      To a Southern city fair.
                                             --STANLEY H. RAY.

While we were codifying our impressions of Denver, the workmen at the
shops had been busy. We were busy, too, in other than literary ways, and
badgered our new acquaintances at the railway offices at all sorts of
times and with every manner of want. The butcher and baker were
harassed, and jolly old Salomon, the grocer, came in for his share of
the nuisance. But it didn't last long, for one afternoon, just three
days from the birth of the happy thought, we were in our special train
and rushing away to the South.

Not till then did this haphazard crowd--for we had enlisted three
gentlemen into our company--inquire seriously whither we were going.
What did it matter? We were wild with joy because of going at all. Had
we not bed and provender with us? Why could we not go on always? have it
said of us when living, _Going, going,_ and written over us when

I have mentioned three companions besides the Madame. At least two of
the gentlemen you would recognize at once, were I to give you their
names. The Artist is famed on both sides of the Atlantic for the
masterly productions of his brush. He is a wide traveler and an
enthusiast over mountain scenery. The Photographer is likewise a genius,
and literally a compendium of scientific knowledge and exploration.
Connected for many years with the Geological Surveys of this region, his
practical experience renders him an especially valuable coadjutor. The
Musician is young in years, with the scroll of fame before him. But he
comes of good stock, and faith is strong. And there is still another,
our Amos, of sable hue, who has our fortunes, to a large extent, in his
keeping, for does he not preside over our commissary? We shall know him
better by and by.

Our train consisted of three cars; and when we had passed the great
works at Burnham, we resolved ourselves into an investigating committee
and started on a tour of inspection. We found our quarters exceedingly
well-arranged and comfortable, although in some confusion from the
hasty manner in which our loose supplies had been tumbled in. So the
committee postponed its report.

"How smoothly we bowl along!" remarked the Musician.

"And in what superb condition are the roadbed and track," added the

Yet so gentle and noiseless was the motion that it required the
testimony of the speed-indicator to convince us that we were making
thirty-five miles per hour. We had passed the huge Exposition building
at our left, flitted by the picturesque village of Littleton, with its
neat stone depot and white flouring-mills, and were approaching Acequia
(which you must pronounce A-sáy-ke-a) along a shelving embankment
overlooking the Platte. Away to the west and across the valley, we could
discern a yellow band, which the Photographer explained was the new
canal under construction by an English company, and which was intended
to convey the water of the Platte, from a point far up its cañon, to
Denver. The canal or ditch here emerges from the mountains and bears
away to the southward for some distance, until it nears Plum Creek,
crossing which, by means of an aqueduct, it turns sharply to the
northward, and _apparently climbs_ the higher table-lands in the
direction of Denver. As observed from the car window the anomaly seems
indisputable, the deception of course being attributable to the
ascending grade of the railway. This is one of several cases in the
State which will be pointed out, by old-timers to new-comers, as
veritable instances where water runs up hill.

The valleys of Plum Creek and its branches are of good width, and
hollowed out of the modern deposits so as to form beautiful and fertile
lands, while on each side a terrace extends down from the mountains,
like a lawn. Following up the main valley we reach Castle Rock, with its
immense hay ranches and fortress-butte, and beyond is Larkspur, named
after one of the most striking of the plains birds. Thence the run is
through a section of billowy plains or depressed foot-hills, up a steady
ninety-feet grade to the Divide, in whose vicinity we encounter a
succession of high buttes and mesas, the lower portions being composed
of sandstone, while the tops are of igneous rock or lava. These
constantly suggest artificial forms of towers, castles and
fortifications, in some places rising nearly a thousand feet above the
railway. Not infrequently the cliffs are so regularly disposed that it
is hard to believe them merely natural formations. The entire scenery of
this great ridge, and extending far out into the plains, is of an unique
and interesting character. Near the summit there are remarkable
evidences of its having been the coast-line of an ancient sea. The
streams which rise on the northern slope of this watershed find their
way into the Platte, while those on the southern declivity flow into the
Arkansas. The Divide has a good covering of pines, often arranged by
nature with park-like symmetry, and forming a charming contrast with the
bare but beautifully colored cliffs. This region has been a chief
source of Denver's lumber supply, and the timber tract is estimated to
contain about 70,000 acres.

[Illustration: IN QUEEN'S CAÑON.]

On the Divide is a beautiful sheet of water, known as Palmer Lake from
which is derived a large quantity of the purest ice. Here a novel and
attractive depot has been erected by the railway company, and extensive
improvements, including a dancing pavilion and summer hotel, cottages
and boat-houses, have been made. In the hottest seasons the temperature
is always cool and invigorating, and no spot within accessible distance
is so well adapted for an economical and delightful resort for
Denverites. On the southern face of the hill the rock-formations break
out into still more marked resemblances to ruined castles, showing
moats, arches and turrets. It follows that our Artist was enraptured
with the romantic features of the place, and the Photographer insisted
on taking out his camera and getting at work. One of his results,
Phebe's Arch, is contributed to the pictorial fund of this volume. The
descent from the Divide is rapid, and our attention is absorbed by the
swiftly changing panorama. Close by are the mountains--their snowy
pyramids holding entranced your eyes from far, far out on the plains.
"In variety and harmony of form," said Bayard Taylor of them: "in effect
against the dark blue sky, in breadth and grandeur, I know of no
external picture of the Alps which can be placed beside it. If you could
take away the valley of the Rhone, and unite the Alps of Savoy with the
Bernese Oberland, you might obtain a tolerable idea of this view of the
Rocky Mountains." Pike's Peak is constantly in sight, and every curve in
the steel road presents it in a different aspect.

Presently we find ourselves on the bank of Monument Creek, pass the
station of the same name, and soon encounter a series of small basins,
and side valleys, green-carpeted and with gently sloping and wooded

"Observe those odd rocks!" suddenly exclaims the Madame. "Notice how,
all along the bluff, stand rows of little images, like the carved
figure-friezes of the Parthenon; and how those great isolated rocks have
been left like the discarded and broken furniture of Gog and Magog."

"Yes," I say, "but the tone of your imagery is low. Long, long ago a
higher sentiment called them 'monuments,' and this whole illy-defined
region of grotesquely-cut sandstones, Monument Park."

And then we all fall into a discussion of the process of formation of
these quaint obelisks, which is interrupted by the Artist.

"Here is some pertinent testimony in Ludlow's admirable book, the 'Heart
of the Continent,' which by your leave I will read to you. Ready?"

"Fire away!" we reply, and do the same with our cigars, making a treaty
of amity in the blaze of a mutual match.

"'I ascended one of the most practicable hills among the number crowned
by sculpturesque formations. The hill was a mere mass of sand and débris
from decayed rocks, about a hundred feet high, conical, and bearing on
its summit an irregular group of pillars. After a protracted
examination, I found the formation to consist of a peculiar friable
conglomerate, which has no precise parallel in any of our Eastern
strata. Some of the pillars were nearly cylindrical, others were long
cones; and a number were spindle-shaped, or like a buoy set on end. With
hardly an exception, they were surmounted by capitals of remarkable
projection beyond their base. These I found slightly different in
composition from the shafts. The conglomerate of the latter was an
irregular mixture of fragments from all the hypogene rocks of the range,
including quartzose pebbles, pure crystals of silex, various crystalline
sandstones, gneiss, solitary horn-blende and feldspar, nodular iron
stones, rude agates and gun-flint; the whole loosely cemented in a
matrix composed of clay, lime (most likely from the decomposition of
gypsum), and red oxide of iron. The disk which formed the largely
projecting capital seemed to represent the original diameter of the
pillar, and apparently retained its proportions in virtue of a much
closer texture and larger per cent. of iron in its composition. These
were often so apparent that the pillars had a contour of the most rugged
description, and a tinge of pale cream yellow, while the capitals were
of a brick-dust color, with excess of red oxide, and nearly as uniform
in their granulation as fine millstone-grit. The shape of these
formations seemed, therefore, to turn on the comparative resistance to
atmospheric influences possessed by their various parts. Many other
indications ... led me to narrow down all the hypothetical agencies
which might have produced them, to a single one,--_air_, in its chemical
or mechanical operations, and usually in both.... One characteristic of
the Rocky Mountains is its system of vast indentations, cutting through
from the top to the bottom of the range. Some of these take the form of
funnels, others are deep, tortuous galleries known as passes or cañons;
but all have their openings toward the plains. The descending masses of
air fall into these funnels or sinuous canals, as they slide down,
concentrating themselves and acquiring a vertical motion. When they
issue from the mouth of the gorge at the base of the range, they are
gigantic augers, with a revolution faster than man's cunningest
machinery, and a cutting-edge of silex, obtained from the first sand
heap caught up by their fury. Thus armed with their own resistless
motion and an incisive thread of the hardest mineral next to the
diamond, they sweep on over the plains to excavate, pull down, or carve
in new forms, whatever friable formation lies in their way.'"

By this time Colorado Springs was at hand, and as we had decided, like
all other sensible people who come to Colorado, to sojourn awhile there
and at Manitou, our cars were side-tracked. And while Amos betook
himself to the preparation of our evening meal, we admired the gorgeous
sunset, and disposed our effects for the first night out.

       *       *       *       *       *

Henry Ward Beecher once said that while the new birth was necessary to a
true Christian life, it was very important that one be born well the
first time. Colorado Springs was born well. It was organized on the
colony plan, and the first stake was driven in July, 1871. Intelligent
and far-seeing men were leaders of the enterprise, and in no way was
their sagacity more apparent than in the insertion, in every deed of
transfer, of a clause prohibiting, upon pain of forfeiture, the sale or
manufacture of alcoholic beverages on the premises conveyed. This
temperance clause was introduced by General W. J. Palmer, the president
of the colony, who during his services as engineer of railway
extensions, had observed the destruction which the unrestrained traffic
in intoxicants worked to life and property. It was not sentiment, but a
sound business precaution, as the result has proved. Of course this
provision has been contested, but it has been legally sustained, and has
given the town the best moral tone of any in Colorado. The location was
also wisely chosen, broad and regular streets were carefully laid out, a
system of irrigation established, thousands of trees planted, and
reservations for parks set aside. Some of the avenues running north and
south might with propriety be designated boulevards, being 140 feet in
width, with double roadways separated by parallel rows of trees. Other
trees shade the walks at either side, and at their roots flow rapid
streamlets of clearest water. The drives are smooth and hard, and the
soil never becomes muddy, the moisture penetrating rapidly through the
light gravelly loam. The gentle inclination southward renders drainage a
very simple matter.

Seen from the railway, the town appears to be located upon a
considerable elevation. In fact it stands upon a plateau in the midst of
a valley. The thirty-five miles of streets and avenues are closely lined
with substantial business blocks, pretentious residences, or tasty
cottages. The pink and white stone of the Manitou quarries is largely
used; and pent-roofs, ornamental gables, red chimneys, and the whole
category of _renaissance_ peculiarities, have representation in the
architecture. The dwellers in these abodes are principally of the
cultured and refined classes. Invalids from the intellectual centers of
the East find health and congenial society here, while numbers of
opulent mine owners and stockmen make the Springs their winter home.


The public buildings are all creditable; the Deaf-Mute Institute,
Colorado College, the churches and schools being specially noteworthy.
The Opera House is a veritable _bijou_, handsome and convenient in all
its appointments, and with a single exception not surpassed west of the
Missouri. The new hotel, The Antlers, erected at a cost of over
$125,000, is of stone, and is without doubt the most artistic and
elegant structure of its kind in the State. It occupies a sightly
position at the edge of the plateau, and from its balconies and verandas
a marvelous and most inspiring view is presented. The foothills lie
along the west, about five miles distant, the massive outlines of
Cheyenne Mountain a little to the left, and the huge red towers that
mark the gateway to the Garden of the Gods lifting their crests over the
Mesa at the right, while above them all is reared the snow-crowned
summit of Pike's Peak. To the north, is seen in the foreground the gray
shoulders of the buttes, and in the distance the dark pine-covered
elevation of the Divide. Easterly the land rises gently in a gray,
grass-clad plain, until it cuts the blue horizon with a level line;
while southward the mountains trend away, purple in the distance.

Colorado Springs lies under the shadow of Pike's Peak; and in the short
autumn days the sun drops out of sight behind the mountain with
startling suddenness at four o'clock. Then come the cool shadows, when
fires have to be replenished, and doors and windows closed. From ten
o'clock until the sun hides behind the hills, the blue skies, the soft
breezes, the grateful warmth, suggest that month in which, if ever, come
perfect days. The June roses are absent but the days are as rare as a
day in June. The average temperature here is sixty degrees, and there
are about three hundred days of sunshine in the year.

Within a radius of ten miles about the Springs are to be found more
"interesting, varied and famous scenic attractions than in any similar
compass the country over," we are told by the guide, and we are quite
ready to believe when they are recounted. A drive of three miles across
the Mesa, with its magnificent mountain view, brings you to Glen Eyrie,
the secluded home of General Palmer, originator of the Denver and Rio
Grande railway. "At the entrance you pass a little lodge--a sonnet in
architecture, if one may so express it--the small but perfect rendering
of a harmonious thought; you cross and recross a rushing, tumbling
mountain brook over a dozen different bridges, some rustic, some of
masonry, but each a gem in design and fitness; then at last, after the
mind is properly tuned, as it were, to perfect accord, the full symphony
bursts upon you. In the shadow of the eternal rock, with the wonderful
background of mountains, surrounded by all that art can lend nature, is
this delicious anachronism of a Queen Anne house, in sage-green and deep
dull red, with arched balconies under pointed gables, and carved
projections over mullioned windows, and trellised porches, with stained
glass loopholes and an avalanche of roofs." A little distance from the
house strange forms of red sandstone lift their heads far above the
foliage, like a file of genii marching down on solemn mission from their
abodes in mountain caves, while on the ledges of the gray bluffs
opposite the eagles have built their nests. Farther up the Glen, and yet
a part of it, is Queen's Cañon, a most rugged gorge, in which the
wildness of nature has been for the most part unopposed. The same
turbulent brook comes dashing down, in a series of cascades and rapids,
from the Devil's Punch-Bowl, near the head of the Cañon. Rustic bridges
cross it near the foot, one of which is made the subject of an
engraving; but soon the pathway breaks into a mere trail, which leads
over boulders and fallen tree-trunks, or clings to precipitous cliffs
which tower high overhead.

One mile north of Glen Eyrie is Blair Athol, with its exquisitely tinted
pink sandstone pillars; while about the same distance to the south is
the Garden of the Gods, which it seems, however, more proper to classify
with Manitou's environs. Five miles northeasterly from the Springs are
Austin's Bluffs, and a few miles west of these, Monument Park. Nearer
by, and due west, are the Red and Bear Creek Cañons. An excellent way of
reaching Pike's Peak is by the Cheyenne Mountain toll road, which
terminates in a good trail passing the Seven Lakes. The Cheyenne Cañons,
at the northern base of the mountain of the same name, are greatly
frequented, and justly rank high in the category. They are two in

South Cheyenne Cañon is full of surprises. "The vulgar linear measure of
its length is out of harmony with the winding path over rocks, between
straight pines, and across the rushing waters of the brook that boils
down the whole rocky cut. The stream, tossing over its rough bed and
dropping into sandy pools, drives one from side to side of the narrow
passage-way for foothold. Eleven times one crosses it, by stepping from
one rolling and uncertain stone to another, by balancing across the
lurching trunk of a felled tree, or by dams of driftwood; and, finally,
skirting a huge boulder that juts out into the water, and jumping from
rock to rock, the head of the Cañon is reached. The narrow gorge ends in
a round well of granite, down one side of which leaps, slides, foams and
rushes a series of waterfalls. Seven falls in line drop the water from
the melted snow above into this cup. Looking from below, one sees (as in
our illustration) only three, that, starting down the last almost
perpendicular wall and striking ledges in the rock, and oblique
crevices, send their jet shooting in a curved spray to the pool. In this
deep hollow only the noonday sun ever shines, and a narrow bank of snow
lies against one side in the shadow of the cliff. Going up the Cañon,
with the roar of the waters ahead and the wild path before one, the
loftiness and savage wildness of the walls catch only a dizzying glance,
but coming out, their sides seem to touch the heavens and to be
measureless. The eye can hardly take in the vast height, and with the
afternoon sun touching only the extreme tops, one realizes in what a
crevice and fissure of the rocks the Cañon winds. Across the widest
place between the walls a girl could throw a stone, and from that it
narrows even more. The cool, dim light down at the base contrasts
strangely with the red blaze that reflects from the top of the high
walls; and emerging from one group of pine trees, a turn in the Cañon
confronts one with a whole wall of sandstone burning in the intense
sunlight. A comparison between this and the Via Mala and the other wild
gorges of the Alps is impossible, but had legend and history and poetry
followed it for centuries, South Cheyenne Cañon would have its great
features acknowledged. Let a ruined tower stand at its entrance, whence
robber knights had swooped down upon travelers and picked out the teeth
of wealthy Hebrews; let a nation fight for its liberty through its
chasm; and then let my Lord Byron turn loose the flood of his imagery
upon it. After all, its wildness and untouched solitude are most
impressive; and without history, save of the seasons, or sound, save of
the wind, the water and the eagles, centuries have kept it for the small
world that knows it now." So discourses a very charming lady writer.


North Cheyenne Cañon is scarcely less interesting, though less widely
known. Its beauty is of a milder type, the walls advancing and
retreating, and anon breaking into gaily-colored pinnacles on which the
sunlight plays in strange freaks of light and shade. The little brook
winds like a silver band beside the path, encircling the boulders which
it cannot leap, and all the while singing softly to the rhythm of
swaying vines. The birds chirp in unison as they skip from rock to rock,
and in the harmony and essence of the scene all are subdued--save the
Artist, whose deft pencil cannot weary in so much loveliness. When words
fail, it is fortunate he is at hand to rescue writer and reader alike.

It was during our stay at Colorado Springs we made acquaintance with the
burro. It is the nightingale of Colorado; its range of voice is limited,
consisting indeed of only two notes; but the amount of eloquence, the
superb quality, the deep resonance and flexible sinuosity which can be
thrown by this natural musician into such a small compass are
tremendous. As they lope down the street, the larboard ear in air, while
the starboard droops limply, the long tapir-like nose quivering with the
mighty volume of sound which is pouring through it, the sloping Chinese
eyes looking at you sideways with the lack-lustre expression of their
race, and an artistic kick thrown in occasionally to produce the tremolo
that adds the last touch of grace to the ringing voice, you are

We betook ourselves to the train one evening, after our by no means
thorough exploration of the neighborhood, and began our preparations for
a few days' absence at Manitou. It was only five miles away, and we had
decided not to take our cars up. Retiring early, we fell asleep to dream
of new pleasures, for which our appetites were already whetted.


                            A MOUNTAIN SPA.

                        ... And the ray
            Of a bright sun can make sufficient holiday,
          Developing the mountains, leaves, and flowers,
            And shining in the brawling brook, whereby,
          Clear as its current, glide the sauntering hours
            With a calm languor, which, though to the eye
          Idlesse it seem, hath its morality.

As well omit the Lions of St. Mark from a visit to Venice, as to pass by
Manitou in a tour of Colorado. Manitou, the sacred health-fountains of
Indian tradition, the shrine of disabled mountaineers, the "Saratoga" of
the Rockies.

Leaving Colorado Springs, a branch of the railway swings gracefully
around the low hills in which the Mesa terminates, and points for the
gap in the mountains directly to the west. Nearly three miles from the
junction we pass the driving park, and immediately after run up to
Colorado City, the first capital of the Territory, and now a quiet
little hamlet, whose chief industry is the production of much beer.
Recalling the temperance proclivities of the Springs, it is
unfortunately not strange that a drive to Colorado City in the long
summer evenings should prove so attractive to the ardent youth of
untamed blood. Then the road passes into the clusters of cottonwoods and
willows which fringe the brook, crossing, recrossing, and dashing
through patches of sunlight, whence the huge colored pinnacles in the
Garden of the Gods are descried over the broken hills at the right. It
is a striking ride, and curiously the location of the railway has not
been allowed to mar its native beauty. Describing the contour of a
projecting foothill, we obtain our first glimpse of Manitou, with its
great hotels, its cut-stone cottages, and its picturesque station. Just
across the way, and in the lowest depression of the narrow vale, is a
charming villa, embowered in shrubbery, with quaint gables and porches,
and phenomenal lawns and flower-beds. It is the home of Dr. W. A. Bell,
for years vice-president of the Denver and Rio Grande railway.

The village itself is grouped in careless ease along the steep and bushy
slopes of the valley, straggling about and abounding in miniature
chalets, precisely as a mountain village ought to do. The
Fontaine-qui-Bouille, full of the sprightliness of its youth in Ute
Pass, and its escapade at Rainbow Falls, comes dashing and splashing,
and singing its happy song:

                    "I chatter over stony ways,
                      In little sharps and trebles;
                    I bubble into eddying bays,
                      I babble on the pebbles."


Down close to this frolicsome, icy-cold stream, are built the larger
hotels, the Beebee and Manitou, surrounded by groves of cottonwood,
aspen, wild cherry and box elder. They are cheery, clean, homelike, and
handsomely furnished. The broad piazzas afford the finest views of
Pike's Peak, Cameron's Cone, and their _confreres_. Here gather the
"beauty and chivalry" of many climes, and in the long, soft evenings,
devoid of dew or moisture, the cozy nooks offer the seclusion for--we
had nearly said, flirtation--or cool refuge from the heated
dancing-hall. Rustic bridges cross the brook, leading into a labyrinth
of shade and on up to the crags behind. At the rear of the hotels,
Lover's Lane, a most romantic ramble, starts out in a half-mile maze
through arbors, and flowering shrubs, and over little precipices, for
the springs. Beside the path, and in out of-the-way spots among the
bushes, are alluring seats, only large enough for two, where you may
sit, while at your feet the selfsame brooklet murmurs:

                    "I steal by lawns and grassy plots;
                      I slide by hazel covers;
                    I move the sweet forget-me-nots
                      That grow for happy lovers."

Further up stream, a little way, are the homes of the citizens, and more
hotels and boarding places--the Cliff House, Barker's, and a dozen
others. Here, too, on the banks of the creek, boiling up in basins of
their own secretion, and hidden under rustic kiosks of a later date, are
the springs themselves. They are six in number, varying in temperature
from 43° to 56° F., and are strongly charged with carbonic acid. "Coming
up the valley," writes an authority, "the first is the Shoshone,
bubbling up under a wooden canopy, close beside the main road of the
village, and often called the Sulphur Spring, from the yellow deposit
left around it. A few yards further on, and in a ledge of rock
overhanging the right bank of the Fontaine, is the Navajo (shown in the
foreground of our picture), containing carbonates of soda, lime and
magnesia, and still more strongly charged with carbonic acid, having a
refreshing taste similar to seltzer water. From this rocky basin, pipes
conduct the water to the bath-house, which is situated on the stream a
little below. Crossing by a pretty rustic bridge, we come to the
Manitou, close to an ornamental summer-house; its taste and properties
nearly resemble the Navajo. Recrossing the stream and walking a quarter
of a mile up the Ute Pass road, following the right bank of the
Fontaine, we find, close to its brink, the Ute Soda. This resembles the
Manitou and Navajo, but is chemically less powerful, though much enjoyed
for a refreshing draught. Retracing one's steps to within two hundred
yards of the Manitou Spring, we cross a bridge leading over a stream
which joins the Fontaine at almost a right angle from the southwest;
following up the right bank of this mountain brook, which is called
Ruxton's Creek, we enter the most beautiful of the tributary valleys of
Manitou. Traversing the winding road among rocks and trees for nearly
half a mile, we reach a pavilion close to the right bank of the creek,
in which we find the Iron Ute, the water being highly effervescent, of
the temperature of 44° 3' F., and very agreeable in spite of its marked
chalybeate taste. Continuing up the left bank of the stream for a few
hundred yards, we reach the last of the springs that have been
analyzed--the Little Chief; this is less agreeable in taste, being less
effervescent and more strongly impregnated with sulphate of soda than
any of the other springs, and containing nearly as much iron as the Iron

"These springs have from time immemorial enjoyed a reputation as healing
waters among the Indians, who, when driven from the glen by the inroads
of civilization, left behind them wigwams to which they used to bring
their sick; believing, as they did, that the Good Spirit breathed into
the waters the breath of life, they bathed and drank of them, thinking
thereby to find a cure for every ill; yet it has been found that they
thought most highly of their virtues when their bones and joints were
racked with pain, their skins covered with unsightly blotches, or their
warriors weakened by wounds or mountain sickness. During the seasons
that the use of these waters has been under observation, it has been
noticed that rheumatism, certain skin diseases, and cases of debility
have been much benefited, so far confirming the experience of the past.
The Manitou and Navajo have also been highly praised for their relief of
old kidney and liver troubles, and the Iron Ute for chronic alcoholism
and uterine derangements. Many of the phthisical patients who come to
this dry, bracing air in increasing numbers are also said to have drunk
of the waters with evident advantage.

"Professor Loew (chemist to the Wheeler expedition), speaking of the
Manitou Springs as a group, says, very justly, they resemble those of
Ems, and excel those of Spa--two of the most celebrated in Europe.

"On looking at the analyses of the Manitou group it will be seen that
they all contain carbonic acid and carbonate of soda, yet they vary in
some of their other constituents. We will, therefore, divide them into
three groups of carbonated soda waters: 1. The carbonated soda waters
proper, comprising the Navajo, Manitou and Ute Soda, in which the soda
and carbonic acid have the chief action. 2. The purging carbonated soda
waters, comprising the Little Chief and Shoshone, where the action of
the soda and carbonic acid is markedly modified by the sulphates of soda
and potash. 3. The ferruginous carbonated soda waters where the action
of the carbonic acid and soda is modified by the carbonate of iron,
comprising the Iron Ute and the Little Chief, which latter belongs to
this group as well as to the preceding one."

Such are the medicinal fountains that not only have proved themselves
blessings to thousands of invalids, sick of pharmacy, but cause the
summer days here to be haunted by pleasure seekers, who make the health
of some afflicted friend, or weariness from overwork in them selves,
excuse for coming; or boldly assert themselves here purely for
pleasure. Time was when this entrance to a score of glens was a
rendezvous for game and primitively wild. Even a dozen years ago it
would answer to this description, and now one need not go far in winter
to find successful shooting. "In summer time," to quote the Earl of
Dunraven, "beautiful but dangerous creatures roam the park. The tracks
of tiny little shoes are more frequent than the less interesting, but
harmless footprints of mountain sheep. You are more likely to catch a
glimpse of the hem of a white petticoat in the distance than of the
glancing form of a deer. The marks of carriage wheels are more plentiful
than elk signs, and you are not now so liable to be scared by the
human-like track of a gigantic bear as by the appalling impress of a
number eleven boot."

[Illustration: THE MINERAL SPRINGS.]

Do not imagine, however, that all the boot-tracks mark "the appalling
impress of a number eleven." The Madame tells me they dress as well at
Manitou as at Saratoga; to me this seems a doubtful kind of compliment,
but she intended it to cover the perfection of summer toilets. At
Manitou, indeed, you do all you think it proper to do in the Green
Mountains, or at White Sulphur, or any other upland resort, but in far
more delightfully unconventional ways, and the enjoyment is
proportionately increased.

No Eastern watering-place affords opportunity for so many desirable
excursions, each distinct from the other in interest, each superb and of
itself a sufficient inducement to come to Colorado. Just overhead towers
the glorious old crest of Pike's Peak, the beacon of '59, and ever since
the type of American mountains. He who does not ascend the Peak (if he
is in fair health) can never get a good character from Manitou. Of
course all of the present party went. Moreover we went fancy-free and
note-book forgotten--a happiness as great as Patti's when she saw there
was no piano on the ocean steamer in which she was to take passage. "How
was this?" do you ask? Lillian Scidmore had been there before us, and
reaped with her keen sickle every spear of wheat in the whole field. To
show our gleanings would amount to nothing; so here is her whole sheaf:

"The tenth of June having left the world upon its axis, a little band of
heroic spirits made ready to mount the bony bronchos, and toil upward
from the green and lovely vale of Manitou to the rocky height above. The
noonday sun was sending down its most scorching rays, and the idlers on
the hotel piazza were mopping their brows and repeating the wearisome
formula of 'the hottest day ever known in Colorado.' The sun was ardent,
to say the least, but the crisp breeze that came rustling down from the
higher cañons tempered its effects.

"The sympathetic chambermaid of the Beebee House had been hovering in my
doorway for a half hour before the start, urging me to take more and
more wraps, and relating horrible anecdotes of the Chicago lady 'who had
her nose burned to a white blister and her face so raw, ma'am, that we
could hardly touch it with a feather for three days.' With such gentle
admonition there was no struggle when the kind-hearted one proceeded to
apply her preventive, and under a triple layer of cold cream, powder and
barege veils we made the trip, and returned rather fairer in skin for
the bleaching process. The perspiration ran off the guide's forehead
before he had strapped on the first bundle of overcoats, ulsters,
shawls, rugs and furs, but the grateful sensation they imparted to us a
few hours later will cheer me through many midsummer days. The party
included, among others, a gentleman and his wife from St. Louis, and the
same wicked Colorado editor who is the author of all the fine spun yarns
about the Pike's Peak volcano and the mountain lions.

"Such horses as we rode can be raised and trained only on a mountain
trail, and if they could but speak, what tales of timidity, stupidity
and absurdity they might relate. My own Arabian was a tan-colored beast,
shading off to drab and old gold, known in the vernacular of the country
as a buckskin horse, and rejoiced in the sweet name of 'Bird.' It was a
veritable misnomer, for birds do not generally sit down and roll at
every piece of green grass or cool water that they come to, nor try to
shake their riders off over their necks. My sudden flights to earth were
heralded in all the turgid and flamboyant rhetoric of the circus ring,
and equestrian feats, each outrivaling the other in novelty and
unexpectedness, diversified the route. It was proposed to call the
creature Jordan, because she rolled; and again it was suggested that as
it was 'sinched' out of all shape it had mistaken itself for an
hourglass, and concluded that it was time to turn. Another horse for a
lady rider answered to 'Annie,' and this gentle beast was only kept
from lying down in every stream by energetic pullings and vigorous
thrashings. The good son of St. Louis, bidden, like Louis XVI at the
guillotine, to 'mount to heaven,' when he leaped upon his dappled gray,
in a linen coat, broad-brimmed hat and full-spread umbrella, had a truly
ministerial air as he preceded the line up the road. The editor rode a
pensive nag that hung its head and coughed timidly now and then, but
chirruped to as 'Camille' would push forward and crowd the other horses
off the trail, until a kicking and lashing from the heels of 'Bird'
brought things in order.

"The Pike's Peak trail is one series of picturesque surprises. All that
green cañons, tremendous boulders and turbulent little streams can do
for beauty are there, and from the rustic spot where a small bandit on
the rock demanded toll, there was a succession of grand and lovely
scenes. The trail, worn deep into the grassy places by the procession of
horses that goes up and down it from May to October, winds on between
great rocks, along the steep and dizzy sides of cañons, past cascades
and waterfalls (one of which is the subject of a sketch), and
continually upward, opening boundless views out upon the broad plains
that stretch like a yellow sea from the foothills of the Peak eastward.
With every rise there came a greater one beyond, and above it all,
seeming to move and rise further and higher from us, was the rose-red
summit, with streaks and patches of snow bringing out its beautiful
colors. Over giant boulders, creeping a cramped path beside and under
them, or along a narrow ledge of sliding sand with colossal rocks
miraculously suspended above our pathway, the panting horses toiled
along. Ascending into higher and rarer air it was necessary every few
minutes to stop and give the poor creatures a chance to breathe.

"As we rose higher on the mountain side more extended views were opened
backward over the plains. The lowering sun fell fiercely on the red
sandstone gateways of the Garden of the Gods, until they burned in
flame-colored light against the yellow-gray grass. The hotels and
cottages of Manitou were tiny dots in a green hollow far below, and the
courses of the winding streams could be traced for miles over the plains
by their green borders of cottonwood and willow trees. Wild flowers grew
luxuriantly all the way, and in a little park half way to the summit,
where the guides rest by a spring and wait for ascending and descending
parties to pass, the ground was thick with big columbines, wild roses,
harebells, white daisies, pale lavender geraniums with their petals
streaked with maroon, and the beautiful blue-eyed penstemon of early
June. At timber-line the wild box covered the sandy slopes with a thick
and tangled mat of green, and higher than the hardiest pines stretched a
rolling mountain meadow, a mile of emerald turf jeweled with the
brilliant blossoms of bluebells, buttercups, dwarf sunflowers and dainty
little Quaker-lady forget-me-nots.

"Sixteen people passed us in the half-way park on their way down. The
terrified countenance of one lady on a mule would have made the
hard-hearted to laugh. She pitched back and forth in her saddle, and
shot a pitiful gaze at us as she went by that plainly indicated her
estimate of us and mountain climbers in general. The twelve miles of
steep, hard riding to the summit is trying to the most practiced rider;
and for women, who have never sat a horse before, to attempt to make the
trip up and down in one day is a folly that fully deserves the
punishment it gets. Twenty-four miles of horseback riding on a level
road even is apt to be remembered by the inexperienced. Added to the
fatigue is the sea-sickness consequent upon the great altitude, and few
who make the ascent escape that ill. It is a certificate of a rock-bound
constitution to spend a night on the summit and not be grievously ill.
After the mountain meadow come three miles of broken and ragged rock,
the most wearisome and discouraging part of the road. The horses' sides
throbbed frightfully, the keen winds made a halt for overcoats
necessary, and the scramble over these steep rocks is a fearful thing in
a nipping sunset breeze. The rocks of the summit, that seem only reddish
brown from below, are of the softest pink and rose-red shades, dotted
with black and golden moss-patches until they strongly remind one of the
exquisite colors of speckled trout. Above this sea of loose and broken
granite a low, square house of stone at last arose, and over the
ultimate rock we finally stood on the highest inhabited point on the

"The officer of the signal service, who lives in that lofty house, stood
in his doorway shooting at a tin can on a pole, and in that thin open
air the pop of the pistol was a short, faint little noise without crash
or echo. The red ball of the sun sinking down behind the snowy edges of
the mountains beyond Leadville sent strange lights and mists across the
tossed and uneven stretch of mountains and parks that lay between it and
the gaunt old Peak. The seventy acres of wildly scattered rock-fragments
that crown the top afford a vantage ground for views to every point of
the compass. Eastward across the vast prairie land there seems no limit
to the vision, and beyond the green lines of the Platte and Arkansas
rivers we amused ourselves by imagining the steeples of St. Louis in the
rose and purple vapors of the horizon. The clouds, mists, shadows and
faint opalescent lights on the plains, shifting, changing and fading
each moment, are more fascinatingly beautiful than the dark, upheaved
and splintered ridges of the mountains. Stretching out over the plains,
at first in a blue cone upon the grass, and then sweeping outward and
upward to the sky-line, the vast shadow of the mountain was thrown
sharply against the sky.

"Wrapped in furs and bundled in all the woolen warmth of heaviest winter
clothes, the chill air of evening penetrated like a knife-edge, and we
sat shivering on the rocks with pitiable, pinched and purple faces and
chattering teeth. The afterglow in the east, when the sky and the plains
melted in one purple line and a band of rose-color went up higher and
higher, was more lovely even than the pure crimson and gold and blue of
the sunset clouds.

"Around the crackling fire in the station we thawed our benumbed fingers
and watched the observations taken from the various instruments and sent
clicking off on the telegraph wires to Washington headquarters. The
sergeant wound the alarm-clock to rouse us at four o'clock the next
morning, and, giving up the one sleeping-room to the ladies, retired
with the gentlemen of the party to a bed of buffalo-robes in the
kitchen. The awful stillness, the stealthy puffs of wind, and the sense
of isolation and remoteness, were distressing at first; but the
tobacco-laden air dulled us to sleep. As the fire died out, dreams of
Greenland--glaciers and giddy snow-banks on impossible summits--seized
and held us, until a shivering voice gave the alarm: 'It is all red in
the east.'

"We had climbed all those miles purposely to see the spectacle of dawn,
but there was unhappiness among the pinched and pallid enthusiasts who
crept out on the rocks and watched the half-light on the plains deepen.
A pale and withered moon hung overhead, and miles away on the plain lay
a vast white cloud like a lake, until the rising sun touched it and sent
it rolling and tossing like angry waves. A crimson ball sprang suddenly
from the outermost rim of the earth, glared with a red and sleepy eye
upon the world, and pulled the cover of a cloud above it for a second
nap before it came forth in full splendor. The shadow of the Peak
projected westward fell this time on the uneven mountains, whose sides
and clefts were filled and floating with faint pearl, lilac and roseate
mists. The black patch where Denver lay on the plains, the snowy top of
Gray's Peak, the green basin of South Park, and seemingly everything
from end to end of the State, could be seen. Shivering, freezing, on
that mountain top, with a fur cloak about me, besides all the other
wraps, it seemed that there never was a winter day half as cold.

"In all the crevices of the rocks, wherever there was enough powdered
granite to form a soil for their roots, were tiny little white blossoms,
fairy stars or flowers, with just their heads above the ground, and an
exquisite perfume breathing from them. Bidding the guide to sinch up
quickly for the down trip, we partook of the signal sergeant's coffee,
and listened to his anecdotes of his lonesome life of two weeks on the
mountain and two weeks in town.

"'You are the best crowd that's been up,' said the brave man of
barometers. 'They all get sick when they stay over night. It took me a
month to get used to it. You ought to stay until noon and see the
tender-feet come up and get sick. Oh, Lord! there was an old lady up
here the other day, and she says to me: "Sergeant, don't people ever die
of this sickness up here?" "Oh, yes, ma'am," says I, "a lady died the
other day, and as there wasn't any one to identify her we just put her
over in that snow-bank there."'

[Illustration: PIKE'S PEAK TRAIL.]

"With a lot more of such mountain horrors he kept his rafters ringing,
and then bade us climb the ladder to the top of his house, which would
make up the difference of fifteen feet between his abode and Gray's
Peak. We looked at the grave of the imaginary child destroyed by
mountain rats, gave a last glance at the enchanted view, and left the
chilling region."

       *       *       *       *       *

Another entertaining jaunt is a couple of miles or less up the Ute Pass
wagon-road to Rainbow Falls, one of the finest cascades in the
West--where such things are more of a curiosity than in wetter regions
of the world. The water comes down here with a more than ordinarily
desperate plunge, and it is great sport to climb about the angular rocks
that hem it in.

Ute Pass leads over into South Park, and before the days of railways it
was greatly traveled by passengers and by freight wagons to Leadville
and Fairplay. There is less transit there now, but in summer
pleasure-parties constantly traverse the Pass, partly for its own sake
and partly to enjoy a sight of Manitou Park on the opposite side, whence
a magnificent array of the snowy interior ranges is to be seen,
northward and westward, while Pike's Peak presents itself to superior
advantage from that point of view. In the park is a good little hotel
and dairy, and a trout stream and pond where the Eastern brook-trout has
been assiduously cultivated. In the fall Manitou Park is the resort of
deer hunters and grouse shooters.

Then there is the already mentioned Garden of the Gods, hidden behind
those garish walls of red and yellow sandstone, so stark and out of
place in the soberly-toned landscape that they travesty nature,
converting the whole picture into a theatrical scene, and a highly
spectacular one at that. Passing behind these sensational walls, one is
not surprised to find a sort of gigantic peep-show in pantomime. The
solid rocks have gone masquerading in every sort of absurd costume and
character. The colors of the make-up, too, are varied from black through
all the browns and drabs to pure white, and then again through yellows
and buffs and pinks up to staring red. Who can portray adequately these
odd forms of chiseled stone? I have read a dozen descriptions, and so
have you, no doubt. But one I have just seen, in a letter by a Boston
lady, is so pertinent you should have the pleasure of reading it:

"The impression is of something mighty, unreal and supernatural. Of the
gods surely--but the gods of the Norse Walhalla in some of their strange
outbursts of wild rage or uncouth playfulness. The beauty-loving
divinities of Greece and Rome could have nothing in common with such
sublime awkwardness. Jove's ambrosial curls must shake in another
Olympia than this. Weird and grotesque, but solemn and awful at the same
time, as if one stood on the confines of another world, and soon the
veil would be rent which divided them. Words are worse than useless to
attempt such a picture. Perhaps if one could live in the shadow of its
savage grandeur for months until his soul were permeated, language would
begin to find itself flowing in proper channels, but in the first stupor
of astonishment one must only hold his breath. The Garden itself, the
holy of holies, as most fancy, is not so overpowering to me as the vast
outlying wildness.

"To pass in between massive portals of rock of brilliant terra-cotta
red, and enter on a plain miles in extent, covered in all directions
with magnificent isolated masses of the same striking color, each
lifting itself against the wonderful blue of a Colorado sky with a
sharpness of outline that would shame the fine cutting of an etching; to
find the ground under your feet, over the whole immense surface,
carpeted with the same rich tint, underlying arabesques of green and
gray, where grass and mosses have crept; to come-upon masses of pale
velvety gypsum, set now and again as if to make more effective by
contrast the deep red which strikes the dominant chord of the picture;
and always, as you look through or above, to catch the stormy billows of
the giant mountain range tossed against the sky, with the regal
snow-crowned massiveness of Pike's Peak rising over all, is something,
once seen, never to be forgotten. Strange, grotesque shapes, mammoth
caricatures of animals, clamber, crouch, or spring from vantage points
hundreds of feet in air. Here a battlemented wall is pierced by a round
window; there a cluster of slender spires lift themselves; beyond, a
leaning tower slants through the blue air, or a cube as large as a
dwelling-house is balanced on a pivot-like point at the base, as if a
child's strength could upset it. Imagine all this scintillant with
color, set under a dazzling sapphire dome, with the silver stems and
delicate frondage of young cottonwoods in one space, or a strong young
hemlock lifting green symmetrical arms from some high rocky cleft in
another. This can be told, but the massiveness of sky-piled masonry, the
almost infernal mixture of grandeur and grotesqueness, are beyond
expression. After the first few moments of wild exclamation one sinks
into an awed silence."

The reader must see for himself these grotesque monuments, these relics
of ruined strata, these sportive, wind-cut ghosts of the old _regime_
here, these fanciful images of things seen and unseen, which stand
thickly over hundreds of acres like the moldering ruins of some
half-buried city of the desert, if he would fully understand.

Out of the many other sources of enjoyment near Manitou, the visitor
will by no means neglect the Cave of the Winds. Though you may ride, if
you wish, it is just a pleasant walk up Williams' Cañon, one of the
prettiest of the gorges that seam the rugged base of the great Peak. The
walls are limestone, stained bright red and Indian yellow, lofty,
vertical, and broken into a multitude of bastions, turrets, pinnacles
and sweeping, hugely carved façades, whose rugged battlements tower
hundreds of feet overhead against a sky of violet. At their bases these
upright walls are so close together that much of the way there is not
room for one carriage to pass another, and the track lies nearly always
in the very bed of the sparkling brook. You seem always in a cul de sac
among the zigzags of this irregular chasm, and sometimes the abundant
foliage, rooted in the crevices above, meets in an arch across the
brightly-painted but narrow space you are tortuously threading.

Half a mile up the cañon, at the end of the roadway, a trail goes by
frequent turnings up the precipitous sides of the ravine to where a
sheer cliff begins, about three hundred feet higher. Floundering up
this steep and slippery goat-path, we arrived breathless at a stairway
leading through an arch of native rock into a great chimney, opening out
to the sunlight above, and found opposite us a niche which served as
ante-room and entrance to the cave.

The history of this cave is entertaining, for it was the discovery, in
June, 1880, of two boys of Colorado Springs, who were members of an
"exploring society," organized by the pastor of the Congregational
Church there to provide the boys of his Sunday-school with some safe and
healthful outlet for their adventurous spirits.

The cave, as we saw it, is a labyrinth of narrow passages, occasionally
opening out into chambers of irregular size (and never with very high
ceilings), into which protrude great ledges and points of rock from the
stratified walls, still further limiting the space. These passages are
often very narrow, and in many cases you must stoop in crowding through,
or, if you insist upon going to the end, squirm along, Brahmin-like, on
your stomach. The avenues and apartments are not all upon the same
level, but run over and under each other, and constantly show slender
fox holes branching off, which the guide tells you lead to some stygian
retreat you have visited or are about to see. In remote portions of the
cave there are very large rooms, like Alabaster Hall, some of which are
encumbered with fallen masses and with pillars of drip stone.

The cave is not remarkable for large stalactites and stalagmites, but
excels in its profusion of small ornaments, produced by the solution of
the rock and its re-deposition in odd and pretty forms. From many of the
ledges hang rows of small stalactites like icicles from wintry eaves,
and often these have fine musical tones, so that by selecting a suitable
number, varied in their pitch, simple tunes can easily and very
melodiously be played by tapping. In some parts of the cave, the
stalactites are soldered together into a ribbed mass, like a cascade
falling over the ledges. Elsewhere the "ribbon" or "drapery" form of
flattened stalactites recalls to you the Luray Caves, though here it is
carried out on a smaller scale; while in this particular, as in many
others, reminding one of the magnificent Virginia caverns only by small
suggestions, in one respect this cave far surpasses in beauty its
Eastern prototype. The floors of many rooms are laid, several inches
deep, with incrustations of lime-work, which is embroidered in raised
ridges of exquisite carving. Again, where water has been caught in
depressions, these basins have been lined with a continuous, crowding
plush of minute lime crystals,--like small tufted cushions of yellow and
white moss. Such depressed patches occur frequently; moreover, the rapid
evaporation of these pools, in confined spaces, has so surcharged the
air with carbonated moisture, that particles of lime have been deposited
on the walls of the pocket in a thousand dainty and delicate
forms,--tiny stalactites and bunches of stone twigs,--until you fancy
the most airy of milleporic corals transferred to these recesses. Here
often the air seems foggy as your lamp-rays strike it, and the growing
filigree-work gleams alabaster-white under the spray that is producing
its weird and exquisite growth. In this form of minute and frost-like
ornamentation, the cave excels anything I know of anywhere, and is
strangely beautiful.

[Illustration: RAINBOW FALLS.]

This cavern, however, is sadly deficient in a proper amount of legendary
interest. No human bones have been found, and no lover's leap has been
designated. This misfortune must be remedied; and I have selected a
dangerous kind of a place at which, hereafter, the following touching
tradition will cause the tourist to drop a tear: Many, many years ago an
Indian maiden discovered this cave while eagerly pursuing a woodchuck to
its long home; the home proving longer than she thought, she crept quite
through into the unsuspected enlargement of a cave-chamber, and a
startled congregation of pensive bats. She told no one of her discovery,
because she had not, after all, caught the woodchuck, and went without
meat for supper. A noble warrior, who had done marvelous deeds of valor,
loved the maiden. He wooed and she would but the swarthy papa wouldn't.
Sadness, anger, surreptitious trysting where the fleecy cottonwood waves
melodiously above the crystal streamlet, etc., etc. The irate old
warrior brings an aged brave, who has spent his whole life in doing
nothing of more account than cronifying with the heart-sick girl's
father. This man she must marry, and the young suitor must go. Refusals
by the maiden, loud talk by the youth, sneers from the old cronies,
flight of the lovers to the woodchuck's hole, vermicular but
affectionate concealment, like another Æneas and Dido. The woodchuck,
stealing forth, sees a wolf outside, trying to make him pay his
poll-tax; so he sits quietly just inside his safe doorway, obscuring the
light. Endeavoring to find their way about in the consequent darkness,
the imprisoned lovers pitch headlong over the precipice I have referred
to. Guide-books please copy.

       *       *       *       *       *

Our train bore a pensive party down the valley of the Fontaine, as it
headed for Pueblo. The Musician drew a plaintive air from his violin,
and as the friendly mountain range receded and dipped away in the West,
we fell to wondering when, if ever, we should tread those vales again.



                        PUEBLO AND ITS FURNACES

            In Steyermark--old Steyermark,
            The mountain summits are white and stark;
            The rough winds furrow their trackless snow,
            But the mirrors of crystal are smooth below;
            The stormy Danube clasps the wave
            That downward sweeps with the Drave and Save,
            And the Euxine is whitened with many a bark,
            Freighted with ores of Steyermark.

            In Steyermark--rough Steyermark,
            The anvils ring from dawn till dark;
            The molten streams of the furnace glare,
            Blurring with crimson the midnight air;
            The lusty voices of forgemen chord,
            Chanting the ballad of Siegfried's Sword,
            While the hammers swung by their arms so stark
            Strike to the music of Steyermark!
                                             --BAYARD TAYLOR.

It is a fortunate introduction the traveler, fresh from the Eastern
States and weary with his long plains journey, gets at Pueblo to the
lively, progressive, _booming_ spirit of Colorado. Here are the oldest
and the newest in the Centennial State--the fragments of tradition that
go back to the thrilling, adventurous days of fur-trapping and Indian
wars; the concentrated essence of later improvements; and the most
practical present, mingled in a single tableau, for a telephone line
crosses the ruins of the old adobe fort or Spanish "pueblo," which gave
to the locality its name when it was an outpost for the traders from New

In its modern shape the town is one of the longest settled in the State,
and a great flurry began and ended there years ago. Then, neglected by
men of money, Pueblo languished and was spoken chidingly of by its
sister cities in embryo. Now all this has changed, and, perhaps aroused
by the prosperity of Leadville, Pueblo began about three years ago to
assert herself, and to-day stands next to Denver in rank both as a
populous and as a money-making center. No business man or statistician
could find a more deeply entertaining study than the investigation of
how this rejuvenation has arisen and been made to produce so striking
results. Such an inquirer would find several large industries claiming
to have furnished the turning point; but it is evident that the few who
faithfully stood by the comatose town, and steadily struggled toward its
commercial revival, were prompt to seize upon the altered flood and take
advantage of the tide which led to fortune. The impression once
advertised that Pueblo was shaking off her lethargy and about to become
a second Pittsburgh, a thousand men of business were quick to catch the
idea and make the "boom" a fact. Thus from 5,000 inhabitants in 1875 she
has come to over 15,000 in 1883.

It is undoubtedly true that the Denver and Rio Grande railway has done
more to aid this advancement than any other one agency; but an important
impetus was given to Pueblo in 1878, when a company of gentlemen decided
to build a smelter here. The work was put under the charge of its
present superintendent, and ninety days from breaking ground the furnace
was in operation. There was only a single small one at first; but
fourteen are running now. Then there was a diminutive shed to cover the
whole affair; now there are acres of fine buildings. Then a dozen men
did all the work; now from 380 to 400 are employed, and the pay-roll
reaches $375,000 per annum. That's the way they do things in Pueblo.

This smelter is on the northern bank of the river, just under the bluff.
From a distance, all that you can discern over the trees is a collection
of lofty brick and iron chimney-stacks, and wide black roofs. Coming
nearer, the enormous slag-dump discloses the nature of the industry, and
testifies to the quantity of ore that has passed through the furnaces.
Though on the banks of a swift river, the works are run by steam, which
can be depended upon for steady service, and on which winter makes no
impression. A thousand tons of coal and seven hundred tons of coke a
month are used, the cheapness and proximity of this fuel forming one of
the inducements to place the smelter here. Cañon City and El Moro coals
are mixed, but the coke all comes from the latter point. At the start an
engine of 60-horse power supplied all needs, but a new one of 175-horse
power has been found necessary, and Denver was able to manufacture it.
As for the machinery, it is not essentially different from that in other
smelters, except in small details, where the most approved modern
methods are made use of. There are great rooms full of roasting-ovens,
immense bins where the pulverized and roasted ore cools off, elevators
that hoist it to the smelting furnaces, and all the usual appliances, in
great perfection, for charging the furnaces, drawing off and throwing
aside the slag, and for casting the precious pigs of bullion. All walls
and floors are stone and brick; everywhere order and neatness prevail.
This plant has already cost the firm $200,000, and they have enough more
money constantly put into ore and bullion to make $750,000 invested at
the works. The ore is bought outright, according to a scale of prices
which is about as follows: Gold, $18.00 per ounce; silver, $1.00 per
ounce; and copper, $1.50 per unit.

[Illustration: GARDEN OF THE GODS.]

This is reckoned by "dry" assay, being two per cent. off from "wet." For
the lead in the ore, 30 cents per unit up to 30 per cent., 40 cents up
to 40 per cent., and 45 when over 40 per cent.; but both lead and copper
will not be paid for in the same ore. From the total is deducted $20.00
as fee for treating it. For the assaying a capital laboratory of several
rooms is provided, where two assayers and two chemists are continually
busy. Every lot, as purchased, is kept separate and subjected to a
homeopathic process of dilution, until a sample is obtained that
represents most exactly the whole. The arrangements for crushing and
sampling the ore are very complete, and a large number of lots can be
handled at once. When the final sample has been reached it is subjected
to a very careful assay, not only to determine what shall be paid for
it, but to find out what are its qualities in relation to the process of
smelting. This process requires a certain percentage of lead, a certain
amount of silica, and a certain proportion of iron and lime in each
charge. It is the duty of the assayers and chemists to ascertain
precisely the proportions of these ingredients in the ore under
consideration, in order to know how much lead, iron, lime or silica, to
add in order to make a compound suitable to fuse thoroughly, even to the
dissolution of the desperately refractory zinc and antimony; and which,
also, shall yield up every particle of silver and gold. The iron and
lime have usually to be added outright in this smelter; but the proper
proportions of lead and silica are obtained by combining an ore
deficient in one of these elements, but containing an excess of the
other, with ores oppositely constituted. It is one of the advantages of
the smelter at Pueblo, that, being centrally placed and down hill from
every mining district, it can draw to its bins ores of every variety;
thus it is able to mix to the greatest advantage, and in this economy
and the attendant thoroughness of treatment, lie the possibilities (and
actuality) of profit.

The lime for flux is procured three miles from town, and costs only
$1.00 a ton, while every other smelter in the State must pay from $2.50
to $5.00. Its building-stone is a splendid quality of cream-tinted
sandstone procured in the mesa only a short distance away. So widely
satisfactory have been its results that the Pueblo smelter does the
largest business of any in Colorado. I saw ore there from away beyond
Silverton; from Ouray and the Lake City region; from the Gunnison
country and the Collegiate range this side; from Leadville (competitive
with Leadville's own smelters); from Silver Cliff and Rosita; and,
finally, from numerous camps in the northern part of the State. The last
was surprising; for it meant that all that weight of ore had been
brought hither past the furnaces at Golden and Denver, because the
owners realized more for it, in spite of excess of freight, than they
could get at home. The superintendent told me that they handled more ore
from Clear Creek county than all the other smelters of the State; and he
explained it by showing how his nearness to fuel, and consequent saving
in this important item, with his cheap labor, permitted him to bid and
pay more than any other smelter could for choice ores, for which a
premium is given. These facts were held in mind when, encouraged by the
railway, the smelter was placed here, and the expectations of its
projectors have been more than gratified. The present capacity of the
establishment is 125 tons of ore a day in the fourteen blast furnaces,
and 100 tons a day in nine large calcining furnaces. Expensive
improvements, and of the most solid character, are being made constantly
in all parts of the works. The most important of these has been the
erection of machinery for refining the bullion, which has a capacity of
twenty-five hundred tons a month, and is constructed on the best known
principles. It has been customary in the West to send to New York the
lead which results from silver refining; it is made into sheet-lead and
leaden pipe, in which form it is bought by wholesale houses in Chicago
and St. Louis, to be again sent to Colorado, at the rate of perhaps a
thousand tons a year. Now it is proposed to keep at home the profits and
freightage of this costly and heavy material in house construction.
Machinery has therefore been added to make up all the lead into sheets,
bars, and piping. This is done so cheaply, that Pueblo can now send it
across the plains and undersell Chicago and St. Louis in the Mississippi
valley. The supply largely exceeds the home demand, and a new export for
this State has thus been created. Utah will henceforth yield a large
portion of the bullion to be refined. Another experiment will be the
refining of copper. There are various mines in New Mexico and
Arizona--many of them worked in ancient days by the Spaniards--which
supply a base form of metallic copper. This crude copper is now nearly
all sent to Baltimore, and there refined and rolled. The New Mexico
division of the Denver and Rio Grande will soon penetrate the region of
some of these mines, while the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe makes
others accessible. Side-tracks from both these roads run into the
smelter's enclosure. To bring the copper here will therefore be an easy
matter: and it can be produced in shape for commercial use much more
cheaply than any Eastern factory is able to turn it out.

Another large factor in Pueblo's revival was the establishment there of
the steel works. These are the property of the Colorado Coal and Iron
company, composed of the leading men in the Denver and Rio Grande
railway, so that, though the two corporations are distinct, their
interests are closely allied. This powerful association was formed in
1879 by the consolidation of two or three other companies having similar
aims, and it became the owner not only of the steel and iron works here,
and of a great deal of real estate, but also of nearly all the mines of
coal and iron now being developed in this State. Its capital is ten
millions, and its principal offices are located at South Pueblo. It
employs over two thousand men in its various enterprises, and is
constantly enlarging its operations and perfecting its methods. Many of
its coal banks will be referred to in other paragraphs of this volume.
The ore derived from all its iron mines is exceptionally free from
phosphorus, and therefore well adapted to the manufacture of steel. The
subjoined analyses exhibit the character of these ores:

            Metallic         Phos-                  Mag-  Manga-
              Iron. Silica. phorus. Lime. Alumina. nesia. nese. Sulphur.
  Placer       52.2   12.64  .051   5.70   3.6     3.12   .34    Trace.
  Salida       65.8   5.78   .015    .34   1.5      .81   .22    .014
  Villa Grove  57.3   5.03   .019                         1.87   .006

A conservative estimate places the amount of iron ore the company has
developed at over two millions of tons. Besides these high-grade ores,
there are others of an inferior grade, which, being mixed with
mill-cinders, will produce the commoner sorts of pig-iron, suitable for
foundry-work. Limestone, valuable as flux, is quarried from a ledge
within seven miles of the furnace, with which it is connected by rail,
and the supply is practically inexhaustible. Gannister and fire-clay,
also, are found in abundance in the vicinity. With coal, coke, iron and
all the furnace ingredients radiated about this point, which, at the
same time is nearest to the Eastern forges whence must be brought the
massive machinery to equip the works, it requires no second thought to
perceive that South Pueblo offers altogether the most profitable site
for vast factories like these.

Immediately following this decision, in the spring of 1879 a large tract
of mesa-land was secured, beside the track of the Denver and Rio Grande
railway, about a mile south of the Union Depot, where not only the
foundations of the mills, but a village-site was laid out and numerous
side-tracks were put down. Very soon the tall chimneys of the blast
furnaces began to rise into the ken of the people of Pueblo.
Simultaneously a large number of fine cottages were built as homes for
workmen, and other structures were set on foot, among them a commodious
hospital, for joint use of the mills and the railway company. It is a
very pleasant, well-ordered and growing little town, known as Bessemer,
and even now the space between it and the city is rapidly filling up.
The present daily output of the blast furnaces is one hundred tons of
pig-iron, but soon a twin furnace will double the productive capacity of
the works. Besides the furnaces, the plant includes Bessemer steel
converting works, a rolling and rail mill, 450 by 60 feet, a nail mill,
a puddling mill and foundry. All of these establishments are in every
way equal to the best of their kind in the East. The blast furnace is
fifteen feet base and sixty-five feet high, with fire-brick, hot-blast
stoves, and a Morris blowing engine. In the steel-converting works the
arrangement of the plant is similar to that of the new Pittsburgh
Bessemer Steel Company, which has given exceptionally good results. The
rail mill plant consists of Siemen's heating furnaces and heavy blooming
and rail trains, and the puddling and nail mills are equipped with the
best modern machinery. At Denver the same company owns a rolling mill,
where bar and railroad iron and mine rails are manufactured: these in
the future will mainly be supplied from South Pueblo. The effect upon
Colorado of this forging of native iron for home consumption must be
very important. All iron and iron ware is nearly doubled in value by the
necessarily high rates of freight across the plains. Manufacturing, now
that the crude material can be obtained on the spot, is cheaper than
importing, and in the wake of the blast furnace must follow a long train
of iron industries. Already negotiations are on foot for the
establishment of extensive stove works (a million of dollars was sent
East last year from Colorado in payment for stoves alone), and the
erection of car-wheel shops is also contemplated. Indeed, in this mining
country, which also is a region that is rapidly filling up with large
towns, the demand for manufactured iron of all sorts is very large. It
is another step in the gradual movement of trade-centers westward.


A still clearer idea of the great value of its interests to the State,
and of its local works to Pueblo may be obtained from the report of the
productions of the Colorado Coal and Iron company for the year 1882
which, briefly summarized, aggregates as follows: Coal, 511,239 tons;
coke, 92,770 tons; iron ores, 53,425 tons; merchant iron, mine rails,
etc., 3,883 tons; castings, 2,752 tons; pig-iron, 24,303 tons; muck bar,
in four months, 1,253 tons; steel ingots, eight months, 20,919 tons;
steel blooms, eight months, 18,068 tons; steel rails, eight months,
16,139 tons; nails, four months, 16,158 kegs; and spikes, six months,
5,022 kegs.

The economy of location, and the successful results attending the
establishment here of the great enterprises referred to, are attracting
many others. During the past season one of Leadville's largest smelters,
having been destroyed by fire, has been rebuilt at Pueblo, and more will
naturally follow.

The mercantile part of the community, however, while admitting all the
claims of the steel works and the smelter to their great and beneficent
influence upon the destiny of the new town, puts forward its own claim
to the credit of commencing the progressive movement. When, by the
extensions of the railway into the back country of Colorado, merchants
began to perceive that at Pueblo they could buy goods of precisely such
grades as they desired a trifle more cheaply, and get them home a trifle
more expeditiously, than by going to Denver or Kansas City, Pueblo began
to feel the impulse of new commercial vigor. When it came to reckoning
upon a whole year's purchases, the slight advantage gained in freight
over Denver, to all southern and middle interior points, amounted to a
very considerable sum. Here, far more than in the Eastern States, the
freight charges must be taken into account by the country merchant;
particularly in the provision business, where the staples are the
heaviest articles, as a rule, and, at the same time, those on which the
least profit accrues. This consideration, impressing itself more and
more upon the good judgment of the mountain dealers, is bringing a
larger and larger trade to Pueblo, until now she is beginning to boast
herself mistress of all southern and middle Colorado and of northern New
Mexico. She can not hope to compete with Denver for the northern half of
the State, but she does not intend to lose her grip upon the great,
rapidly-developing, money-producing San Juan, Gunnison and Rio Grande
regions. And as the visitor sees the railway yards crowded with loaded
freight trains destined for every point of the compass; notes the throng
of laden carts in the furrowed streets; observes how every warehouse is
plethoric with constantly changing merchandise, often stacked on the
curbstone under the cover of a canvas sheet because room within doors
can not be found; witnesses the temporary nature of so many scores of
buildings for business and for domiciles, and learns how most of their
owners are putting up permanent houses, multitudes of which are rising
substantially on every side;--when he has caught the meaning of all
this, he finds that Pueblo has an idea that her opportunities are great,
and that she does not propose to neglect them in the least particular.
There is much wealth there now, and more is being introduced by Eastern
investors, or accumulated on the spot, not only in trade, but in the
very extensive herds of cattle and sheep that center there. Yet this
seems to be but the incipience of her prosperity,--a prosperity which
rests on solid foundations, existing not alone in the industries I have
catalogued and the trade which has centered there, but in the fact that
values are not inflated and that the real property of the city is
mortgaged to a remarkably small degree.

Pueblo, though I have treated it as a unit, really consists of two
cities, having the rushing flood of the Arkansas between them. Each has
water-works, and civic institutions separately, but I have no doubt this
cumbersome duality will be done away with in time. It is on the South
Pueblo side that the railways center at the Union Depot. The Atchison,
Topeka and Santa Fe sends hither daily its trains from Kansas City, and
hence the Denver and Rio Grande forwards its passengers northward to
Denver, westward to Silver Cliff, Leadville, Salt Lake City and Ogden,
and southward to El Moro, Alamosa, Del Norte, Durango, Silverton and
Santa Fe. It is on this side, also, that the factories are, and that
others will stand. Here, too, are being placed the great wholesale

There is too much rush and dust and building and general chaos in the
lowlands, where the business part of the town is to make a residence
there as pleasant as it will be a few years later; but upon the high
mesa, Whose rounded bluffs of gravel form the first break upon the shore
of the great plains that extend thence in uninterrupted level to the
Missouri River, a young city has grown up, which is admirable as a place
for a home. Here are long, straight, well-shaded streets of elegant
houses; here are churches and school buildings and all the pleasant
appurtenances of a fine town, overlooking the city, the wooded valley of
the Arkansas, the busy railway junctions, and the measureless plateaus
beyond. One gets a new idea of the possibilities of a delightful home in
Pueblo after he has walked upon these surprising highlands.

Nowhere, either, will you get a more inspiring mountain landscape--the
far scintillations of the Sangre de Cristo; the twin breasts of
Wahatoya; the glittering, notched line and clustering foothills of the
Sierra Mojada; the great gates that admit to the upper Arkansas; and
Pike's "shining mountain," surrounded by its ermined courtiers, only a
little less in majesty than their prince.


                       OVER THE SANGRE DE CRISTO.

          RALEIGH: Fain would I climb.
                               But that I fear to fall,

          ELIZABETH: If thy heart fail thee,
                               Why, then, climb at all?

Toward the middle of one bright afternoon we were pulled out of Pueblo,
our three cars having been attached to the regular south-bound express.
We had fully discussed the matter, and determined to go on to the end of
the track, or, more literally, to _one_ end--for there are many termini
to this wide-branching system--on to the warm old plazitas and dreamily
pleasant pueblos of New Mexico. Why not?

But so inconsequential and careless an "outfit" was this, that no sooner
had our minds been fairly settled to the plan (while the shadow of the
Greenhorn came creeping out toward Cuchara and we were heading straight
into its gloom) than somebody proposed our spending the night quietly in
Veta Pass.

This mountain pass and its "Muleshoe," dwarfing in interest the
celebrated "Horseshoe curve" in Pennsylvania, because occupying far
less space, just as the foot of a mule may be set within a horse's
track--these have been famous ever since railroading in southern
Colorado began, and naturally we did not like to go past them in the
darkness. We wanted to see how the track was laid away around the head
of the long ravine, whether it doubled upon itself in as close a loop as
they said it did; and whether the train really climbed through the
clouds about the brow of Dump Mountain, as the pictures represented. So
we told the conductor to drop us.

It was dark by the time we had been left in good shape on the
terrace-like siding in Veta Pass, and, weary with our swift run, we were
quite ready to shut out the gathering shades and be merry over our
dinner; but first, all eyes must watch the departing express begin its
climb up Dump Mountain. Think of swinging a train round a curve of only
thirty degrees, on a very stiff grade, and with a bridge directly in the
center of the turn! That is what this audacious railway does every few
hours in the "toe" of the Muleshoe. From our lonely night-gripped dot
of a house on the wild hill side, we could see squarely facing us both
the Cyclopean blaze of the fierce headlight, and the two watchful red
eyes glaring scornfully from the rear platform; by that we knew that the
train had doubled on its own length of only six cars. Then, with hoarse
panting and grinding of tortured wheels and rails, the two powerful
locomotives began to force their way up the hill side right opposite us,
the slanting line of bright windows showing how amazingly steep a grade
of two hundred and seventeen feet to the mile really is. The beam of the
headlight thrust itself forward, not level, as is its wont, but aimed at
a planet that glimmered just above a distant ghostly peak.

"Do you remember," murmurs the Madame in a low voice, as she stands with
bated breath beside me; "do you remember how Thoreau advises one of his
friends to 'hitch his chariot to a star'? Doesn't this scene come near
his splendid ambition? Will that train stop short of the sky, do you

Surely it seemed that it would not, for only when the stokers opened the
doors of the laboring furnaces, and volumes of red light suddenly
illumined the overhanging masses of smoke, touching into strange
prominence for an instant the rocks and trees beside the engines, could
we see that the train stood upon anything solid, or was moving otherwise
than as a slow meteor passes athwart the midnight sky. It was easy to
imagine that long line of uncanny lights a fiery motto emblazoned upon
the side of the dark mountain, and to read in it, _Per aspera ad astra_.

Yet the scene was far from fanciful. It was very real, and a fine sight
for a man interested in mechanical progress, to watch those great
machines walk up that hill, spouting two geysers of smoke and sparks,
and dragging the ponderous train slowly but steadily along its upward
course. Now and again they would be lost behind the fringe of woods
through which the track passed, and then we would see the cone-like,
rugged spruces sharply outlined against the luminous volumes of smoke. A
moment later and the train disappeared around Dump Mountain, with a
sardonic wink of the red guard-lights at the last; but presently we had
knowledge of it again, for a fountain of sparks and black smoke from the
engines blotted out the scintillating sky just above the highest crest
of the ridge.

"Suppose it had broken in two on that hill-side," remarks the Artist, as
I am carving the roast, five minutes later.

"It wouldn't have mattered," is the reply. "I once saw a heavier train
than that break on this very mountain, the three rear coaches parting
company with the forward portion of the train."

"But wasn't that criminal carelessness?" cries the Madame, who is death
on inattention to railway duties. I should hate to be a neglectful
brakeman before her gray eyes as judge!

"Not at all," she is informed. "The cars were properly coupled with
what, for all any one could see, was a sufficiently strong link, but the
strain proved too great for the tenacity of the iron."

"Well, I suppose they went down the track a-flying, or else over the

"Not a bit of it. The two parts of the train stopped not more than
twenty feet apart. When the accident occurred the engineer knew it
instantly by the jerking of the bell-rope, and stopped short. As for the
rear cars, they were brought to a standstill at once by means of the
automatic brakes. I tell you they are a great institution, and
indispensable to success on any road which has heavy grades to

"How do they operate?"

"Well, it is the Westinghouse patent and rather complicated. Better go
out to-morrow and see the apparatus on the engine. It works somewhat in
this manner: When the valve on the retort under each car is set in a
particular way, the letting off of the 'straight' or ordinary air-brakes
causes the compression of an exceedingly powerful spring on each set of
brakes. If, however, you destroy the equilibrium by forcibly parting the
air connection between that car and the locomotive, as of course occurs
when a train breaks in two, the great springs are released and jam the
brake-shoes hard against the wheels, gripping them with tremendous
force. That's what happened instantly in this case, and those heavy
cars, which otherwise would have carried their cargoes to almost certain
destruction, halted in a single second."

[Illustration: ALABASTER HALL.]

"But--what if--" began our lady member in an alarmed tone; whereupon
she was speedily interrupted by the learned gentleman who was dividing
his time between dinner and lecture:

"My dear Madame, our cars, like all the rest on this admirably-guarded
railway, are provided with the automatic apparatus I have described.
Since it is useless to pretend to one's-self, or anybody else, that an
accident will never happen, it is well to understand that every
precaution known to intelligent management has been provided against any
serious harm resulting when things do go wrong. In consideration of all
which profound explanations I think we deserve a second glass of claret.
My toast is: The Automatic Brake!"

And we all responded, "May it never be broken!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Sleep that night was deep and refreshing. The next morning broke cool
and clear, and the Photographer proposed, with nearly his first words,
that we all go to the top of Veta Mountain. Only the crest of one of the
spurs could be seen, and this did not appear very far away, so that
those who had never climbed mountains afoot were enthusiastic on the
subject. Now in the humble, but dearly experienced opinion of the
present author, the old saw,--

                "Where ignorance is bliss
                'T were the height of folly to be otherwise,"

fits no situation better than mountain climbing. I have said in the
bitterness of my soul, on some cloud-splitting peak, as I tried to gulp
enough air to fill a small corner of my lungs, that the man who belonged
to an Alpine Club was _prima facie_ a fool. Scaling mountains for some
definitely profitable purpose, like finding or working a silver mine, or
getting a wide view so as properly to map out the region, or for a
knowledge of its fauna and flora, is disagreeable but endurable, because
you are sustained by the advantages to accrue; but to toil up there for
fun--bah! Yet people will go on doing it, and those who know better will
follow after, and the heart of the grumbler will grow sick as he sees of
how little avail are his words and the testimony of his sufferings.

It was so this time. Admonitions that upright distances were the most
deceiving of all aspects of nature; that the higher you went the steeper
the slope and the more insecure and toilsome the foothold; these, with
other remonstrances, were totally unheeded, and three misguided mortals
decided to go. Then the growler yielded--what else could he do? He had
survived many a previous ascent, and could not afford to assume a
cowardice that really didn't belong to him. So he chose that horn of the
dilemma, and left the reader to the conclusion that in telling this
tale, after the previous paragraph, he "writ himself down an ass."

All went but the Musician. Among the gentlemen were divided the
photographic camera and materials, and the whisky, while the Madame set
off sturdily with field-glasses over her shoulder, and a revolver
strapped around her shapely waist. Dinner was ordered for two o'clock,
and up we started. The Madame wrote to her friend about it as follows
(the letter, I declare, smelled of camphor):

  "I assure you, my dear Mrs. McAngle, that not more than a hundred feet
  had been gone over before the inexperienced of our party began to feel
  the effects of rarefied air, although thus far it was easy enough
  walking. There was no path, of course, and we simply tramped over a
  grassy slope sprinkled with flowers and covered by trees that shaded
  us from the sun. Gorges which were hardly perceptible as such from the
  valley, now proved to be uncomfortably deep gashes in the broad
  mountain-side, and tiny streams came down each one of them, to water
  dense thickets along their banks. In one place, about a thousand feet
  above our starting point, we came across the remains of a camp made by
  some man who thought he had found precious metal. Dreary enough it
  looked now, with its dismantled roof and wet and moldy bed of leaves.

  "By this time breathing has become a conscious difficulty. I speak in
  the present tense, my dear, because the recollection is very vivid,
  and it seems almost as though I am again trudging over those
  sharp-edged rocks. Every ten minutes further progress becomes an utter
  impossibility for me, and rest absolutely necessary; but one
  recuperates in even less time than it takes to become exhausted, and
  starts on again. Nevertheless I can not go as fast as the gentlemen,
  who have no skirts to drag along.

  "Now the comparatively easy climbing is over. Flowers and grass have
  grown scarce, and almost all the trees have disappeared. Nausea is
  beginning to annoy me, and I was never more glad in my life than now,
  when I discover some raspberry bushes and eagerly gather the ripe
  fruit, whose pleasant acid brings moisture to my parched mouth and
  comforts my sad stomach, for there is no water or snow here, and I
  know it would not be best to drink if there were.

  "Even the berries are gone now. Far above and on all sides I see
  nothing but fragments of rocks. For centuries, wind, frost, rain and
  snow have been hard at work leveling the mountains. They have broken
  up the hard masses of yellowish white trachyte, and the dikes of black
  basalt into small pieces--some as minute as walnuts, but most of them
  much larger, with sharp-pointed edges that cut my feet. Across these
  vast fields the wild sheep, thinking nothing of jumping and gamboling
  over such steep slopes of broken stones, have made trails that cross
  and criss-cross everywhere. Availing ourselves of these is some help,
  as we all settle down to persistent, never-ending climbing.

  "Up, up, up. You have forgotten how to breathe; your back and head are
  aching; you have found a stick, and lean more and more upon it; you
  look down on the back of a hawk far below you with sullen envy; you
  devoutly wish you had never come, but will not give up. At length a
  stupor creeps over you. You never expect to reach the top, but you do
  not care; old long-forgotten songs go through your brain and seem to
  try to lull you to sleep. You see in the distance one of the strong
  ones reach the summit and wave his hat; you are beyond sensation, and
  it is all a dream. Finally you stagger over the last ledge and throw
  yourself down on the top and feebly call for--whisky. Mrs. McAngle, I
  am a teetotaller; I hate whisky! But just then I would have given half
  my fortune had it been necessary for the one swallow which did me so
  much good."

Well, her companions having more strength, didn't feel _quite_ so bad,
though near enough so, to make their sympathies strong. The crest having
been gained, the Madame lay down on a rubber coat under the cap rock to
rest, while the remainder of us dispersed in search of water. But let me
quote that long letter again:

  "The rocks, when I had recovered strength to look about me, I saw were
  crumbling lavas of two colors, light drab and dark brown. Covered, as
  they were, with lichens of brown, green and red, they were very
  pretty. At last one of the gentlemen came back, carefully carrying his
  hat in both hands, which he had made into a sort of bowl by pressing
  in the soft crown. This I soon saw contained water, but such
  water--foul and bad tasting, for it had been squeezed from moss. But
  we drank it through a 'straw,' made by rolling up a business card, and
  were thankful.

  "Refreshed, and becoming interested in life again, the old hymn
  occurred to me,--

                    'Lo, on a narrow neck of land
                    'Twixt two unbounded seas I stand.'

  Only the seas, in this case, were broad green valleys, and were
  bounded in the distance by lofty mountains, best of all Sierra Blanca,
  across whose peaks the clouds were winding their long garments as if
  to hide somewhat the sterility and ruggedness of their friends. Above
  them how intensely blue was the sky, and how the soft green foothills
  leaning against them satisfied your eyes with their graceful curves.
  Trailing among them, as though a long white string had been carelessly
  tossed down, ran the serpentine track of the railway, and the famous
  Dump Mountain sank into the merest foot-ridge at our feet. On the
  other side of the ledge we gazed out on the misty and limitless
  plains, past the rough jumble of the Sierra Mojada, and could trace
  where we had come across the valley of the Cuchara. Nearer by lay
  dozens of snug and verdant vales, in one of which glistened a little
  lake tantalizing to our still thirsty throats.

  "We all had our photographs taken, with this magnificent scenery for
  a background--better even than the cockney-loved Niagara, we
  thought--and strolled about. Not far away we hit upon a prospect-hole.
  The miner was absent, but had left pick and shovel behind as tokens of
  possession. How intense must be the love of money that would induce a
  man to undertake such a terrible climb, and live in this utter
  loneliness and exposure! Yet they say that many of the best silver
  mines in Colorado are on the very tops of such bald peaks as this.

  "At last, on asking my husband if he did not think he appeared like an
  Alpine tourist, I found him recovered sufficiently to say that we
  should all pine if we didn't have dinner soon, so we turned our faces
  homeward. Now I hope I haven't wasted all my adjectives, for I need
  the strongest of them to tell of that descent. It was frightful. Feet
  and knees became so sore that every movement was torture. The sun
  blinded and scorched me, and the fields of barren, sharp and cruel
  stones stretched down ahead in endless succession. Mrs. McAngle,
  however foolish I may be in the future in climbing _up_ another
  mountain, I never, never will come _down_, but will cheerfully die on
  the summit, and leave my bones a warning to the next absurdly
  ambitious sight-seer. When I was on the crest, I thought what an idiot
  the youth in 'Excelsior' was, but now I hold him in high respect, for
  he had the great good sense, having reached the top, to stay there!"

Returning to Veta Pass, the promontory where the track winds cautiously
around the brow of Dump Mountain--the name is given because of a
resemblance in shape to the dump at the entrance of a mine tunnel--has
been called Inspiration Point. I don't know who christened it; perhaps
some would-be hero of a novel by G. P. R. James. If, to be in character,
he "paused at this point in involuntary admiration," there was plenty of
excuse, for one of the loveliest panoramas in Colorado unrolls itself at
the observer's feet.

Coming up is fine enough, if you see it on such a day as the gods gave
us. The Spanish Peaks, as we approached from Cuchara, were as blue as
blue could be, with half-transparent, vaporous masses hovering tenderly
about them; but these mists stopped short of Veta, which stood out
distinct against its cloud-flecked background, majestic in full round
outlines beyond the majority of mountains,--in hue purple and sunny
white, with the mingling of forests and vast sterile slopes. North of it
the landscape was almost hidden under rain-veils, into which the sun
shot a great sheaf-full of slanting arrows of light, and beyond, range
behind range were marked with phantom-like faintness of outline. A broad
canopy of leaden clouds hung overhead, down from the further eaves of
which was shed a wide halo radiating from the invisible sun above; and
this snowy shower had stood long unchanged before our entranced eyes,
making us believe that the brown cliffs, toward which we were running so
swiftly, were the gates of an enchanted land.

[Illustration: VETA PASS.]

Now, from within and far surmounting those portals, we stand gazing
abroad, as in olden days they looked out of some castle tower through
and beyond the great fortress arch. The typically mountain-like mass of
Veta, satisfying all our ideals of how that style of elevation should
look which does not abound in rugged cliff and sky-piercing pinnacles,
but is smoothly and roundly huge, cuts off all northward outlook.
Southward the crowded foothills of the divide between the Rio Grande and
the Arkansas hide from view the central points in which they
culminate,--even lofty Trinchera, whose sharp summit was so plain a
landmark at the southern end of the Sangre de Cristo yesterday. Beyond
these swelling domes and gables, and ridges of green and gray, were
lifted the noble pyramids of the Spanish Peaks, their angles well
defined in varying tints of purplish blue, and their grand old heads
sustained in generous rivalry. (Illustration.) Behind us was only a
piney slope, close at hand: but ahead--the world! I think no one has
ever said enough of the beauty of this picture in Veta Pass. From the
precipitous, wooded mountain-side where you stand, the eye follows the
little creek as it glides with less and less disquietude down through
the protruding bases of the diminishing foothills, into the slowly
broadening valley where the willows are more dense, and the heather and
small bushes have taken on brilliant colors to vie with the splendor of
aspen-patches higher up; on to the hay-meadows fenced with the
many-elbowed and scraggy faggots of red cedar; on past the little park
where the low brown adobe houses of the Mexican rancheros look like mere
pieces of flat rock fallen from the mountains; on into the midst of
minute cornfields; on out, beyond the surf-like ridges breaking against
the base of the range, to the blue and boundless sea of the plains.

The western side of the Pass is a tortuous descent through continuous
woods and lessening hills, until you emerge upon a plain where the
ragged heights of the Saguache Mountains fill the northern horizon; and
as you turn southward the glorious serrated summits of the Sangre de
Cristo range come into view behind and beside you, on the east. This
plain is the San Luis Park, the largest of those four great interior
plateaus--North Park, Middle Park, South Park and San Luis--which lie
between the "Front" and the "Main" ranges of the Rockies.

It has been truly said of the Rocky Mountains that the word "range" does
not express it at all. "It is a whole country, populous with mountains.
It is as if an ocean of molten granite had been caught by instant
petrifaction when its billows were rolling heaven-high."


Nevertheless, popular language divides the system into certain great
lines. The "Front Range" extends irregularly from Long's Peak to Pike's
Peak, then fades out. The "Main" or "Snowy Range," which is the
continental watershed or "divide," begins at the northern boundary, in
the Medicine Bow Mountains: but in the center of the State breaks out of
all regularity into several branches, so that it is only by
ascertaining where the headwaters of the Atlantic and Pacific streams
are separated, that one can tell how to trace the backbone of the
continent, for many of the spurs contain peaks quite as lofty as the
central chain. Thus the splendid line of the Sangre de Cristo, running
southeastward, only divides the drainage of the Rio Grande from that of
the Mississippi; yet the highest peak in Colorado belongs to it. The
main chain, on the contrary, trends southwestward from the parallel
groups in the heart of the State, only to become mixed up into half a
dozen branches, all of enormous height and bulk, down in the
southwestern corner. Even this is not all, for westward to Utah the
whole area is filled with vast uplifts, standing in isolated groups,
serving as cross-links, or lying parallel with the general
north-and-south lines of great elevation. "I suppose," says Ludlow,
"that to most Eastern men the discovery of what is meant by crossing the
Rocky Mountains would be as great a surprise as it was to myself. Day
after day, as we were traveling between Denver and Salt Lake, I kept
wondering when we should get over the mountains. Four, five, six days,
still we were perpetually climbing, descending or flanking them; and at
nightfall of the last day, we rolled down into the Mormon city through a
gorge in one of the grandest ranges in the system. Then, for the first
time, after a journey of six hundred miles, could we be said to have
crossed the Rocky Mountains."

Because we had ascended and descended Veta Pass, therefore, and saw on
our left the seemingly insurmountable barrier which yesterday stood at
our right, we had by no means got beyond the Rockies; for out there
"mountain billows roll westward, their crests climbing as they go: and
far on, where you might suppose the Plains began again, break on a
spotless strand of everlasting snow."


                             SAN LUIS PARK.

                    The plain was grassy, wild and bare,
                    Wide, wild, and open to the air.

San Luis Park, exceeding in size the State of Connecticut, is identified
with the earliest and most romantic history of Colorado. It was here
that brave old pioneer, Colonel Zebulon Pike, established his winter
quarters almost a century ago, and was captured by the Mexican forces,
for at that time all this region was Spanish territory. It was here the
northernmost habitations of the Mexican people, the ranches at Conejos,
Del Norte, and all along between, were placed, and so became the first
farms in what now is Colorado. Here were pastured the first herds and
flocks of the early settlers, and the great Maxwell grant, whose
ownership has been the subject of so much litigation, included a large
portion of this park. To this region, long ago Governor Gilpin directed
the attention of immigrants, and lauded it as the "garden of the world."
Gardening is practicable here, without doubt; but colonists have found
other parts of the State so much more favorable, that, in spite of its
superior advertising, the park has kept nearly its pristine innocence of
agriculture outside of the old Mexican estates along the principal

That Colorado can ever produce cereals enough for the sustenance of a
large population is doubtful. The great rarity and dryness of the
atmosphere; the light rainfall, and almost instant disappearance of
moisture; the large proportion of alkaline constituents in the earth,
and the climate caused by great altitude, seem to handicap this region
when compared with the Mississippi valley or the Pacific coast. By
irrigation only, can agriculture thrive in this State; and the amount of
arable land that can be cultivated without enormous expenditure for
irrigating canals can hardly be considered wide enough to long supply
the local population, which increases faster than the acreage under the
plow is extended. The nature of the soil, and the effect of the short,
hot seasons, under careful regularity of watering, combine, however, to
make the product of Colorado farms extremely heavy to the acre, and of
the finest quality in every article grown.

"The San Luis valley," says a recent report to the Government, "bears
witness to the wealth of the produce returned by the soil under proper
cultivation. In following up the Rio Grande, the Mexicans ascended
divers tributary waters, and upon these and along the main river can
their apologies for farms be seen. Generally content with simple
existence, but little variety in the products of their land is observed.
The turning of the earth with oxen and a sharpened stick, the threshing
by flail and trampling under foot, and the crushing of the grain between
stones, can be so frequently seen, that the charm of novelty is lacking
and one's curiosity is soon satiated. Progress is not their hope or
desire, and, content to eke out a bare subsistence, their ambition does
not extend beyond a _baile_, or the tripping of the 'light fantastic,'
with surroundings that are here, as a rule, far from enchanting.

"Their cultivation of the ground tells of eastern origin and traditions,
and is by irrigation from _acequias_ or canals. Smaller ditches at
intervals lead out from the main, and furrows of earth of varying
height, connected thereto, are raised at stated points parallel to one
another, cutting up the entire area into many patches nearly square and
of small extent. With the planting of the seed and the main ditch
filled, all the smaller outlets and various sections being
simultaneously overflowed, the entire area is carefully submerged, the
little furrows confining the water in each section. To the inexperienced
farmer, the first successful irrigation of his land is a matter of
considerable labor and pains. Besides the thorough moistening of the
earth, obtained by the gradual settling of the waters, a fertilizing
process is at the same time ensured. These streams carry in solution
much rich and valuable material from the denudation of sections drained
in their passage, which is left in deposit like a substratum of manure.
The latter is never used, the farmer depending on irrigation for the
supply of those constituents extracted from the soil in the growth of

"The Rio Grande descends from seven thousand seven hundred and fifty
feet at Del Norte, to seven thousand four hundred on leaving the State
for New Mexico. Upon its western side numbers of locations are along the
Piedra Pintada, which sinks a few miles from the Rio Grande, the Alamosa
and La Jara, but chiefly along the Conejos, the most thickly settled of
all its tributaries; upon the eastern side are the Trinchera, Culebra,
Costilla, the Culebra above San Luis being on this side the seat of
largest habitation. In the upper part of San Luis valley is situated the
finest land of the section, with the mountain range encircling it upon
the east, north and west. Exposed only upon the south, whence do not
come the heavy snow storms and coldest winds, it contains the best lands
for cereal and other productions. Drained by the San Luis creek, and the
Saguache, its tributary, the ranchmen who have located along the streams
have been rewarded for their labor by very abundant crops of all kinds.
Throughout the valley large herds of cattle find ample sustenance, the
property mainly of Americans, while numerous flocks of sheep of Mexican
ownership, are driven to and fro. The valley of the Conejos, with its
affluents, San Antonio and Los Pinos creeks, is a most fertile region.
Several miles east of Conejos, during the highest stages of the rivers,
in June, water from the San Antonio finds its way into the former river
above the latter's mouth, forming an island. This section is especially
rich, and there exists almost a natural irrigation, the Mexican ranchmen
raising large crops of all kinds at the cost of but little labor

"The Alamosa and La Jara, during the lower parts of their courses upon
the plains, run side by side. At the foothills they diverge, the head of
the Alamosa being in the northwest, its course throughout in a generally
narrow and very deep cañon, while the upper waters of the La Jara are
due west. All the portions of the former that are available for
agriculture, are its banks on the plain and a short part of its
cañon-valley within the foothills, upon which the Mexican ranches are
found. Upon the La Jara are a few more Americans than upon the former
the ranch-owners being mainly, however, of Mexican descent. A tributary
is called by the geographer North Fork, but is locally known as Aguas
Calientes or Hot Springs Creek, and where its land is represented as
suitable for grazing only, it is found in reality to be adapted to the
agriculture of the Mexicans, ranches at intervals being passed along its

"The entire course of the La Jara may be likened in its direction to a
huge frying-pan in outline, the long handle upon the plain extending to
the Rio Grande, the basin within the foothills to its source. Before
reaching the plains the stream flows to the south, east, and north, the
latter part in a steep, precipitous cañon, strewed with basaltic, which
the road avoids. This road, built by the county over a natural route, is
in good order, and affords the residents of the lower river easy access
to its upper part, which, as we ascend and pass over the intervening
rolling foothills, we find within a lovely valley, called by the
Mexicans _El Valle_, to which they resort for hay. The volcanic rocks
strewn along the foothills, well timbered with piñon, we leave behind us
as we descend into the valley, a basin eroded from the general plateau
by the waters of the stream, which has cut for itself, in its lower and
more rapid descent, a small but impassable cañon. This valley, several
miles long and of a varying width of from three-fourths to one and a
half miles, is a beautiful spot, and has been located upon by several
persons for cattle ranches. The grazing is very fine, and so nearly
level is the land, that the stream, here small and at its headwaters,
pursues a most tortuous course. Trout are found more abundantly than at
any other point."

While we can scarcely compliment the syntax of the report above quoted,
the facts are trustworthy.

Fairly out into the valley, where Ute creek, Sangre de Cristo, and one
or two other streamlets unite to form the Trinchera, stands an old
military post, Fort Garland. In one of the cañons near by was a still
older one, Fort Massachusetts, now abandoned or used only as a cavalry
cantonment when a larger body of troops is assembled here than there are
barracks for. In 1852 and 1856, the dates when the two forts
respectively were founded, the Indians--Utes, Apaches, Comanches, and
Navajoes--were all troublesome, and the men were kept very busy in
scouting, if not in resisting attacks. Now the crumbling buildings of
adobe shelter only a score or so of men, and serve merely as a depot of
supplies, a large amount of government stores being guarded here. Fort
Garland is a pretty place, and from it will be likely to make his start
anybody who wishes to ascend old Sierra Blanca, the loftiest peak in
Colorado, whose triple head stands grandly opposite and near the
railway; the United States Geological Survey is his sole predecessor.

       *       *       *       *       *

Long ere this we had become domesticated in our cars, and now I may
digress sufficiently to jot down a little description of them. As I have
said, there were three, and we spoke of them as our "train." The first
was a parlor-car. It usually ran in the rear, and gave us the advantage
of a lookout behind, something worth having among the mountains. This
car was not homelike enough to suit us, however, so we rarely occupied
it, when we were stationary, except as a bedroom for our masculine
guests. But when running, this car was our resort. Into it we would
hustle the Madame's sewing-basket and fancy work, a lot of books and
papers, spy-glasses, wraps, and luncheon, and have the gayest of times
as we sped along, unconfined by limited space, unsolicitous about
baggage or appearances, unannoyed by other passengers, and above all,
thank heaven! safe from the peanut-boy. If we were to run at night we
converted it into a sleeper. Curtains were hung up at intervals, making
staterooms; easy chairs were faced, a stool placed between them, then a
mattress spread across, forming a capital bed; or else we simply cleared
a place on the floor, spread our mattresses down, and camped. Usually
both methods were followed by different occupants. It was snug, there
was good ventilation, and we slept such slumbers as seemed to prove us
in the poet's category of the "just." Where a long stay was made, cots
were set up, and the car became a bed-room exclusively. I doubt whether
our porter enjoyed it, though, as much as we. He rarely rode upon its
easy springs, and he had a constant fight with circumstances to keep it


The other two sections of our train were box cars, fresh from the shops,
and of the most improved pattern. All through the trip, I may say in
advance, they rode splendidly, though often attached to express trains
which rattled them along at twice the speed the maker ever intended.
Each of these cars had a door cut in one end, and these door-way ends
were placed in juxtaposition and remained so always. At first two
elaborate platforms were hinged to one of the cars, bridging the space
between them; but they were smashed on almost the first curve, after
which we laid a series of boards down from one buffer-head to the other
and took them up whenever we moved--that is, if the porter didn't forget
it, or get left. Here comes in the chronicle of our steps, the portable
stairway by which we ascended and descended to and from our elevated
house; _sed revocare gradus_,--"but to recall those steps" in their
entirety would, I fear, be a hopeless task. The first set we had fell
under the wheels and immediately became of no further interest to us.
Then our invaluable forager found this second set, and thereby saddled
himself with a responsibility he never could shake off. The whole Denver
and Rio Grande railway corporation seemed to be bent on their
destruction. Time fails me to tell of the numberless occasions when they
were apparently crushed by some jar of the cars, as they stood in
position at a station, and of the wrenchings that required a new
hammering and more spikes to correct. But watched jealously by the
porter, and lashed securely on the end of the car when we moved, they
survived it all, and gave us _facilis decensus_ from first to last.

One of these box-cars became kitchen and commissary office. A partition
was thrown across one-third of the distance from the end, forming a room
for our porter and also a place of storage for our supplies. There was
everything in there, from a pepper-box to a mattress, and from a
lamp-chimney to a Winchester rifle. It had a table which might have been
let down, two windows, and sundry racks and clothes-hooks. The remaining
two-thirds of the car was devoted to the kitchen. One corner contained a
monstrous ice-chest, and opposite it stood a huge wood-and-coal box,
which it was the constant ambition of our boy to keep piled with
kindling stuff almost to the ceiling; the result being, that frequently
his improvised racks would come to pieces with the jarring of some rapid
run, and the fuel be heaped up "mighty promiscuous" on the floor. The
other corners of the kitchen held a fair-sized cooking-stove, securely
bolted, and, lastly, an iron water-tank, as large as a barrel and
mounted on a stand. With this water-tank we had a long contest. The face
of our first colored cook, never much more cheerful than the big end of
a coffin, took on a doubly rueful aspect at the conclusion of our first
day out. The tank had been well filled before starting, but the cover
fitted so loosely that half a barrel or so of the liquid splashed out,
and the floor of the car was like a little sea. The Photographer
generously sacrificed a blanket to spread across underneath the cover,
and we were careful afterward not to fill the tank quite to the top; but
it always shot jets and sprays down the back of your neck when you least
expected, if you went near it when in motion. Then one day the faucet
burst, and deluged the place with a stream like that from a hose-pipe.
Next it fell to leaking, and so to the end of the trip we had that
persistently mischievous tank to contend with. Beside the stove stood a
narrow cupboard, the top of which was intended to be the kitchen-table;
but we found water leaking through into the flour, etc., underneath, and
so built another table, hinging it to the opposite side of the car,
between the tank and the fuel box. There were plenty of shelves and
racks; and, the two side-doors having been fastened shut, the walls of
the car were soon garnished with all sorts of wares that could be hung
up. After a week it was learned how to stow everything so well that
almost no breakage occurred.

The dining-car was exactly similar in size, twenty-four feet long by
seven feet wide. It had four windows, and we used to slide back the
great doors on one or both sides when the weather was warm and pleasant.
If cool or stormy we locked them, wedged them tight and caulked the
cracks, yet could never quite keep out the gales. The wind, I found,
bloweth not only where "_it_ listeth," but also where _I_ listed. We
thought it a very cheerful place, as we entered this snug home--for it
was the "living-room" of the train--after a hard tramp, or gathered
about the dinner table in the strong rays of mail lamps, and the softer
light from railway candles. The gayly striped _portiére_ shutting off
the Madame's little nook of a bed-room at the rear end of the car; the
bright oilcloth that covered the floor; the rich oak-brown of the paint
on the door-frames, wainscoting, and stanchions that at frequent
intervals supported the roof; the ruddy glow of the Turkey-red cloth
filling all the panels, and the pictures, books, Indian pottery,
burnished firearms and bits of decoration here and there, made a picture
that never lost its cheer and air of comfort. Here were my friendly
books and writing-desk, with all the little literary appliances, and
pigeon-holes full of manuscript, memoranda and correspondence. Here was
the easy chair behind the spindle-shaped, upright stove. Here was the
Madame's rocking-chair and her work-stand, while the parted curtains let
us peep into a diminutive but carefully convenient boudoir just behind
her. Here stood her wardrobe--a trunk which lost its identity under the
warm zigzags of a Navajo blanket; and here our hospitable dining-table,
around which, perched on camp-stools, we ate good food with royal
appetites, drank red wine with keen delight, and summoned all the imps
of fun to laugh with us over quips and quirks to which, no doubt, the
mad spirit of the day lent more wit than the brains of their makers.
Shakespeare says,--

     "A jest's prosperity lies in the ear
     Of him that hears it, never in the tongue
     Of him that makes it."

Here work was done, too. Have I not seen the Madame busily sewing, and
quiet? Did not the Artist often paint, I know not how long, without
speaking?--I know not how long because I was so intent upon shaping
this chronicle you read. If our trip had been all picnic and void of
serious purpose, we should not have enjoyed it half so well. Charles
Lamb asked pettishly,--

     "Who first invented work, and bound the free
     And holiday-rejoicing spirit down?"

But surely our holiday was fraught with a deeper zest, because our not
too onerous duties now and then encroached upon our pleasures, and so
made us value merry times the higher.


Well, now you may understand how and where we lived, and moved, and had
our work and play. It was a warm, snug, handsome home and office,
bed-chamber and kitchen on wheels. There were little hardships and
annoyances, no doubt, but why remember them? _Le diable est mort!_

       *       *       *       *       *

The railway down San Luis Park is straight as a surveyor's line, and
trains often run at a high rate of speed with perfect safety. At
Alamosa it halted in construction for a long time. The town then became
the forwarding point for all southern Colorado and New Mexico. Very
large commission houses were placed there, enormous trains of wagons and
pack mules were coming and going, stages left daily for Lake City and
Gunnison, Saguache and Pitkin, Tierra Amarilla and the lower San Juan,
Taos and Santa Fe, and the vim and excitement of an outfitting station
prevailed. But presently the railway moved southward and westward, and
Alamosa settled down into a quiet yet prosperous place, with a local
agricultural population to back it, and the headquarters of the second
division of the railway which extends to--to--well _towards_ Mexico.

Twenty-nine miles south of Alamosa is Antonito, where the line branches
off to the San Juan country. The town is supported by the money the
railway and the passengers spend, and is quite uninteresting; but over
to the westward is the larger and older village of Conejos, which is
better, though "distance lends enchantment." Conejos means _hares_:
probably the Mexican pioneers found a superfluity of jack rabbits there.
The place has been a farming and grazing center of supplies for many
years. Along Conejos creek are numerous small Mexican ranches, good
enough types of their sort (we shall find far better ahead), but the
town itself has been Americanized until its claim to being a Mexican
plaza is about lost; nor have the innovations added to its interest in
any degree. In a real Mexican town, for example, the church is always an
entertaining place to visit, because it is ruinously ancient and
strange; but here the large, well-conditioned structure has been roofed,
painted and modernized until it is not worth a glance except from the
point of comfort and security from decay. Annexed to it is an academy
for boys, and another for girls, both under the charge of priests and
nuns of the Roman Catholic Church. These schools have no counterparts
among the Mexicans nearer than Santa Fe, and have a wide reputation.

Lacking interest for the tourist, the practical man will learn that
Conejos is a very fair business place in certain lines. It is the
headquarters of the sheep and cattle men of the San Luis Park. In sheep,
I learn that although about two hundred and fifty thousand are sold out
of the park annually, fully five hundred thousand are left. The large
majority of these are of the inferior sort called Mexican sheep, which
are worth from one dollar to one dollar and twenty-five cents a head.
The better minority sell at one dollar and fifty cents and two dollars a
head, and this minority is increasing through a constant effort to
improve the breed by introducing highly-bred Merino and Cotswold rams.
The average yield is two and a half pounds of wool annually, and the
product is shipped almost entirely to Philadelphia, for use in making
carpets. Cattle is less an industry here, because the sheep are so
numerous as to consume most of the pasturage. Something like ten
thousand head, however, are able to exist in the park and adjacent
foothills, and are sold to great advantage.

Nearly midway between Alamosa and Antonito, and easterly, but within
sight of the railway, the Mormon settlements of Manassa and Ephraim have
been founded, and have now a population of about six hundred. These
people do not practice polygamy, and are frugal, industrious and
prosperous. They are under the jurisdiction of the church in Utah, which
also maintains similar colonies in the corners of Arizona and New Mexico
adjacent to the Utah and Colorado line.


                      THE INVASION OF NEW MEXICO.

              There are mists like vapor of incense burning.
                That are rolling away under skies that are fair;
              There are brown-faced sunflowers dreamily turning.
                Shaking their yellow hair.
                                             --MRS. C. L. WHITON.

Our stay was comparatively not as long as our talk in sandy San Luis,
for we soon left its pastures behind and were steaming southward, but
with slower and slower speed. Again we were twisting our toilsome way up
the valley's "purple rim," since it was easier to go over the high bank
than down through the rugged cañon, where the wagon-road runs. The
summit of this ridge, beyond which lies the valley of the Rio Grande in
New Mexico, is not attained until you reach Barranca ("a high
river-bank"), sixty-five miles from Antonito, and one of the most
attractive spots in the region. The altitude is over eight thousand
feet, and the air of that perfect purity extolled in all that is written
of mountain districts. The station, with its half dozen accompanying
houses, all owned and occupied by those in the service of the railway,
stands in the midst of acres of sunflowers, which all summer long spread
their yellow disks to the full gaze of the sun, and dare him to outshine
them. I have seen sunflowers before, but never in such masses and
splendor of tone as here. Near by one catches sight of the green of the
leaves and stems between, like the mottled plumage of some canaries,
while the mass of chrome-yellow atop is picked off with maroon dots of
seed-centers. Distance loses these details to one's eye, and gives only
a billowy stretch--a glorious sulphur sea, intense as burnished gold,
rolling between you and a dark green shore of piñon foliage. This August
landscape, indeed, divides into three great portions, relieved by few
variations, yet never for a moment monotonous. In the foreground are the
brilliant, owl-eyed flowers; above them the stratum of well-rounded
tree-tops, blackish in shadow; after that the far-away mountains,
delicately green, or deep blue, or washed with an amethystine tint.
Arching over all bends the cloudless azure of the canopy.

Our cars safely side-tracked, the Madame and I wander aimlessly about
during the warm afternoon, while the Musician takes his rifle and
saunters away down the tapering track, and Photographer and Artist set
resolutely off for a tramp to the top of some buttes. Returning in good
time for our twilight dinner, the rifleman brings no game, but reports
having seen a cotton-tailed hare and some ravens. The climbers come in
very weary. Their buttes were far away and lofty. From their summits
they could distinguish Fernandez de Taos, and are not surprised to learn
that more freight is gradually being transferred thence from here than
from Embudo, the designated station for Taos. They could see more grand
peaks than they could count on their fingers and toes; and told us about
the road to Ojo Caliente, the Warm Springs of New Mexico, famous for
almost three centuries.

This was an objective point twelve miles away; but the stages which now
run, had not then begun their daily mail-trips, so we had to dispatch a
messenger for a vehicle. Three Mexicans lay stretched out on the
station-platform asleep. They had lain there all day waiting in lazy
patience the coming of the pay-car which owed them a few dollars. For
_uno peso_--one dollar--one of them consented to take a message to
Antonio Joseph, who owns the springs; and, mounting his burro, scampered
off with an appearance of tremendous haste, which doubtless diminished
as soon as he had placed the first thicket behind him.

The Madame and I took our chairs into the shadow of the dining-car, and
read and sewed while the sun sank reluctantly down. It was very quiet,
the humming of wild bees and wasps furnishing almost the only sound.
Soon I noticed that between our glances a mound of earth had been thrown
up about a dozen feet from where we sat. A moment later there was a
stirring in the nearest clump of sunflowers, some soil was tossed up,
immediately followed by a brown nose and shaggy little head, which
instantly disappeared, only to come up again, pushing before it a
handful of dirt from its tunnel. This was repeated a dozen times or
more, at the end of which the little workman came on top and surveyed
his surroundings. He saw us, but as we kept still he took no alarm, and
presently let himself down backwards into his burrow. He was not gone
"for good," however. In a moment the blunt, stiff-whiskered snout and
black eyes peered out, and made a grasp at a stem of the sunflower. It
was large and tough, and the first bite only made it tremble; but a
second nipped it off. Then seizing it by the butt,--he was wise enough
not to drag it leaves foremost,--he pulled it down into his hole, and
apparently carried it to the innermost chamber, for some minutes elapsed
before he returned for a second flower stem, to add to his winter stock.

We knew him well enough. He was the gopher, a large kind of ground
squirrel, not easily to be distinguished from a prairie-dog in race,
color, or previous condition of servitude. If any one desires to know
more about him, let him "look up the authorities," as Professor Polycarp
P. Pillicamp would say.

[Illustration: SIERRA BLANCA.]

That evening we sat in the parlor-car, or rather lay easily on the
couch-like chairs reclined to their utmost limit, and listened to the
Musician's violin, while the glorious banners of the retreating day
paled slowly from view. Opera, sonata, opera-bouffe, ballad, came
tenderly to our ears and floated away out over the sun-flowers and into
the piñons, where the few birds awoke to listen; and perhaps were wafted
out to the rolling plain, whence at intervals came faintly in reply the
long, yelping howl of a coyote.

In the morning we were awakened with the announcement that our
conveyance was ready. It had come at midnight, and proved to be only an
ordinary farm-wagon, with springs under the seats. The road wound
through the clustered trees and crossed open glades, as though in a
nobleman's park; passed the rocky buttes, whose jutting cliffs were
strangely picturesque in their Grecian morning-robe of angular shadows,
and descended a long, stony hill to the mesa, which thereafter it
traversed for ten miles. This mesa was a great table-land of sand.
Whence it had drifted was widely discussed; but the more I think about
it, the less I believe it had drifted at all, and the more I incline to
the opinion that it _remained_, while a great amount of formerly
overlying earth and partial rock, unprotected by the thick capping of
lava shielding the larger part of the surface, had been swept away by
water. There were plenty of gauges to help to a judgment upon the extent
of this denudation. To the right, a long mesa, with steep sides,
extended out like a promontory, whose level basaltic surface was a
thousand feet above us; yet that was a valley long ago, for the lava
took it as a channel. Behind, across the Chama, the Jemez mountains
lifted themselves in rugged outline against the southern sky. They are
volcanic; but, almost as high as they, towered the flat-topped,
butte-like mountain of Abiquiu, which is not volcanic, but of sandstone,
and stands as a mark of the former level of the country there, on the
day when the hot basalt came hissing down from its fiery spout now lost
to our tracing. On this dry, sandy, cactus-loving upland grew the rich
grama-grass, another name for it being panic-grass. It has a seed-head
which is neither panicle nor spike, but a perfect little one-sided brown
feather, about an inch long, hanging stiffly at right angles to the
stalk, and at its very summit. It is not only odd, but very beautiful,
for the grass grows thinly, and every plumelet is visible.

Our progress was slow and monotonous; we had exhausted our conversation
and were getting tired of everything, when the driver pointed out a red
hill to the right as our destination, and presently, descending a steep
bench, we turned up the valley of Ojo Caliente, whose former banks, like
those of all these southern streams, were from one to five miles apart,
and very precipitous. Between these the river wound its way, crossing
from side to side of the valley, or pursuing the safe "middle course."
In the bends of the stream were Mexican farms and the most dilapidated
of adobe houses, some part of nearly every one of which had so fallen
to pieces as to be uninhabitable. Our guide said the land was poor, and
we believed him. Everything showed that the people were poverty-stricken
and almost in barbarism, yet they had an abundance of land, pretty well
watered, and great flocks of sheep and goats; we met a single flock
which probably contained fifteen hundred sheep. Some of the dwellings
had wooden gratings in place of windows; and the doors, made with auger
and axe, had been rudely carved in an attempt at decoration, which time,
smoothing and tinting, had rendered very attractive to our unaccustomed
and curious eyes. Behind the best houses often would lie an unfenced bit
of old orchard, grown almost wild. Such a half-ruined plazita, with its
carved doors and grated windows; with its corner of goat-corral, and
conical ovens at the side; its grassy roof, and high, gnarled trees
overhead; its background of river-bend and cornfield and red rocks and
distant misty mountains most of all, with its foreign humanity peering
out to see who was passing, made a picture which threw our art-devotees
into ecstacy; and as each was passed they declared they would sketch
it--when they came back! That the declaration was kept you have
evidence, though modified into a general view of Ojo Caliente.

Four miles up from the bend the springs were reached, and we gladly sat
down to a dinner beginning with Baltimore oysters. These springs are
hot, but endurably so, after one has tempered up to it. They flow from
under the cliff on the eastern bank, and are thence led into the
bath-houses close by. Excepting the hotel, which will accommodate from
fifty to seventy-five guests, the only other building is a large
supply-store; but you will usually find a great many people living in
tents near by. These warm springs are noted for their curative and
healing qualities, and have been visited for many years by invalids,
with miraculous results. They do tell some wonderful stories of relief
given to rheumatic and paralytic patients; while diseases of the skin
_vamos_ at once, as a Mexican attendant phrased it. Such an effect is to
be expected, when you find heated water analyzing into the following

                Sodium Carbonate         196.95
                Lithium    "                .21
                Calcium    "               4.17
                Magnesium  "               2.18
                Iron       "              10.12
                Potassium Sulphate         5.17
                Sodium Chloride           38.03
                Silicic Acid               2.10
                         Total           272.52

The fact that the latitude (36° 20') and inland situation give a mild,
equable climate in winter, and the altitude (6,000 feet) makes the
summer air sweet and invigorating, should be taken into account,
however, in estimating the conditions that promote the speedy gains of
health recorded.

[Illustration: OJO CALIENTE.]

That these springs have been resorted to from remote antiquity, is shown
by the ledges above, which are covered with very ancient, almost
obliterated, ruins of those cliff dwelling aborigines whose houses and
pueblos are scattered in such profusion over the cañons tributary to the
Rio Colorado and the lower Rio San Juan. We heard that many skeletons
and relics had been found there by casual excavating, and so went up to
try our luck. We could trace not only the bounds of several closely
grouped pueblos, but in many cases even the estufas and the straight
walls of the separate rooms. A little shoveling at once showed us that
these were made outwardly of uncut stone, and inwardly of adobe, which
resisted the pick, while the loose earth within was easily removed. We
could only "coyote round," as a western man calls desultory digging, but
saw how rich a treasure to the archæologist would be exposed by
systematic excavations. In searching for the stone _metates_ and _las
manas_, which then as now constituted the corn-crushing apparatus of the
common people, the Mexican peasants have disclosed many ancestral bones,
and we kicked about parts of human skeletons lying bleached, on the
surface, at half a dozen places. At last, by chance, we struck a
skeleton ourselves. It was that of a young person, for the wisdom teeth
had not yet risen above their bone sockets, and the sutures of the skull
were open. The bones were disordered, so that we obtained only a few,
and the head had been crushed in. The same rude dismemberment and lack
of burial is said to characterize all the skeletons discovered, and they
are always found within the walls of the houses. The local theory is,
that an earthquake overtook the town; but I believe that the pueblo was
attacked and captured by enemies during the wars which we know finally
resulted in the village-people being driven out of all this region, and
that it was burned over the heads of the citizens, many of whom were
killed within their very homes. The presence of charcoal all through the
mounds of ruins, with various other circumstances, confirms this
reasonable explanation.

We noticed fragments of pottery scattered everywhere. Some whole jars
have been exhumed, I was told. Such ancient ware, uninjured, would be of
priceless value, but probably it all fell into unappreciative hands, who
despised its rudeness in comparison with the smoother modern ware. The
samples we secured showed a close similarity to all the broken pottery
strewn about the ancient and impressive ruins in the Mancos and other
cañons of the San Juan valley, and, like them, had preserved their
colors in the most wonderfully brilliant way. Flakes of obsidian
(volcanic glass, which the settlers usually call topaz, or Mexican
topaz) were very common, and I picked up one large core, whence scales
had been chipped. They used this excellent material for their
arrow-points and spear-heads, and we bought and were given a score or
more of very fine specimens of such obsidian points, but found none
except some broken ones, during our hurried look. We were told that a
javelin-head of this material, over a foot in length and exquisitely
worked, had been dug up here by a fortunate prospector for relics, and
that he had refused fifty dollars for it.

Opposite the hotel and springs was a poor little Mexican hamlet called
also Ojo Caliente, where an odd old church invited inspection. But
between us and it

                  "There's one wide river to cross,"

--and the bridge gone. What then? The Artist, the Photographer, the
Musician, "all with one accord began to make excuse." It was left for
the only remaining male member of the party to make the effort, nor did
he propose to wade; but how? The whole circle shrugged their contented
shoulders and answered, "_Quien sabe!_"

Down in front of the hotel stood a cross-eyed Mexican with a
vicious-looking black burro. Yes, he would let the Señor Americano take
him, but he could not go with the Señor, because of the rheumatism in
his knees, for which he had come over to the waters. So the "Señor"
marched down to the post to which the burro was connected by a small
rope looped about his neck. The untying of that rope was the scene for
an action, Señor vs. donkey. The sarcastic remark of the Musician, "Now
you have met your match!" was scarcely heard. It was not the Señor's
vocation to chase that black burro around the yard, but he made it so
without hesitation for a few minutes, devoting himself with the utmost
diligence to the duty. The extreme levity of the idle spectators showed
how utterly unable they were to appreciate a really good piece of
burro-chasing when they saw it. Finally the course of the work brought
the operators in close proximity to an old locust tree that had not
cumbered the ground in vain with its useless trunk, as it had seemed to
do for years past, The Señor skillfully put the donkey on the other
side, and dexterously wound his end of the line around the sturdy trunk,
whereupon the burro, like grandfather's clock, "stopped short." So would
the adventure have done, had not the Mexican brought his squint to bear
upon the scene, and, after a calculating survey, hobbled rheumatically
to the Señor's assistance. Clasping both arms enthusiastically about the
donkey's thick neck, he made signs for the cable to be cast off and the
Señor to mount.

The saddle consisted of a pair of wishbone-shaped wooden crotches,
fastened together on each side by a cross-bar at their lower
extremities. The whole was then covered with raw-hide, which by its
shrinking made the affair solid, while a cinch of the same material
secured it to the little beast's back. A sheepskin was spread
underneath, in lieu of a blanket, and wooden stirrups dangled by rude
straps at the sides. It was a matter of agility to get into this
primitive saddle, and the stay was likely to prove extremely brief, for
the moment the Mexican let go his loving embrace, the burro ducked his
head and made off in a swift, short circle, which came near disposing of
the Señor at a tangent, through centrifugal force. Resisting this
philosophical demonstration by locking his legs together around the
burro's body, he finally overcame the circular intention by pounding the
brute's head on one side, for there was no bridle and bit with which to
guide him. The lookers on averred afterwards that it was as good as
watching a yacht turn the lightship, to see the rolling skill with which
the Señor veered away toward the gate, stumbled across the stony bottom,
and dashed into the swift river. He himself remembers the devout
thankfulness with which he found himself unwet on the other side, and
the terror with which he discovered that his animal had broken into a
gallop that threatened to dislocate every rib and rattle down his
vertebræ, as a child tumbles over a pile of letter-blocks. What could he
do? If it seemed almost impossible to stay on, it was altogether so to
get off. There was no halter on which to pull, no mane to grasp, and
frenzied _whoas_ only urged that wicked donkey faster. But a happy
thought came. He had heard a fruit-seller at Conejos say _chee! chee!_
to his burros. Whether they stopped or went faster, after it, he
couldn't remember, but it was worth trying. _Chee! chee! chee!_ burst
from his frantic lips. Instantly the beast came to a standstill, almost
impaling his rider on the sharp pommel. It was a success, and his
anatomy was safe again. After that, control was easier. A dig of the
heel in his ribs made the burro go; a bang on the side of his head
steered him away from the wrong direction, and a blow on the other side
taught him he had diverged too far from the middle course, while _chee!
chee!_ stopped him altogether. So with trepidation and shying in a
corn-field, and perilous climbing of steep rocks, at last the hamlet was
reached, and the labor of dismounting painfully accomplished.


In the door of one of the low mud houses sat a woman, nearly hidden
under the usual black shawl, which she had now drawn down over her
swarthy face. The Señor advanced and doffed his hat. You are a Spanish
scholar, yet perhaps would not have understood as well as that peasant
woman, had you seen or heard the conversation.

"Waynass deeass, Seenyora," began the tourist.

"Buenas dias," came faintly out of a fold in the mantilla.

"Yocayrolaverolaeglahssay," was the Señor's next parrot-like remark,
evidently understood by his veiled listener, for, pointing to a little
man slouching past, she answered:

"No tengo llave--allí!" and disappeared in the cave-like darkness of
her windowless dwelling. Meanwhile the man had gone on, sublimely
indifferent to the Señor's cries and beckoning, and when followed, was
found in the midst of his half-naked family, greedily devouring a melon,
which he had opened by dashing it to pieces on the stone door-sill, and
was now gouging out with his knuckle. After he had quite finished this
pleasing operation, he got the keys of the church, and, accompanied by a
little girl, led the way to the sacred edifice, whose outer court,
surrounded by a mud wall a dozen feet high, was secured with a padlock.

The church itself of course was built of adobe, the façade being
supported on the right of the door by a great sloping buttress, which
was not only a brace, but had served in place of a ladder to those who
built the roof and parapets. At each corner, in front, a little
protuberance hinted that the architect had side-towers in his mind,
while the center was carried up into a low gable, surmounted by a square
bit of clay work and timber, bearing a wooden cross and sustaining a
homemade bell, whose greenish and rough-cast exterior gave it an
appearance of the most corroded antiquity. Recent rains had evidently
damaged the walls very much, for great hollows had been washed in them.

Unlocking the axe-hewn and wooden-pinned doors, always innocent of
paint, the Señor and the Mexican uncovered their heads, and the little
girl at once knelt down, crossing her hands on her breast. Unlike the
old sister who exhibits the ancient chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe at
Santa Fe, and never leaves her knees during the whole visit, however,
this pious young maiden sprang up in a minute and trotted round, as full
of curiosity for the white stranger as he was for _la yglesia_.

This poor church was more forlorn than most of its fellows. The clay
floor had lately been a pool of water, and its drainage had ploughed
deep furrows and left soft holes. The little round box of a pulpit,
painted in streaks of red and blue, had replaced its lost stairway with
a ladder, and its sounding-board was a spoon-shaped piece of plank about
the size of a chair-seat, inside which was traced a white dove on a blue
ground, its wings outspread in full conventionality. Nothing so good as
a draw shave had ever worked out the supports of the altar-rail, behind
which the floor was planked. The altar itself bore in the center an
image of the Virgin Mary, about half life size, dressed much like a
great doll. On each side of her were tall tallow candles, set in rough
holders whittled out of billets of wood into a rounded pillar form; and
all about the altar were small sconces stamped out of tin (generally
devoid of mirror), and cheap prints, colored and uncolored, of the
Savior wearing the crown of thorns, Madonnas, and other sacred subjects.

The altar-cloth was calico, trimmed with frills and flounces of cotton
lace and red muslin, more or less ragged and dirty. On either side of
the altar, facing each other, hung crosses bearing wooden figures of
Christ crucified. These also were about half life size, and were naked,
except that one had a piece of cotton twisted about the loins, and the
other had a short skirt of dirty tarletan, suggesting the ballet. These
effigies were painted a dull white, and hung in the most agonizing
attitudes,--suffering intensified by the long-drawn lines of the haggard
faces, the slant of the eyes, and the dropping of the lower jaw. To
produce a more horrible representation still, the carver had given the
forms extreme emaciation, the ribs standing apart, the abdomen sunken,
the bones and cords of all the limbs dreadfully prominent. Add to this
cadaverous appearance a network of red streaks tracing the principal
veins, and great splashes and runlets of blood, and you have an image
awful beyond conception. Besides these large models, there was a little
one of the same style, which I should have been tempted to have
sacrilegiously stolen, had not the keeper been watching me closely; and
in several niches, small, tinsel-clothed puppets, which the man told me
were San Francisco, Patron of the Church, and our Lady of Guadalupe, who
heads the list of sanctified virgins in all the Mexican churches.
Standing in these little holes in the half-whitewashed wall of mud,
under their ragged little curtains, the corporal's guard of saints
looked very forlorn; and I do not wonder the peasants refuse to go into
the building after dark, no matter how fast they may mumble their

More interesting than the images were some silken and fringed banners,
decayed almost to shreds, and the spear-points of their staves
well-rusted, which once belonged to the Spanish soldiery; for this
church is one of the oldest in the new world. Centuries have rolled over
its adobe walls, and its roof of closely-set logs and adze-carved
brackets, has echoed to the clank of men in armor, as well as to the
chant of half-Indian farmers and shepherds. It is rude and ugly and
barbaric, representing a phase of Christianity in some respects far
worse than the simple religion those Indians over at the Pueblos thought
good, a thousand years ago. But the little church is not to be despised,
and the awe-struck faith of its miracle-loving parishioners may be more
acceptable than the gilded worship of many a rich and learned
congregation nearer the sea.


                      EL MEXICANO Y EL PUEBLOANO.

  Then they descended and passed through the luxuriant yellow plains,
  the sunset blazing on the rows of willows and on the square
  farm-houses with their gaudy picture over the arched gateway, while
  always in the background rose the dark masses of the mountains, solemn
  and distant, beyond the golden glow of the fields.--WILLIAM BLACK.

Home just in time from Ojo Caliente, we hooked our cars the same evening
to the never-tiring express, and trusted ourselves to its guidance
without a thought of danger. When daylight had fully come, and from the
"purple-blazoned gateway of the morn" the sun was begging entrance at
our curtained windows, somebody--I think it was the Photographer, a man
utterly without nervousness or regard for it in others--startled all our
tranquil slumbers by the shout, "_Comanche!_"

It was not Indians though--only a respectable sort of cañon, with great
black walls, and rugged hills wedged apart by the stream, and the train
hanging invisibly half-way betwixt top and bottom, always going in and
out of nooks and gulches, always gliding down nearer the water, until
finally, between strange farm-fields, the noble Rio Grande came in view,
and once more we ran upon a level track. Emerging from Comanche Cañon, a
bend to the southward is made along the western bank of the lower part
of the cañon of the Rio Grande. In many portions of this narrow valley,
only about twenty miles in length, features of great interest to the eye
occur, equaling the walls of Comanche, which was itself ignored until
the railway brought it to light. The river here is about sixty yards
wide, and pours with a swift current troubled by innumerable fallen
rocks. To-day it is swollen and yellow with the drift of late rains, but
in clear weather its waters are bright and blue, for it has not yet
soiled its color with the fine silt which will thicken it between Texas
and Mexico.

On the opposite bank, near the level of the river, runs the wagon road
that General Edward Hatch, formerly commander of the department of New
Mexico, cut some years ago to give ready communication between his
headquarters at Santa Fe and the posts in the northern part of the
Territory and in southern Colorado. This is the track now followed by
all teamsters, but the old road from the south to Taos ran over the
hills far to the eastward, passing through Picuris.

An odd conical hill (shown in our engraving) stands near the mouth of
the cañon, dividing the current of the river. Noticing its resemblance
to a funnel, the Mexicans called it Embudo, and the adjacent station
takes the same name. Embudo is chiefly important as the point of
departure for Taos, thirty miles distant.

While breakfast was preparing we were interrupted by the sudden
apparition at the side-door of our car of two long ears, then a
forehead, bulging by reason of the bushy hair that covered it, and
immediately afterward the neck and shoulders of a donkey. But if you say
_donkey_ down here few comprehend you. The proper word is _burro_
(boó-ro). This animal bore upon his round back a small saw-buck saddle,
from each side of which hung a square panier of wicker-work. These
paniers were not nailed, but the willow sticks of which they were made
were bound into place by thongs of rawhide. On top, between them, was
lashed a third square basket, which would hold a half-bushel. Though
this seemed very bulky, it really was a light load for the little beast,
and he stepped along briskly ahead of the wrinkled old Mexican who owned
him. Shining through the wicker receptacles we saw green rinds, and sang


"Si, Señor," came the husky answer, whereupon the burro was seized by
the tail and brought very willingly to anchor. Slipping several of the
sticks out of their leather-loops, half a dozen long yellow specimens,
something between a melon and a cantaloupe, were held up for our
inspection. We hammered them with our knuckles, testing their soundness,
and finding some to suit, enquired the cost,--

"Cuanto pide vm. por estos melones?"

"Dos realles!" (two shillings) was the reply; so we bought three at an
outlay of seventy-five cents.

They proved muskmelonish and somewhat tough, but by no means bad. There
seems to be no reason why much better melons should not be raised, since
the conditions are favorable and every farmer does more or less at it.
This question _why_ served to spice our chat at luncheon. It was
ultimately concluded that the continued degeneracy was due to the fact
that all the good ones were stolen and eaten, only the very poorest
being left to mature their seeds; thus the worst, instead of the best,
were used to propagate from. I recite this, to show the thoughtful
reader that we are not always frivolous, but often introduce grave
themes into our discourse, and discuss them in a philosophic way.

Attaching ourselves to the locomotive of a working train, after the noon
repast, we were hauled down the valley three miles, and given an
opportunity to watch the men repair track that had been lately torn to
pieces by water, two or three culverts having been swept out and the
road-bed completely uprooted. The hills at that point slanted down to
the river in a long treeless sweep, sown so thickly with boulders of
basalt, from the size of a bushel to that of a barrel, that even the
sagebrush could find scanty footing between. Down this long slope,
from the mountains behind, had come one of those raging precipitations
of unmeasured rain to which the West has given the expressive name
"cloudburst." Truly, when one of these incidents of Rocky Mountain
meteorology occurs, "the windows of heaven are opened." To such a
torrent the natural rip-rap opposed a very slight obstacle. The heavy
and closely packed rocks were lifted and rolled and hurled headlong as
though they had been a child's marbles. Wherever any earth or mere
gravel was met, it was plowed up and dashed away in a moment, while as
for the railway bed, its embankments were demolished, its cuttings
filled, and such heaps of stones piled upon its distorted track in some
places that no attempt was made to dig it out, but new rails were laid
in a different spot. They were rough and irregular enough, but we went
safely over. Against these cloudbursts no railway in this region can
provide; and there is nothing to be done but rebuild as quickly as
possible. The skill, energy and marvelous speed with which the section
men do this, and the character of the temporary track over which they
run their trains until a better one can be constructed, excite the
surprise of every one. Railroading in the West is as unlike the similar
pursuit in the Atlantic States as a Colorado silver shaft is a contrast
to a commonplace granite quarry.

[Illustration: NEW MEXICAN LIFE.]

We had observed on the further side of the river, where the flat lands
were continually widening between the stream and the hills, signs of
Mexican habitancy, and at the washout discovered a chapel of the Society
of the Penitentes, into which the flood had broken a great gap near the
foundation. It was a rude little house of mud, but well plastered
within, and perhaps had been intended as a dwelling in former days.
Creeping in through the breach, we found no furniture, but a pile of a
dozen or more wooden crosses, which had been carried there by the doers
of penance at Easter. The smallest of these crosses was more than ten
feet in height, and its beams at least six inches in diameter. As to the
heaviest, I doubt if I could have lifted it fairly from the ground. Yet
the poor sinners had managed to get them across their shoulders, and so
had dragged them hither, with many pains of outward penance and fearful
flagellations of conscience, but with rich reward of pride before
earthly eyes, and promises of glory in the world to come. From where
they had been brought, or by whom, there was no record; but their ends
were worn diagonally to a sharp wedge by long scraping over the stony
soil. In addition to these were several small crosses of lath, which had
been borne by the priests, typically; some tin and wooden candle
holders, curious little lanterns, and one of those rude religious
portraits on woods, which are so common throughout this section, and
which are preserved reverently among the Mexicans for generations.

The Penitentes are a sect within the Church, which the priests are said
to have been discouraging. Perhaps this has had some effect, for the
custom is in decay, a result due more to the railway than to the
cathedral, I fancy. During the greater part of the year the Penitentes
sin and are sinned against like other people, but in the spring they
atone for it by wearing coarse clothes under a sort of sacrificial robe,
and by torturing and starving themselves nearly to death. Walking in
processions, masked beyond recognition, enduring constant castigations
from each other, bearing over the roughest roads and across country the
heavy crosses we have seen, and with the "pride that apes humility"
enduring the utmost suffering, they consider themselves to have laid in
a stock of grace sufficient to over-balance all possible crime during
the coming twelvemonth. The practice has a long history, but amounts to
an American survival of the Flagellants of Europe.

A few miles below, the Mexican farms and orchards became more frequent,
the little settlement of Joya was noticed, Plaza Alcalde passed by, and
the wide, fertile plain of San Juan opened to our view. Skirting the
western edge of this (for the river keeps close under the high bluffs on
that side), we ran five or six miles, until a triangular parting in the
bank opened to the westward, where we halted on a side-track near the
old adobe village, but new railway station, of Chamita. The Rio Chama
flows into the Rio Grande here, and a broad valley area is the result.
The whole of this, which is easily irrigated, is under tillage, and just
now looking its best. It is therefore a green and prosperous landscape
we gaze upon, bounded by reddish benches which the setting sun brightens
into splendor, and shut in by blue, lofty, cloud-capped hills, beyond
which stand the guardian summits of snowy ranges.

Up the Rio Chama cultivation extends almost uninterruptedly for many
miles, and there are several villages or _plazas_. Chamita itself is on
this side--a cluster of scattered houses along the bluff through which
the railway has made a deep cut. The top of this ridge commands a fine
view up and down the Rio Grande, and there idle figures of Mexican or
Indian are always to be seen watching for the train or studying the
movements of almost invisible people on the other side of the valley.
Draped in black, for the most part, motionless and immovable, they
remind one irresistibly of Poe's picture:--

  "And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting,
  On the pallid bust of Pallas, just above my chamber door."

This point, as I have intimated, is in the midst of the civilization of
northern New Mexico. Twenty-five miles up the Chama stands the large
town of Abiquiu, an important place in old times; nearer by another
plaza, Cuchillo, is a farming center. Not far away, in the Rio Grande
valley, are San Juan, Santa Cruz and Española, the latter on the western
bank of the river and the present terminus of the railway line
southward, whence stages depart regularly for Santa Fe.

A Mexican farmhouse or "ranch" looks like a small fort, and makes a very
pleasing picture, as you may observe in our sketch. It is square, rarely
more than one story high, is built of mud, and roofed with immense round
rafters, the ends of which protrude irregularly beyond the wall, because
the builders have been too indolent to saw them off. Over these
rafters,--above the line of which the wall extends a few inches,--are
laid some boards or a stratum of poles, and upon these dry earth is
spread a foot or more deep, with rude gutters arranged to carry away the
water. In the course of two or three seasons, such a roof will have
caught a supply of wind-sown seeds, and support a plentiful crop of
grass and weeds, which is no disadvantage. This novel result is
interfered with somewhat, however, by the habit of using the roofs of
the houses (reached by a short ladder) as a place for drying fruit and
sunning grain, and for a general lounging spot, whence a better view of
what is occurring in the world,--the going and coming of the neighbors,
the planting or gathering of the crops, the approach of a
stranger-horseman, or the movements of the cattle on the benches,--can
be obtained, than a seat on the ground affords. As the train dashes by,
the passenger notices two or three women and children standing on each
housetop, shading their eyes with their brown hands, and making an
unconscious _pose_ irresistibly alluring to an artist.

On a line with the front of the house a wall will probably extend a
little distance in each direction, and then backward, enclosing a garden
and diminutive orchard. Everything is square. The idea of a curve seems
rarely to enter the Spanish-Indian mind. For graphic effect, this is
highly gratifying, since the bends in the river, the rounded outlines of
the mountains, the undulations of foliage, are all in curves, to which
the angular lines of the buildings present a most pleasing contrast.
Now and then you will see a better house--one whitewashed outside, and
having a balcony running around the second story. The outbuildings, in
any case, are only a few mud huts, used for storage, and some rough pens
where the animals are kept. Anything like the barns of an Eastern farmer
is unknown.

The isolated dwelling, however, is largely a modern innovation. The
general plan is to live in compact, block-like villages, surrounded by a
wall, or what amounts to that. This results partly from the need in
early days of united protection against the Indians, but chiefly from
following the traditional custom of their red ancestors; for the New
Mexican of to-day is a half-breed, or a mongrel of some degree between
the Spaniard who "came over with the conqueror" and the Indian of
whatever tribe happened to be accessible. Remote from civilized
influences, the common people have tended always toward barbarous ways,
and are more Indian than Spanish, albeit the dialect they speak is not
so far removed from the Castilian as one would expect. There are local
differences and idioms, of course, which are at once noticeable; but the
usual tongue is not very bad Spanish.

Though Mexican hamlets and farms are scattered everywhere about here, in
the fertile valleys, there is a class of towns along this part of the
valley of the Rio Grande which are primarily Indian, and situated upon
reservations each ten miles square, secured to them by the government.
Each of these present villages, now commonly known by a Spanish name,
was the site of an ancient native pueblo, and the fields which were
deeded to them by the United States are those their fathers cultivated
before the white men appeared at all. Some, however, yet retain their
Indian names, as Taos, Picuris, Pecos, Pojuaque, Acoma and Tesúque. San
Juan, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, San Ildefonso, and others have been given
new names by the conquerors and priests. South and west of Santa Fe lie
many other pueblos, some of them very populous, as Jemez, Zia, Santo
Domingo, and San Felipe. In all of them substantially the same sort of
life is found, and as it is impossible for me to cover the wide
territory they embrace, the reader must be content with the type of the
whole to be seen here at Pueblo San Juan. It is a phase of humanity and
conduct rapidly passing away--melting under the steady sun of modern
progress; and the traveler who does not take an early opportunity to
study it will miss not only that which is extremely interesting and
suggestive, but what in a few years will become a matter of history and
romantic tradition.

Here at Chamita the river is divided by a large, flat island into two
branches, each perhaps a hundred yards in width. Over the first one, at
the time of our visit, stood a good bridge, built by the railway
company; a second bridge had spanned the other branch until the high
water carried it away. Formerly there had been a ferry, but the boat
was out of order, and nobody cared to repair it, for could not the
stream be forded?

[Illustration: A PATRIARCH.]

In the cool of the evening the whole party went down to the river bank,
trusting to good fortune for transportation. Thus challenged, good
fortune stood by us in the person of a citizen and his broncho.
Chartering the latter, the Artist, his sketching haversack slung over
his shoulder, mounted, and then the Madame was invited to ascend, the
pillion being a shawl thrown over the horse's haunches. When there she
declared she could not stay--would certainly slip off the Gothic back of
the beast the instant he moved.

"Then take it Anna Dickinson fashion," remarked her unfeeling spouse;
whereupon there was a frantic lurch, a twinkle of crimson suspected to
be hosiery, and a cheery "All right!" to let us know she was ready to
brave the passage. The landing was safe, and then the patient horse
returned and repeated the fording until we all were across.

But our peace of mind, or our _amour propre_--which is much the same
thing--was disturbed by a suspicion that we were being laughed at, for a
party of Mexican women from Chamita came down to the brink while we were
there, and, chattering merrily over our slow and undoubtedly ludicrous
progress, unconcernedly pulled off their shoes and stockings, gathered
their skirts in a bunch about their waists, and gaily waded through as
though in contempt of our fear of water and the conventionalities.

The large island was gravelly and liable to be inundated, so that it was
given over to the pasturage of sheep, goats, cattle, horses and donkeys.
On the eastern bank we found ourselves at once in the midst of grain
fields and garden plats. Tall Indian corn alternated with short wheat,
hay and alfalfa, or patches of potatoes, melons and vegetables. Fences
were few, but the road was defined by a line of upright brush, bound
into cohesion by withes of bark, so that it resembled a thoroughly dead
hedge. Here and there stood a _casa chiquita_, but the main town was on
the bluff marking the old bank of the river, half a mile from its
present current.

[Illustration: MAID AND MATRON.]

_Pueblo_ in Spanish simply means "a village." When the first explorers,
Cabeça de Vaca, Coronado and the early lieutenants and friars whom
Cortez sent northward, in search more of gold than geography, penetrated
what is now New Mexico and Arizona, they everywhere found Indians more
or less nomadic, but the larger part of the natives belonging to a
different class, and living in settled communities of permanent houses.
To these the Spaniards naturally gave the name of "village," or "pueblo"
Indians, which, by a common process of lingual change, has become
shortened into Pueblos, though Puebloans is a far better word. Their own
tribal names have disappeared except in a few cases, such as the Zuñis
and the Moquis, and the Spanish word covers all Village Indians
distinguished from the roving Apaches, Mojaves and Utes, that surround
them and centuries ago wrested from them much of their former territory.
At present there are in all New Mexico but nineteen towns of the Village
Indians, whose aggregate population in 1880 was only 10,469, as follows:

                    Taos                391
                    San Juan            408
                    Santa Clara         212
                    San Ildefonso       139
                    Picuris           1,115
                    Nambé                66
                    Pojuaque             26
                    Tesuque              99
                    Sochiti             271
                    San Domingo       1,123
                    San Felipe          613
                    Jemez               401
                    Silla (_or_ Zia)     58
                    Santa Aña           489
                    Laguna              968
                    Isoleta           1,081
                    Sandia              345
                    Zuñi              2,082
                    Acoma               582

Ascending the high bank along a road greatly gullied by the rains, we
found ourselves in a large group of houses, each of which was joined to
its neighbor as continuously as in a city block, but only one story
high; or if there was a second story, it did not come out flush with the
front wall, but was ten or fifteen feet back, the roof of the lower
story serving as a portico to the upper floor, which was reached by an
outside ladder.

These dwellings were built of mud bricks, called _adobes_, and in many
cases the floors were lower than the level of the street--a matter of
small concern, since the door-sill was so high as to shut out any water
which might be running outside. Mixing in a little broken straw, rough
blocks about twice the size of ordinary bricks are moulded, dried
somewhat in the sun, and laid up in the form of a wall. Space is left
for a door and some small holes for windows, quite high up. That is
about all there seems to be of it, yet the inexpert find it not so easy
to build a "doby" as they supposed. The consistency of the clay must be
right, and I am told the wall must be laid so that the blocks somewhat
brace each other by beveled sides, or else the great weight which rests
on the top, otherwise wholly unsupported, will cause the middle of the
wall to bulge. That these ancient houses stand so plumb and uncracked
shows how proficient the Indians are at this peculiar architecture; and
ought they not to be, for did not they invent it?

All the buildings are smoothly plastered outside and in. This is done
some weeks after they are built, and after they have thoroughly dried.
To obtain the necessary material for the outer "stucco" coat, the floor
of the interior of the unfinished house is dug up and mixed with water
until it becomes a soft paste. Then it is taken by the handful, dashed
against the unchinked adobes, and spread smoothly with the palms, just
as a town mason would use a trowel. The women do all this, and I
remember surprising three damsels, as pretty as the New Mexican
peasantry have to show, down on their knees and up to their elbows in
seal-brown mud, plastering the new house, while father and mother were
busy in the fields.

Most of the Indian dwellings,--and they are as good as the majority of
the abodes of the Mexican ranchmen,--have two rooms, and sometimes
three, but these are generally so dark that the eye must accustom itself
to the gloom before their contents can well be discerned. This arises
from the scarcity and diminutive size of the windows. Here in San Juan,
indeed, I saw roughly sashed windows in many houses, or else a single
pane of glass set in; but often only a grating is used to guard the
aperture, or else holes in the walls are left so small that no enemy
could crawl through. You can imagine the darkness inside, therefore,
even on a bright day. Originally the pueblo was common property, and
both men and women assisted in building it, but new ideas of individual
possessions are invading the old notions. It was the former custom, too,
to mix ashes with earth and charcoal into a substitute for mortar; yet,
as we shall see later, the very ancient, ruined buildings of the
ancestors of these Puebloans show an architecture in stone, with a
cement now as hard, or even more tenacious, than the blocks it binds
together. "They take great pride," says an old book "in their, to them,
magnificent structures, averring that as fortresses they have ever
proved impregnable. To wall out black barbarism was what the Pueblos
wanted; under these conditions time was giving them civilization."

Entering one of the houses here in San Juan, we shall find the floor is
only of earth, but that many skins are spread about. In one corner, or
else beside the entrance door, will be one of the queer little
round-topped fireplaces prevalent all over Spanish America; but if in
the latter place, a low wall or wing of masonry runs out into the room,
protecting the fire from contrary drafts. The cooking in summer is done
out of doors almost wholly; but in cold weather, when utilizing these
fireplaces, they use the iron pots and skillets which civilization has
brought them, eking out with variously shaped earthen utensils of their
own make, and baskets obtained from Apache and Navajo visitors.

You must expect to see very little furniture in an Indian's house,
though occasionally some familiar objects are found. The beds are made
on the floor, and consist entirely of skins and blankets. The walls are
often whitewashed, and though they never heard of Eastlake, they always
make a dado of clay water. The soft brown tint contrasts well with the
white frieze, and would be attractive in itself; but the clay here is
full of specks of mica, which dust the walls with gleaming points not to
be spurned in mural decoration.

The Indians admire pictures, but are not scrupulous as to artistic
superiority. In nearly every house you will find a board a few inches
square, upon which is painted a religious subject, usually in red and
yellow, of some saint, or a group of them. Such pictures, and others
whenever they can get them, are highly valued and will be adorned with
peacock feathers and bright berries.

They love gay colors and choose them in their dress, which is a singular
mixture of Indian, Mexican and American. There go a man and woman ahead
of us who are fair types. Neither are of large size, and though an
oddity of gait comes from their habit of walking with their toes
straight before them, both are of erect carriage. The man is dressed in
brown flannel shirt, hanging blouse-like about him, tightly fitted
leggings of buckskin, with a broad seam-flap in place of fringe on the
outside of each leg, and moccasins. Over his right shoulder and under
his left arm is loosely draped a striped blanket made by the Navajo or
Apache Indians of the interior, and diligently repaired in its worn
places. His head is bare, under the blaze of the hot sun, save for a
wreath of cottonwood leaves. Under this "bay crown" his smoothly-brushed
and jet black hair, accurately parted in the middle along a line of red
or yellow ochre, is plaited on either side into two long braids,
intertwined and lengthened out with strips of red flannel and tufts of

The woman wears a long, loose tunic of coarse cloth, almost devoid of
sleeves, and belted at the waist; but sometimes this is of buckskin, Her
extremities are not clad in leggings, but encased in short, shapeless
boots having a moccasin foot, and stiff legs, which reach nearly to her
knees, and often afford the only recognizable distinction between a male
or a female, who, to a stranger's eye, are confusingly alike. She wears
thrown over her head a shawl-like expanse of common pink-printed calico;
but if you could see her hair you would discover that none of the
attention had been bestowed upon it which her husband's has received; it
has been cut short, particularly across the forehead, and is likely to
be tangled and dirty. In this respect these Rio Grande Indians have
fallen from grace into the slovenliness of their nomadic neighbors. The
maidens of the purer Moqui pueblos, for example, take great care of
their raven locks. Parting the hair at the back of the head, they roll
it around hoops, when it is fastened in two high bunches, one on each
side, a single feather being sometimes placed in the center. The Moqui
wives gather it into two tight knots at the side, or one at the back of
the head; and the men cut their hair in front of the ears and in a line
with the eyebrows, while at the back it is plaited or gathered into a
single bunch and tied with a band.

[Illustration: OLD CHURCH OF SAN JUAN.]

This woman is going to one of the public wells to draw water, and
presently is joined by a young Hebe, with bare, shapely ankles and
rotund bust, whose laughing talk is like the gurgling chatter of the
blackbirds in the rushes. They each carry classically shaped and gaily
ornamented jars of earthenware, made by themselves, and which they will
tell you are _tinájas_. Some of the wells are so shallow that an
inclined passage-way has been cut down to the water from the surface;
from others the liquid must be drawn in buckets. Having filled their
vessels, each woman lays a little pad on her head, skillfully poises
the heavy tinája upon it, and marches off, as erect, elastic of tread
and graceful in mien as any Ganymede who ever handed about the nectar on
Olympus. You can see the trimmed and painted gourd-dipper floating about
in the neck of the jar, and thus know that the water is level with the
top; yet up hill and down, along the dusty roadway, through the
half-concealing corn, and under the low doorway go the dusky carriers,
and not a drop is lost.

A short distance back we had met a superannuated governor, or chief,
called in Spanish Attencio. His long, straight hair, of ashy hue, and
deeply furrowed features gave a most venerable appearance to his
attenuated but still upright form. His garments evinced more design,
were better fitting, and somewhat fantastically decorated; while from
his neck was suspended a drum, a tribute apparently to growing
infirmities which had not quite obscured the dream of place and
circumstance. We halted in curiosity while the Photographer, by specious
argument and a gentle subsidizing process, overcame the half-scruples of
the patriarch, and transferred his semblance to a "dry plate," an
operation he repeated a little later with the maid and matron whom we
had seen at the well, though in their case with more difficulty and
overcoming of native shyness. The results of this enterprise are
commended to the reader.

The pueblo pottery is of all sizes and shapes,--jars, pitchers,
canteens, bowls, platters, and images of men and animals, made as
playthings for their children, or merely for amusement, and the latter
often called their "gods" by ignorant tourists.

It is evident everywhere that originally much finer and more symmetrical
pottery was made by all these Village Indians than now. They seem to
have understood the art of mixing a finer paste, and they worked with
more careful hands. The resemblance of this antique ware to that of
Egypt and Cyprus, has been noted in its structure, and in the "scrolls,
straight lines and walls of Troy," with which it is embellished. Birds,
too, were painted upon some of the oldest ware extant, recalling certain
Chinese symbols, while "in the animal handles and in a design known as
the old Japanese seal," the early ware of Japan is simulated. The
ancient and (in ruins) most widely distributed form of pottery known is
the "corrugated," fragments of which are also found in the mounds of the
Ohio and Mississippi valleys and on the Pacific slope. This variety was
made by winding around and above one another slender strings or ropes of
red clay, expanding and contracting the coil to suit the varying
diameters of the vessel. Pressure of the fingers alone, or aided only by
a smooth stone, then compressed the coils into compactness and on the
inside into some smoothness. There was also a kind of ware in use in
prehistoric times which bore a red or black glaze beyond anything seen
in later manufacture; but this fine finish is thought to have been

At San Juan, as in all other pueblos, the old adobe church, with its
absurdly barbaric furniture and uncouth appearance, is a center of
interest. Climbing the rickety ladder to its little gallery, and thence
ascending to the roof, one gets the best idea of how valuable a garden
spot this district is. As far as the eye can reach, up and down the
river, stretch farms and orchards and plazitas. I suppose that from the
mouth of the cañon down to the village of San Ildefonso, a distance of
about thirty miles, the river-bottom is almost continuously cultivated,
the chief crops being wheat and Indian corn, the latter notable for its
variegated and bright colors, and for which the people here keep the
original name, _maiz_; but every sort of grain and vegetable is also
produced in abundance.

The population sustained consists largely of Indians, in some
localities, as here at San Juan, almost entirely so; and they are quite
as industrious and skillful in their farming as the Mexicans. In most of
the villages the tillage of the reservation is wholly in common, but
here the Indians many years ago divided up their farming lands into
individual properties, not all equally either, for it was apportioned to
each man in proportion to his needs, abilities and desire. It is said
that there has been little change in the ownership of this property, the
same fields descending from father to son, generation after generation.
This being the case, it is not strange to learn the second fact, that
there is small variation in the fortunes of the different families, and
that there is slight disposition on the part of any to become rich while
others grow poor. All are self-supporting, and proud of the fact that no
aid is asked or received from the government.

Nothing reminds the traveler more of the Holy Land than to witness these
people threshing their grain, which happens, of course, in August, since
they do not stack the grain in the straw at all. The threshing-floors
are circular spaces of high level ground in the outskirts of the pueblo,
around which poles ten or twenty feet high are set, though there is no
need of more than mere posts. When the threshing is to be done, a
rawhide rope or two is stretched about these posts to form a fence, and
often upon this are hung many blankets, the gay colors and striped
ornamentation of which make an exceedingly picturesque scene. Sometimes
in place of the ropes a cordon of bare-legged small boys and girls, to
whom the duty is great sport, does service as a girdle. The diameter of
such a prepared space, hardened by service for half a century to the
consistency of brick, is sixty or a hundred feet. In the middle of it
are heaped the sheaves of the three or four families who are accustomed
to join in this work until a suitable quantity has been obtained, and
then the fun begins.

Through an opening in the extemporized fence is driven a flock of sheep
and goats, or else a small herd of horses. They at once fall to eating
the fresh grain, but are quickly beaten off and started into a run
around the enclosure, trampling down the edges of the stack, and all the
time getting more and more of it under their beating hoofs. Behind them
race two or three athletic, bare headed and scantily-dressed youths,
cracking long whips, hustling the laggards, and nimbly keeping out of
the way of the kicking, crowding and bewildered animals. This is quite
as hard work as any of the horses or goats do, and is accompanied by
continual halloos and trilling cries, which almost make a song when
heard at a little distance. Now and then a young horse will make a leap
at the rope, and snap the rawhide lariat, or dodge under it; or a
venturesome goat will elude his guard and escape; but there are excited
youngsters enough to speedily give chase and bring him back; and from
time to time the panting drivers are changed, the animals given a rest,
and the grain heaped into a new pile in the center. It is a wonderfully
lively and gay picture, which will never be forgotten, and entirely
unlike anything else to be seen in the United States. Toward evening,
when the incessant tramping has threshed all the grains out of their
husks, comes the winnowing. This is quite as primitive and idyllic as
its forerunner. Having lifted away the bulk of the straw, several men
and women take long-handled, flat-bladed wooden shovels, and toss up the
grain which lies thick on the hard clay floor, thus allowing the wind to
blow away the chaff. There is generally a breeze at sunset every day,
and the largest part of the chaff is gotten rid of by the shoveling; but
to perfect the process, the women take half a bushel at once of the
grain, and re-winnow it, by tossing it a second time in and out of one
of the large Navajo wicker-baskets, of which every family owns a number.
The rough, wasteful threshing, and the cleansing, only partial at best,
having thus been accomplished, the grain is divided out to its owners,
and by them packed away in huge jars of coarse earthenware, called
_ollas_, some of which will hold several bushels. These vessels keep it
dry and safe from rats, so long as the covers are tight. All these
processes are followed not only by the Indians, but by all Mexican
farmers throughout the Spanish southwest.

We were never weary of wandering about these Indian towns, and watching
the people at their work and sunny-tempered play. They are the happiest
men and women on the continent. Well sheltered, well fed, well
companioned, peaceful, guileless,--what else do they wish? Not theirs to
know carking care, and the fluctuating markets which imperil hard-earned
gains; nor to suffer the hurt unsatisfied ambition feels, or know the
terrors of a crime-haunted or doubt-stricken conscience. The broad,
bright sunshine of their latitude suffuses their whole lives and
dispositions, turning their rock-bounded lowlands into a Vale of Tempe.


                    SANTA FE AND THE SACRED VALLEY.

                                 Ages are made up
           Of such small parts as these, and men look back,
           Worn and bewilder'd, wond'ring how it is.
                                             --JOANNA BAILLIE.

I have referred to Española as the southern terminus of the railway.
From this point, however, another company is actively engaged in
constructing a line to Santa Fe, a distance of thirty-four miles by the
survey, and its prospective early completion will afford a direct and
desirable connection with the ancient capital. At present the
communication is by means of stages, which run in conjunction with the
trains, and, not being restricted in the matter of grades, accomplish
the trip in about twenty-five miles. The journey is interesting, and is
made comfortably.

Santa Fe claims the distinction of being the oldest town in the United
States, a claim that is readily admitted when we consider that it was a
populous Indian pueblo when the first Spaniards crossed the territory
now known as New Mexico, less than forty years after the discovery of
the western continent by Columbus. The earliest European who penetrated
this region was Alvar Nuñez Cabeça de Vaca, a Spanish navigator, whose
vessel was wrecked on the coast of Texas in 1528, and who, with three of
his crew, wandered for six years through the plains and mountains, until
finally he joined his countrymen under Cortez in Mexico. His report of
the section through which he passed led to an expedition, in 1539, by
Marco de Niça, a Franciscan friar, who was frightened away by the
Indians, and returned to Mexico with a marvelous account of the extent,
population and wealth of the country, the magnificence of its cities,
and the ferocity of its people. In 1540 the famous expedition of Vasquez
de Coronado passed through the pueblo where Santa Fe now stands, crossed
the range, and traversed the plains until he came to the Missouri river,
at a point probably near the present site of Atchison or Leavenworth. In
1581, Friar Augustin Ruyz, with one companion, reached a village called
Poala, a few miles north of Albuquerque, where they were killed by the
Indians. Antonio de Espejo came with an expedition, in 1582, to seek
Ruyz, and discovered Zuñi, Acoma and other pueblos. In 1595 Juan de
Oñate founded a colony near the junction of the Rio Chama with the Rio
Grande, in the immediate vicinity of Española. It was about this date
that a Spanish settlement was formed in Santa Fe, and the church of San
Miguel erected. In 1680 there was a great uprising of the natives, who
entirely drove out the Spaniards, and obliterated as far as possible all
evidences of their occupation, dismantling, among other buildings, the
old church. Twelve years later they were reconquered by Diego de Bargas.
From that time to the present Santa Fe has had an eventful career. The
Mexicans, in 1821, declared their independence of Spanish rule, and
after that there were numerous insurrections, until the occupation of
the territory by the United States, in 1846. Then came the War of the
Rebellion, in 1861-65, in the course of which Santa Fe was captured by
the confederates, and recaptured by the Union forces.

[Illustration: PUEBLO DE TAOS.]

During all these years Santa Fe has changed its character but little,
and is to-day, in general appearance, very much the same old Mexican
town that it has been for nearly three hundred years. There is the same
broad plaza, with the same adobe buildings nearly all the way around it;
the same one-story houses, surrounding the same plazitas; the same
suburban fields and gardens; and the same swarthy, dark-eyed population,
still speaking the musical Spanish tongue. Wood is still brought into
town on the backs of burros, and by this conveyance can be left inside
the dwellings. Among the other objects of attraction to the stranger,
are the governor's palace; the ruins of old Fort Marcy, on a bluff, from
which is had a fine view of the city; and the extensive and beautiful
garden of Bishop Lamy. The famous chapel of San Miguel, the oldest in
America, still rears the same mud walls that have stood for three
centuries, and internally is well preserved and in presentable shape. It
has no exterior beauty and no interior magnificence, its only interest
being in its age and the sacred uses for which it has been kept up
during almost the entire period of American civilization. On a great
beam, as plain as if made but yesterday, is the Spanish inscription,
traced there one hundred and seventy-four years ago, to the effect that
"The Marquis de la Penuela erected this building, the Royal Ensign Don
Augustin Flores Vergara, his servant, A.D. 1710." Original documents
show that this refers to its restoration after the wood-work was burned
by the rebel Indians. A dark picture of the Annunciation, on one side of
the altar, bears on its back a notation, seemingly dated A.D. 1287,
leading to the belief that it is one of the oldest oil paintings in the
world. By the side of the church is a two-story adobe house, which
tradition says was in existence when Coronado marched through the town.
The neighborhood of Santa Fe is rich in precious stones, including
turquoise, bloodstone, onyx, agate, garnet and opal. The manufacture of
Mexican filigree jewelry, largely carried on here, will be found
interesting. The work is done by natives, to whom the trade has been
handed down by their ancestors, who derived it from the Italians. The
primitive Spanish records of the aborigines of all tropical America say
that there were "no better goldsmiths in the world;" so that the Indian
blood mixed in the veins of most of the modern artisans may have
increased their skill.

But even quaint old Santa Fe is catching the spirit of the age, and now
boasts a colony of northern residents, cultivated society, and many
handsome structures, among which are a new hotel, a large public
hospital built of stone and brick, a Methodist church, Santa Fe Academy,
and San Miguel College. The tendency of this innovation will be to
rapidly dissipate the aroma of antiquity and sentiment which has
hitherto attached to the town's romantic history.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the return northward, our cars were again set out at Embudo, the
gentlemen of the party having determined not to omit from this itinerary
the Taos pueblos, possibly the most antiquated, and certainly the best
preserved of all, and whose people are still awaiting with pathetic
patience the returning Montezuma, who shall restore their pristine
glory, and the kingdom that stretched from river to sea. When questioned
as to her desires, the Madame did not advance the staple feminine
excuse, a council with the dressmaker, but boldly proclaimed her
aversion to the thirty-mile equestrian trip. So we left her behind
reluctantly, with many injunctions to our _chef de cuisine_ and still
more trustworthy railway friends.

After no little wrangling, a sufficient number of spiritless quadrupeds
were procured from the natives, and we turned our faces to the north.
And right here let me advise the reader who may hereafter contemplate
this pilgrimage, to address, in ample season, Mr. Henry Dibble,
Fernandez de Taos, New Mexico, who will undertake to have a team in
waiting at Embudo, thus saving the traveler much time and even more bad
Spanish. The ride was thoroughly enjoyable, and formed a fitting prelude
to the novel experiences that followed. I have said "ride," though the
statement is not altogether exact, since we took pity,--and largely from
necessity,--on our miserable under-sized and under-fed ponies and
ourselves, and walked a full third of the distance. Occasionally we
passed small Mexican villages, which seemed as peacefully asleep in the
afternoon sunshine as we could ever have pictured them. Flocks of ugly
yellow-spotted goats, attended by dusky urchins in scanty attire,
browsed on the near hill-slopes. Over the eaves of almost every one of
the low adobe houses hung great ropes of red peppers,--the _chili
colorado_ of the Mexican,--that gave the one brilliant dash of color to
a perspective whose tones were otherwise the most subdued. Not
unfrequently, however, an entire family would be seen ranged along in a
row on the shady side of the house, the women generally dressed in gay
colors, solid red, blue, or green, and all as silent as the scene on
which they looked. But for the dogs, these hamlets might have passed
for the ruins they appeared. The _caretta_, or great, clumsy,
two-wheeled cart, and the plow made of a pointed stick, were here and
there reposing before the abodes, not seeming like implements of daily
use, but as appropriate details in the worn-out landscape.

To pick one's way through Taos valley, even by daylight, might be a
task; in the darkness, which at length overtook us, success was a lucky
chance. The very populousness of the locality was against us. How many
times we took the divergent road and brought up against the fence of
some ranchero's threshing-floor; or crossed the stream _not_ at the
ford; or engaged in a broil with some awakened native who persisted in
misunderstanding our gesticulated inquiries, may never be related. The
houses, too, were a mystery. To find the front door of the rectangular
heap of mud; to determine in what part of its cavernous recesses the
inmates might now be residing; or to decide whether, after all, it was
not the stable, taxed our ingenuity and tempers through several hours of
that memorable evening. Finally, in the plaza of a great communistic
ranch-house, that covered an area half as large as a city block, we
managed to secure the services of a _muchacho_, who preceded us on
horseback, and led us into one of the narrow and crooked streets of
Fernandez de Taos, where we soon found the hostelry of "Pap" Dibble.

Taos valley is widest near its head, where the several streams that form
the river issue from the Culebra range. About the center of the fertile
expanse lies the old Mexican town of Fernandez de Taos, with a present
population of 1,500. Two miles northeast of it, and under the shadow of
Taos mountain, stand the two great buildings known as the Pueblo de
Taos, and inhabited by about 400 Indians. Three miles south of Fernandez
lies still another Mexican village, named Ranchos de Taos, in contrast
with whose adobes the traveler finds a newly-erected flouring mill. The
middle settlement has the greatest commercial importance, and is
likewise possessed of considerable historic interest. Here was the seat
of the first civil government of the territory by the United States,
after it had been acquired as a result of the Mexican war of 1846. Here
Bent, the first governor, was killed in the revolt of the following
year, and the ruins yet remain of the old church on whose solid mud
walls the howitzers of the troops could make no impression, and from
which the band of insurgent Indians and Mexicans were only finally
dislodged by means of hand-grenades. The widow of the murdered governor
still lives in her modest adobe, and shows to visitors the hole in the
wall made by the fatal bullet. Fernandez de Taos was likewise for years
the residence of Colonel Kit Carson, and in the walled graveyard at the
edge of town his body is buried.

All this and much more is communicated the following morning by the
genial Dibble, who fills our idea of what a host should be. For twenty
years has he lived in this quiet valley, among an alien people, leaving
it only once for a trip to Santa Fe, content to preside over his
curious aggregation of rambling adobes, and make each chance guest feel
himself under paternal care.

But to us the great interest centers in the Indian carnival at the
pueblo, which is to occur on the morrow. On the last day of September of
each year the Taos Indians celebrate the festival of their patron saint,
San Geronimo (the Spanish St. Jerome), by ceremonies altogether unique,
and which few Americans have as yet witnessed. Some hours are still at
our command, in which to study the country in its every-day aspect, and
we early start out in the direction of the pueblo. Already the roads
converging toward the old stronghold show signs of the assembling
throng. Little bands of Indians, gaily blanketed and with uncovered
heads, who have walked from pueblos perhaps fifty miles away, driving
before them shaggy burros, with many-shaped packs; and Mexican
fruit-vendors, their trains of donkeys laden with well-filled wicker
baskets, form the vanguard of the unique procession. The valley across
which we pass is all under cultivation, and the ground is now covered
with the yellow stubble, while along the roadside we come upon the
regulation threshing-places.

The Pueblo de Taos consists of two great mud buildings (of the larger of
which an engraving is given) facing each other from opposite banks of a
stream, and perhaps two hundred yards apart. They rise to a height of
about fifty feet, and seem to have attained their present size by
accretions during the ages since they were founded. They are of an
irregular pyramidal form, and made up of about five stories or terraces.
Each new story is built a distance from the edge of the one immediately
beneath, so that both the length and breadth of the building diminish as
the height is increased. To enter the rooms we must ascend one of the
many ladders that lean against the wall, and then descend another ladder
through a hole in the roof. Everything was quiet and silent about this
great human wasps' nest. Nude children tumbled on the ground in the warm
rays of the sun; men strolled lazily hither and thither, their bodies
wrapped in gaudy blankets and legs encased in close-fitting sheepskin
leggings, while to their hair, black as jet and brought down in a lock
on each side, hung great bunches of zephyr or other gay material; women,
dressed in much the same manner, carried on their heads the earthen
water-jars, or large baskets of bread, which had been baked in the oval
mud ovens ranged in front of the pueblo. Everybody treated us with quiet
respect, and seemed pleased to respond to our salutations. We climbed
over one of the ancient piles, mounting to its topmost story on shaky
ladders, peering into its rooms, which we were courteously invited to
enter, and where we found sometimes as many as a dozen Indians sitting
on the floor, engaged in adding some last touches to the holiday
garments. We saw few young men, but afterwards learned that they were in
the _estufas_, or underground council-chambers, preparing for the next
day's spectacle.

To give anything like an adequate account of the festival would require
a small volume. Early on that resplendent September morning the human
tide began to pour in, till, from our position on the summit of the
north pueblo, we looked down to the plaza below on a surging mass of
fully three thousand Indians and Mexicans, in every gay and fantastic
garb. The fruit-vendors had established themselves in scores of little
stalls scattered over the plaza, and with their burros standing
patiently by, added a picturesque feature to the scene. Three hundred
mad young Mexicans, mounted on excited ponies, charged among the crowd
in a body, dared each other in feats of horsemanship, or "ran the
_gallo_" on the opposite bank. The padre from Santa Fe first held
service in the little church, after which came the event of the day. One
hundred naked and painted Indians issued in solemn march from an
_estufa_, and began the race, two by two, over the straight track a
thousand feet long. For an hour and a half they sped up and down in
front of the pueblo, amid the wildest excitement of the spectators. Then
the march of the victors, to the music of a wild chant, while bread is
showered upon them from one of the roofs of the pueblo under which they
pass, closes the morning's ceremonies.

[Illustration: PHANTOM CURVE.]

The afternoon is consumed by the antics of seven unclothed and curiously
painted clowns. For three hours do they amuse that motley crowd with
their mimic cock and bull fights, and their semblance of plowing,
threshing, and other familiar labors. As the sun nears the west, the
rabble gather about a pole, fifty feet high, over the cross-piece at
whose top has been hung a living sheep, together with garlands of fruit
and a basket of bread. After many pretended failures, the pole is
climbed, and the bread and fruit are thrown to the ground. Last of all,
the sheep, in which a spark of life still lingers, is detached, and
strikes the earth with a sickening thud. With yells and strange cries
the Indians rush in, the sheep is torn limb from limb, and with this,
the only revolting part of the entire celebration, the _fête_ ends.

The lava-caps away down the valley were glowing golden as we rode back
to Fernandez. Thought was busy with the strange events of the day.
During how many centuries had these onlooking hills witnessed the
gathering throngs of such festivals, since were laid the foundations of
those dusky piles, now bathed in sunset glory, where tradition says the
cultured hero Montezuma was born, and whence he set out on his prophetic
career? And can this ancient people long withstand the civilization that
is fast bearing down on them; or will it not soon engulf them and fill
with modern life the sacred valley?

       *       *       *       *       *

On our arrival at Embudo we found the Madame in much tribulation. Not
that any harm had befallen her; but the cook, from being an assistant
after a fashion, had immediately on our departure developed into an
absolute dependent. This personage had for some time been a subject of
much solicitude and serious discussion in our family circle. We could
sympathize with his infirmities, but when they became the ever-present
shield to the most aggravated laziness, our philosophy weakened. And so,
when the Madame had explained his apparently total collapse, our
decision was speedily reached. In spite of his protestations and his
phenomenal physical improvement, we lifted him by main force on to the
first train, and shipped him northward without our blessing.

Concerning this Amos, the Madame wrote as follows to her friend, Mrs.
McAngle: "He was the 'Knight of the Sorrowful Countenance,' in our
vocabulary of nicknames. His face was a suggestion of martyrdom done in
coffee-color, for he was a darkey of uncertain and speckled hue; and his
religious possessions, a couple of books of devotion of the most
melancholy kind, kept him up to his model. Everything had been put into
our kitchen-car before leaving Denver, pell-mell; and when, at our first
evening's halt, I went out to investigate, I found Amos sitting on a
soap-box, in the midst of a chaos of utensils and packages of
provisions, almost weeping at the water-splashed confusion, without
making the least movement toward straightening matters. He brought with
him two encumbrances,--a fifteen years' experience on the Sound steamer
_Bristol_ (so he said), and his Rheumatism, with a very big R.

"He was a good enough cook when he tried to be, but wholly averse to
neatness. Becoming tired of seeing things that bore no relation to one
another on an intimate acquaintance, as the bacon and flour, for
instance, I undertook, with fear and trembling, some mild expostulation.
But I had not gone far before he raised himself to all his dignity, and
exclaimed, 'I have served fifteen years as first cook on board the
_Bristol_,' and then turned his back upon me. Somewhat stunned, but
persevering, I continued meekly to tell him the things I wished him to
attend to. Instantly his tone changed from indignation to supplication,
and he described in feeling terms his rheumatism. 'He enjoyed a neat
kitchen as well as anybody, but what could he do, having his joints all
knotted up with this terrible disease?' and his face grew sadder than
ever. I retired from the field vanquished, and reported progress.

"The gentlemen were not so easily silenced, however, and that very day
began a little investigation. 'Amos, can you make a tapioca pudding?'
cried one, at lunch. 'I have been fifteen years chief cook on the
_Bristol_,' came the answer, with an upward roll of the prayerful eyes.
A little later: 'Amos, bring up a pail of fresh water from the creek.'
Very glad to oblige you, sir (a groan), but I've the rheumatics.' When
one excuse wouldn't answer the other would. So we sent him off, and got
Burt in his place,--a youth without rheumatism or record,--who proved to
be a very bright, willing, and useful boy."


                             TOLTEC GORGE.

                            I'll look no more;
            Lest my brain turn, and the deficient sight
            Topple down headlong.
                                             --KING LEAR.

Having at last turned our heels reluctantly on the simple-hearted,
prettily-chequered life of the Pueblos, we raced back in a single night
to the plains of San Luis. A long line of telegraph poles stretches out
from Antonito into a true vanishing point across the park, and the train
follows it San Juanward. The noble Sangre de Cristo looms up higher and
higher behind us as we proceed, a mirage lifting the line of cottonwoods
along the Rio Grande into impossibly tall and spindling caricatures of
trees; while the Jemez mountains away to the south are not yet lost to
view, and the striking landmark of Mount San Antonio, smooth and round,
is close at hand. A few miles beyond it the arid level of the
lake-spread plain breaks into white, stony eminences, reared in a bold
front. To surmount these the track is arranged in long, ingenious loops,
in one place, known as the "Whiplash," extending into three parallel
lines, scarcely a stone's throw apart, but disposed terrace-like on the
hillside. On top of the mesa the sage-brush disappears, grass, piñons
and yellow pines taking its place, and we begin to wind among the long,
straight lava ridges at the foot of the divide between the Los Pinos and
the Chama, whence the backward view is remarkably fine. The road here is
like a goat's path in its vagaries, and wagers are made as to the point
of the compass to be aimed at five minutes in advance, or whether the
track on the opposite side of the _crevasse_ is the one we have just
come over, or are now about to pursue.

Describing a number of large curves around constantly deepening
depressions, we reached the breast of a mountain, whence we obtained our
first glimpse into Los Pinos valley; and it came like a sudden
revelation of beauty and grandeur. The approach had been picturesque and
gentle in character. Now we found our train clinging to a narrow pathway
carved out far up the mountain's side, while great masses of a volcanic
conglomerate towered overhead, and the face of the opposing heights
broke off into bristling crags. The river sank deeper and deeper into
the narrowing vale, and the space beneath us to its banks was
excitingly precipitous. We crowded upon the platform, the outer step of
which sometimes hung over an abyss that made us shudder, till some
friendly bank placed itself between us and the almost unbroken descent.
But we learned to enjoy the imminent edge, along which the train crept
so cautiously, and begrudged every instant that the landscape was shut
out by intervening objects.

To say that the vision here is grand, awe-inspiring, painfully
impressive or memorable, falls short of the truth in each case. It is
too much to take in at once, and we were glad to pause again for a
little brain-rest at a telegraph station, hung almost like a bird's nest
among the rocks,--to grow used by degrees to the stupendous picture
spread before us. We were so high that not only the bottom of the
valley, where the silver ribbon of the Los Pinos trailed in and out
among the trees, and underneath the headlands, but even the wooded tops
of the further rounded hills were below us, and we could count the dim,
distant peaks in New Mexico.

Six miles ahead lay the cañon of which we had heard so much,--the Toltec
Gorge, whose praises could not be overdrawn. Evidently his majesty had
entrenched himself in glories beside which any ordinary monarch would
lose his magnificence. Was this king of cañons really so great he could
afford to risk all rivalry? Here, on the left, what noble martello-tower
of native lava is that which stands undizzied on the very brink of the
precipice? I should like to roll it off, and watch it cut a swath
through that puny forest down there, and dam up the whole stream with
its huge breadth. How these passages of spongy rock resound as our
engine drags the long train we have again mounted through their lofty
portals! How narrow apparently are these curved and smooth embankments
that carry us across the ravines, and how spidery look the firmly-braced
bridges that span the torrents! All the way the road-bed is heaped up or
dug out artificially. It is merely a shelf near the summit. It hugs the
wall like a chamois-stalker, creeping stealthily out to the end of and
around each projecting spur; it explores every in-bending gulch, boldly
strides across the water channels, and walks undismayed upon the utmost
verge, where rough cliffs overhang it, and the gulf sinks away hundreds
of feet beneath.

In the most secluded nook of the mountains we come upon Phantom Curve,
with its company of isolated rocks, made of stuff so hard as to have
stood upright, tall, grotesque, and sunburned, beside the pigmy firs and
cowering boulders with which they are surrounded. Miles away you can
trace these black pinnacles, like sentinels, mid-way up the slopes; but
here at hand they fill the eye, and in their fantastic resemblance to
human shapes and things we know in miniature, seem to us crumbled images
of the days when there were giants, and men of Titanic mold set up
mementoes of their brawny heroes,--

                "Achaian statues in a world so rich!"

_Phantoms_, they are called, and the statuesque shadows they cast,
moving mysteriously along the white bluffs, as the sun declines, are
uncanny and ghost-like, perhaps; but the brown, rough, grandly grouping
monoliths of lava themselves, are no more phantoms than are the pyramids
of Sahara, and beside them the Theban monuments of the mighty Rameses
would sink into insignificance.

Winding along the slender track, among these solemn forms, we approach
the gorge, the vastly seamed and wrinkled face of whose opposite wall
confronts us under the frown of an intense shade,--unused to the light
from all eternity; but on this, the sunny side, a rosy pile, lifts its
massive head proudly far above us, its square, fearless forehead,--

                "Fronting heaven's splendor,
                Strong and full and clear."

How should we pass it? On the right stood the solid palisade of the
sierra, rising unbroken to the ultimate heights; on the left the gulf,
its sides more and more nearly vertical, more and more terrible in their
armature of splintered ledges and pike-pointed tree-tops,--more often
breaking away into perpendicular cliffs, whence we could hurl a pebble,
or ourselves, into the mad torrent easily seen but too far below to be
heard; and as we draw nearer, the rosy crags rise higher and more
distinct across our path. We turn a curve in the track, the cars leaning
toward the inside, as if they, too, retreated from the look down into
that "vasty deep," and lo! a gateway tunneled through,--the barrier is

The blank of the tunnel gives one time to think. Pictures of the
beetling, ebony-pillared cliffs linger in the retina suddenly deprived
of the reality, and reproduce the seamed and jagged rocks in fiery
similitude upon the darkness, in a twinkling the impression fades, and
at the same instant you catch a gleam of advancing light, and dash out
into the sunshine,--into the sunshine only? Oh, no, out into the
air,--an awful leap abroad into invisibly bounded space; and you catch
your breath, startled beyond self-control!

Then it is all over, and you are still on your feet, listening to the
familiar ring of the brown walls as they fly past.

What was it you saw that made your breathing cease, and the blood chill
in your heart with swift terror? It is hard to remember; but there
remains a feeling of an instant's suspension over an irregular chasm
that seemed cut to the very center of the earth, and, to your dilated
eye, gleamed brightly at the bottom, as though it penetrated even the
realms of Pluto. You knew it opened outwardly into the gorge, for there
in front stood the mighty wall, bracing the mountain far overhead, and
below flashed the foaming river. This is the sum of your recollection,
photographed upon your brain by a mental process more instantaneous than
any application of art, and never to be erased. Gradually you conclude
that the train ran directly out upon a short trestle, one end of which
rests in the mouth of the tunnel, and the other in the jaws of a rock,
cutting. This is the fact; but the traveler reasons it out, for he
cannot see the support beneath his car, which, to all intents, takes a
flying bound across a cleft in the granite eleven hundred measured feet
in depth.

[Illustration: PHANTOM ROCKS.]

Our train having halted, the Artist sought a favorable position for
obtaining the sketch of Toltec Gorge which adorns these pages, the
Photographer became similarly absorbed, and the remaining members of the
expedition zealously examined a spot whose counterpart in rugged and
inspiring sublimity probably does not exist elsewhere in America. A few
rods up the cañon a thin and ragged pinnacle rises abruptly from the
very bottom to a level with the railway track. This point has been
christened Eva Cliff, and when we had gained its crest by dint of much
laborious and hazardous climbing over a narrow gangway of rocks, by
which it is barely connected with the neighboring bank, our exertions
were well repaid by the splendid view of the gorge it afforded.

Just west of the tunnel, and close beside the track, the rocks have been
broken and leveled into a small smooth space, and here, on the 26th of
September, 1881, that gloomiest day in the decade for our people, were
celebrated as impressive memorial services for GARFIELD, the noble man
and beloved president, then lying dead on his stately catafalque in
Cleveland, as were anywhere seen. The weather itself, in these remote
and lonely mountains, seemed in unison with the sadness of the nation,
for heavy black clouds swept overhead, and the wind made solemn moanings
in the shaken trees. It was under circumstances so fittingly mournful
that an excursion party, gathered from nearly every state in the Union,
paused to express the universal sorrow, and to conceive the foundation
of the massive monument which catches the traveler's eye on the brink of
the gorge, and upon whose polished tablet are engraved these words:

             /             IN MEMORIAM.        \
            /                                   \
           /          JAMES ABRAM GARFIELD,      \
          /                                       \
          |                                       |
          |       DIED SEPTEMBER 19, 1881,        |
          |                                       |
          |       MOURNED BY ALL THE PEOPLE.      |
          |                                       |
          |  Erected by Members of the National   |
          |  Association of General Passenger and |
          \  Ticket Agents, who held Memorial     /
           \    Burial Services on this spot,    /
            \       September 26, 1881.         /
             \                                 /
              +-------------------------------+ ]


                       ALONG THE SOUTHERN BORDER.

            There in the gorges that widen, descending
            From cloud and from cold into summer eternal,
            Gather the threads of the ice-gendered fountains,--
            Gather to riotous torrents of crystal,
            And giving each shelvy recess where they dally
            The blooms of the north and its evergreen turfage.
                                             --BAYARD TAYLOR.

Though the climax of the pass to the sight-seer is Toltec Gorge, the
actual crest of the Pinos-Chama divide is at Cumbres, some fifteen miles
westward, and several hundred feet higher. After leaving Toltec, the
brink of the cliff is skirted for some time, and many grand and exciting
views are presented; but the stream is broken into cascades, and rapidly
rises to the plane of the track. Passing a number of snow-sheds, the
train is soon twisting around shallow side ravines, and at last, after
making a great circle of nearly a mile, there comes a stoppage of that
dragging sensation which the wheels impart on an upward grade, and the
cars halt on the little level space at the summit. From Antonito to
Cumbres the maximum ascent to the mile is only seventy-five feet, while
on the western slope the descent per mile reaches two hundred and eleven
feet. This intrepid railway crosses the main ranges of the Rocky
Mountains over seven or eight distinct passes; and in every instance the
locating engineers have followed one water-course upward to its head,
and another downward to the valley, finding invariably the sources of
these oppositely-flowing brooks to be in springs only a few feet or rods
apart at the top. In the present case so slight is the separation that
we seem to stop beside the Los Pinos, and to start beside Wolf Creek.
Although at an altitude of about 9,500 feet, the neat station buildings
at Cumbres are located in a depressed indentation, whence the
surrounding hills shut off all outlook.

Our train is scarcely in motion again, however, ere a deep gully opens
at our feet, and we commence to crawl cautiously around the protruding
face of Cumbres Mountain, with its curiously-piled top of red and gray
sandstone, and its precipitous front, in which is hewn midway a shelf
for the track. Beyond this we pass a great curve, and then overlook a
beautiful valley, which leads down into the broad basin through which
the Rio Chama pursues its way southeasterly to its junction with the
Rio Grande at Chamita. The view here is picturesque, and well worthy the
reproduction our artist has seen fit to give it. There are glimpses of
far-off, white-edged mesa-lands, with spaces of shadowy cobalt between.
The brook sinks deeper, and its grassy banks are full of yellow and
purple asters, in brightest bloom, glorifying the whole hillside up to
where, a short distance from its bed, begins the solid spruce and aspen
forest. Near Lobato, the track crosses from one tawny ridge to another,
on a lofty iron bridge, and we note that Wolf Creek is here a lovely
stream, with many cozy nooks in which the sportsman may pitch his tent,
and are informed that the water is full of trout, while the wooded
mountain slopes abound in large and small game. Once down in the valley,
the way is through smooth lawns and pleasant groves until Chama is
reached, and here we pause to ask questions about sheep.

Our cars were set aside in the very woods, far from the noisy station; a
Y runs southward there, the germ perhaps of a railway down the river to
Chamita, where it may join the southern line. All about us are the
never-silent pines, and the breezes that whisper among their rugged
branches blow laden with balsamic odors. Close by is the Rio Chama,
hidden between dense and continuous thickets, through which the cattle
can tell you of winding and mysterious paths. Everything in the
landscape is soft and peaceful. The grass lies green and tender; the
rounded clusters of willows, blending with the glowing masses of poplar
behind them, bright in their new autumn colors, make no sharp line
against the pine copse, nor this against the swelling, gaily-clothed
background of the hills above.

Through this utterly wild, yet richly modulated scene, the Madame and I
rode off one morning down to Tierra Amarilla, leaving our companions to
angle for finny beauties. For miles the two mules trotted gaily with us
through alternate groups of gigantic yellow pines and open stretches of
grassy upland, where now and then we struck panic into the hearts of a
flock of sheep. Then signs of ranch-life began, and some cattle were
met; and ten miles from Chama we came upon the thrifty plazita of Los
Brazos (the Arms), surrounded by a wide district of farming land. This
continued three miles, and centered in a second hamlet, Los Ojos (the
Springs), where there were several shops; thence two miles more, across
a sage-brush terrace, took us to our destination.

Though the post-office has restricted the use of the name to this
village, the whole region, on account of its peculiar beds of ochre
earth, was formerly known as La Tierra Amarilla. This has been
abbreviated, not only in spelling, but in speaking, until its ordinary
pronunciation is Terr-amaréea. In 1837 a tract forty miles square, in
this part of the valley of the Chama, was granted by the Mexican
government to Señor Manuel Martin and his eight sons. There was a
failure to ratify the matter somehow, and in 1860, old Manuel having
died, his eldest son, Francisco Martin, applied to the Surveyor-General
of the United States to have the grant confirmed to him, his brothers
"and their companions" resident thereon. The Surveyor-General, however,
struck the "companions" out, and ratified the grant only to the heirs of
Manuel Martin. When this was discovered, Francisco, with the consent of
his brothers, at once gave to each incumbent the land he occupied, and a
deed for the same. Soon after this the Martins sold out all the domain,
getting scarcely ten thousand dollars for the whole million of acres,
which passed chiefly into the hands of a gentleman of Santa Fe. The next
proprietor is to be an English company, which proposes to colonize the
tract with British farmers and stock-raisers. The price paid, it is
said, amounts to more than two millions of dollars. Pending these
successive arrangements, the unfortunate settlers found their deeds
valueless, because of informality,--a neglect not at all strange in a
Mexican hidalgo. On the point of being ousted of their supposed
proprietary rights, if not actually dispossessed, they bethought
themselves of a lucky law of the territory, which gives ownership to
anyone who can show a color of title, and undisputed possession for ten
years. This statute saved them, and they will be bought out by the

Farming here hardly yields enough of grain to meet the local demand,
except in the oat crop. The soil is good, the irrigating facilities very
large and convenient, timber is plenty, and the climate superb. Yet only
a portion of the wide, fertile bottom-land is under cultivation, and the
valley invites intelligent immigration with an array of inducements
unusual in New Mexico.

But there is no laxity in the matter of wool-producing, a full million
of sheep belonging at Tierra Amarilla, distributed among about two
hundred owners. These are never sold, except under stress of need for
money, when they bring from one to two dollars each. The value of the
total flock, then, will be somewhat over a million of dollars; while the
annual production of wool will amount to more than two millions of
pounds, worth more or less than half a million dollars, according to the
price of wool. Its natural outlet to market is through Chama and Amargo.
Early in September the flocks are started on their march to the southern
part of the territory, where they can feed unharmed by winter storms.

I do not know a better place to study the primitive life of New Mexico,
with all its quaint features; and the traveler who follows our example,
and digresses long enough to ride down to the settlements I have
mentioned, will not regret his short divergence from the beaten track.

Resuming the iron trail westward from Chama, all the way to Willow Creek
the same beautiful parks of yellow pine continued, and the track crossed
and recrossed a sparkling brook. Passing the mines of excellent
bituminous coal at Monero, and surmounting a low water shed, which is in
reality the continental divide, the deeply-notched tops of the Sierra
Madre came into view in the north, and we spanned the first of the many
streams that flow down from it into the Rio San Juan. A birds-eye view
of this well-wooded and almost flat region, just on the line between
Colorado and New Mexico, would have shown it to consist of a series of
low, slightly-tilted ridges, parallel with which ran the serpentine and
deeply-sunken rivers.

The first or easternmost of these streams is the Rio Navajo, encountered
near Amargo, and up to which, all the way from Chama, nothing is to be
found save grazing land, devoted mainly to sheep. Though its bottoms
available for agriculture are probably broader than the water it
contains is able to irrigate, far more farming remains to be done here
than has yet been undertaken. The Rio San Juan, into which the Rio
Navajo empties just west of Juanita, is the great drainage channel of
this portion of Colorado and New Mexico, and a river of power even here.
Its crystal-clear waters to-day prattle innocently, but they sometimes
come down from the heights like an Indian raid, a besom of destruction
for anything not as firmly anchored as the granite buttresses of the
hills themselves.

From Amargo,--there is no end of bloody history attached to El Amargo
and its fine cañon, dating from the early days of settlement, Indian
fighting and border ruffianism,--runs the old stage-road northward to
Pagosa Springs, Animas City, and the interior mines. The tales of that
thoroughfare would furnish a whole library of flash literature without
going much astray from the truth.

Pagosa is the far-famed "big medicine" of the Utes,--the greatest
thermal fountains on the continent. "The largest of these springs is at
least forty feet in diameter, and hot enough to cook an egg in a few
minutes. Carbonic acid gas and steam bubble up in great quantities from
the bottom, and keep the surface always in a state of agitation. The
water has the faculty of dividing the light into its component colors,
producing effects very similar to those of the opalescent glass of
commerce. Around the large spring, and extending for a mile down the
creek, are innumerable smaller ones, many of which discharge vast
amounts of almost boiling water. These, being highly charged with saline
matter, have produced by deposition all, or nearly all, of the ground in
their vicinity, and their streams meander through its cavernous
structure, often disappearing and reappearing many times before they
finally emerge into the river. This spot must become a great popular
resort. Its plentifully timbered and mountainous surroundings enhance
the interest it otherwise possesses for the traveler and health-seeker,
and the medicinal value of the springs claims the attention of all who
can afford time to visit them.

"The village of Pagosa Springs is situated about four miles south of the
base of the San Juan range, upon the immediate southeastern bank of the
Rio San Juan. It consists of a group of dwellings, stores, and
bath-houses, among which the steam of the hot springs issues in such
clouds as at times to render the entire place invisible. Immediately
above the town, on the opposite side of the river, rises a flat-topped,
isolated hill, whose summit contains a plateau large enough to liberally
accommodate the government post which has been erected there. Utilizing
the pines so abundant in the neighborhood, the buildings are all made of
logs; and model log-houses they are. A more inviting military camp, both
as regards location and construction, could not well be conceived."

Pagosa lies in the heart of that splendid pine forest, which covers a
tract one hundred and thirty miles east and west by from twenty to forty
miles north and south. Here the trees grow tall and straight, and of
enormous size. No underbrush hides their bright, clean shafts, and,
curiously enough, it is only in special locations that any low ones are
to be found. These monarchs of the forest seem to be the last of their
race, and, like the Indians, are doomed very soon to disappear. They are
of immense value, for they form a huge storehouse of the finest lumber
in a country poorly supplied in general with such material.

The vicinity of the springs is destined to yield large crops under
irrigation, though at present there is little settlement there. Mexicans
pasture their sheep as thickly as the fields will hold them; and try to
give their flocks a few days in the basin at least once each season,
believing that the drinking of the waters is of great benefit to the
animals. Though the upper valley of the San Juan is unlikely to prove
very profitable as agricultural land, the lower parts, in New Mexico,
are the scene of extensive and highly successful Indian farming
operations. The next stream westward, however, the Rio de las Nutrias
(River of Rabbits), has good ranches, and so has the Rio de las Piedras
(Stony river), the Rio Florida (River of Flowers), the Rio de los Pinos
(Pine river), and the Rio de las Animas Perdidas (River of Lost Souls),
up whose valley we turned sharply when a few miles from Durango. But
thus far only a fraction of the tillable soil has been located on.

At Amargo,--for in this sketch of the rivers I have run ahead of our
actual progress,--we find several hundred Apaches waiting to receive
their rations, it being the weekly issuing day. Three of the redskins
importune us for a ride, and we take them upon our platform, having
entomological objections against offering them the hospitalities of the
interior of the car. Our fund of Spanish is mutually limited, but one of
us has a fair knowledge of the sign language, learned in former
wanderings among the Dakotas and Kalispelm; and while these Apaches
never heard of either of those great northern nations of red men, they
readily understand most of the signs, though frequently showing us with
great good nature that their way of expressing an idea is by a somewhat
different gesture.

[Illustration: TOLTEC GORGE.]

Our visitors were men of medium size, beardless, and very dark. Their
hair was coal black, straight, parted in the middle, carefully combed,
and gathered into two braids, the end of each being ornamented with a
feather or a tuft of yarn. They wore woolen shirts, the original colors
of which were lost in dirt; buckskin leggings, with fringes on the outer
seam; moccasins of poorly tanned sheepskin, pointed at the toe and
decorated with fringes. Bright scarlet blankets, marked U. S. I. D; were
wrapped around their waists or drawn over their hatless polls. Each man
carried a sheath-knife at his belt, and a bow with about a dozen arrows
wrapped in a sheepskin case. Their features expressed much intelligence
and good humor, easily breaking into chuckles of laughter, for they
enjoyed studying us quite as much as we did them.

These Indians were Jicarilla Apaches, another branch of what was
originally the same great tribe being the Mescalero Apaches, of southern
New Mexico. The Jicarillas number about eight hundred souls, all told,
and are apportioned into five bands, under as many chiefs, the most
influential of whom is _Huarito_ (Little Blonde), though he has no
nominal headship. Their reservation extends thirty-three miles southward
from the Colorado line, and is sixteen miles in breadth. On account of
the severity of the winters about Amargo, the Government moved these
Indians, during the autumn of 1883, to Fort Stanton, reuniting them
there with the Mescaleros, on the reservation of the latter. Whether
this experiment will "work" remains to be seen, as more than half the
tribe were dissatisfied, and avowed their intention of returning in the
following spring.

Amargo cañon which is always pretty, and sometimes approaches grandeur,
extends westward to Juanita. There it widens out and disappears in a
series of little parks, where the mountains diminish into pine-clad
hills. For the next score of miles we skirt the turbulent Rio San Juan;
but just west of Arboles, where it receives the Rio de las Piedras, we
leave it, the road making a long detour, and climbing up and away from
the stream, to a wide, rolling mesa. Descending again, La Boca is
reached, where we cross the Rio de los Pinos, clear, rapid, and of good
size, which we follow up to Ignacio.

At this point is another Indian Agency,--that for the Southern Utes,
under an aged head-chief after whom the station is named. There are
somewhat over eight hundred Indians here, divided into three or four
bands under sub chiefs. Their reservation, which the railway traverses
from where it re-enters Colorado, near Carracas, nearly to the Rio
Florida, measures about sixteen miles north and south, and over one
hundred miles east and west. These Utes are considered far more
intelligent than the Apaches, and their conduct is more taciturn and
dignified. Though not congregating in any considerable numbers along the
track, they are not unfriendly to the whites, and daily wander about the
streets of Durango. They are now the only Indians occupying a
reservation within the limits of Colorado.

The members of both tribes are allowed to ride free at will on passenger
trains, and the railway company has never experienced the slightest
trouble from them. Liquor is kept from their reach as much as possible.
Gambling is their passion.

Approaching Ignacio the train runs through shady lowlands, and passes,
here and there, groups of teepees, the swarthy occupants of each lodge
stepping out and standing motionless as statues in the shrubbery,
watching us sweep by. The Rio Florida, which is soon crossed, is alive
with trout, and along its upper course is excellent shooting. The whole
region is undulating, green-carpeted, and covered with large
yellow-boled pines, through which we catch magnificent mountain-views
northward. Near Carboneria, the track describes two tremendous loops, in
getting down from the table lands to the valley, and presently, rounding
the mountain spur, reaches the Rio de las Animas, which it parallels
into Durango, along a cutting through gravel and rock some distance
above the bed of the stream.

Toward the last we had seen evidences of the great La Plata coalfield,
to which I must devote a paragraph. It extends from the Rio de los Pinos
almost to the southwestern corner of Colorado, and has been tapped in
many places. This field is in sandstones and shales of the cretaceous
age, divided into the upper and lower measures, about 1,000 feet apart.
The lower coal measure is in a zone of shaly sandstones which are about
300 feet thick, and when separated from the shale is of excellent
quality for domestic use. This lower measure is underlaid by a bed of
dark gray shale, containing calcareous seams and nodules, called
septaria. The La Plata coal-bed reaches from the east end of the county
for over sixty miles, and is crossed by the river. The thickness of the
entire bed between the floor and the roof is over fifty feet, and it
contains about forty feet of good coal, free from shale. The floor, of
grayish white sandstone, is covered with a thin layer of clay and clay
shale. Upon this is a layer of compact, firm coal, six to eight feet
thick; then a layer of tough black shale, one and a half to two feet
thick. The remainder is a bed of excellent coal with only small seams of
shale at intervals of four to ten feet. The "roof" is a tough shaly
sandstone, alternating with true shales for a distance of several
hundred feet above the coal-bed, and containing two or three small veins
of coal.

Durango is beautifully located on the eastern bank of the river, the
commercial portion being on the first or lower bench, and the residences
on the second or higher plateau. Thus the homes of the people occupy a
sightly position, apart from the turmoil of traffic, while lofty
mountains and wall-like cliffs shelter the valley on all sides. Though
founded only in the autumn of 1880, the city now contains a population
of over five thousand, and is the most important point in southern
Colorado. Here centers the business whose operations extend throughout
the entire mountain system, and into the tillage and stock-raising
districts of northwestern New Mexico. The great supply stores, with
their heavy assortments of general merchandise, indicate a jobbing trade
of no mean dimensions, and one which is steadily growing; while the
extensive and elegant retail shops, unsurpassed in the state outside of
Denver, bear evidence to the refined demands and prosperity of the
citizens. Here also are concentrated the social, religious and school
advantages which make up an intellectual nucleus. Its low altitude and
easy accessibility render the town desirable as a temporary home for
those engaged in mining, but who care not to endure the rigors of the
long winter among boreal fastnesses. The banks of Durango are
substantial institutions, and the hotels are commodious. Municipal
improvements are being judiciously added, the most prominent for 1883
having been the erection of water-works, while street cars and gas-works
are contemplated at an early day. The smelting of ores is carried on
here actively and successfully, the convenience of coal, coke and
fluxes, and the hauling of the ores down hill, giving the place marked
advantages for this industry. Superior opportunities are likewise
presented for a great variety of manufactures, foremost among them being
iron and steel productions,--iron ore, limestone and all other necessary
ingredients abounding in the locality, and being of easy access. The
fall of the stream,--two hundred feet per mile,--supplies a water-power
of never failing volume. Of late the city has been extending its limits,
and now one may find an attractive ward, with cosy cottages and more
pretentious houses across the river, and in the twilight shadow of the
majestic bluffs which here rise precipitously a thousand feet. Taken all
in all, no frontier town within our ken shows a more vigorous and
healthy growth, or brighter promise for the future, than Durango on the


                        THE QUEEN OF THE CAÑONS.

                Receding now, the dying numbers ring
            Fainter and fainter down the rugged dell,
                And now the mountain breezes scarcely bring
            A wandering witch note of the distant spell,--
            And now, 'tis silent all--Enchantress, fare-thee-well.
                                             --WALTER SCOTT.

When, some ten years ago, the writer had let his mule down into Baker's
Park, by hitching its wiry tail around successive snubbing-posts, the
prediction was ventured that at some distant day a railway would
penetrate these solitudes; and that it would approach from the
southward, through a cañon which not even an Indian had ever been known
to traverse,--the trails in that direction then leading over a terrible
range, at a height far above the limit of vegetation. The prophecy has
been verified, for the Denver and Rio Grande has already pushed its
southwestern extension through the Cañon of the Animas, reaching
Silverton in July, 1882.

Here the cores of the Rocky Mountains have been buried beneath an
overflow of eruptive rock spreading over four thousand five hundred
square miles of territory; or else, along with the sandstones and slates
which were deposited against their sides, they have been metamorphosed
into schists and quartzites. "The character of the volcanic rocks
throughout the district," says Dr. Hayden's report, "is one of extreme
interest, demonstrating an enormous amount of activity during a probably
short period of time (geologically speaking), which activity was,
nevertheless, accompanied by a comparatively large number of changes in
the chemical and physical qualities of the ejected material."

This geological composition gives to these mountains,--and particularly
to the quartzite peaks along the southern border of the eruptive
area,--a different appearance from any of the northern Rockies,--a more
precipitous, Alpine and grander countenance, with sharp pinnacles,
tremendous vertically walled chasms, and extensive forests of spruce
clothing their lower declivities. In no other locality are so many very
lofty summits to be seen crowded together. Sierra Blanca and two or
three other single peaks in Colorado and Wyoming slightly outrank any
here; but nowhere else can be found whole groups of mountains holding
their heads up to fourteen thousand feet, and having great valleys
almost at timber-line.

The old maps bear the name Sierra Madre, to designate these heights,
whose snowy crests filled the northern horizon and forbade the advance
of Spanish exploration. The word admits of various applications, but one
which might well have been in the mind of him who first used it, is that
this vast highland is the mighty _Mother_ of our rivers. From its
western slopes flow the rivulets that unite to make the Gunnison and
Grand,--one of the forks of the Rio Colorado. Easterly, but on its
northern face, bubbles the great spring which forms the very source of
the Rio Grande del Norte. Every gulch upon its southern breast feeds the
rushing streams that furnish to the Rio San Juan all the water it gets
for its long journey through the wilderness.

[Illustration: EVA CLIFF.]

Silverton is forty five miles due north from Durango; and after leaving
the latter point the road leads straight up the Animas valley, here
broad and fertile, with green rounded hills sweeping up on each side.
Now and then these exchange their softly curving outlines for a
bluff-like form, exposing long vari-colored strata of cretaceous
sandstones, unbroken, but inclined upward toward the north, where their
beds have been gently lifted by a slow upheaval of the mountains. There
is much color in this part of the landscape, especially now, when the
rains of August have put a spring-like freshness of tint upon everything
verdant. The low, treeless benches between the track and the foot of the
hills, the open places beside the river, and the pasture-lands are all
glorious in a dense mass of sun-flowers, which stand knee-high, with
blossoms scarcely larger than a dollar. Thus the outlines of the ridges
running in endless succession down to the water's edge, are defined in
gilded ranks, that rise behind one another for miles as you proceed. The
whole foreground is enchromed; and this valley is the veritable home of

A belt of cedars and dense shrubs stands along the base of the
mountains; then perhaps a bare steep space of uniform dull green
displays the tone of mingled bunch grass and sage-brush; next will
appear a wall of red sandstone set at an angle, and contrasting richly
in shades varying from dull vermillion to deep maroon, with the
ochre-yellow, white or bluish gray of the rocks surmounting it.
Occasionally these capping-stones show themselves in long, well exposed
strata, slanting to the horizon; sometimes here and there they simply
crop out in water-worn crags; again they will be lost altogether under
the fringing shrubbery that overhangs the low forehead of the bluff. It
is fifteen miles before the valley narrows in, and throughout this whole
extent of bottom-land the ground is tilled from the river-brink to the
stony uplands on either side, the fall of the water being so great that
irrigation is easy. Ranches succeed each other without any waste land
between, and I do not know any portion of the Far West (this side of
Salt Lake basin) where the farms seem as thrifty or the houses so
comfortable and pleasant. Every sort of grain is raised, and the yield
to an acre is large, as must always be the case where the soil is rich,
the weather uniform, and the ranchman able to control his water-supply
and apply it as he sees need. Garden-produce is much attended to, also,
for there is more profit in it than even in grain. Hay and its
substitutes, alfalfa and lucerne, take high rank in the list, and of the
two last named it is customary to cut three crops annually. In the
winter of 1880-81 baled hay was worth $120 and $140 a ton in Durango,
while one man told me that it cost him almost $500 a ton to get a supply
to his mine in an emergency. In those days the farmer had as good a mine
as any on the sources of his river. Such prices will probably never
prevail again, now that the railway brings hay and feed from Kansas; but
the resident producer can still compete with import figures at a
handsome profit.

[Illustration: GARFIELD MEMORIAL.]

Two or three miles above Durango we pass Animas City, a small village of
unpainted houses, which had an existence and an exciting history long
years before its prosperous neighbor was dreamed of; and six miles
farther come upon Trimble Springs, directly at the foot of the high bank
which here confronts the western side of the valley. It is a singular
coincidence, perhaps, that within easy distance and access of all the
larger towns or population centers in Colorado, mineral springs are
found, whose virtues are sufficiently marked to warrant development,
thus supplying each neighborhood its own sanitary as well as pleasure
resort. Trimble Springs occupies this relation to both Durango and
Silverton, and is greatly frequented by the dwellers in these towns,
besides numerous visitors from more remote points. A capacious hotel, of
attractive exterior, and admirably arranged and furnished within,
affords the comforts of a home. Near by is the bath-house, one hundred
feet in length, and equipped in the most approved modern style, with all
varieties of baths. The temperature of the water as it comes from the
ground is 126° F., and iron, soda and magnesia are the predominating
qualities, in the order named, while there is also much free carbolic
acid gas. The record of cures effected here contains many cases of
rheumatism, liver and kidney complaints, and chronic blood and skin
diseases; while it is averred that the use of the waters will entirely
eradicate the tobacco habit. The temperature is equable, and the
surroundings romantic. The river supplies excellent trout-fishing, and
the hunter will find an abundance of game in the adjacent foothills. The
place must grow in popularity, as it becomes more widely known; for, as
the Madame declared, "it excels the White Mountains in scenic features,
not to mention the superiority of its thermal founts, and the charm of
its climate, over any eastern sanitarium." We marveled at the
stateliness of her phrases, but couldn't dispute the facts.

Just at the head of the farming lands, stands the little settlement of
Hermosa. I had been there once before this more auspicious advent, after
two days of dreadfully weary travel over a mountain trail, and had come
down into the valley only to find our much-doubted warnings verified,
and these cabins all deserted. We knew what it meant, but made haste to
feast upon the green corn, and tomatoes, melons and roots of every sort,
which the panic stricken ranchmen had left behind. Stuffing every
available bag and pocket full, we went on to a camping-spot, and
deliberated while we cooked our princely dinner.

It was certain that Indians had driven these settlers away, yet there
were no signs of hostility apparent. There were five of us, and we had
proposed going two hundred miles directly into the Indian country.
Should we proceed, or turn back and abandon our exploration? Perhaps if
we had possessed only our customary bacon and beans we might have
halted; but the luscious corn and melons turned the scale, and we
resolved to go forward. Had we not done so we should have missed the
rare satisfaction of being the first to tell the story of the
Cliff-Dwellers of the Mancos and McElmo. In the nine years which since
have worn their footprints into the trail of events, little change had
come to this particular spot; and I was glad of it, for it left in my
memory a landmark which was lost elsewhere under the obliterating hand
of an eager civilization, that has tamed the primitive wildness we rode
over in 1874.

Above Hermosa, the valley contracts rapidly, and the wide fields give
place to groves of pine, free of underbrush, through which are caught
glimpses of the bright stream sinking away from us on the right. The
railway commences to ascend the western hills, carving its way along
their face, and tracing their shallow undulations by sweeping curves. In
places the sharp stones blasted from the roadbed cover the steep and
forbidding descent for hundreds of feet below us. Now the river has
disappeared, though a rocky ledge marks its cañon confines, the
intervening space is wild and broken, and the pines are denser, with
great blackened trunks. Presently we emerge into a tiny park, and
Rockwood is reached. The location is secluded yet picturesque. Lofty
cliffs and precipitous mountains hem it in on all sides, and the meadows
in the small depression beside the town are fringed with trees, which
are tall and imposing, and yet look more like dwarfed bushes against the
massive background of towering bluffs. A lively village has grown up
here, whose principal stimulus exists in the fact that it is the
forwarding point for the extensive mining district lying between the La
Plata and San Miguel ranges. Rico, the most important camp in that
section, is connected with Rockwood by a good road, thirty-two miles in
length, over which stages and supply-trains make daily trips.

Before leaving Rockwood the train-men are observed to examine critically
the wheels, trucks and couplings of our cars, and we know that something
unusual ahead suggests the precaution.

Moving slowly through a deeply shaded cutting, a sharp outward curve is
rounded, and what a vision greets our astonished eyes! The most
magnificent of all the cañons of the Rockies! The mountain presents a
red granite front, perpendicular for nearly a thousand feet, and midway
between top and bottom has been chiseled from the solid rock a long
balcony or shelf, just wide enough for the track. From far below comes
to our ears the roar of driven waters, and with bated breath we gaze
fearfully over the edge, so perilously near, down, down to where a
bright green torrent urges its impatient way between walls whose jetty
hue no sun-ray relieves. Overhead the beetling precipice towers
ominously, as if about to crush the pigmies who had dared to invade its
storm-swept breast. In its shadow all is silent, weird and awful.

The opposite side of the cañon, scarcely the toss of a pebble away,
rises almost vertically, a smooth, unscalable wall, that gleams like
brightly polished bronze, but is striped with upright lines of shadow,
so that it recalls Scott's picture of Melrose Abbey under the

          "And buttress and buttress alternately
          Seemed carved in ebon and ivory."

Higher up, the wall breaks away into receding hills, on whose grassy and
wooded slopes the sunshine plays hide and seek. A little above the
gorge we can discern where the track turns to the right and crosses on a
long, low trestle, the alcove in the cañon, while in the loftier heights
beyond, the verdure-clad mountains are seen rising into shapely cones
and coquetting with the fleecy clouds. Such were the elements of the
sublime view in the Cañon of the Rio de las Animas Perdidas caught and
perpetuated by our Artist.

Beyond the opening the defile again closes into so narrow a compass that
the pines and spruces clinging precariously to the cliffs mingle in a
dim arch that spans the chasm. Again the train is creeping cautiously
along a dizzy brink, while an hundred feet below the pent-up flood is
forcing its passage through the unworn and pitilessly hard rocks. The
water is still green as emerald, and has the same luminous quiver and
transparence of verdancy which the gem possesses. What gives it that
vivid color here in this dark recess?--anything but the fact that it is
surcharged with the air caught in its turbulence? We can see great
nebulæ of submerged bubbles racing by, meteor-like, too swiftly to rise
at once to the glassy surface. Niagara, below the Falls, has that same
wonderful, deep green tint. Imprison Niagara, or only so much of it as
you could span with a stone's throw; contract its upright, volcanic
walls into a crevice sixty feet wide--turn the river up on edge, as it
were--and send it down that black, resounding flume, with all the
impetus of a twenty-mile race,--then you have an image of this "River of
Lost Souls," in the wildest portion of its marvelous channel.

The building of the railway, for the first mile north of Rockwood,
exceeded in its daring any work even in the famous Grand Cañon of the
Arkansas. The engineer who had charge of the construction showed the
Madame a picture one of his surveyors drew of the manner in which the
location was made. Evidently the draughtsman took his observations from
the water's edge, where his vista was between two walls of natural
masonry, and was limited by the side of the gorge which bent sharply
there. This wall was vertical and smooth, for almost a thousand feet
from its base. From that height were seen hanging spider-web-like ropes,
down which men, seeming not much larger than ants, were slowly
descending, while others (perched upon narrow shelves in the face of the
cliffs, or in trifling niches from which their only egress was by the
dangling ropes), sighted through their theodolites from one ledge to the
other, and directed where to place the dabs of paint indicating the
intended roadbed. Similarly suspended, the workmen followed the
engineers, drilling holes for blasting, and tumbling down loose
fragments, until they had won a foothold for working in a less
extraordinary manner. Ten months of steady labor were spent on this
cañon-cutting,--months of work on the brink of yawning abysses and in
the midst of falling rocks, yet not one serious accident occurred.
"Often it seemed as though another hair's distance or straw's weight
would have sent me headlong over the edge," said the chief engineer, and
no doubt all his subordinates could say the same. The expense attending
such construction was of necessity great, the outlay for this single
mile aggregating about $140,000.

Crossing the handsome bridge shown in our sketch, the course of the road
thereafter is generally on the eastern bank of the stream, although it
is recrossed a few times where, by this expedient, expensive excavation
could be avoided. The water gradually rises to the level of the track,
which is henceforth rarely a rod above it. Often in making a curve, one
obtains a charming view up the river, with its gracefully drooping
borders of willows and aspens. Everywhere the mountains are close at
hand on either side, and a goat could scarcely climb their inaccessible

Presently a halt is made, and as we alight, such a picture is presented
as it may never be our fortune to again behold. The cañon is compressed
into a narrow fissure among mountains of supreme height, whose fronts
are in unbroken shadow. At the right a waterfall comes leaping down, to
join the foam-flecked river. In the foreground great banks of moss
sustain gay flowers, while over them nod the stately pines, with swaying
vines, keeping time to the fretful murmur of the water. Between and far
beyond the clear-cut sky-lines of nearer peaks, The Needles lift their
splintered pinnacles into the regions of perpetual snow, wrapped in the
gauze of a wondrous atmosphere, and their crests glowing as with a
golden crown.

Continuing northward, we speedily enter Elk Park, a little valley in the
midst of the range, with sunlit meadows and groups of giant pines. As we
turn from the park, a backward glance discloses the subject of our
frontispiece,--Garfield Peak,--lifting its symmetrical summit a mile
above the track, a peerless landmark among its fellows.

Onward, the everlasting hills are marshalled, and among them for miles
the cañon maintains its grandeur. Frequent cascades, glistening like
burnished silver in the sunlight, leap from crag to crag for a thousand
feet down the mountain sides, to lose themselves in the Animas. Thus
grandly ends this glorious ride, and we sweep out into a green park, and
are at Silverton, in the heart of Silver San Juan.


                            SILVER SAN JUAN.

          The height, the space, the gloom, the glory.
          A mount of marble, a hundred spires!

In introducing some account of the southern side of the San Juan
mountains, as a district producing precious metals, it may be said, in
the first place, that it is a section in which productive mining has
only very lately been prosecuted in earnest. Its prospects are
well-founded; but almost up to the present time, its inaccessibility and
other disadvantages have been obstacles to a development that, under
more favorable conditions, would doubtless have occurred. The scrutiny
to which it has been subjected by sharp and knowing eyes, and such
digging as has been done,--by no means a small amount in the
aggregate,--exhibit the fact that the region is remarkable for its
general richness. That is, profitable ores are to be had nearly
everywhere within its limits; hardly a hill can be mentioned where veins
carrying mineral do not abound. Every square mile of its fifty miles
square may safely be assumed to hold one or more good mines. It is
doubtful whether anywhere else in the world there is so large a
territory over which the most valuable metals are so generally diffused.


"Geologically," we are told on high authority, "the veins of the
district are very young, probably having been formed at the close of the
cretaceous or the beginning of the tertiary period. The enormous
eruptions of the trachytic lava cover a continuous area of more than
five thousand square miles. Stress has been laid upon the impregnation
with mineral matter of certain volcanic strata,--a phenomenon that
occurs throughout a large tract of country. This shows that at the time
of the eruptions such conditions existed as were favorable to the
formation of that class of minerals generally termed _ores_. It is
furthermore to be observed that these impregnations occur mainly in the
younger strata. Although the inference can not be drawn that the
fissures were formed at the same time, or shortly after the deposition
of the trachytic lava, it is allowable to assume that at such a period
the material for filling these fissures was existing near the locality
where but lately so thorough an impregnation had taken place. The fact
that the fissures extend at a number of points, downward, through the
older metamorphic rocks, makes it improbable that they should have been
formed by contraction of the cooling masses. Singular as it may seem,
these lodes are devoid of that which is usually classed as
_surface-ore_. Immediately from the surface the perfectly fresh minerals
are taken out. The gangue is hard and solid. An exception is made, of
course, although only to a slight extent, by pyrite, which decomposes
very readily when exposed to the action of atmospheric influences. This
characteristic may be explained in various ways,--by the rapid
decomposition and breaking off of the wall-rocks, carrying with them
portions of the gangue and ore; by the less intense effect of
atmospheric agencies; by the character of the minerals composing the
ore, and by the comparatively short time that these fissures have been
filled. The latter view is the one that would appear as the most

"A difficult question arises, when a decision is to be made, as to the
causes that have produced the formation of the fissures that were
afterward filled. Accepting the theory that volcanic or plutonic
earthquakes have probably produced the larger number of all lode
systems,--and such we have in this case, it will be necessary to find
whence came the requisite force. Along the highest portion of the
quartzite mountains we have an anticlinal axis which can be traced
westward for nearly forty miles, an upheaval that must have a very
perceptible effect on regions adjoining. The idea at first presented
itself that this might have given rise to the formation of the fissures,
but evidence subsequently discovered demonstrates that long before the
eruption of the trachyte, this disturbance had occurred.

"About twenty miles west from the center of the mining region is a
series of isolated groups of volcanic peaks. The highest one of these,
Mount Wilson, reaches an elevation of 14,285 feet above sea level, or
about 5,000 feet above the valley. Lithologically these groups must be
considered younger than the lode-bearing rock of the Animas, and must
therefore have become eruptive later. It seems quite possible that the
disturbance produced by these eruptions may have resulted in the
formation of the present fissures, which subsequently were filled from
that source which supplied so much mineral matter to other neighboring
rocks in the form of impregnation."

This ore, then, may be set down as principally galena,--a lead ore of
silver, frequently enriched by gray copper (tetrahedrite). The high
percentage of lead makes smelting the most rational process of
treatment, and they are generally to be classified as smelting ores.

In several localities, however, of which Parrott City and Mount Sneffels
are chief examples, rich ores of silver are found, nearly or quite
devoid of lead. These come mainly into the group of antimonial ores,
with chlorides and sulphides also. Popularly these ores,--barring the
chloride,--are termed "brittle silver," and on account of the absence of
lead, they are unfit for smelting, but must eventually be treated by a
milling process in which the pulp is subjected to the action of mercury
in amalgamating pans, where the silver is separated from the quartz and
collected by the quicksilver. Antimonial ores, prior to amalgamation,
will require chlorination, that is, roasting with salt, as is done at
the Ontario mine, Utah; while the chlorides and sulphides of silver can
be treated directly, without roasting, as at the mines of the Comstock
lode, Nevada.

The foregoing remarks apply generally to all of the mining districts
mentioned in the present chapter; and their uniform nature is readily
explained by the fact that the whole neighborhood is of the same
geological age, character and origin.

The mines in the immediate vicinity of Silverton, my starting point, are
situated upon, or rather _in_, the lofty mountains which hem in the
little park. Southward of the town, easily recognized by its cloven
peak, stands the Sultan, thirteen thousand five hundred feet in
altitude. Its most noteworthy mines are the "North Star," "Empire,"
"Jennie Parker," and "Belcher." Tower and Round mountains, next
northward, contain several ledges of low-grade galena ores of silver.

Crossing the Animas to the eastern side, King Solomon wears as the
central jewel in his crown another "North Star." It stands upon his very
brow,--one of the loftiest silver deposits in the world, almost fourteen
thousand feet above the restless surf of the Pacific. Here, too, the ore
is galena and gray copper of extraordinarily high grade. A marvelous
trail has been cut through the woods and then nicked into the almost
solid rock of the bald mountain-crest, far above timber-line, or built
out upon balconies of logs, along which burros carry to the mine all its
supplies, and bring down its product. On King Solomon are several other
noteworthy claims, such as the "Shenandoah," "Eclipse," and "Royal

Nothing but a bird or a mountain sheep would be likely to attempt the
almost vertical wall rising from the southern side of Arastra gulch to
culminate in the spires of Hazelton mountain. Coming out into the
valley, however, a road is to be found zigzagging its way up the slope
leading to the principal mines, pierced only a trifle below the border
of stunted spruce-woods. Very likely Dr. Holland was correct in his
poetico-mineralogical statement that

                "Gold-flakes gleam in dim defiles
                And lonely gorges;"

but it is certain that in the San Juan, silver resides upon the loftiest
ledges, where the shadowy peaks form "bridal of the earth and sky."

The group of mines to which I have referred are known as the "Aspen,"
consolidating several names of properties under the ownership of the San
Juan and New York Mining and Smelting company, which is also proprietor
of the smelter at Durango.

Sitting in a cozy office one evening, with two or three pleasant
visitors, the conversation fell upon the other side of the year, for the
last man came in rubbing his knuckles as though it were cold.

"Ha, ha!" laughed the merry Madame, glancing out at the ashy-gray peaks,
which were wan in the new moonlight with autumn's first white dusting;
and, as she laughed, she quoted

                "Once he sang of summer,
                Nothing but the summer;
                Now he sings of winter,
                Of winter dark and drear;
                Just because a snow-flake
                Has fallen on his forehead,
                He must go and fancy
                'Tis winter all the year."

"Well, it _is_, pretty nearly," comes the quick rejoinder. "I have seen
it snow every day during the last week of August, and the seasons which
do not give us frosts in July are rare. When I first came to Baker's
park I asked a miner what sort of a climate reigned here. 'It's nine
months winter and three months mighty late in the fall!' was his laconic
report, and I have found it a true one.

"You see," he continued, "winter really begins about the first of
November. The superintendent who hasn't got his supplies at his
mine-house by that time had better hurry, for some morning a storm will
begin which will drop three or four feet of snow on a level, and fill
all the small gulches full. Then his chance of packing anything up the
mountain is gone. In 1880, several foremen were surprised in that way,
but the first storm came remarkably early,--the 8th of October,--and on
the 11th the snow was five feet deep. Later there was an open spell,
though, when deficiencies could be made up, but that was only luck."

"But," said the Madame, solicitously, "how can men live in those little
cabins, away up there, all through the terrible winter? I should think
they would freeze, or that avalanches would sweep them away."

"Oh, both those misfortunes can be guarded against. The houses are very
tight and snug, and fuel is carefully stored away. Then, too, the work
is carried on underground, where the temperature is practically
changeless the year 'round, and the men have little occasion to go out
of doors unless they wish to, for the entrance to the mine is under the
shelter of the house-roof. Then, too, the fact is, that bleak and
thoroughly arctic as it looks, the mercury will not fall so low, or at
least will not average as low, up at timber line on Sultan, as it will
down here in town. I suppose the excess of dampness in the valley makes
the difference, which is more apparent to our feelings than even to the

"But the snow-slides are sometimes terrific, are they not?" is asked.

"Terrific? I assure you that word is not half strong enough to express
it. When you go up to Cunningham gulch, and over into the other valleys,
you will see the sides of the mountains, in certain places, utterly bare
of trees two or three thousand feet below the limit of their growth.
That is where they have been swept away and kept down by constantly
recurring avalanches of snow, which in many parts of these ranges are
liable to slip down in masses perhaps a mile square and anywhere from
ten to a hundred feet deep, bringing rocks and everything else with
them. Of course, no sapling could stand such a scraping,--nothing can. I
was in a slide once, and I can appreciate it, I assure you."

"You were!" exclaims the Madame, round-eyed at this. "I thought you said
nothing could stand a snow-slide."

"I didn't attempt to. I went with it, and was carried down the
mountain-side head first,--most of the time under flying clouds of
snow-dust, until I plunged--fortunately feet down--into the compact mass
at the bottom. Then a friend followed and dug me out, happening, by good
luck, to begin his prospecting in just the right place."

"But weren't you smothered; and how did you feel going down?"

"Very nearly smothered; as to the feeling, it was merely a confused
sense of noise, darkness, nothingness, nowhereness, and the sudden end
of all things. Can you understand such a combination of sensations?

"Here in the park," our friend continued, "we don't mind the winter
much. We have enough people to keep one another company, and we have no
end of fun snowshoeing."

"What sort of snow-shoes?" I break the silence to ask.

"The Norwegian _skidors_,--thin boards, ten or twelve feet long, and
slightly turned up in front. There is an arrangement of straps about a
third of the way back from the front end, and that's all there is of it,
though it's a good deal if you don't know how to manipulate--"

"_Ped_ipulate, would hit it closer, wouldn't it?"


"Suit yourself: you won't choose your language so carefully when you
suddenly find yourself filled full of snow, after an involuntary header,
and one or both of your snowshoes going on down the mountain like a
race-horse. If you stay here a winter, though, you must learn, unless
you are willing to remain cooped up in your cabin from November till
May. There is no other possible way of getting about. Before the railway
came, all our mail was snowshoed in, and it was very likely to be
delayed two or three weeks at a time. Then we have debating societies.
'Resolved, That a burro has no rights a miner is bound to respect,' was
our first question one winter--and parties and balls. Formerly, in the
older communities, merchants could easily calculate the extent of their
sales during the cold months, but those in the new camps, the first
winter, sometimes saw hard times.

"We came very near a famine in Rico, the first winter," our visitor
continues. "Nobody could tell just how many people would stay, the
winter closed in unexpectedly early, and, all together, before New
Year's day, it began to be whispered that the supply of 'grub' was
short. As fast as the stores diminished, prices went up, until they were
nearly fabulous. Everybody was on short rations alike. The hotel would
give beds, but no board. One day a miner came in from over the range on
snowshoes, and reached the hotel nearly dead with hunger and exhaustion.
Pfeiffer took pity on him, as an exceptional case. 'I gifs you your
supper,' he said, 'und a ped, und I gifs you one meal to-morrow; after
that you must rustle for yourself.' Flour, bacon, ham, sugar, coffee,
everything, even tobacco, gave out in the shops; and had it not been
that one of the mines which had laid in a large stock of food, shut down
and so sold out, it is probable that the whole camp would have been
obliged to have dragged themselves through the depth of a hundred miles
of February snows, out into the lower country. Comical stories are told
of how the first burro-train load of provisions was distributed."

But in spite of all this isolation, this necessity for elaborate
preparation, the arctic altitude and polar length of the "season of
snows and sins," as Swinburne phrases it, the winter is really the best
time in which to work these silver mines, and the impression that the
San Juan district must be abandoned for half the year, is entirely
wrong, when any thorough system of operations has been projected. Well
sheltered and abundantly fed, removed from the temptations of the
bar-room, which can only be got at by a frightfully fatiguing and
perilous trip on snow-shoes, and settled to the fact that a whole
winter's work lies ahead, there is no season when such steady progress
is possible, either in "dead-work" development or in taking out ore
preparatory to shipment in the spring.

Two little streams come down to the Animas at Silverton--Mineral creek
and Cement creek--the former passing between Sultan and The Anvil, and
the latter between The Anvil and Tower mountains. Up Mineral creek a
dozen miles we find Red mountain, the scene of the latest and richest
discoveries in the San Juan, but which will be considered elsewhere.
Cement creek has several good mines, while beyond, almost on the divide
between the Animas and the Uncompahgre, lies the Poughkeepsie Gulch
camp, which was, not long ago, the locality of a "boom;" and I have the
opinion of a very competent judge, that there probably is no equally
limited district in the whole region, Red mountain being perhaps
excepted, where so much good ore exists.

Still farther, at the very head of Cement creek, is located the
important Ross Basin group of mines, worked by English capital, as are
many other claims in the San Juan mountains. A neighboring mine is
remarkable for producing an ore of bismuth in such quantity as to give
it great mineralogical interest. Bismuth is exceedingly rare. In the
United States it is obtained only to a small amount in Connecticut.
Saxony furnishes commerce its main supply, procuring it at the
metallurgical works of Freiburg, where it is associated with the lead
ores, and is extracted from the cupel furnace after large quantities of
lead have been refined, being accumulated in the rich litharge, or
liquid dross, near the conclusion of the process. This litharge is
treated with acid, and the bismuth precipitated as a chloride by
dilution with water. The making of lily white and other complexion
compounds is the chief use to which bismuth is applied. The Madame
assures me that the effect upon the skin is very noxious,--but how could
she know that?

Crossing the divide, passing the "Mountain Queen" district, and
proceeding eastward down the west branch of the Animas to the town of
Animas Forks, another prosperous and populous mining area is reached.
Mineral Point, where twenty or thirty rich veins crop out, is covered
with claim stakes until it looks like a young vineyard. Its ores, in
general, are dry,--that is, contain little lead; and some streaks show
the beautiful ruby silver. Yet further down, on the eastern side of the
river, lie the partly developed silver veins and ledges of gold quartz
in Picayune gulch, where hydraulic machinery is used; and opposite is
Brown's gulch, where galena and gray copper occur.

The river in this part of the valley struggles through a close and
pretty cañon, at the lower end of which stands Eureka,--a neat village
nestling among trees. Here, too, are concentration works, and the
headquarters of several companies operating in Eureka, Minnie, and
Maggie gulches.

The wall-like sides of the mountains shutting close in together from
Eureka down to Howardsville, show "mineral stains" everywhere, and the
eye can trace dozens of veins slanting up and down the dark cliffs, and
study how they thicken here and pinch there, or just beyond perhaps
disappear altogether, upsetting all the old theories. At Howardsville,
which was the center of everything years ago, the reviewer diverges up
Cunningham gulch, completing the circle of his inquiries, for from
Howardsville to Silverton it is only four miles.

Cunningham is a good type of those huge ravines the western man calls
gulches. Its real walls are several hundred yards apart,--Galena and
Green mountains on the north, King Solomon on the south--but from each
have tumbled long sloping banks of débris, that join at their bases into
a series of ridges. Among these a turbulent stream seeks its irregular
way, and over them the traveler must climb wearily, making frequent
detours to avoid huge pieces of rock that have fallen bodily from the
cliffs, and have been rolled by their great weight to the very bottom of
the gorge. Here and there the walls are sundered, and down a side ravine
is tossed a foaming line of cataracts; or some hollow among the peaks
(themselves out of sight) will turn its gathered drainage over the
cliff, to fall two or three thousand feet in a resounding series of
cascades, white and filmy and brilliant against its dark and glistening
background. Wherever any soil has been able to gather upon these loose
rocks, if some curvature of the cliffs protects from the sweeping
destruction of snow avalanches, heavy spruce timber grows, and this,
with lighter tinted patches of poplars, or willow-thickets in wet
places, or a tangle of briers hiding the sharp rocks and beloved of the
woodchucks and conies, give all there is of vegetation.

But these are all minor features, under-foot. Overhead tower the rosy
and gleaming monuments of that old time "when the gods were young and
the world was new;"--cliffs rising so steeply that only here and there
can they be climbed, and studded with domes and pinnacles so slender and
lofty that, under our unsteady glance, they seem to totter and swim
vaguely through the azure concave.

Amid this magnificence of rock-work, spanned by a violet edged vault
which is not sky but only color,--the purest mass of color in the
universe,--passes the trail and stage-road cut over the lofty crest to
the sources of the Rio Grande, and thence down through Antelope park to
beautiful Wagon-Wheel Gap, and the railway again. Here, too, are rich
silver mines, lowest down the "Pride of the West," next the "Green
Mountain," and, last of all, "Highland Mary," standing almost on the
summit of the pass.

       *       *       *       *       *

The central point and outlet of all this district is Silverton, and its
founders preëmpted almost the only site for a town of any consequence in
the whole region. Yet she has less than one thousand acres to spread
herself over. Engulfed amid lofty peaks, a little park lies as level as
a billiard-table, and as green, breaking into bluffs and benches
northward where the river finds its way down.

When, three and twenty years ago, miners were amazed at the wealth
disclosed in the mines of central Colorado, eager prospectors began to
penetrate yet deeper into the recesses of the jumbled ranges that lay
behind the front rank. Among the boldest of these was a certain Colonel
Baker, reputed to have got his title as a confederate officer, who
organized a large party of men--some say two hundred in number--to go on
an exploration of what was then called the Pike's Peak belt, including
nearly all the region between that historic mountain and the head of the
Gila river in Arizona. Marching eastward to Pueblo, and thence by the
old Mexican wagon-road through Conejos and Tierra Amarilla, Baker and
his men worked northward along the San Juan and Animas, prospecting for
and finding more or less bars of gold-gravel (you may get "colors"
anywhere in this part of Colorado), till finally, in the summer of 1860,
he crossed the range, and discovered the deep-sunken nook which bears
his name.

Erecting a central camp here, these prospectors climbed all the
mountains, and pushed up every ravine, in search of gold, but found
small encouragement. The silver they knew of, but had no means of
working. Winter came, and they gathered together and built cabins in the
thick timber at the mouth of the cañon. The snow packed deep about them,
a provision train intended for their succor was captured by the Indians,
who became aggressive, sickness set in, and the horrors of starvation
stood at their very doors. This terror, added to their lack of success,
overcame even pioneer patience and philosophy. Reviling Baker as a
cheat, who had brought them, under false pretenses, into this terrible
state, they were about to hang him to one of the groaning pines that
mocked their misery with a loud pretense of grief in every storm, when
some slight help came and the colonel's neck was saved. The following
summer, all who had not died crawled out of their prison-park and
returned to civilization.

It was not until ten years later that any persons went to Baker's park
to stay, and then they were extremely few in number. Almost the first
result of this second advent of prospectors was the unearthing of the
"Little Giant" gold mine in Arastra gulch--a narrow ravine where were at
once erected a log village and an arastra with which to crush the
quartz, worked by the little stream which trickles down from the
snowbanks. Simultaneously came the discovery of silver leads, a fact
that speedily got abroad, induced a little boom, and set Howardsville on
its feet as a camp of some importance and magnificent expectations.

Five miles below, Silverton was laid out straight and square, became the
county-seat, and attracted most of the new-comers as a place of
residence. At first, of course, all the buildings were of logs, and bore
roofs of dirt. To-day the village has perhaps fifteen hundred permanent
residents; churches, schools, newspapers, the telegraph, and all the
appurtenances of frontier civilization. It is characteristic of these
mountain towns that they spring full size into both existence and
dignity. There is no Topsy-growth at all; rather a Minerva-like maturity
from the start.

For several years no wagon-road entered Baker's park, and the only
communication between it and the outside world was by saddle animals. As
the local paper gently expressed it, it "was somewhat deprived of easy
transportation." Goods and machinery of every sort had to be brought in
on the backs of the tough and patient little Mexican donkeys, toiling
across the terrible heights under burdens almost as bulky as themselves.
The whole town would be alive with a general jubilation when the
tinkling bells of the first train of jacks was heard in the spring, for
that meant the end of a six months' siege in the midst of impassable

Though these mountains are yet full of men who go about all day with a
big six-shooter in their belt; and though the main streets of Silverton
(like other frontier places) contain too many drinking and gambling
saloons, yet the town has never passed through such a rough history as
most mining camps see, and it is to-day the most orderly village in the
whole region. This is chiefly due to the quietly determined attitude its
best citizens have taken, and their fixed purpose not to let the lawless


In the summer of 1881, however, the remnants of the gang of desperadoes
who had infested Durango during the winter, tried to make Silverton a
rendezvous, and one night killed an inoffensive and highly esteemed
officer, who was aiding a sheriff to arrest one of their number. It was
the culmination of many atrocities, and the citizens at once
resuscitated their Vigilance Committee. One of the ruffians was
apprehended the same night, and quietly hung the following evening.
Large rewards were offered, detectives and sheriffs set at work, and
finally the leading spirit of evil was captured by the treachery of his
most trusted ally in previous villainies. After some delay this prisoner
was brought to Silverton in charge of his Judas-like comrade, who took
his reward and rode swiftly away, distrusting the pledge of the citizens
that he should go safely out of town. This was on Friday. The prisoner
was locked up, and strong relays of heavily armed guards, chosen from
men of respectability and standing in the community relieved each other
at the jail night and day, until Sunday morning came, and with it a
cold, dismal storm.

All day the rain fell steadily down, and the air was clammy with chill
mist. Dense banks of clouds were packed into the dripping gulches,
capped the hidden summits and clung in ragged masses among the trees
that darkly clothed the sides of the mountains. Occasional gusts of wind
drove the storm hard against the window panes, but for the most part
rain fell quietly, the streets became avenues of inky paste, and the
darkness of evening gathered early about the town, settling like a pall
upon all the waiting people in it.

Everyone knew, though the majority could hardly say why, that the hour
of fate had come. As the night thickened, men gathered on the corners
nearest the jail, and, unmindful of the persistent rain, stood talking
in low tones to two or three listeners whose faces were close together
and strangely serious. Moving here and there were other little groups,
their footsteps hardly heard in the soft mire, and their voices
hushed,--moving chiefly up and down the alley where the jail stood.

The saloons and gambling-rooms were open, but the dance-hall, which last
night echoed so late to the clatter of heavy boots and the shouts of
half drunken revelry, was closed, and the few women who haunted the
other liquor dens seemed to have forgotten their coarse jibes and laid
aside their accustomed wiles. The soft rattle of the thin faro-checks,
the clink of silver lost and won, and the louder crack of
billiard-balls, were heard as usual, only more distinctly, while the
monotonous "ante-up, gents!" "Are you all ready?" "The deuce wins," and
so on, of the imperturbable dealers, mingled in a sort of minor music to
which all sharper sounds were accordantly attuned. But the players were
moderate in their stakes, and the ordinary excitement of the
smoke-dimmed rooms was hushed.

Still fell the rain drearily. The stern guards about the jail hugged
their rifles under their arms, to keep them dry at the breech, and now
and then tipped streams of water out of the broad hollow brims of their
_sombreros_. In the log gaol the murderer lay upon his couch, apparently
sound asleep, and the inside sentinels rested their guns on their knees
and counted the moments until their watch should be over. Nine o'clock
came and passed without note. Nine o'clock and thirty minutes was marked
on the cold face of the clock, when the key grated in the iron lock,
the door opened a little way and three masked men glided in, shutting
the door behind them. One brought with him a rope, which he fastened
into a staple set in one of the rafters, standing upon a chair which
gave him only height enough just to reach the beam. Another touched the
prisoner, and told him his time had come. That afternoon he had assured
his keepers that they would see "as brave a death as ever went out of
that prison." It was no surprise, then, to see this boy (for he was
scarcely twenty) rise coolly from his bed and walk to where the chair
had been placed underneath the dangling noose. Perhaps he would have
liked to have shaken hands, had not his arms been manacled behind his
back; but instead, pausing a moment ere he took his place, and without a
tremor, he simply said, "Well, _adios_, boys!" Then, stepping up, he
inclined his head and himself set it well within the noose. There was a
touch of the rope to tighten the knot, a snatching aside of the chair,
and the outlaw had "gone over the range," beyond all further harm or
doing of it.

Then the jail was locked, and few knew, even at midnight, whether or not
the retribution had come. There was no boisterousness, no gloating over
vengeance satisfied, less of mirth and curiosity, than I ever saw in a
community where an execution under the sanction of law was taking place.
It was more an awe-struck feeling of a terrible necessity, as if an
impending calamity was at hand, or some great affliction present.

Next morning the coroner's jury met, and a ray of light was shot across
the sombre picture; the verdict said:

            "_Came to his death from hanging 'round!_"


                           BEYOND THE RANGES.

                          All the means of action--
            The shapeless masses, the materials--
            Lie everywhere about us.

Three districts require mention before this corner of the state is
bidden farewell,--Ophir, Rico and the La-Plata mountains.

Ophir lies fifteen miles east of Silverton and on the Pacific slope, for
it is at one source of the Rio Dolores. It is reached by a wagon-road up
Mineral Creek, which is one of the most "scenic routes" I know of in
Colorado. At first there is not much to call forth admiration; nearing
the top, however, a remarkable picture presents itself. In a closely
guarding circle of purplish peaks, stand two isolated mountains of
entirely different character and most striking appearance. Instead of
the vertical cliffs, serrated and splintered summits and ragged gray of
the majority of the mountains, these are as rounded and smooth on top as
if they had been shaved by a lawn mower, and rise in unbroken slopes far
above the blackish masses of timber which closely envelope their bases.
It is their color, however, that makes them so grandly conspicuous. Long
strokes of orange and rust color extend up and down from the spruces to
the apex, streaked with bright red and set off with upright lines of
glowing yellow, all softly blended together and crossed by a crowd of
hair-lines, wavy and level with the horizon, like the plumage of a
canvas-back duck. Stand where you will on the eastern side of this
divide between the Animas and the San Miguel, and these great, smooth,
cushiony hills of red, tower up level with your eye, burning under the

At last the road rises above timber line, but even to the last verge,
the soil under the trees is crowded with flowers and all sorts of pretty
herbage, among which the strawberry takes precedence in point of
abundance. Then the track lies underneath beetling cliffs which have
crumbled into long tall, and the pass itself is only the triangular
depression between two opposite slides. On one side here the rock is
brown and broken almost as fine as railway ballast; on the other the
fragments rule much larger in size, are of bluish trachyte and
completely covered everywhere with a stone-lichen hardly thicker than
paint, which gives them a decidedly green color, while the brown rocks
opposite are entirely devoid of lichens.

Down this jumble of fallen rocks--the scene of one incessant slow
avalanche from the weather-crumbled crests still remaining above--the
road passes by a steep and tortuous grade, made somewhat smooth by
filling the crevices with small stuff; but the result would make the
ghost of McAdam turn a shade paler.

These vast "slides" are a prominent feature in every landscape in
southern Colorado. The volcanic rock with which all the mountains are
capped, has a natural cleavage in two directions, and rapidly
disintegrates, even under the air. On the quiet, still days of
midsummer, you continually hear the rattle of pieces of rock which have
fallen untouched from some scarp or pinnacle, and are racing down the
steep talus below. The winter, however, is the time of greatest
destruction. Into the thousand cracks and crannies the rains and snows
of autumn pour floods of water, which penetrate the inmost recesses of
the well-seamed crags. Then comes a frost. The little veins and pockets
of water expand with a sudden force, combined and irresistible. Perhaps
some huge projection of cliff flies to pieces as though filled full of
exploding dynamite; perhaps a stronger body of frost behind it pries off
the whole mass at once, and it dashes head-long down the side of the
mountain, to scatter widely its cracked shell and leave the core a huge
bowlder, which crashes its way far into the struggling woods at the foot
of the rough slope. This process goes on, season after season, until
finally the thousands of feet of summit, which once towered proudly
above the mountain's base, have been crumbled down to a level with the
top of the debris-slope. If the rock is very soft, then the process goes
on with each fallen block, until it is reduced to soil and forms a
smooth, grassy slope, or a clean shaven but barren slide, like the rich
red hills we saw on the other side of Lookout; but if the fragments are
hard, then gradually the bushes and grass will creep up, and the forest
will follow as high as climate and snow-fall will let it grow, and above
will be a rounded crest of broken lava, like Veta mountain--the worst
thing to climb in the wide world.

From the long, slanting niche which lets the road down across this
broken and sliding rock, where men are always at work to throw aside the
ceaselessly falling crumbs of the cliff, one gets his first view of
Ophir gulch,--a valley half a dozen miles in length, without an acre of
level ground in the whole of it. This end is closed by Lookout mountain,
the opposite by the lofty crags of Mt. Wilson. On the north, Silver
mountain cuts the sky in ragged outline, and, braced against its base,
Yellow mountain rises straight from the creek-side to an almost equal
altitude. In the crevice between stand the score or so of log cabins,
which constitute what many persons consider the liveliest camp in the
whole San Juan.

It is only eight years since the value of this locality was made known,
but now the mountains on both sides of the gulch are pitted like a
pepper-box with prospecting tunnels, and there are perhaps twenty mines
shipping ore in profitable quantities, even under the great
disadvantages of their isolation. The leads in general run northeast and
southwest, but good openings have been found all the way from the brink
of the creek to the shattered combing that casts its ragged shadow down
the long, white slopes. Systematic development has been carried on in
very few mines as yet, but the indications promise great things for the
future. Half a dozen gold workings in particular are very rich, and
several sales have been made exceeding $50,000 for a single location.

Remounting, the ride homeward through the mellow afternoon, was very
delightful. The mountains rose on either side high above where the
hardiest trees could manage to exist, gorgeously stained in great
chevrons of red, orange and rust yellow. Lookout and its brother peaks
seemed vast stacks of triangles, all upright and baseless, backed with
long slides of varied umber tints. On some of these slides the grass has
grown, long tongues of it penetrating far toward the bright walls
overhead, while elsewhere mile-wide slopes of grayish white lie
untouched by any blemish or projection. Everything is triangular,--the
outlines of the peaks and the reverse in the gorges between; the shape
of the fallen fragments; of the long spear-points of verdure that climb
them, and of the trees and even the separate leaves that blend into
those acute green patches; of the broad strokes of vivid color that have
been painted so lavishly on these splendid slopes; even of the splitting
and cleavage of every cliff-face and toppling spire that glistens in the
slanting light and throws a slender-pointed shadow across the velvet
brim of the valley.

Backward, where the forests lie unbroken on the southern wall of the
gulch, long ranks and patches of aspens were interspersed with the
reigning evergreens, and these the frosts had touched with various hues
from its full palette--bright green still where the leaves were
protected, yellow on the warm side of the ridges, vivid orange and
scarlet along the crests,--so that these patches glowed like red and
yellow flame against the dark spruces and firs.

Near timber-line there is a remarkable picture. Down from the northern
mountain there trickle reddish streamlets over a space several rods in
width. A few yards below the road all this water collects itself into a
basin, which, begun by some trivial obstruction, has been able to build
up its walls by slow deposition, until a great iron tank, with walls
twenty-five or thirty feet high, and several feet thick, contains all
but a trickling overflow of the mineral water. This tank is surrounded
with pretty trees, and its wavy red outline holds a fountain as richly
green as an emerald; or blue if you look at it from some one of the
surrounding heights, so that the Spanish way of calling a spring
_ojo_--an eye--seems very natural.

Beyond this highly tinted natural reservoir, built out like a balcony on
the steep hillside, you look across to undulating verdant knolls, where
shapely trees are scattered thinly, up beyond a deep maroon slope,
falling from a noble, iron brown bluff, and so on away to the gray and
lofty peaks, in whose rifts and vertical gorges the shadow lies blue as
the farther edge of the sea, and whose clustering, cumulative spires,
culminate in gleaming apices of snow.


Rico is the next point. It is accessible from the north by wagon roads,
but the entrance from this side is by stage from Rockwood Station on the
railway, midway between Durango and Silverton. The road bears northward,
and the views to the eastward are far-reaching and noble. The traveler
alive to the resources of the region, will note the rich, thick grass,
and the great pine timber, with poplars between to serve for log house
and fencing purposes; he will also regret the limited possibilities for
agriculture. Toward the head of this valley the woods thicken, and the
road gets rougher and starts up the long slope that ultimately carries
it over the hill. The ragged outlines of the San Miguel range come into
view ahead, while the valley below, a solid "heather" of scrubby oak
bushes, briers, ferns, and so on, seems carpeted in a queer design of
tints of green and yellow, interspersed with all the mixtures of orange,
scarlet and crimson that the deft fingers of the early frost could

Over the long hill and past the spruces, an hour's trotting takes the
buckboard through the long hay meadows of Hermosa park, whence it
ascends a four-mile hill to the summit of the last range dividing the
waters of the Rio Las Animas from those of the Rio Dolores. And how we
rattle down that Dolores slope! An Englishman riding on the
Pennsylvania's sixty-miles an hour train from New York to Philadelphia,
the other day, exclaimed, "It's wonderful! I think if something should
drop one of you Yankees astride a thunderbolt, the first thing you would
do would be to say, '_chk! chk!_'" I thought of that as we started,
almost at a gallop, down that steep and winding mountain road.
Corners--we snapped around them. Hollows and ridges--we bounced into and
out of them. Down long, rough slopes, cut in the side of a hill so steep
that just under the hub it fell away hundreds of feet almost like a
precipice; down through the full blaze of the afternoon rays in the
frost-turned aspens, where

     "Tremulous, floating in air, o'er depths of azure abysses,
     Down through the golden leaves the sun was pouring his splendors,"

we rushed at a pace that Phæton, in his first hours of freedom, might
have enjoyed in his chariot, but which to us, in an old buckboard, was
simply torture. Why we didn't pitch off the imminent verge, why we
didn't fall to pieces against some one of the thousand rocks we
assaulted, why our bones were not broken and our diaphragms bursted, is

Rico is situated in the center of a volcanic upburst which has parted
the sandstones and limestones once spread thousands of feet thick over
the area, and whose edges now stand as bold bluffs all around this
break, which is nearly four miles in breadth and about eight in length.
The town itself is made up of a scattered, gardenless collection of log
cabins and some frame buildings, with a log suburb called Tenderfoot
Town, and numbers about six hundred people. It is very dull, compared
with most Colorado camps, but this is owing to the fact that everybody
is waiting until the railway gets a little nearer.

The Rico mines are characterized by their great dissimilarity with each
other. Nearly every sort of ore, of both silver and gold, is found
mingled in a most heterogeneous way among the lavas, recalling that
marvelously mixed mineralogical madrigal in the Colorado comic opera,
_Brittle Silver_.

            "I have found out a gift for my fair,
              I have found where the cálcites abound,
            Where sklópsite and zírcon appear
              With sárcolite scattered around.

            "Then come love, and never say nay;
              With picrosmine thy heart I'll delight,
            With diaspore and mangandblend gay,
              And phármakósideríte."

Some true fissure-veins exist, but more irregular deposits, and both
"lead" and "dry" ores occur, often in contiguous claims. The richest
ores thus far are those without lead; where galena occurs it is mixed
with so much zinc and antimony as to make it troublesome in treatment. A
galena ore here, which will show a mill-run of thirty ounces (my
authority is Mr. Amos Lane, superintendent of the smelter), is
considered very good.

Rico has not yet worked far enough into her very numerous "locations" to
make sure of the riches her mountains are supposed to contain. There is
no doubt that the cliffs about her are full of silver and gold, stored
up in what, under more favorable circumstances, would be profitable
quantities; also that there is in the near neighborhood a magnificent
supply of bituminous and "free-burning anthracite" coal, good material
for charcoal, limestone for flux, bog and magnetic iron, fire-clay and
good building stone. The time will come, then, when Rico will be able
cheaply to treat its own product, but this will be after wagon-roads and
railways have come nearer, and outside capital has lent its strength to
bring to the surface the hidden, or only partially exposed, treasures of
the veins.

South of the San Juan range, and somewhat isolated, is the noble La
Plata group of mountains. They are volcanic, like the rest, and, of
course, of Alpine appearance, while their slopes, lying far south,
produce so many varieties of foliage, that they often present real bits
of beauty--a word having rare application in Colorado's scenery. These
mountains were prospected eight or ten years ago, and a placer bar of
supposed extraordinary value was found near the head of the Rio La Plata
by a company of California miners. I remember very well the picturesque
little camp they had there, and the day they got their first butter for
nine months. Having interested in the locality Mr. Parrott, a California
capitalist, a town grew there rapidly, called Parrott City, now only
sixteen miles from Durango, and arrangements were made for working the
placers by hydraulic machinery. Meanwhile searching about the peaks
disclosed gold quartz in some quantity, and many veins bearing dry ores
of silver, absence of galena being characteristic. I see no reason why
these peaks should not be equally productive with any district in the

But this is true, as I constantly insist, of all the San Juan. Everybody
looks forward. Each proposes to do this and that, and to be happy--"when
I sell my mine." Perhaps this delicious uncertainty is a part of the
fun. Yet many a miner would reprove me for exaggerating the uncertainty;
I only hope he is right and I am wrong. That there is a vast amount of
the precious metals hidden in the veins of these mountains is
undeniable. It is equally true that we know where very much of it lies.
But the question stands: Is it sufficiently concentrated to make the
getting it out and refining it into a useful condition, yield a margin
of profit on expenses? No doubt it is in many cases, but is it in the
majority of so-called "mines," or in enough to support any general
population and business? Many discreet persons say "No." Many more,
naturally, will answer, "Yes." I, myself, making no claim to utter a
skilled, or a weighty, or any kind of an opinion except a carefully
unbiased one, think the balance of chances is in favor of ultimate
success; and I am not afraid to predict that through slow but permanent
advancement this corner of Colorado will come to be one of the most
important silver-producing regions on the globe.

Upon this event depends the fate of a great many enterprising
investments. Faith in the success of these mines has caused the Denver
and Rio Grande to build two hundred and fifty miles of railroad over
mountains and wide plains which of themselves would never support the
line. Faith in these mineral treasures has caused hundreds of men to
follow the railway, and has set on foot little towns all along its
track; and a part of the same faith is all that keeps alive the thriving
town, Durango, where scores of well packed warehouses vie with one
another in plethoras of merchandise, and thousands of men are exciting
each other in pushing, plucky struggles after the supremacy of wealth.
The miner picks away at his rock, and hopefully pays for his supplies
until the last dollar is gone, and then goes at work earning more in the
service of his more fortunate companion. The patronage of these men,
always just on the brink of a "rich strike," is what keeps this southern
Denver--scarcely four years old yet--alive and sturdy. The precious
minerals can only be procured in this region by hard and skillful labor;
they are not in carbonate-beds or placer-bars, to be picked to pieces
and reduced at trifling cost. On the other hand, they are richer, and
while the profits are no less than in the former case, the expense of
getting out is several times greater. This means the disbursement of far
more money in the locality for the same amount of value received from
the mines by the owners, than in an easier district to work--Leadville,
for example. Thus an ore which would yield only sixty dollars to the ton
will pay to work, very likely, in a carbonate camp, since it would cost
only ten dollars to get it out and through the smelter; while to get the
same profit on a ton of San Juan ore, it must carry one hundred dollars
to the ton, say, since it requires fifty dollars to mine it. Thus for
every ten dollars spent in an easy locality, five times as much must be
expended here; or, in other words, five times the population maintained
under the former circumstances, will be supported here, and be
permanent, for fissure-veins do not produce spasmodic and uneven
results, but continuous, progressive and practically inexhaustible
supplies of ore for the proprietor, wages for his workman and business
for the merchant, artisan and shipper. All this is the best kind of an
outlook, and means that the San Juan will always be a good country for
the man of moderate means, although the mining speculator may consider
it too solid and tangible to suit his purposes, and therefore be loath
to praise it.



            Dismantled towers and turrets broken,
                Like grim and war-worn braves who keep
            A silent guard, with grief unspoken,
                Watch o'er the graves by the Hoven weep,
            The nameless graves of a race forgotten;
                Whose deeds, whose words, whose fate are one,
            With the mist, long ages past begotten
                Of the sun.
                                             --STANLEY WOOD.

Time forbade a side excursion from Durango to the Mancos Cañon, though
we were extremely anxious to make it,--_I_ because I had been there
before, and the rest because they were eager to see what I had told them

The Rio Mancos is the next tributary of the Rio San Juan west of the Rio
de la Plata. When, in 1874, I was a member of the photographic division
of the United States Geological and Geographical Survey, one of the main
objects of our trip was the exploration of this remote corner of the
State, where we had vaguely heard of marvelous relics of a bygone
civilization unequaled by anything short of the splendid ruins of
Central America and the land of the Incas. After traversing the
frightfully rugged trails of the San Juan and La Plata mountains,
therefore, a portion of our party came out on the southern margin of the
mountains, and, despite the smoldering hostility of the Indians, with
which the region was filled, headed southward into the long deserted
cañons. There were five of us, altogether,--Mr. W. H. Jackson (from
whose skillful camera came many of the illustrations that grace my
present text), the famous Captain John Moss, who went with us as "guide,
philosopher and friend," myself and two mule packers.

The trail led from Parrott City, then a nameless prospect camp, washing
gold without a thought of the silver ledges to be developed later there,
over to Merritt's pleasant ranch on the upper Rio Mancos, then across
rolling grass land and through groves of magnificent lumber pines, a
distance of about fifteen miles. Spending one night at the ranch,
sunrise the next morning found us eager to enter the portals of the
cañon and the precincts of the area within which glorious discoveries in
anthropology allured our imagination and made light the toil and
privation of the undertaking.


Not five hundred yards below the ranch we came upon our first
find,--mounds of earth which had accumulated over fallen houses, and
about which were strewn an abundance of fragments of pottery, variously
painted in colors, often glazed within, and impressed in various
designs. Later the perpendicular, buttress-like walls that hemmed in the
valley began to contract, and that night we camped under some forlorn
cedars, just beneath a bluff a thousand feet or so in height, which, for
its upper half, was absolutely vertical. This was the edge of the green
table-land, or _mésa verde_, which stretches over hundreds of square
miles, and is cleft by these cracks or cañons, through which the
drainage of the northern uplands finds its way into the Rio San Juan.

In wandering about after supper, something like a house was discerned
away up on the face of this bluff, and two of us clambered over the
talus of loose débris, across a great stratum of pure coal, and, by dint
of much pushing and pulling, up to the ledge upon which it stood. We
came down satisfied, and next morning Mr. Jackson carried up our
photographic kit and got some superb negatives. There, seven hundred
measured feet above the valley, perched on a little ledge only just
large enough to hold it, was a two story house made of finely cut
sandstone, each block about fourteen by six inches, accurately fitted
and set in mortar now harder than the stone itself. The floor was the
ledge upon which it rested, and the roof the overhanging rock. There
were three rooms upon the ground floor, each one six by nine feet, with
partition walls of faced stone. Between the stories was originally a
wooden floor, traces of which still remained, as did also the cedar
sticks set in the wall over the windows and door; but this was over the
front room only, the height of the rocky roof behind not being
sufficient to allow an attic there. Each of the stories was six feet in
height, and all the rooms, upstairs and down, were nicely plastered and
painted what now looks a dull brick red color, with a white band along
the floor like a base-board. There was a low doorway from the ledge into
the lower story, and another above, showing that the upper chamber was
entered from without. The windows were square apertures, with no
indication of any glazing or shutters. They commanded a view of the
whole valley for many miles. Near the house several convenient little
niches in the rock were built into better shape, as though they had been
used as cupboards or caches; and behind it a semi-circular wall
inclosing the angle of the house and cliff formed a water reservoir
holding two and a half hogsheads. The water was taken out of this from
a window of the upper room. In front of the house, which was the
left side to one facing the bluff, an esplanade had been built to
widen the narrow ledge and probably furnish a commodious place for a
kitchen. The abutments which supported it were founded upon a smooth,
steeply-inclined face of rock; yet so consummate was their skill in
masonry that these abutments still stand, although it would seem that a
pound's weight might slide them off.

Searching further in this vicinity, we found remains of many houses on
the same ledge, and some perfect ones above it quite inaccessible. The
rocks also bore some inscriptions. Many edifices in the cliffs escaped
our notice. The glare over everything, and the fact that the buildings,
being formed of the rock on which they rested, were identical in color
with it, increasing the difficulty made sufficiently great by their

Leaving here, we soon came upon traces of houses in the bottom of the
valley, in the greatest profusion, nearly all of which were entirely
destroyed, and broken pottery everywhere abounded. The majority of the
buildings were square, but many round, and one sort of ruin always
showed two square buildings with very deep cellars under them and a
round tower between them, seemingly for watch and defense. In several
cases a large part of this tower was still standing. The best example of
this consisted of two perfectly circular walls of cut stone, one within
the other. The diameter of the inner circle was twenty-two feet and of
the outer thirty-three feet. The walls were thick and were perforated
apparently by three equi-distant doorways. At that time we concluded
this double-walled tower (later triple-walled structures of the same
sort were met with) must have had a religious use; but since then I have
wondered whether all of these round buildings above ground (save some
which manifestly were watch towers) were not used as store-houses for
snow. It was a country of long droughts and hot summers. The double or
triple walls, with spaces of dead air between would make excellent

These groups of destroyed edifices, occupying the bottom-land, were met
with all day; but no other perfect cliff-houses were found until next
morning, when a little cave high up from the ground was found, which had
been utilized as a homestead by being built full of low houses
communicating with one another, some of which were intact, and had been
appropriated by wild animals. About these dwellings were more
hieroglyphics scratched on the wall, and plenty of pottery, but no
implements. Further on were similar, but rather ruder, structures on a
rocky bluff, but so strongly were they put together that the tooth of
time had found them hard gnawing; and, in one instance, while that
portion of the cliff upon which a certain house rested had cracked off
and fallen away some distance without rolling, the house itself had
remained solid and upright. Traces of the trails to many of these
dwellings, and the steps cut in the rock, were still visible, and were
useful indications of the proximity of buildings otherwise unnoticed.
Yet, despite our watchfulness, Mr. Holmes' party, which went next year
to study the details of the broad prehistoric picture our rapid trip
sketched out, brought to light several fine buildings, high above the
valley, in some of which valuable implements and utensils were
discovered. None of them were so high, though, or in better condition
than one of our prizes this second day.

Keeping close under the mesa, on the western side (you never find houses
on the eastern cliff of a cañon, where the morning sun could not strike
them full with its first beams) one of us espied what he thought to be a
house on the face of a particularly high and smooth portion of the
precipice, which there jutted out into a promontory, up one side of
which it seemed we could climb to the top of the mesa above the house,
whence it might be possible to crawl down to it. Fired with the hope of
getting some valuable relics of household furniture in such a place, one
of the gentlemen volunteered to make the attempt, and succeeded. He
found it well preserved, almost semi-circular in shape, of the finest
workmanship yet seen, all the stones being cut true, a foot wide,
sixteen inches long and three inches thick, ground perfectly smooth on
the inside so as to require no plastering. It was about six by twenty
feet in interior dimensions and six feet high. The door and window were
bounded by lintels, sills and caps of single flat stones. Yet all this
was done, so far as we can learn, with no other tools than those made of
stone, and in such a place that you might drop a pebble out of the
window 500 feet plumb.

Photographs and sketches completed, we pushed on, rode twenty miles or
more, and camped two miles beyond Unagua springs. There were about these
springs, which are at the base of the Ute mountain, the tallest summit
of the Sierra ù Late, formerly many large buildings, the relics of which
are very impressive. One of them is two hundred feet square, with a wall
twenty feet thick, and inclosed in the center a circular building one
hundred feet in circumference. Another, near by, was one hundred feet
square, with equally thick walls, and was divided north and south by a
very heavy partition. This building communicated with the great stone
reservoir about the springs. These heavy walls were constructed of outer
strong walls of cut sandstone, regularly laid in mortar, filled in with
firmly packed fragments of stone. Some portions of the wall still stand
twenty or thirty feet in height, but, judging from the amount of
material thrown down, the building must originally have been a very
lofty one. About these large edifices were traces of smaller ones,
covering half a square mile, and out in the plain another small village
indicated by a collection of knolls. Scarcely anything now but white
sage grows thereabouts, but there is reason to believe that in those old
times it was under careful cultivation. Evidently these thick walls were
the foundations of old terraced pueblos, an unusually large community
having grown up about these plentiful springs, just as at Taos, San
Juan, Zuñi, and the present Moqui villages in Arizona.

Our next day's march was westerly, leaving the mesa bluffs on our right
and gradually behind. The road was an interesting one, intellectually,
but not at all so physically--dry, hot, dusty, long and wearisome. We
passed a number of quite perfect houses, perched high up on rocky
bluffs, and many other remains. One occupied the whole apex of a great
conical bowlder, that ages ago had become detached from its mother
mountain and rolled out into the valley. Another, worth mention, was a
round tower, beautifully laid up, which surmounted an immense bowlder
that had somehow rolled to the very verge of a lofty cliff overlooking
the whole valley. This was a watch-tower, and we learned afterward that
almost all the high points were occupied by such sentinel boxes. From it
a deeply worn, devious trail led up over the edge of the mesa, by
following which we should, no doubt, have found a whole town. But this
was only a reconnoissance, and we could not now stop to follow out all

Not far away the odd appearance of a cliff attracted my attention, and
leaving the party I rode over the bare, white, rocky floors which capped
all the low, broad ridges, to find a long series of shallow grottos in
the escarpment filled with houses, some of which were roofed over, but
most consisting simply of walls carried to the ceiling of the light, dry
cavern in the sandstone, often only one or two houses occupying each of
the small caves, whose openings were in the same water-worn stratum, and
only a few feet or yards apart. Still more curious examples of these
cave-dwellings have been seen since in the same neighborhood, and lower
down. For example, on the San Juan, in 1875, Holmes and Jackson
discovered, half way between top and bottom of a bluff where a stratum
of shaly sandstone had been weathered and dug out to a depth of six
feet, leaving a firm floor and a projecting ledge overhead, a continuous
row of buildings, though none have their front walls now remaining.
Doorways through each of the dividing walls afforded access along the
whole line. A few rods up stream a little, niched cave-house, 14×5×6,
divided into two equal compartments; a small, square window, just large
enough for one to crawl through, was placed midway in the wall of each
half. "We well might ask whether these little 'cubby-holes' had ever
been used as residences, or, whether, as seems at first most likely,
they might not have been 'caches,' or merely temporary places of refuge.
While, no doubt, many of them were such, yet in the majority the
evidences of use and the presence of long-continued fires, indicated by
their smoke-blackened interiors, prove them to have been quite
constantly occupied. Among all dwellers in mud-plastered houses, it is
the practice to freshen up their habitations by repeated applications of
clay, moistened to the proper consistency, and spread with the hands,
the thickness of the coating depending upon its consistency. Every such
application makes a building perfectly new, and many of the best
sheltered cave-houses have just this appearance, as though they were but
just vacated."

The grandest of all these cave shelters, perhaps, was that in the
Montezuma cañon, the main building of which was forty-eight feet long,
and built of well smoothed stones. "In the rubbish of the large house,"
says the report, "some small stone implements, rough, indented pottery
in fragments, and a few arrow-points were found.... The whole appearance
of the place and its surroundings indicates that the family or the
little community who inhabited it were in good circumstances and the
lords of the surrounding country. Looking out from one of their houses,
with a great dome of solid rock overhead, that echoed and re-echoed
every word uttered with marvelous distinctness, and below them a steep
descent of one hundred feet, to the broad, fertile valley of the Rio San
Juan, covered with waving fields of maize and scattered groves of
majestic cottonwoods, these old people, whom even the imagination can
hardly clothe with reality, must have felt a sense of security that even
the incursions of their barbarous foes could hardly have disturbed."


But I cannot linger over these extremely interesting and instructive
ruins, nor stop to tell of the variety and skill shown in their
architecture, in their storage of water and food, in their means of
defense, in their manufacture of utensils, and the art with which their
life was adorned. Out of the hundreds of leveled pueblos, cave-houses,
towers, water-reservoirs and wasted fields which once bore bountiful
harvests, I have only culled one here and there. I may say that not only
every cañon which cuts down through the mesa to the Rio San Juan and
into all of its lower tributary valleys, but many of the plateaus
between, are occupied by the ruins which show an Indian occupation
previous to the present savages, and of a different rank, if not of
another race.

Particularly accessible to the ordinary tourist are the ruins to be seen
in the Animas valley, about twenty-five miles south of Durango. These
are said to consist of a pueblo three hundred and sixteen feet long by
nearly one hundred wide, which evidently rose to the height of many
stories. Some of the lower rooms in this great house are still standing,
and skeletons and relics of great interest have been taken from them. In
the center of the ruins is a subterranean, cistern-like chamber,
described as about sixty feet in diameter, and plastered everywhere
within with hard cement. This, probably, was the main _estufa_ of the
village. Other lesser ruins and remains of farming operations are
scattered about the vicinity, and are well worthy of exploration.

Just who and what were these aborigines (if so they were, which is very
doubtful), opinions differ; but that in the Village Indians of New
Mexico and Arizona we see to-day their lineal descendants, seems

Traditions are few, that have any value, but the partial and imperfect
researches which have already been made in the southwest enable us to
make out dimly some strangely tragical scheme of history for this race
of men whose sun set so long ago.

It is evident, for example, that the most ancient of these prehistoric
ruins are those found along the immediate banks of the water-courses in
the valleys. There the forerunners of the troublous times to come dwelt
in peace and prosperity among their fields, which seem to have stretched
over many times the area of land now possible to be cultivated. There is
no question, indeed, that in those days rains were more frequent and the
climate far more favorable to agriculture than at present. But how many
generations--how many centuries--ago was this? And how did the change of
climate, which turned the fertility of the land into desolation, come
about--by slow degrees, through sudden cataclysm, or with comparatively
rapid advance? Probably gradually.

But it does not seem to have been as the result of meteorological
disfavor that they abandoned their populous pueblos in the pleasant
valleys and began to build refuge homes in the niches of the cañon's
wall, or on the crest of inaccessible mesas. From the mountainous north
came enemies they were unable to resist, and which devastated their
fields and laid waste their towns, as we have seen at Ojo Caliente, and
as is written in the ruins of a hundred spring-side pueblos throughout
the San Juan valley. No doubt they still cultivated their fields as
well as they could between the times of attack, building temporary
summer-houses and spending the idle winter in their rocky fastnesses, or
retreating to them when warned of an attack. Their watch-towers on every
exposed point, tell how sharp and incessant was the lookout they kept
against the well-mounted and savage nomadic tribes, the prehistoric Utes
and Apaches and Navajos, who were to them as the Scythians and the
Vandals and Goths to the weakened empire of effeminate Rome.

But after a time a breathing space seems to have come to the harassed
people, and they felt themselves safe to return to their ancient valleys
and reinhabit and recultivate them. Certain houses, built upon the
substratum of older fallen structures, seem to show this new era of
reoccupation, which in some places lasted only a short time before
enemies and drought together compelled complete abandonment, while in
other more southern strongholds were founded the pueblos that still
exist, at Taos, Acoma, Zuñi, and on the Moqui mesas.

When, some day, you can ride down the Mancos in a railway car and get
flying glimpses of the ruined houses--if your eyes are sharp to see and
your mind quick to apprehend,--do not forget how populous was this dry
and garish valley during those bygone days, when the Crusaders were
waking up Europe, and all that was known of America was that the Basque
fishermen went to the fog-banks of an icy western coast to catch
codfish. I am more sure of your interest here, though, than in many
other far-paraded precincts of this marvelous realm, I am taking you so
swiftly through in my pilgrimage on wheels. And I cannot enforce my
point better,--leave an impression more lasting and graceful on your
minds of those gentle shepherds and husbandmen (but no less brave
warriors), who were here so long before us, than by giving you the poem
my clever-brained and genial friend has written in Swinburnian measure
about them:

          "In the sad South-west, in the mystical Sunland,
            Far from the toil, and the turmoil of gain;
          Hid in the heart of the only--the one land
            Beloved of the Sun, and bereft of the rain;
          The one weird land where the wild winds blowing,
            Sweep with a wail o'er the plains of the dead,
          A ruin, ancient beyond all knowing,
            Rears its head

          "On the cañon's side, in the ample hollow,
            That the keen winds carved in ages past,
          The Castle walls, like the nest of a swallow
            Have clung and have crumbled to this at last.
          The ages since man's foot has rested
            Within these walls, no man may know;
          For here the fierce grey eagle nested
            Long ago.

          "Above those walls the crags lean over,
            Below, they dip to the river's bed;
          Between, fierce wingéd creatures hover,
            Beyond, the plain's wild waste is spread.
          No foot has climbed the pathway dizzy,
            That crawls away from the blasted heath,
          Since last it felt the ever busy
            Foot of Death.

          "In that haunted Castle--it must be haunted,
            For men have lived here, and men have died,
          And maidens loved, and lovers daunted,
            Have hoped and feared, have laughed and sighed--
          In that haunted Castle the dust has drifted,
            But the eagles only may hope to see
          What shattered Shrines and what Altars rifted,
            There may be.

          "The white, bright rays of the sunbeam sought it,
            The cold, clear light of the moon fell here,
          The west wind sighed, and the south wind brought it,
            Songs of Summer year after year.
          Runes of Summer, but mute and runeless,
            The Castle stood; no voice was heard,
          Save the harsh, discordant, wild and tuneless
            Cry of bird.

          "The spring rains poured, and the torrent rifted
            A deeper way;--the foam-flakes fell,
          Held for a moment poised and lifted,
            Down to a fiercer whirlpool's hell.
          On the Castle tower no guard, in wonder,
            Paused in his marching to and fro,
          For on the turret the mighty thunder
            Found no foe.

          "No voice of Spring,--no Summer glories
            May wake the warders from their sleep,
          Their graves are made by the sad Dolores,
            And the barren headlands of Hoven-weep.
          Their graves are nameless--Their race forgotten,
            Their deeds, their words, their fate, are one
          With the mist, long ages past begotten,
            Of the Sun.

          "Those castled cliffs they made their dwelling,
            They lived and loved, they fought and fell,
          No faint, far voice comes to us telling
            More than those crumbling walls can tell.
          They lived their life, their fate fulfilling,
            Then drew their last faint, faltering breath,
          Their hearts, congealed, clutched by the chilling
            Hand of Death.

          "Dismantled towers, and turrets broken,
            Like grim and war-worn braves who keep
          A silent guard, with grief unspoken,
            Watch o'er the graves by the Hoven-weep.
          The nameless graves of a race forgotten;
            Whose deeds, whose words, whose fate are one
          With the mist, long ages past begotten,
            Of the Sun."


                        ON THE UPPER RIO GRANDE.

  O wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful wonderful, and yet again
  wonderful and after that out of all whooping.
                                           --MERCHANT OF VENICE iii, 2.

Off to Del Norte and Wagon Wheel Gap! That meant a long run. We might
have gone afoot across the Cunningham Pass and down the Alpine fastness
of the Rio Grande's birthplace almost as speedily as the train would
take us, back to Durango, over the heights and glories of Toltec, down
the mazy labyrinth of the Whiplash, and across the sheep pastures of San
Luis. But we were in no hurry, and by preparing had the jolliest time
you can imagine the whole way. At Alamosa we bid a reluctant farewell to
our three companions, the Artist, the Photographer and the Musician, who
can no longer spare to us their society. But our prospective loneliness
is mitigated by a new comer,--an old college friend. I shall introduce
him to the reader as _Chum_, because that was the ordinary way in which
we dispensed with his name.

                            "A merrier man
                Within the limit of becoming mirth
                I never spent an hour's talk withal."

Here, the good-bye and the welcome given in the same breath, we change
our cars to a new train headed westward toward the upper course of the
Rio Grande, with its farms and mines and medicinal springs.

The track is laid right across San Luis park, which is to become,
through irrigation, one of the richest agricultural regions in the
world. By and bye, the dull line under the horizon began to form itself
into trees, and among these we could distinguish the scattered log and
adobe dwellings and the half-cultivated little farms of Mexican
ranchmen. The bottoms of the Rio Grande now spread wide around us, with
bushes and trees, and tall, rich grass, and a few miles further on we
came to the town amid a group of picturesquely broken volcanic bluffs of
great size. This is a sort of postern-gate for the San Juan mining
region, and also for Lake City, Ouray and the San Miguel.

Only a postern-gate, for now the railway southward carries the passenger
to Durango and Silverton, and the Salt Lake line makes an easy entrance
to the northern slope of the Sierra Madre; but, a few years ago Del
Norte was the last outfitting point for those going into all that
region, and the first real civilization encountered on the return. Under
the "boom" of this patronage the old Mexican ranch-center became an
American town of some size and importance almost ten years ago, and its
people thought they were soon to be the metropolis of the southwest. But
such has not yet appeared to be their destiny, and a snug, stirring
little village of twelve or fifteen hundred people is all that the
settlement has developed into. It is charmingly placed, and there is so
much land along the river, both above and below, which is cultivated by
both Mexicans and Americans (chiefly in the line of hay), and so many
sheep, cattle and horses are owned and sold there, that this interest
alone will support the village and enable it to grow slowly.

But pleasant Del Norte has more than this to rely upon. Twenty-eight
miles back in the mountains of the Continental divide are the famous
Summit gold mines. The richness of these mines (as they appear at
present) is almost inconceivable--it equals the fabled _El Dorado_ so
many brave fellows have died in their effort to find. The railway
express company, in the three months following the advent of the road at
Del Norte, forwarded to the Denver mint $300,000 in gold bars. I have
seen and handled many pieces of this reddish, rusty, honeycombed quartz,
in which you could see the gold as thickly and plainly as the pepper on
sliced cucumbers. There were streaks of it, maybe half an inch wide,
where the material was more than half its weight, pure, visible gold.

Prospecting on South mountain in 1874 (or before that) men found these
ledges, and various claims were staked off, and, in 1875, stamp mills
were erected, which at once began grinding out thousands of dollars a
day and saving only about sixty per cent. of the gold, the remainder
running off in the tailings because it was too coarse and heavy to be
caught quickly by the mercurial batteries; this was enough to set fire
to the tinder of the gold-seeking population, which is always ready to
stampede to a new camp, and in 1876 a great rush to the Summit district
happened. The whole region was quickly put under claim-stakes and a
dozen respectable mining beginnings were made. Among these was a group
of claims, more or less worked, which became the property of a
corporation called the San Juan Consolidated Mining Company. Their
principal mine was the "Ida," and their most intelligent stockholder was
Judge, now United States Senator, Thomas Bowen. He came to this region
from Arkansas an exceedingly poor man, though in early life he had been
a wealthy planter. Elected a justice of his judicial district, he
plodded on foot from county to county, too poor to own a horse. For
seven long years, the story goes, he put all his money into prospecting,
and at last turned up here at the Summit. Watching the way in which the
"Consolidated" property was being handled, he concluded that its
managers were not on the right track and would speedily come to a halt;
furthermore, he had faith that he could right the mistake if he had the

[Illustration: CLIFF DWELLINGS.]

As he anticipated, the stock of that company went down to nothing. No
further back than the winter of 1880-81, its shares were played at poker
in Del Norte, and passed over the bars of saloons at the rate of two
drinks for one share. Bowen quietly gathered them in, getting $300,000
worth, it is stated, for $75, or one-fourth of one mill on the dollar.
Two or three others saved up smaller amounts. When the Judge had secured
a controlling interest, he set on foot a scheme of new development, and
very shortly struck this fabulously rich vein. He persuaded friends in
Denver to erect a mill on terms which have resulted in the biggest
profits a stamp-mill ever paid its manufacturer, I fancy, and Bowen
suddenly found himself a Croesus. He had been heavily in debt, and
some of the scores against him had long been charged to loss by his
creditors, but he paid them all without noticing the drain upon his
uncounted coffers. Having fought the demon of poverty in its most
tenacious forms, for so many years, this sudden affluence did not spoil
him, but he glories in it like a boy, and is never more pleased than
when he can make it tell for the surprise and happiness of some old
companion still in the grip of misfortune.

But "Bowen's bonanza" is not the only one. There are others of perhaps
equal merit close by, and I have no doubt many more will be discovered.
For, in spite of all the bullion which has this year been produced,
these mines are as yet in their infancy. I suppose the measure of half
a mile would include the total length of underground workings in all of
them together. Who shall say what the future may not disclose?

Half a dozen miles across the mountain from the Summit is a flourishing
little settlement of prospectors who believe they have struck a
profitable lode of silver-galena; and still farther beyond, among the
springs of the Rio San Juan, lie the Cornwall silver mines, where much
work has been done. The principal properties are on the Perry lode,
which gives sulphuret of silver. Other ores there vary from this,
however, and are said to be best suited to the lixiviation process. A
smelter has been purchased for that locality. Judge Jones, so well known
all over southern Colorado for his steady allegiance to everything which
savors of "San Juan" and for his equal hatred of whisky, has large
visions of future wealth out of this district.

Now the whole of these mines and trials for a mine are so much grist to
Del Norte's mill. So long as they keep men digging, so long she will
thrive exceptionally and remain an important feeder to our railway.

The scenery along the Rio Grande, above Del Norte, is very fine, and has
always the zest of human interest in the quaint ranches of the Mexican
farmers, whose women and children flock out to see every train go by.
Terraced steeps bound the river-valley where the farms are, at a little
distance, on the right, while rounded pine-clad hills slope upward on
the left. We see this part of the river on our way to Wagon Wheel Gap, a
place for which, if I were writing a separate chapter, I should adopt as
a motto the words of Exodus: "And they came to Elim, where were twelve
wells of water and three score and ten palm trees, and they encamped
there by the waters."

"But what is Wagon Wheel Gap, and how did it get such a name?" asks the

"The gap," it is thereupon explained, "is a noble gateway, thirty miles
west of Del Norte, through which the Rio Grande breaks out of the
confinement of its youth in the San Juan mountains; and I heard only
yesterday how it come by its name, from the great and good Judge Jones,
whose narratives most happily combine both facts and fancies.

"You will remember what we heard of the band of men who went into the
San Juan mines four and-twenty years ago, under Colonel Baker. Well,
there was a part of that story you have not heard yet. It seems that the
party was composed of Northern and of Southern men in nearly equal
numbers. When they heard that war had broken out between the Northern
States and the hoped for 'Confederacy,' there was added to the woe of
disappointment, diminished food, and the fear of Indians, the bitterness
of a little civil war among those who previously had been compatriots
and friends. It was a miserable little copy of the great struggle, but
it resulted in disproportionate sorrows, for a panic ensued, in which
the men of the party broke up and scattered out of the mountains by
every available passage, a prey to double the dangers which would have
menaced them had they stayed together. Some tried to take their wagons
out piecemeal over Cunningham Pass. Putting them together on the eastern
side, they worked their way down to Del Norte, Fort Garland, and so to
Santa Fe, or around to Denver. But they often broke down, and a relic of
this panic-stricken flight, in the shape of a large wagon wheel, found
by Judge Jones, served to give the place its peculiar name. To
distinguish it from other gaps in the range it was spoken of as 'the gap
where the wagon wheel was found,' which soon, by natural process of
curtailment, condensation and transposition, became 'Wagon Wheel Gap,'
and Wagon Wheel Gap it is, even unto this day."

The gap itself is a cleft through a great hill; or it is two half hills
(for they stand not squarely opposite one another, but with somewhat
overlapping ends only) each vertically faced and uprightly seamed on the
river side, but sloping away into a grassy ridge behind. The southern
end of the bluffs, which also is the farthest up stream, is narrow and
tower-like, but the other, rounding out and swelling high, in the center
has a breadth of half a mile or more, the river washing its bowed base.
Of about the same height as the Palisades of the Hudson, and like them
marked with vertical lines of cleavage, this bluff of reddish volcanic
rock would bear a striking resemblance to that great monument of the
Plutonic reign on the Atlantic slope, did its façade present a straight
front; but in this swelling front is where it exceeds its eastern rival,
for one gets added pleasure from the perspective of the massive
battlement retreating right and left in grand curvature.

The gap is wide enough not to pen the water into a very narrow flood, so
that only a slight exaggeration of the always lively current occurs.
This is enough, however, to make these ripples a favorite spot for the
splendid trout in which the whole upper part of the river abounds, and I
suppose four or five thousand pounds of these gamy fish are taken every

Right at the foot of the talus stands a group of connected log-cabins
forming a comfortable hotel. As we are bound for the hot springs, we do
not remain here, but climbing into the spring wagon in waiting ride
southward for a mile back into the hills to a second little _cuchara_ of
a valley where are the springs themselves and the hotel, bath houses and
accessories belonging to the sanitarium they have created. This hotel is
delightfully home-like in its excellence of bed and board.

Persons go to Wagon Wheel Gap seeking recreation and for recovery from
ill health. If the first is their object (as it has been in the case of
the late Secretary of the Treasury,--one of the hardest working men for
ten months in the year, in the United States) they have a pleasant home
and good company and no end of out-door fun from which to choose. There
are little hills near by which they may begin on, and taller bluffs
beyond, where they may make perfect their practice; while far away stand
the "ultimate heights" of the Sierra Madre,--unbroken masses of snow
when we last beheld their spear-pointed peaks. There are ponies they may
ride, and donkeys for the children. There are single buggies and phætons
for the ladies and carryalls for the whole family. There are
geologizing, botanizing and general natural history to invite study in
endless variety.

Then there is good sport. That noblest of the deer race,--the elk--still
haunts the upland pastures and mountain glades. The black-tailed deer is
to be found lurking in the aspens, and, if you are a good climber, you
may enjoy the very next thing to Alpine chamois shooting in the arduous
chase of the mountain sheep. As for fishing, there is no stint to it in
the proper season. I know no place in Colorado where the fly-fisher will
have better sport and the angler, though uninstructed in the wiles of
Walton, get better results.

But it is to invalids that the hot springs especially appeal, holding
out all these pleasures for their delectation as gradually they regain
their health sufficiently to practice and enjoy them. Long ago these
beneficent waters were resorted to by the Indians for healing. A trail,
not yet obliterated, ran across the hills to Pagosa Springs, which were
called The Big Medicine, while these waters were known as The Little

Though of less volume than single springs at Pagosa, the springs at
Wagon Wheel Gap pour out nearly as much water, since there are thirty or
more of them in the sheltered basin which makes a natural sanitarium.
Some are icy cold, others tepid, others extremely hot. They are diverse
also, in respect to their mineral constituents, nearly every known
variety of _spa_ water being represented more or less closely. Only a
few of the springs are utilized, however, those being selected which
seem to have the most powerful curative properties. These are
principally three,--and are known as Nos. One, Two and Three. The
analysis of them published, though imperfect, but serves to show the
general character of each, and reads as follows, the proportions being
thousandths of a given bulk of the water:

                          |  No. 1. |  No. 2. |  No. 3.
     Sodium Carbonate     |  69.42  |  Trace. |  144.50
     Lithium Carbonate    |  Trace. |  Trace. |  Trace.
     Calcium Carbonate    |  13.08  |  31.00  |   22.42
     Magnesium Carbonate  |  10.91  |   5.10  |   22.42
     Potassium Sulphate   |  Trace. |  Trace. |  Trace.
     Sodium Sulphate      |  23.73  |  10.50  |   13.76
     Sodium Chloride      |  29.25  |  11.72  |   33.34
     Silicic Acid         |   5.73  |   1.07  |    4.75
     Organic Matter       |  Trace. |  Trace. |  ......
     Sulphureted Hydrogen |  Trace. |  12.00  |  ......
              Total       | 152.12  |  71.39  |  218.77

The largest of these is the "Number One," and from it is drawn the water
for the plunge-bath and to the private bath-rooms, which is used in the
largest number of cases where the disease affects the nerves, blood or
skin. An oval basin twenty feet or more in length has been excavated and
tastefully walled up. Here the spring bubbles up most copiously, at a
temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit, and sends off an incessant cloud
of steam if the air is at all cold. From this tank the water is
conducted in an open trough to the bath-houses, losing about 30 degrees
of its heat on the way. This introduces it into the baths at the quite
endurable temperature of 120 degrees, but fills the compartment with a
cloud of vapor, so that the patient breathes in the chemically-laden
moisture with every inhalation. Besides this, while in the bath, the
fresh hot water is drunk in big draughts. The invalid is thus soaked out
and in with the healing fluid; the pores of his skin, all the passages
of his head and chest, his stomach and secretory organs feel the touch
of the water and eagerly absorb the medicinal elements it contains.

Astonishing results have come from a steady continuance of daily baths
and sweatings. They will tell you instances--and vouch for them, too, by
incontestable testimony--of men brought there utterly helpless and full
of agony from inflammatory rheumatism or neuralgia, who, in a week, were
able to walk about and help themselves, in a fortnight were strolling
about the valley erect and comfortable, in a month went to work. Three
months of faithful self-treatment, it is confidently promised, will set
straight the most chronic and painful cases of such invalidism. Many a
miner now digging in the wintry mountains passed from almost certain
death to exuberant strength through this Siloam, and evidences are being
multiplied of the startling efficacy of these springs with every
additional season.

Then there is the dreadful list of cutaneous diseases and disorders of
the blood, headed by the fiendish heritage of syphilis. To such cases,
because their disease is communicable, are set apart separate baths.
Here, again, utter helplessness and the awful suffering which tempts to
suicide, are relieved by a few weeks of steady application; and not
merely relieved, as the druggist's medicines might in some cases do,
but, it is claimed, thoroughly and healthfully cured. But this last
claim, in the case of pronounced syphilis, needs the confirmation of
longer trial. I am willing to admit that the two or three, or four years
which have elapsed since certain persons have gone away restored to
health, have shown no recurrence of the symptoms; but I should like to
know that the same thing could be said indisputably half a century hence
before I would be willing to admit as proven that this spring or any
other could lay low forever the head of a malady which it has hitherto
baffled medical science to eradicate wholly from an infected system. But
even if this final, full glory shall never be attained by the Wagon
Wheel Springs, it is enough joy for the present that they are able to
alleviate its miseries and even temporarily check the havoc of body and
soul. I have said so much upon this point, because, it being impossible
to deny the existence of the evil, it is every man's duty to aid in
spreading a knowledge of any method of relief or cure.

[Illustration: WAGON WHEEL GAP.]

It is in the two classes of diseases above mentioned that the little
cold spring comes into play as a useful beverage. Dyspeptics, however,
bathing with less assiduity than their more unfortunate brethren, affect
the hot soda water (Number Three), which bubbles up in a strong, hot
fountain at the head of the gulch, and surrounded by chalybeate springs
of various qualities. This is the water, too, which the mildly ailing
like to sip, perhaps mingling a little lemon juice and sugar with it to
make a foaming compound grateful both to the taste and the system,--a
union rare in these days of doctors.

So, thanking God, we were in no need of the Little Medicine for health,
but could enjoy its delicious warmth and fragrance as pleasure
unalloyed; but profoundly grateful that for humanity in worse luck there
was such an Elim in the desert of our degeneracy, we bade adieu to
pleasant, sunny, warm-hearted Wagon Wheel and its jolly landlord,--Mr.
McClelland, our compliments, and your good health, sir, in something
stronger than mineral water!

Down at the station we went fishing, partly for fun, partly with the
urgency that set the boy digging out the woodchuck. Marvelous
stories--regular fish stories of eight-pound trout caught on a
seven-ounce rod,--had been dinned into our ears; and as for me, I half
believed them (for I remembered the splendid fellows we used to snatch
from the White Water at pretty Irene cañon, up above Antelope park). Our
ambition was not to repeat such performances, but to get one or two of,
say a pound and a half each; while the Madame said she'd be thankful if
we had a few little ones not worth weighing, by dinner time. So Chum and
I went down stream rod in hand.

Having floundered round on the slipping bowlders for awhile without
sitting down, we struck a couple of good-sized pools at the head of a
riffle; Chum took the upper, I the lower. Making my way out near to
mid-stream, I took up my station behind a large flat rock that stood
about a foot out of water, and busied myself sending a "coachman" and a
"professor" out into my domain with a little hope that I might induce
something out of the inviting pool. Before I had been there five
minutes, a yell from Chum caused me to look his way. His Bethabard was
beautifully arched, and at the end of twenty feet of line something was
helping itself to silk.

"I've got him; he's a whopper."

"That's the pound and a half I promised you," I answered, as a beautiful
fellow shot across stream not three yards above me. "But you'll lose him
in that current."

"I know it, unless I work him down your way."

"Come on with him--don't mind me." I reeled in, climbed on the rock, and
sat down to see the fun. The noble fellow made a gallant fight, but the
hook was in his upper jaw, and it was only a matter of time when he
would turn upon his side. Working him down stream, through my pool and
round into the quieter water near shore, was the work of ten minutes at
least, the captive, seeming to readily understand that still water was
not his best hold, kept making rushes for the swift current; but each
time he was brought back, and soon began to weaken under the spring of
the lithe toy in Chum's hand. Fifteen minutes were exhausted when the
scale hook was run under his gills and he registered one pound twelve

Apologizing for creating a row in my quarters, Chum went back to his old
place, while again I tried my luck. About five minutes elapsed when I
heard another not to be mistaken yell.

"I've got another--he's bigger than the first."

"Yes, I see you have--I think it's infernally mean."

"I know it is, but I can't help it. I've got to come down there again."

"Well, come on," and I sat down again to watch the issue. The struggle
was not so brave, though the fish, when brought to scale, weighed half a
pound more than the first. While we were commenting on this streak of
luck, we noticed a change in the water, its partially clear hue began to
grow milky, and in less time than it takes to tell it, a bowlder six
inches under the surface was out of sight.

"We might as well go to dinner, no trout will try to rise in that mud,"
and I reeled up with the reflection that the next best thing to catching
a trout is to see one captured by one who knows how.

The next day we had another try. Chum crossed the river, and then we
slowly walked down to a magnificent pool a mile below. Here were a party
of half a dozen gentlemen, to one of whom I called out just as we came
within hearing.

"Have you got him?" The inquiry was made on the score of good
fellowship; the bend of his split bamboo, the tension of his line, and
the whirr of his reel indicated the first stage.

"I've hooked him, and he's no sardine, I tell you--whoa, boy, gently
now," as a sudden rush strung off full twenty feet of line. "Whoa, boy,
be easy now; gently, now; come here; whoa! confound your picture! whoa,
boy, gently, so, boy."

"May be you think you are driving a mule," came from one of the anglers.

"Oh, no! I'm trying to lead one--whoa, boy, whoa, boy, gently, now, none
of your capers--whoa! I tell you!" as a renewed and vigorous dash for
liberty threatened destruction to the slender tackle. "No you don't, old
fellow, so, boy, that's a good fellow," and showing his back near the
surface, the captive exhibited twenty inches (at a guess) of trout.

"By George, he's a beauty," came from behind us.

I had allowed my flies to float down stream and had backed out to give
room for fair play. It was a long fight, but his troutship finally
showed side up, and was gently drawn ashore, the water turned out of
him, and he drew down the scale three pounds to a notch.

These are only "pointers" for the angling fraternity. As for our own
luck that day--well, we had good trout left in the ice-box for a week.

It was our fortune throughout this trip to mix experiences by the most
sudden transitions. It did not seem strange to us, therefore, that from
the gold-fields and trouting and jollity of this beautiful valley, we
should go at a jump into the coal districts east of the range.


                        EL MORO AND CAÑON CITY.

            For Knights no more in modern days bestride
            Their Rosinante and across the hills
            Ride, by my halidome, to succor maids
            Or couch a lance against an amorous foe;
            Instead, within a Pullman Palace Car
            At ease reclining and at peace with all,
            We conquer space while romance groweth dull
            Under the languor of the April air.
                                             --WILLIAM E. PABOR.

"El Moro, sir,--breakfast nearly ready, sir!"

I had only closed my eyes an instant before, I was sure, yet then I had
been lying quietly in the station at Alamosa, away over on the other
side of the Sangre de Cristo. I couldn't remember anything of the
transition. Then it was night; now it was morning. Time and space had
been an utter blank for ten hours and a hundred miles.

Drawing aside my window curtain and gazing out over gray plains, my eyes
caught instantly the bluish outlines of a grander castle and fortress
than ever traveler on Rhine or Danube glanced upon. Almost a
twelve-month before the Madame and I had spent a sunny day at St.
Augustine, where the old square, four-bastioned fort stood grim on the
shore of a foam-flecked and laughing sea. Here was a copy of that
fortress a thousand times as large,--sloping walls, outer works,
bastions, towers and all; you might almost see the huge guns, standing
rigid and ready on the magnificent parapet. This was _El Moro_. It was
miles and miles away, and a hundred cities had room to cluster about it
and take its name without crowding one another. It is the most
magnificent model of a half ruined, antique, but altogether glorious
fortress in the whole wide world.

At El Moro are some of the great coal mines of this carboniferous state;
but to put the matter Hibernically, they are half a dozen miles away up
in the hills. We went up there on an engine which drew behind it a
box-car load of Mexicans, men and women, who all squatted down on their
heels on the car floor and were quite happy, chattering like magpies. It
is a very miserable class of Mexicans, for the most part, that one sees
in this part of the state. The fathers and mothers of most of them were
_peons_ of the wealthy Spaniards, who, under the old _regime_, owned all
this region as pasturage for their flocks and herds.

The coal-bed is some hundreds of feet higher than the valley of the
Purgatoire, where the village is; and it can be traced for thirty miles
east and west, cropping out frequently and used all along by the farmers
who live near it, as a supply of fuel. Throughout this extent it varies,
of course, in thickness and quality, though in no great degree. Where
the El Moro mines are opened, it runs from a vertical thickness of
thirty feet to thirteen, nearly all of which is solid, merchantable
coal. There are two thin streaks of what the miners term
"bone"--something neither coal nor slate--and little patches of refuse,
now and then, but no great amount.

I do not know how many hundreds of yards of underground tunnels we
walked through, but it was an immense distance, yet the foreman said we
had not been half way through it all. Everywhere the roof was high
overhead and the walls solid coal, so that the men did not have to crawl
on all fours or lie prostrate and dig, as I have seen done in some
eastern mines, but could stand full height. All the product of the mine
is taken by the pick, except a small amount cut by machines, which dig a
horizontal trench, level with the floor, for five feet or so under the
breast of the coal and across its whole breadth. This machine works with
extreme rapidity, and after it is done, a couple of blasts will topple
down as much coal as can be carted out in a day.

[Illustration: UP THE RIO GRANDE.]

The output each month is nearly twenty-five thousand tons, about two
hundred and seventy-five miners working. The piece-work method is
adopted in paying, and though a smaller rate is paid per ton in mining
than is usual in the Pennsylvania or Illinois mines, the earnings of the
miners aggregate much larger than the average in the East. This is due
to the superior ease with which this coal can be taken out, because of
its softness and the roominess of the working chambers, rather than to
anything better in the miners or greater diligence in working. One
difficulty, indeed, arises from the ease with which high earnings can
be made here, namely, that desirable workmen will labor only during the
winter, or until they have made a "grub-stake," as they say, when they
will go into the mountains prospecting for mines until their funds are
exhausted, for, thus far, none of them have become suddenly wealthy.

At the mines, the Colorado Coal and Iron Company, which owns this
property, have built a small village of _adobe_ and wooden houses, in
which the miners reside. About two hundred men were employed, many of
whom had families. They were of almost every nationality, including some
sixty Mexicans.

The El Moro coal is a true bituminous coal, producing a coke of
excellent quality. It is asserted by its owners to be the best coal for
making gas and for blacksmithing in the state; and it is used
extensively for steam and metallurgical purposes. It is also said to be
the only coal yet discovered in Colorado, lying east of the mountains,
which can be profitably used for heating iron in furnaces, and for this
it is equal to the best grades of eastern coal. About two-thirds of the
product is made into coke.

The coke-works lie five miles from the mines and near El Moro, where
there are three steam pumps, a fifty-horse power engine, crushing and
washing machinery and two hundred and fifty coking ovens. A charge for
each of these ovens, they told us, was about four and a half tons, and
the yield of coke from each, after forty-eight hours of burning, is
about two and a quarter tons, making a present total product of two
hundred and eighty tons of coal a day.

The following shows the analysis of this coal and coke, and also that of
the well known Connelsville coal and coke:


                               Vol.     Fix.
                    Water.  Matter.  Carbon.   Ash.   Sulphur.
     El Moro         0.26    29.66    65.76    4.32      0.85
     Connelsville    1.26    30.11    59.52    8.23      0.78


                                     Carbon.   Ash.   Sulphur.
     El Moro                          87.47   10.68      0.85
     Connelsville                     87.26   11.99      0.75

This analysis of El Moro coal was made from selected specimens; the
average of ash in the coke will probably run up to twelve to fourteen
per cent.

When we were at Cucharas once before (I have omitted to mention it in
its proper place), we ran over to Walsenburg, a neat little settlement
in Huerfano Park, and a headquarters for a large sheep industry, and
visited the coal mines of this company near by. They own a large tract
of land there, containing three seams of coal, four, nine, and five feet
in thickness. Only the thickest of these has as yet been developed,
sending out about seventy-five thousand tons annually. This coal
analyses as follows, "No. 1" being the four-feet seam, "No. 2" the
nine-feet seam:

                                  No. 1.  No. 2.

               Water               3.23      2.97
               Vol. Matter        40.93     40.08
               Fixed Carbon       49.54     48.67
               Ash                 6.30      8.28
                                --------  --------
                                 100.      100.

               Sulphur              .62       .65

It was old traveled ground, for the major part of the distance between
El Moro and Cañon City, on the Arkansas, forty miles above Pueblo; and
as we were anxious to save all the time we could for the new regions in
the west, where we were sure the most romantic experiences awaited, we
decided for another night-run, disadvantageous as they were, compared
with day journeys. The next morning after our visit to El Moro,
therefore, found us at anchor in Cañon City.

"What is there to see about Cañon City?" Oh, quantities of things. Here
is a list of what its _Record_ keeps "set up" as its "advantages,
natural and otherwise:"

"Soda springs, iron springs, hot soda baths, wide streets, excellent
town site, immense water power, exhaustless coal fields, good water
works, best building stone, splendid lime rock, iron mines, mica mines,
lead mines, silver mines, oil wells, irrigating ditches, abundance of
shade trees, peaches, plums, pears, apples, walnuts, grapes, vegetables,
grain, flowers, bees, fifteen thousand dollar school house, twenty
thousand dollar court house, Masonic temple, city government, low taxes,
streets sprinkled, seven churches, theatre hall, first-class dentists,
two newspapers, excellent physicians, good teachers, brick and stone
stores, excellent society, protection from cold winds, immense stocks of
goods, railroad communication, good ranches, stock ranges, excellent
hotels, military college, and kindergarten."

Most of these items describe themselves, but others are worth mention.
Right at the mouth of the Grand Cañon, which suggested the name, this
site early attracted to a permanent home many of the earliest wanderers
whom the famous Pike's Peak immigration of 1859 brought to the country.
Half a century before them, though, Major Zebulon Pike had made a
station for part of his troops on this spot, whence he reconnoitered the
surrounding mountains.

Basing their calculations upon the fact that their settlement, which
from the first was called Cañon City, was the last place to which the
big emigration and freight wagons could come from the plains, the
pioneers had large hopes of their town as the one entrepôt and
supply-point for the mountains. Merchants came here and crammed great
sheds with stocks of goods sold at wholesale, while forwarders were busy
in organizing ox-trains to carry supplies into the mountains.

[Illustration: GRAPE CREEK CAÑON.]

Then came the War of the Rebellion. All travel along the southern trail
across the plains was cut off by the Indians, and immigration ceased,
particularly from the Southern states, whence had come into this part of
Colorado a large portion of the early settlers. More from lack of
anything else to do than because of strong convictions on the subject,
some two hundred and fifty young men enlisted from here into the Union
service and were sent to New Mexico on that campaign against Sibley,
wherein Colorado's regiments distinguished themselves. While the war
raged Colorado was at a standstill, and the settlers had hard shift to
live, all goods having to come by the way of Denver, subject to great

Then the war closed, emigration westward revived, and Cañon City, along
with the rest of the region, took a new lease of life. A committee of
Germans came from Chicago seeking a place for a colony of their
compatriots, and were guided by Mr. Rudd until they hit upon the Wet
Mountain Valley and located Walsenburg. A little later, hopes of a
railway cheered the hearts of the southern Coloradoans. The Kansas
Pacific Company sent engineers up the Arkansas to locate their road
across the range. They surveyed to this point, estimated upon the cost
of grading through the cañon, and over the range by two or three routes.
Then they abandoned the locality and deflected to Denver. This was no
sooner done than reports of the advance of the Atchison, Topeka and
Santa Fe came to cheer the citizens, but disappointment ensued until
early in the last decade the Denver and Rio Grande staked out their
narrow gauge, and had the cars running regularly hither by the Spring of

All this time the town was slowly progressing and its vicinity being
taken up for ranches, claimed for coal lands, quarried for
building-stone and lime, and prospected for the precious metals. In 1879
came a "boom." Leadville flashed into sight and the Rosita and Silver
Cliff district sprang to the front to rival it in excitement. To both
these centers of rushing crowd Cañon City was one point of ingress. The
town suddenly became thronged with men and women who were straining
every nerve to get into the new regions, and with the undertow of a
returning army of men disgusted with their reception and ill-luck, or
jubilant over quick success, or going east only to return with machinery
or goods or more money and friends.

To the task of catching toll from this careless, hurrying, fat-pocketed
stream of humanity Cañon City set herself. The hotels charged big
prices, lodging houses started up right and left, restaurants and
boarding tents thrust out their signs every few steps, merchants urged
your renewing your outfit at their replenished counters, and every form
of wild amusement led to revelry and hideous headaches. Of all the wild
towns it has been my fortune to see in the West, I think the Cañon City
of those days was the worst. Ruffianism was the only fashionable thing,
seemingly, and from the tangle-headed, dusty and drunken bull-whacker or
the professional card-sharper to the staid old citizen, everybody had
caught the spirit of a grand spree and the devil reigned.

But the railway was at last built through the cañon, the loud-swearing,
quick-shooting teamsters followed their principals to the end of the
track at Cleora, Salida, Buena Vista, and so on to Leadville itself; the
gamblers and dance-houses and harlots followed; the host of railway
laborers no longer made the village streets scenes of debauchery, and
the town counted its gains, reckoned the loss its manners and morals had
suffered, and returned to its normal quiet.

But its waking up had set its blood flowing faster and it has been a
live town ever since, growing steadily, making public improvements,
building houses and finding occupants faster than they could be put up,
and all without any fictitious excitement.

It is for its coal mines--and these are half a dozen miles
eastward--that Cañon City has the highest repute, however, and to these
it owes much of its prosperity. They are the property of the ubiquitous
Coal and Iron Company, who supply from here a large part of the
fuel--and of the hardest and cleanest quality--used in the household all
over the state. The railway consumes a great quantity too, for it has
long been recognized as the best steam-maker. Two veins are now worked,
one five feet and the other four feet in thickness. The mines are worked
by slopes furnished with steam hoisters. The Coal Creek mine has been in
operation for nine years. The company has recently opened two new slopes
at Oak Creek, and are prepared to furnish 1,500 tons of coal per day
from them. The total annual output of these mines is about 125,000 tons.
The following are the analyses of these coals:

     Water                                     4.50       6.15
     Volatile Matter                          34.20      36.03
     Fixed Carbon                             56.80      52.82
     Ash                                       4.50       5.00
                                              -----      -----
                 Total                          100        100

                 Sulphur                                   .65

Everybody will understand from this statement that this coal is
worthless for coking, but most desirable as fuel. Our cook will swear to
this, but declines to tell how much he stole at various times for
culinary use.

Withal, Cañon City is a pretty town; one of the pleasantest places to
live in in Colorado. Rows of large trees shade all the side-walks (and
they are side-walks of planking, not mere gravel paths), and the ample
spaces left about each house are filled with fruit trees, flowers and
garden vegetables. To go into such a garden as one I visited in town is
a surprise. A picturesquely built house, its adobe walls hidden by much
climbing vinery, has its porch turned into a thickly-leaved bower by
masses upon masses of clematis, whose white, thistly puffs of seed-down,
each as large as a snow ball, are strung upon the green stem like
monstrous beads. The garden, of which this cottage is the center,
abounds in apple trees, pears, quince, plum, and peach trees, through
whose spring blossoms thousands of bees go to and fro bearing burdens of
honey to the neat store-houses under the shade. The lower part of the
garden falls away, terrace fashion, to the river, and here are arbors of
grapes, thickets of currant and gooseberry bushes, beds of asparagus,
celery, and all sorts of good plants to make the pot-boiler happy. Down
by the river stands a windmill, by which water is pumped to a reservoir,
whence the whole garden and orchard can be irrigated and sprinkled.

This is only one of hundreds of gardens small and great where fruit and
vegetables are raised for home use and for sale. Marvelous stories are
told of the weight of the cabbages, of the girth of the beets, of the
solidity of the turnips and strength of the onions that go hence. And
as for apples, scores and scores of acres are being newly set out in
apple trees, and almost square miles of "truck" fields will next year
add their quota to the unsatisfied market. I was astonished when I saw
how extensive and successful was the culture of fruit and garden sauce
in and about Cañon City.

This comes from good soil and easy climate. They say some winters here
are so mild that one hardly needs an overcoat at all; it must be
remembered that though the elevation is high the latitude is low. I saw
a field where clover had been cut three times a year for twelve years,
yet showed no signs of running out; and as for alfalfa, they cut the
crop quarterly.

The citizens think that their town is likely to prove a manufacturing
center. I see no reason why it should not. The river falls there at a
rate which furnishes a fine water power, already utilized to propel the
public water-works. With the best of coal close by, and iron in
abundance only a little way off, I should think the future would see
machine shops and foundries placed at this point; while factories for
woolen cloth, for making wooden-ware from pine and for various other
industries adapted to the resources and market of the neighborhood, shoe
factories and leather-work by machinery generally ought to be
flourishing here some day, since hides ought to be tanned here instead
of being sent wholly to the East.

In the State prison, which is situated here, there is already a
shoe-factory, but most of the prisoners are engaged in quarrying and
cutting stone. The quarries are in the side hill, and the stone is a
yellowish sand-rock, very good for building. The fine-appearing
prison-buildings and the lofty wall which encloses them are built of
this stone, as can readily be seen from the car-windows. Much stone, in
the rough and shaped, is shipped from these quarries to Denver and
elsewhere, and the railway makes extensive use of it.

Just outside of the foot hills, where the sand stone is procured, are
the "hog-backs"--elongated ridges of white lime-rock. These, also, are
being leveled to supply the lime-kilns and also to be sent to Leadville,
Argo and elsewhere for the use of the smelting furnaces as flux.
Something like two hundred car-loads a week, I am told, go to Leadville
alone; but the competition of lime-ledges near Robinson and elsewhere
north of Leadville is likely to diminish this shipment in future to that
point. Possibly, though, if the newly discovered silver prospects over
the hills near Blackburn turn out to be of any value, a home demand may
make up for Leadville's discrepancies. Finally, petroleum seems to have
been found here in quantities which will ultimately prove highly
remunerative. Wells are being bored, and unexpectedly good results are
obtained, so that high hopes are entertained that to her list of
productions Colorado shall add in profitable quantities this wonderful
substance--mineral oil--and the spirit of speculation and industry be
given a new channel for its activity.


                      IN THE WET MOUNTAIN VALLEY.

              For some were hung with arras green and blue,
              Showing a gaudy summer morn.
                 *    *    *    *    *   *   *   *
              And one a full-fed river winding slow
              By herds upon an endless plain.

Cañon City was by no means a bad place to stay, and we would have
prolonged our visit to the benefit of our table, had not the railway
yard been so busy a one that there was no rest for our cars, which were
pulled about, here and there, by the necessities of train-forming, in a
way we were far from enjoying, so we decided to go on. At the last
minute, nevertheless, this happy-go-lucky crowd concluded that they were
extremely anxious first to take a run over into the Wet Mountain valley.
One gentleman, of uncertain influence, raised his voice against it, but
was silenced so quickly it made his head swim. He had endeavored to
point out that it would be more instructive to go down to the great coal
mines, a few miles below; and far more fun to ascend Signal mountain and
"see what we should see." He tried skillfully to arouse some enthusiasm
by telling how, though it seemed within rifle-shot, it was really
eighteen miles away; how it can be seen from the plains not only, but
also from South Park and the peaks that surround; how, in consequence,
the Utes chose it as one of their telegraph stations, and the early
pioneers bound for Pike's Peak, saw from their camps the wavering smoke
by day, or the signal fires at night, upon its summit, through which the
Indians informed their companions of the invaders' movements. Thus it
came to be known as Signal mountain, but in this gentleman's humble
opinion the old Spanish name of "Pisgalo Peak" was better. All this was
listened to with a sort of consolatory attention; nevertheless the
speaker was compelled, not only to resign his plan, but to give orders

Grown strong in the lap of the Wet Mountain valley, Grape creek assaults
the red walls of rock that bar its progress to the Arkansas at the mouth
of the Grand Cañon. The profusion of wild vines its waters nourish,
makes its name a natural one, and they adorn its course as few streams
in the West are garnished. These are particularly abundant along the
rocky lower part of the stream, growing luxuriantly upon the arbors the
great cottonwoods afford, and under the shelter of the warm, red walls,
relieving the ruggedness of their abrupt slopes, "as if nature found she
had done her work too roughly, and then veiled it with flowers and
clinging vines."


"The entrance to Grape Creek cañon," writes an acquaintance, who was
there a little in advance of us, "for over a mile, follows the windings
of the clear flowing creek, with gently sloping hills on either side
covered with low spruce and piñon, and with grass plats and brilliant
flowers in season far up their slopes, and the Spanish lance and bush
cactus present their bristling points wherever a little soil affords
them sustenance.... About seven miles from the mouth of the creek a
small branch cañon comes in from the right. It was once a deep cleft,
with perpendicular sides, created in some convulsion of nature, but it
has been gradually filled up with débris and broken rock until a sloping
and not difficult path is made, by the sides of which a luxuriant
vegetation has taken root, and the wild rose and clematis blooms with
the humble blue-bell among the mossy bowlders. Climbing this path for a
few hundred feet a side cleft is seen at the right, which seems to
terminate in a solid wall. Following it to the breast, however, you find
at the left a passage made by a water channel, with steps which ladies
can easily pass with a little help, and we enter a narrow passage
between high rocky walls. Turning again to the right, we follow this
perhaps two hundred feet, and looking to the left we find before and
above us the lofty arched dome of the "Temple." About twenty-five feet
above where we are standing is a platform, perhaps fifty feet in width
and six or eight feet in depth, over which projects far above the
arching roof. Though the auditorium in front is rather narrow for a
large audience, the platform is grand, and may be reached without great
difficulty. Music sounds finely as it rolls down from the overhanging
sounding-board of stone. From the platform deep cavernous recesses are
seen at the sides, which time has wrought, but which are invisible from
below. Moreover, the action of water slowly percolating through the back
walls, carrying lime and spar in solution, has coated them with
crystals, which gleam in sparkling beauty when the sunlight touches them
early in the day. Farther up the cañon the rocks do not rise to so great
heights, and the vista opens out into pleasant winding valleys well
covered with grass, but there are several very interesting points where
the action of internal convulsions upon the granite and syenite in elder
ages, when they came hot from the crucible of nature, have rolled and
twisted and kneaded the great rock-masses into most curious and notable

These beauties passed all too rapidly, the green expanse of the Wet
Mountain valley opened before us. It seemed to merit its name, for the
Sangre de Cristo, walling in its western side, was the abode of
contending hosts of rain and snow, whose pale, dense phalanxes lent new
sublimity to the noble battle-ground they had chosen; but the real "Wet
Mountains,"--the old "Sierra Mojada" of the Spaniards, the "Green Horn"
range of the dwellers on its eastern outlook--are the ragged range

The Wet Mountain valley has long been settled by ranchmen, and extensive
herds pasture on its wide-sweeping hillsides. Grape creek, flowing from
Promontory bluff and the hills to the southward, which separate this
valley from Huerfano park and the drainage of the Cucharas, waters the
center of the valley, and its banks are lined with meadows and farms.
Each winter sees hay alone sent from these meadows to the value of not
less than $150,000. Oats and barley, especially, do well, and most of
the roots are grown successfully; very fine potatoes were transferred
from those fields to our boiler, so that we have the best evidence of
their excellence. The improved appearance of the numerous ranches, which
in one or two places are agglomerated into hamlets, shows their
prosperity, and the whole picture of the valley is one of the most
pleasing in Colorado,--not only in point of natural beauty, but for its
commercial and human interest, for Rosita is one of the oldest towns in

"A legend runs," _vide_ H. H., "that there was once another 'Little
Rose,' a beautiful woman of Mexico, who had a Frenchman for a lover.
When she died her lover lost his wits, and journeyed aimlessly away to
the north; he rambled on and on till he came to this beautiful little
nook, nestled among mountains, and overlooking a green valley a thousand
feet below it. Here he exclaimed, 'Beautiful as Rosita!' and settled
himself to live and die on the spot. A simpler and better authenticated
explanation of the name is, that, when the miners first came, six years
ago, into the gulches where the town of Rosita now lies, they found
several fine springs of water, each spring in a thicket of wild roses.
As they went to and fro from their huts to the springs, they found in
the dainty blossoms a certain air of greeting, as of old inhabitants
welcoming newcomers. It seemed no more than courteous that the town
should be called after the name of the oldest and most aristocratic
settler,--a kind of recognition which does not always result in so
pleasing a name as Rosita (Tompkinsville, for instance, or Jenkins'
Gulch). Little Rose, then, it became, and Little Rose it will remain."

But the metropolis of the valley, and the terminus of the railway at
present is the newer town of Silver Cliff, a town which saw one of the
"biggest booms" on record. The story goes that the first known discovery
of silver here was in July, 1877, by the Edwards brothers, who had
previously been running saw-mills on Texas and Grape creeks. Returning
one warm evening from one of the mills to Rosita, Mr. R. J. Edwards
stopped in the shade of a low bluff, jet-stained reddish rock, which
stood out from the slope of a hill on the western side of the valley
seven miles north of his destination. The peculiar appearance of the
rock moving his curiosity, he procured an assay of it, when, to his
astonishment, he was told that it ran twenty-four ounces in silver to
the ton. In a few days the entire population of Rosita had migrated to
the rock which they agreed to call the Silver Cliff, and were digging
holes and testing for gold, since it was thought there was more of that
than of the less valuable mineral to be obtained. But their efforts came
to nothing; and as quick to be discouraged as they were to have their
hopes aroused, the mercurial crowd vanished, and the black striped rocks
enjoyed their previous solitude through all the next autumn and winter.

Then (this was in the spring of 1878) some sensible prospectors tried
for silver and located the "Racine Boy" and various other properties
right on the brow of the cliff, which have since proved of great value.
This was the signal for a second rush, but the new comers, who dug holes
everywhere and anywhere, like an immense colony of prairie badgers, each
thought himself sure of millions, and held his bit of ground at so high
a price that nobody would buy at all. This resulted in a panic, the
effect of which was really for the prosperity of the critical camp,
since capital now took hold and deep developments proceeded on some
properties that had proved their worth.

It did not take long to evince the fact that ninety out of every hundred
of the holes scattered so indiscriminately over the velvety knolls of
Round mountain and the smooth, hard plain near by, were of no value; and
also, on the other hand, to show enough paying mines to make it appear
that the ore (at any rate that near the surface) all lay in a particular
"belt," apparently culminating in the exposed ledges that had first
attracted the miner's eyes.

The Hardscrabble mining district, in which both Silver Cliff and Rosita
are situated, takes its name from a small creek that rises in the
foothills on the west side of the Wet Mountain range, or Sierra Mojada,
and, forcing its way through a wild and difficult cañon, flows into the
Arkansas river seven or eight miles east of Cañon City. The mountains
themselves are of red granite, which has been thrown up in the wildest
confusion, and which the winds and rains in many places have carved into
all sorts of fantastic shapes. The range is extremely rugged, almost
destitute of large timber, and is impassable for wagons, except where
roads have been built at great expense through the cañons and over the

The western foothills of the Sierra Mojada generally present, at a
distance, a smooth, rounded appearance, with now and then a ledge of
rocks sticking out of the summit or side, and while on some of them
timber of considerable size is growing, in most instances the vegetation
consists solely of a few stunted evergreen bushes and a very thin growth
of gramma grass. The soil on these hills is generally very thin, and, on
approaching them, the surface is found to be covered with loose pieces
of broken rock, which the frosts have detached and the rains washed out
from beneath a slight covering of earth. It is in these foothills that
all the best mines of the Hardscrabble district have been found.

The geological formation of this rich mineral belt is peculiar and very
interesting. Resting upon and against the granite of the Wet Mountain
range and its higher foothills, and extending down into the valley
beyond the southern line of the belt, lies an enormous deposit of
porphyry, or trachyte, a volcanic rock poured out and consolidated
during the tertiary period. Its width is at least five miles, and its
length is probably fifteen or twenty. Extending into the trachyte
formation from the southwest, and following its general direction, is a
tongue-shaped mass of granite about three-fourths of a mile wide and at
least seven or eight miles long. When the trachyte was poured out this
granite apparently formed a ridge which rose above the level of the
fluid mass of the surrounding volcanic rock, and therefore was not
covered by it. That it does not now stand higher than the surrounding
country does not disprove this theory, because there are everywhere to
be found evidences of terrible convulsions since the trachyte was
deposited which have completely changed the face of this entire region.
The mines here are found both in the granite and also in the trachyte.
Winding through the porphyry, in a serpentine course, there is also a
stream of obsidian, as it is called here, or volcanic glass, mixed with
trachyte and quartz bowlders. This stream, where it has been examined,
varies from a few feet to many rods in width, and in crevices of the
bowlders which form the mass of it were found, on the Hecla claim, some
very rich specimens of horn silver.

At Silver Cliff, and north of there especially, the trachyte rock has
been shaken up and fractured in all directions, and in many places the
crevices have been filled with iron and manganese, which has become
oxidized, and with chloride of silver. This is the free milling ore
which is found in all the mines that lie directly north of this town and
adjoining it. The trachyte is of itself yellowish white; when it is
stained with the black oxide of manganese and the red oxide of iron that
variegates the ores, it is sure to carry silver, though this (in the
form of a chloride) can rarely be seen. Sometimes, however, the silver
can be seen upon the surface of a fracture in the form of a green scale,
or appears in little globules of horn silver. While the rich ore is
discovered in large masses, surrounded by leaner or less valuable rock,
there is nowhere in the chloride belt anything that looks like a vein.
The rock just covers the entire face of the country over an area two
miles long and half a mile wide, and the whole mass of it contains at
least a small quantity of silver.

The theory of the geologists, accepted by the miners, is, that the
trachyte, after it became solidified, was shaken and broken up by some
great convulsion, and that simultaneously, or afterward, silver, iron,
manganese, and the other metals of which traces are found in the rock,
were disseminated through crevices, either in water solutions or
volatilized--in the form of gases. These solutions or gases are supposed
to have come up through cracks in the earth's crust. Such a deposit is
called in the old world "stockwork," and Professor J. S. Newberry, in
writing recently of "The Origin and Classification of Ore Deposits,"
mentions this as one of the two most important examples of this kind of
deposit that have come under his observation. The other is the gold
deposit in Bingham cañon, Utah. None of the oldest miners ever saw
before any ore that looked like this at Silver Cliff, and this explains
their failure to discover its value until recently. The same is true of
the quartzite gold ore in Bingham cañon. The miners worked for years
there getting out silver-lead ores, but threw aside the gold ore as
waste, not dreaming of its value.

[Illustration: THE ROYAL GORGE]

But the mineral belt which I have described contains other classes of
mines. At Rosita, in the "Pocahontas-Humboldt" lode, the trachyte,
instead of being shattered and impregnated, has been rent asunder and a
true fissure formed in it, filled with gray copper, galena, zinc blende,
iron and copper pyrites and heavy spar--all carrying sulphide of silver.
These form a narrow pay streak from one to eighteen inches wide, and
the remainder is filled with a gangue rock, generally of a trachytic
formation. This vein extends for a long distance through the hills, and
is inclosed by walls that are as clearly defined as those of a room.
Other smaller veins of the same character have been found in the country
north of Rosita, and on some of them valuable mines have been located
and developed.

Still another class of mines in the same mineral belt remains to be
mentioned. Those are what Professor Newberry has called the
"mechanically filled" veins, and they include the "Bassick" and the
"Bull-Domingo." The former is supposed to be a true fissure vein in the
trachyte rock, the cavity of which, after the rocks were rent asunder,
was filled with well rounded pebbles and bowlders, generally similar in
constitution to the country rock. The interstices in this mass have been
filled with tellurides of gold and silver, free gold, zinc blende,
galena, and the pyrites of iron and copper carrying silver. These
materials surround the stones in thin shells, the pebbles and bowlders
forming nuclei about which the metallic substances crystallized. In the
"Bull-Domingo," situated in the granite tongue, the stones are generally
granite or syenite, and the cementing substance is argentiferous galena,
which not only surrounds the stones, but in many cases entirely fills up
the irregular spaces between them. In both of these cases it is supposed
that the metallic matter came up from below in the form of a hot

Silver Cliff has been a trifle disappointed, however. Not only were her
streets laid out broad and straight, upon a splendid town site, over a
considerably larger area than has yet been occupied, but two other
towns, Westcliffe, where the railway station is, and Clifton, between
the two towns, invite persons to buy town lots and build houses in
rivalry. At present, however, Clifton's population consists chiefly of
its town-agent, and there is one of the best opportunities to take your
choice of building sites there that I know of in the Centennial state.
Westcliffe has a big smelter, a hay-press, the water-works, and various
other reasons for being a future village of importance.

Yet Silver Cliff is a fine town, and its streets are busy with miners
and merchants and professional men, who know where their money is coming
from and going to. The immense interests of the Silver Cliff Mining
company, with its open, quarry-like mine, and its great mill, which has
the reputation of being the finest in Colorado, employ a large number of
men. Another mill, further down the creek, is running on the product of
its mines, and a great deal of development-work along the whole belt is
in progress, while prospects of rich strikes elsewhere keep things in a
bright, hopeful condition.

As for Rosita, it was a thriving mining camp, half a dozen years before
Silver Cliff and its chlorides were heard of. True fissure veins were
disclosed, and a permanent town resulted, which is yet mining quietly
but successfully, and making its people wealthy.


                            THE ROYAL GORGE.

              High overarched, and echoing walls between.

The Grand Cañon of the Arkansas, and its culminating chasm, the Royal
Gorge, lie between Salida and Cañon City, and form a sufficient theme
for a chapter by themselves. It was on our return from Silver Cliff that
we went there.

Situated only half a dozen miles west of Cañon City, the traveler going
either to Leadville or Gunnison, begins to watch for the cañon as soon
as he has passed the city limits, the penitentiary and the mineral
springs. If he looks ahead he sees the vertically tilted, whitish strata
of sandstone and limestone, which the upthrust of the interior mountains
has set on edge, broken at a narrow portal through which the graceful
river finds the first freedom of the plains,--becomes of age, so to
speak, and commences, however awkwardly, that manly progress that by and
by will enable it to take its important place in the commerce of the

                                  "----The river,
          Which through continents pushes its pathway forever,
          To fling its fond heart in the sea."

Running the gauntlet of these scraggy warders of the castle of the
mountain gods within, the train boldly assaults the gates of the castle
itself. From the smoothness of the outer world, where the eye can range
in wide vision, taking in the profiles of countless noble chains and
lowlier but serviceable ridges; where the sun shines broadly, and its
light and heat are reflected in shimmering volumes from expanses of
whitened soil, the eager traveler now finds himself locked between
precipitous hillsides, strewn with jagged fragments, as though the
Titans had tossed in here the chips from their workshop of the world. He
strives for language large enough to picture the heights that with
ceaselessly growing altitude hasten to meet him. He searches his fancy
after images and similitudes that shall help him comprehend and recall
the swiftly crowding forms of Nature's massive architecture. He taxes
his eyes and mind and memory to see and preserve, until he can have
leisure to study this exhibition of the depth and breadth of the barrier
that so long has loomed before him in silent majesty, yet for which the
world has found no better name than the Rocky mountains. He has gone
past it,--gone over it, it may be; now he is going _through_ it. The
track, as he rushes ahead, seems bodily to sink deeper and deeper into
the earth, as though the apparent progress forward only resulted in
impotent struggles to keep from sinking deeper, like an exhausted
swimmer in swift waters. The roar of the yeasty, nebulous-green river at
his side, mingles with the crashing echoes of the train, reverberating
heavenward through rocks that rise perpendicularly to unmeasured
heights. The ear is stunned, and the mind refuses to sanction what the
senses report to it.

[Illustration: BROWN'S CAÑON.]

Then a new surprise and almost terror comes. The train rolls round a
long curve, close under a wall of black and banded granite, beside which
the ponderous locomotive shrinks to a mere dot, as if swinging on some
pivot in the heart of the mountain, or captured by a centripetal force
that would never resign its grasp. Almost a whole circle is
accomplished, and the grand amphitheatrical sweep of the wall shows no
break in its smooth and zenith-cutting façade. Will the journey end
here? Is it a mistake that this crevice goes _through_ the range? Does
not all this mad water gush from some powerful spring, or boil out of a
subterranean channel impenetrable to us?

No, it opens. Resisting centripetal, centrifugal force claims the train,
and it breaks away at a tangent past the edge or round the corner of the
great black wall which compelled its detour, and that of the river
before it. Now what glories of rock-piling confront the wide-distended
eye. How those sharp-edged cliffs, standing with upright heads that play
at hand-ball with the clouds, alternate with one another, so that first
the right, then the left, then the right one beyond strike on our view,
each one half obscured by its fellow in front, each showing itself
level-browed with its comrades as we come even with it, each a score of
hundreds of dizzy feet in height, rising perpendicular from the water
and the track, splintered atop into airy pinnacles, braced behind
against the almost continental mass through which the chasm has been

This is the Royal Gorge!

But how faintly I tell it--how inexpressible are the wonders of plutonic
force it commemorates, how magnificent the pose and self-sustained
majesty of its walls, how stupendous the height as we look up, the depth
if we were to gaze timidly down, how splendid the massive shadows at the
base of the interlocking headlands,--the glint of sunlight on the upper
rim and the high polish of the crowning points! One must catch it all as
an impression on the retina of his mind's eye,--must memorize it
instantly and ponder it afterward. It is ineffable, but the thought of
it remains through years and years a legacy of vivid recollection and
delight, and you never cease to be proud that you have seen it.

There is more cañon after that--miles and miles of it--the Grand Cañon
of the Arkansas. In and out of all the bends and elbows, gingerly round
the promontories whose very feet the river laves, rapidly across the
small, sheltered nooks, where soil has been drifted and a few
adventurous trees have grown, noisily through the echoing cuttings, the
train rushes westward, letting you down gradually from the tense
excitement of the great chasm, to the cedar-strewn ledges that fade out
into the the gravel bars and the park-like spaces of the open valley
beyond Cotopaxi.

Thomas Paine tells us in his _Age of Reason_: "The sublime and the
ridiculous are often so nearly related, that it is difficult to class
them separately." It is good philosophy also, that the higher the strain
the longer the rebound; so no excuse is needed for asking you to enjoy
as heartily as we did, the story an old fellow told us at the supper
station, who dropped the hint that he had been one of the "boys" who had
helped push the railway through this cañon. Moreover, he helped us to a
new phase of human nature as exemplified in the mind of an "old timer."

The influence of the cañon on the ordinary tourist, perhaps, will be
comparatively transient, fading into a dream-like memory of amazing
mental impressions. Not so with the man who has dwelt, untutored, for
many years, amid these stupendous hills and abysmal gorges. His
imagination, once aroused and enlarged, continues to expand; his
fiction, once created, hardens into fact; his veracity, once elongated,
stretches on and on forever. Of all natural curiosities he is the most
curious,--more marvelous than even the Grand Cañon itself.

Strictly sane and truthful in the day-time, he speaks only of
commonplace things; but when the night comes, and the huge mountains
group themselves around his camp-fire like a circle of black Cyclopean
tents, he shades his face from the blaze and bids his imagination stalk
forth with Titanic strides. Then, if his hearers are in sympathy, with
self-repressed and nonchalant gravity, he pours forth in copious detail
his strange experiences with bears and bronchos, Indians and serpents,
footpads and gamblers, mines and mules, tornadoes and forest-fires. He
never for a moment weakens the effect of his story by giving way to gush
and enthusiasm; he makes his facts eloquent, and then relates them in
the careless monotone of one who is superior to emotion under any

We could not find our old-timer in these most favorable circumstances,
but ensconced behind

          "Sublime tobacco! which from east to west,
          Cheers the tar's labors, or the Turkman's rest,"

he seized his opportunity in our discussion of the heroic engineering by
which the _penetralia_ of the Royal Gorge was opened to the locomotive,
and began:

"Talk about blastin'! [B]The boy's yarn about blowin' up a mountain's
nothin' but a squib to what we did when we blasted the Ryo Grand
railroad through the Royal Gorge.

  [B] If anybody doubts the full veracity of this tale, he is referred
      to Colonel Nat. Babcock, of Gunnison City.

"One day the boss sez to me, sez he, 'Hyar, you, do you know how to
handle gunpowder?'

"Sez I, 'You bet!'

"Sez he, 'Do you see that ere ledge a thousand feet above us, stickin'
out like a hat-brim?' Sez I, 'You bet I do.'

"'Wall,' sez he, 'that'll smash a train into a grease-spot some day, ef
we don't blast it off.'

"'Jess so,' sez I.

"Wall, we went up a gulch, and clum the mountain an' come to the
prissipass, and got down on all fours, an' looked down straight three
thousand feet. The river down there looked like a lariat a' runnin'
after a broncho. I began to feel like a kite a' sailin' in the air like.
Forty church steeples in one war'n't nowhar to that ere pinnacle in the
clouds. An' after a while it begun rainin' an' snowin' an' hailin' an'
thundrin' an' doin' a reglar tornado biznis down thar, an' a reglar
summer day whar we wuz on top. Wall, there wuz a crevice from where we
wuz, an' we sorter slid down into it, to within fifty feet o' the ledge,
an' then they let me down on the ledge with a rope an' drill. When I got
down thar, I looked up an' sez to the boss, 'Boss, how are ye goin' to
get that 'cussion powder down?' Yer see, we used this ere powder as'll
burn like a pine-knot 'thout explodin', but if yer happen to drop it,
it'll blow yer into next week 'fore ye kin wink yer eye.

"'Wall,' sez the boss, sez he, 'hyar's fifty pound, an' yer must ketch

"'Ketch it,' sez I. 'Hain't ye gettin' a little keerless--s'pose I miss
it?' I sez.

"'But ye mustn't miss it,' sez he. ''T seems to me yer gettin' mighty
keerful of yourself all to wunst.'

"Sez I, 'Boss, haul me up. I'm a fool, but not an idgit. Haul me up. I'm
not so much afeared of the blowin' up ez of the comin' down. If I should
miss comin' onto this ledge, thar's nobody a thousan' feet below thar to
ketch me, an' I might get drownded in the Arkansaw, for I kain't swim.'

"So they hauled me up, an' let three other fellers down, an' the boss
discharged me, an' I sot down sorter behind a rock, an' tole 'em they'd
soon have a fust-class funeral, and might need me for pall-bearer.

"Wall, them fellers ketched the dynamite all right, and put 'er in, an'
lit their fuse, but afore they could haul 'em up she went off. Great
guns! 'T was wuss 'n forty thousan' Fourth o' Julys. A million coyotes
an' tin pans an' horns an' gongs ain't a sarcumstance. Th' hull gorge
fur ten mile bellered, an' bellered, an' kep' on bellerin' wuss 'n a
corral o' Texas bulls. I foun' myself on my back a lookin' up, an' th'
las' thing I seed wuz two o' them fellers a' whirlin' clean over the
mountain, two thousan' feet above. One of 'em had my jack-knife an'
tobacker, but 't was no use cryin'. 'T was a good jack-knife, though; I
do n't keer so much fur the tobacker. He slung suthin' at me as he went
over, but it didn't come nowhar near, 'n' I don't know yet what it was.
When we all kinder come to, the boss looked at his watch, 'n' tole us
all to witness that the fellers was blown up just at noon, an' was only
entitled to half a day's wages, an' quit 'thout notice. When we got
courage to peep over an' look down, we found that the hat-brim was n't
busted off at all; the hull thing was only a squib. But we noticed that
a rock ez big ez a good-sized cabin, hed loosened, an' hed rolled down
on top of it. While we sat lookin' at it, boss sez, sez he,

"'Did you fellers see mor'n two go up?'

"'No,' sez we, an' pretty soon we heern t' other feller a' hollerin',
'Come down 'n get me out!'

"Gents, you may have what's left of my old shoe, if the ledge had n't
split open a leetle, 'n' that chap fell into the crack, 'n' the big rock
rolled onto the ledge an' sorter gently held him thar. He war n't hurt a
har. We wer n't slow about gettin' down. We jist tied a rope to a pint
o' rock an' slid. But you may hang me for a chipmuck ef we could git any
whar near him, an' it was skeery business a foolin' roun' on that ere
verandy. 'T war n't much bigger 'n a hay-rack, an' a thousan' foot up.
We hed some crowbars, but boss got a leetle excited, an' perty soon
bent every one on 'em tryin' to prize off that bowlder that'd weigh a
hundred ton like. Then agin we wuz all on it, fer it kivered th' hull
ledge, 'n' whar'd we ben ef he'd prized it off? All the while the chap
kep' a hollerin', 'Hurry up; pass me some tobacker!' Oh, it was the
pitterfulest cry you ever heern, an' we didn't know what to do till he
yelled, 'I'm a losin' time; hain't you goin' to git me out?' Sez boss,
'I've bent all the crowbars, an' we can't git you out.'

"'Got any dynamite powder?' sez the feller.


"'Well, then, why 'n the name of the Denver 'n' Ryo Grand don't you
blast me out,' sez he.

"'We can't blast you out,' sez boss, 'fer dynamite busts down, an' it'll
blow you down the canyon.'

"'Well, then,' sez he, 'one o' ye swing down under the ledge, an' put a
shot in whar it's cracked below.'

"'You're wiser 'n a woman,' sez boss. 'I'd never thought o' that.'

"So the boss took a rope, 'n' we swung him down, 'n' he put in a shot,
'n' was goin' to light the fuse, when the feller inside smelt the match.

"'Heve ye tumbled to my racket?' sez he.

"'You bet we have, feller priz'ner!' sez the boss.

"'Touch 'er off!' sez the feller.

"'All right,' sez boss.

"'Hold on!' yells the feller as wuz inside.

"'What's the racket now?' sez the boss.

"'You hain't got the sense of a blind mule,' sez he. 'Do you s'pose I
want to drop down the canyon when the shot busts? Pass in a rope through
the crack, 'n' I'll tie it 'roun' me, 'n' then you can touch 'er off
kind o' easy like.'

"Wall, that struck us all as a pious idea. That feller knowed more 'n a
dozen blind mules--sed mules weren't fer off, neither. Wall, we passed
in the rope, 'n' when we pulled boss up, he guv me 'tother end 'n' tole
me to hole on tighter 'n' a puppy to a root. I tuck the rope, wrapped it
'round me 'n' climb up fifty feet to a pint o' rock right under 'nuther
pint 'bout a hundred feet higher, that kinder hung over the pint whar I
wuz. Boss 'n' t'other fellers skedaddled up the crevice 'n' hid.

"Purty soon suthin' happened. I can't describe it, gents. The hull
canyon wuz full o' blue blazes, flyin' rocks 'n' loose volcanoes. Both
sides o' the gorge, two thousan' feet straight up, seemed to touch tops
'n' then swing open. I wuz sort o' dazed 'n' blinded, 'n' felt ez if the
prisipasses 'n' the mountains wuz all on a tangle-foot drunk, staggerin'
like. The rope tightened 'round my stummick, 'n' I seized onto it tight,
'n' yelled:

"'Hole on, pard, I'll draw you up! Cheer up, my hearty,' sez I, 'cheer
up! Jes az soon'z I git my footin', I'll bring ye to terry firmy!'

[Illustration: TWIN LAKES.]

"Ye see, I wuz sort of confused 'n' blinded by the smoke 'n' dust, 'n'
hed a queer feelin', like a spider a swingin' an' a whirlin' on a har.
At last I got so'z I could see, 'n' looked down to see if the feller wuz
a swingin' clar of the rocks, but I could n't see him. The ledge wuz
blown clean off, 'n' the canyon seemed 'bout three thousan' feet deep.
My stummick began to hurt me dreadful, 'n' I squirmed 'round 'n' looked
up, 'n' durn my breeches, gents, ef I was n't within ten foot of the top
of the gorge, 'n' the feller ez wuz blasted out wuz a haulin' on me up.

"Sez I when he got me to the top, sez I, 'Which eend of this rope wuz
_you_ on, my friend?'

"'I dunno,' sez he. 'Which eend wuz _you_ on?'

"'I dunno,' sez I.

"An', gents, to this day we can't tell ef it was which or 'tother ez wuz
blasted out."

       *       *       *       *       *

It was afternoon and we were weary--sated--with sublimity; so we ran
straight away to Leadville, and left until our return an examination of
the Arkansas Valley.


                          THE ARKANSAS VALLEY.

  And he gave it for his opinion, that whoever could make two ears of
  corn or two blades of grass, to grow upon a spot of ground where only
  one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more
  essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians
  put together.--JONATHAN SWIFT.

The interest of the Grand Cañon of the Arkansas, though it culminates
between the narrow walls of Royal Gorge, by no means ceases there. For
many miles after, immense piles of rocks are heaped on each side, great
crags frown down, and the river comes tumbling to meet you down a series
of green and white cataracts. The walls are highly colored, and the
whole scene exceedingly interesting. Toward the western end there is a
break in the gorge, through which fine pictures of the Sangre de Cristo
peaks present themselves close by, and then the rocks are heaped up
again into the grand defile of Brown's cañon, where one of our
illustrations was made.

Just before entering Brown's cañon, a branch road can be seen running
off to the northward. That is the short road up to Calumet, where the
Colorado Coal and Iron Company have iron mines of great value and in
constant operation, for the ore is suitable for the making of Bessemer
steel. These mines are open, quarry-like excavations, and the ore is
therefore more easily handled than is usual. The grade on this branch,
four hundred and six feet to the mile, is said to be the heaviest in the
world where no cog-wheels are used. Only a few empty cars can be hauled
up; and the difficulty is almost as great in descending, for it requires
at least four cars, dragging with hard-set brakes, to hold an engine
under control in going down. Marble and lumber in great quantities are
also shipped down this little branch from the neighborhood of Calumet.

Passing some hot mineral springs, where are bathing arrangements, near
the head of Brown's cañon, the train runs into the busy yard at Salida.
This town was formerly South Arkansas, and I surprise the Madame by
telling her that no longer ago than 1874, I pitched a tent where it now
stands upon ground which had no vestige of civilization near it. Salida
is a Spanish word, meaning a junction, and is applicable in two ways. It
is at the confluence of the Arkansas with its large branch from the
south, and it is the junction of the northern system of railway which
we are following to Leadville and beyond, with the main line going west
from here to Utah and California. It is therefore a lively railway
center,--the end of divisions, the headquarters of round-houses,
repairing shops, etc. Besides, it is rapidly growing, and increasing in
importance as a busy mercantile center.


The valley of the Arkansas north of Salida, we see as we go on again,
nourishes much agriculture, which continues to be seen--at least in the
shape of hay ranches--as far as Riverside, the first station above Buena
Vista. There Mr. Leonhardy has seven miles, more or less, under
cultivation, and carries on a highly profitable farm. His extensive
hay-barns are close to the track, and his horse-mowers show how
scientifically it is cut. All the cereals are grown there, or at any
rate have been grown; but wheat, though it becomes very plump and hard,
has so precariously brief a season in which to mature, that it is not
profitable, and hence no great amount is now planted. Of oats, rye and
barley, however, hundreds of acres are cut annually, yielding in each
case above the average number of bushels to the acre of eastern crops. I
have seen some very fine samples of all these grains, which, of course,
find abundant sale close at home, and hence are unheralded outside.

Then in the way of "roots," large plantations are made, and fine results
brought about. Potatoes are particularly successful, one hundred and
fifty bushels, or about fifteen thousand pounds weight, being the
ordinary crop expected to the acre; turnips, beets, onions, etc., doing
equally well in their way. The only things that can not be produced
here, in fact, are such tender plants as melons, squashes, cucumbers,
and the like. Even these may often be brought to maturity if their
beginnings are nurtured under glass, but as a matter of regular
gardening, they are not considered profitable.

Apart from this locality not much farming is visible, except close to
Salida, where the road runs over the top of a dry mesa,--one of the
terraces into which the former river has cut the glacial gravels of the
valley-margin. Down in the lower "bottoms," where irrigation is very
easy, one sees some miles of continuous fields cultivated in hay and
grain. The close clusters of ranch-buildings, the stacks of straw, the
yellow and green squares of stubble and the black threads of the
dividing fences, with the diminutive dots of men moving to and fro with
wagons, recall the prairie states. We also note the number of cattle
seen all along the lower part of the valley,--and the cheapness and
excellence of the beef we bought in all this part of Colorado.

Buena Vista is a town of considerable size and seeming solidity, which
is prettily placed among the cottonwoods. These give a name to the
stream not only, but to the expansion of the valley, which is known as
Cottonwood park. The supply point not only for the Chalk Creek mines on
Mt. Princeton, but for the remoter settlements on the other side of the
range, Buena Vista seems to have a good chance for long life. One sees
here the big, trailed wagons in all their glory, and the voice of the
burro is heard in the land, complaining of his burdens and bewailing the
lost friskiness of his unfettered youth.

Below Granite we pass through almost a cañon. The inclined and
splintered rocks of reddish granite and gneiss rise very high at certain
points on the eastern bank of the river, and the water itself is in
continual ebullition among large bowlders, falling meanwhile at such a
grade that the track cannot follow it, but must needs rise away above
it. The scene here is one of extreme desolation. There is nothing
_pretty_ in the whole landscape short of the small snow-banks that
remind us of scattered sheep browsing on the crest of the range. Almost
the only relief to the sterility--sterile not only in respect to
pleasing vegetation, but in any comfortable suggestiveness--is when the
sun shines suddenly straight down some rift-like gulch in the
precipitous walls, transmuting what seemed a crystal-clear atmosphere
into a golden dust finer than any flakes that ever came out of the

Now we are rapidly approaching Granite, a town twenty-five years old;
and presently we catch sight of the great gold placers that formerly
made the fame of this locality. They are still operated in a quiet,
scientific method, and one large flume crosses the track at a height of
fully fifty feet. The western bank has been ploughed up by water and
turned topsy-turvy over a long area, exposing its innermost pebbles and
bowlders, all well cleaned and white by their second scrubbing.[A]

  [A] If the reader cares to know more about the lively times that used
      to occur now and then in Granite, years ago, he can find some
      incidents in my "Knocking 'Round the Rockies" (New York, Harper &
      Brothers, 1882), on page 70 and following.

Three miles west of Granite lie the charming "Twin Lakes," but we are
frustrated in our attempt to reach them on the only day we wished to
spare for that purpose.

During all the summer, carriages from the lake meet passenger trains at
Twin Lakes station, four miles above Granite, in order to carry visitors
to this lake.

[Illustration: THE SHAFT HOUSE.]

"Of all the health and pleasure resorts of the upper Arkansas Valley," I
have read, "the Twin Lakes are perhaps the most noted. Water is nowhere
too plentiful in Colorado, the largest rivers being usually narrow and
rapid streams, that seldom form an important feature in the extended
landscapes, and these lakes are all the more prized for constituting an
exception. They are fourteen miles south of Leadville. The larger of the
two lakes is two and one-half miles in length by one and one-half in
width, and the other about half that size. The greatest depth is
seventy-five feet. These lakes possess peculiar merits as a place of
resort. Lying at an altitude of 9,357 feet,--over one and three-fourths
miles,--at the mouth of a cañon, in a little nook, surrounded by lofty
mountains, from whose never-failing snows their waters are fed, their
seclusion invites the tired denizens of dusty cities to fly from
debilitating heat and the turmoil of traffic, to a quiet haven where
Jack Frost makes himself at home in July and August. On the lakes are
numerous sail and row boats, and fishing tackle can always be obtained.
Both lakes are well stocked with fish, and the neighboring streams also
abound in mountain trout. Surrounding the lakes are large forests of
pine, that add their characteristic odor to the air. The nearest
mountains, whose forms are reflected in the placid waters, are Mount
Elbert, 14,351 feet in height, La Plata, 14,311,--each higher than
Pike's Peak,--Lake Mountain, and the Twin Peaks. Right royal neighbors
are these. And across the narrow Arkansas valley rises Mount Sheridan,
far above timber-line, flanked by the hoary summits of the Park range.
The hotel and boarding-house accommodations are good, and will be
rapidly extended. During the summer months there is an almost constant
round of church and society picnics and private pleasure parties coming
down to the lakes from Leadville, so that nearly every day brings a
fresh influx of visitors, enlivening the resort, and dispelling all
tendency to monotony.

"Twin Lakes is the highest of all the popular Rocky Mountain resorts,
and furnishes an unfailing antidote for hot weather. Even in midsummer
flannels are necessary articles of apparel, and thick woolen blankets
are indispensable at night."

[Illustration: BOTTOM OF THE SHAFT.]

There are mines in the mountains back of Twin Lakes, and gradually a
permanent settlement is growing up there, which is reached all the year
round by stage from Leadville. This stage passes over Hunter's pass, and
carries the mail to some important camps on the other side of the
range,--Independence, Highland, et cetera. The main point of interest, I
hear, is at Independence, which is said to be much such a camp as
Kokomo, and standing at a greater altitude than even Leadville. The
veins are true fissures filled with quartz containing free gold, iron
and copper pyrites. The Farwell Mining company are the chief operators,
and have recently erected what has been pronounced the finest
stamp-mill in Colorado. It consists of thirty stamps, and cost $2.87-1/2
cents a hundred pounds for carriage from the railway to its site. This
feat required the building and repair of roads to an extent that has
been of immense benefit to the public. Besides this mill there is an old
one of twenty stamps, and additions are to be made. A few miles further
on, is the flourishing camp of Aspen, standing in a beautiful valley
7,500 feet above the sea. This is the locality of the Smuggler mine
owned by Mackay and other Eastern capitalists. It is described as "a
large lead of fine-grained galena, carrying native silver in wire form."
Aspen is a good type of the "magic" town, where lots increase a thousand
per cent. in value in six months.

[Illustration: ATHWART AN INCLINE.]

This brings us to Malta, a station in the midst of a wide waste of
denuded gravel, where we turn up California gulch to Leadville, bidding
good-bye, for a little, to the white crests of the Saguache
range,--Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Antlers and others that have been our
constant companions. Turn where we will in this region, we can not long
escape the sight of snow-smothered peaks. It is impossible to get away
from them. This river-valley is a great basin surrounded on all sides by
mountains that hasten to bid winter welcome before summer has thought of
saying farewell to the valleys. As in that wonderful story, wherein we
are constantly reminded that "the villain still pursued her," so here
the mountains unceasingly confront us, and every changing mood can be
studied by our eager eyes.

Malta seems to be a great place for charcoal, many groups of the white
conical ovens being visible on the blackened and denuded side-hills.

Charcoal is an extremely important element in smelting operations, and
enormous quantities are made, to the destruction of all the forests, so
that the burners have to go farther and farther with their ovens, or
else, as most of them are doing, have wood brought from increasing
distances. A favorite method is to build a flume and float the timber,
in short pieces, down from the higher woods; or else, simply to make a
trough, laying it partly on the ground and partly on trestles, so as to
secure proper levelness. It is great fun to watch them shuteing wood or
ties (for the "tie-punchers" adopt the same expedient) down the slope of
the high, steep hills. Little choice is made in the kind of wood burned.

The effect of these charcoal makers is very plain as we climb up the
devious track through the hills of California gulch to Leadville.

[Illustration: THE JIG DRILL.]

The trees were cut which once stood dense over the whole of the gulch,
and then every vestige of brushwood, grass,--everything was burned away,
so that the ash-strewn soil and the charred stumps alone remain of the
former verdancy. Into this oddly desolate tract the town has pushed
itself without altering it much for the better. The outer suburbs of a
town are seldom pleasing, and Leadville is no exception. The burned
stumps, thick as the original forest, give a general black aspect to the
whole scene. Fences are few, and amount to the merest pretense of
enclosures, more than an unbarked pole or two, strung along the
boundary, being rare. The streets are mere spaces, for there is no
difference at all between the outside and the inside of the fence. The
public highway finds itself as best it can among the stumps, and the
householder rarely bothers himself to pull one out of his front yard.

This is not mere rough neglect, and, in the center of town, of course
does not exist. It shows that the citizens, as a rule, do not care to
make fine their surroundings, because they have not come to stay. They
are a generation of pilgrims, even though, under endless protest, they
may linger, or be held here, all their lives, and be buried in the stony
little graveyard, under the yellow fumes of the smelters down the creek,
at the last. Inside, though, the houses glow with pretty things and
abound in luxuries. Here, men combat the outward roughness and resolve
that they will be comfortable in compensation for the inclemency

And so we come to Leadville, the "Camp of the Carbonates."


                      THE CAMP OF THE CARBONATES.

                    Moored in the rifted rock,
                    Proof to the tempest's shock,
                    Firmer he roots him the ruder it blow.

"If the men who sprang from the stones Deucalion cast behind him set
themselves to make homes, the result must have been a close counterpart
of Leadville, Colorado." Such was the phrase with which the present
writer began an article upon the "Camp of the Carbonates," printed in
_Scribner's Monthly_ for October, 1879. Though the Leadville of to-day
has graduated from the over-grown mining camp it then was, into a
pretentious city of twenty thousand people, and boasts all the
"improvements," yet the interest connected with the town, for the world
at large, is chiefly historical.

Historical! Why, Leadville is only seven years' old now; but the years
have been eventful, and history is made fast in this state.

The site of Leadville has a pre-historic interest also,--almost
mythological in fact, for have not five and twenty years crept by since
then. This is the well verified tradition:

"After the rush to Pike's Peak, in 1859, which was disappointing enough
to the majority of prospectors, a number of men pushed westward. One
party made their way through Ute pass into the grand meadows of South
Park, and crossing, pressed on to the Arkansas valley, up which they
proceeded, searching unsuccessfully for gold, until they reached a wide
plateau on the right bank, where a beautiful little stream came down.
Following this nearly to its source, along what they called California
gulch, they were delighted to find placers of gold. This was in the
midsummer of 1860; and before the close of the hot weather, ten thousand
people had emigrated to the Arkansas, and $2,500,000 had been washed
out, one of the original explorers taking twenty-nine pounds of gold
away with him in the fall, besides selling for $500 a 'worked out' claim
from which $15,000 was taken within the next three months. Now this same
'exhausted' gravel is being washed a third or fourth time with profit.

"The settlement consisted of one long street only, and houses, even of
logs, were so few that the camp was known as 'Boughtown,' everybody
abandoning the wickyups in winter, when the placers could not be
worked, and retreating to Denver. During the summer, however, Boughtown
witnessed some lively scenes. One day a stranger came riding up the
street on a gallop, splashing mud everywhere, only to be unceremoniously
halted by a rough looking customer who covered him with a revolver and

"'Hold on there, stranger! When ye go through this yere town, go slow so
folks can take a look at ye!'

"No money circulated there; gold-dust served all the purposes of trade,
and every merchant, saloon-keeper and gambler had his scales. The phrase
was not 'Cash up,' but 'Down with your Dust,' and when a man's buck-skin
wallet was empty, he knew where to fill it again. It was not long,
however, before the placers were all staked off, and the claims began to
be exhausted. Then the town so dwindled that, in half a dozen years,
only a score were left of the turbulent multitude, who, in '60 and '61,
made the gulch noisy with magical gains and unheeded loss. Among the
last of their acts was to pull down the old log gambling hall, and to
pan two thousand dollars out of the dirt where the gamblers had dropped
the coveted gains. This done everybody moved elsewhere, and the
frightened game returned to thread the aspen groves and drink at the
once more translucent streams of California gulch, where eight millions
of dollars had been sifted from the pebbles.

"One striking feature of this old placer-bar had impressed itself
unpleasantly upon all the gold-seekers. In the bottoms of their pans and
rockers, at each washing there accumulated a black sand so heavy that it
interfered with the proper settling of the gold, and so abundant that it
clogged the riffles. Who first determined this obnoxious black sand to
be carbonate of lead is uncertain. It is said that it was assayed in
1866, but not found valuable enough to pay transportation to Denver,
then the nearest point at which it could be smelted. One of the most
productive mines now operated is said to have been discovered in '67,
and in this way: Mr. Long, at that time the most poverty-stricken of
prospectors, went out to shoot his breakfast, and brought down a deer;
in its dying struggles the animal kicked up earth which appeared so
promising that Long and his partner Derry located a claim on the spot.
The Camp Bird, Rock Lode, La Plata and others were opened simultaneously
outside the placers, but all these were worked for gold, and though even
then it seemed to have been understood in a vague way that the lead ores
were impregnated with silver, nobody profited by the information. Thus
years passed, and I and many another campaigner in that grand solitude,
riding over those verdant slopes, passing beneath those somber pine
woods, camped, hunted, even mined at what now is Leadville, and never
suspected the wealth we trampled upon.

[Illustration: FREMONT PASS]

"Among the few men who happened to be in the region in 1877, was A. B.
Wood, a shrewd, practical man, who, finding a large quantity of the
heavy black sand, tested it anew and extracted a large proportion of
silver. He confided in Mr. William H. Stevens, and they together began
searching for the source of this sand-drift, and decided it must be
between the limestone outcropping down the gulch and the porphyry which
composed the summit of the mountain. Sinking trial shafts they sought
the silver mean. It took time and money, and the few placer-washers
there laughed at them for a pair of fools; but the men said nothing, and
in the course of a few weeks they 'struck it.' Then came a period of
excitement and particularly lively times for the originators of the
enterprise. Mr. Stevens was a citizen of Detroit, and finding a chance
for abundant results from labor, but no laborers wherewith to 'make the
riffle,' he went back to Detroit and persuaded several scores of
adventurous men to come out here and amuse themselves with carbonates.

"They came, hilariously, no doubt, with high anticipations of sudden
wealth and the fulfilling of wide ambitions; came to find the snow deep
upon the ground, and winter bravely entrenched among the gray cliffs of
Mosquito and the Saguache. No one could work; everyone was tantalized
and miserable; discontent reigned. It was the old story of Baker and the
San Juan silver fields. They took Wood and Stevens, imprisoned them in a
cabin, and even went so far toward the suggestion of hanging as to noose
the rope around their necks. At this critical moment, reprieve came in
the shape of a capitalist who appeased the hungry crowd with cash and
stayed their purpose until the weather moderated and digging could be

"As spring advanced and the mountains became passable, there began a
rush into the camp, for the report of this wonderful rejuvenation of the
old district had spread far and wide. The Denver newspapers took up the
laudation of the region. The railways approaching nearest, advertised
the camp all over the East for the sake of patronage; and many an
energetic prospector, and greedy saloon-keeper, and many a business man
who wanted to profit by the excitement, started for Leadville. It was
early spring; the snow lay deep on the lofty main range of the Rocky
mountains which had to be crossed, and filled the treacherous passes,
but the impatient emigrants could not wait. To be first into Leadville
was the aim and ambition of hundreds of excited men, and to accomplish
this, human life was endangered and mule flesh recklessly sacrificed.
Companies were organized, who put on six-horse stages from Denver, Cañon
City and Colorado Springs, and ran three or four coaches together, yet
private conveyances took even more than the stages, and hundreds walked,
braving the midwinter horrors of Mosquito pass.

"Meanwhile an almost continuous procession of mule and ox trains were
striving to haul across that frightful hundred miles of mountains the
food, machinery and furniture which the new settlement so sorely needed,
and which it seemed so impossible to supply. Ten cents and more a pound
was charged for freight, and prices ranged correspondingly high, with
an exorbitant profit added. Hay, for example, reached $200 per ton.

"Nor were all who came rough or even hardy characters. There were among
them men of wealth and brains, young graduates of colleges eager for a
business opening, engineers and surveyors, lawyers, doctors, and a
thousand soft-handed triflers who hoped to make a living in some
undefined way out of the general excitement. Many of these gentlemen
went to stay and took their wives, or, more usually, waited until they
had prepared some sort of a home, and then sent for them. What stories
some of these ladies tell of their stage-journey through those wintry
mountains! How many wagons, heavily loaded with freight, did they see
overturned by the roadside! How many dead mules and horses did they
count! How many snow-banks did they fall through! how many precipices
escape! how many upsettings avoid by the merest margin of consummate
good driving! I knew of three ladies who for twenty-four hours were
packed in a stage with a lot of drunken men, who could only be kept
within the bounds of decorum and safety by being sung to sleep. The
driver was utterly powerless to control them, and had as much as he
could do to steer his six horses over that icy road. The crazy men said,
'Sing to us, we like it, and if you don't we'll dump you into the snow!'
and sing they did, all night long. Whether this incident be considered
laughable or pathetic, it is literally true. In the summer the stage
passenger was not frozen, but was choked to slow death by impenetrable
clouds of dust, and in the seasons between he was engulfed in mud.
Verily that hundred miles of staging at fifteen cents a mile, with only
thirty pounds of baggage allowed free, was the Purgatory of Leadville,
and helped wonderfully to make one contented with his reception.

"With the beginning of 1879, the steady current that had flagged
somewhat during the tempestuous last months of 1878, burst into a
perfect freshet of travel. Log huts, board shanties, canvas tents,
kennels dug into the side hill and roofed with earth and pine boughs,
were filled to repletion with men and women, and still proved
insufficient to shield the eager immigrants from the arctic air and
pitiless storms of this plateau in the high Sierras. Men were glad to
pay for the privilege of spreading their overcoats or blankets on the
floor of a saloon and sleeping in stale smoke and the fumes of bad
whisky--an atmosphere where the sooty oil lamps burned with a weak and
yellow flame. Perhaps the dice rattled on till morning above the
sleepers' heads, the monotonous call-song of the dealers lulling them to
an unquiet doze in the murky air, only to be awakened by the loud
profanity of some brawler or sent cowering under the blankets to escape
the too free pistol-balls that fly across the billiard table. Even the
sawdust floors of these reeking bar-rooms were not spacious enough to
hold the two hundred persons a day who rushed into Leadville, and every
dry-goods box upon the curbstone, every pile of hay-bales in the alley,
became a bedroom for some belated traveler.

[Illustration: CASCADES OF THE BLUE]

"But the era of saloon-floors and empty barrels did not last long.
Enterprising men built huge hotels, and opened restaurants and great
lodging-tents and barracks; strangers joined in twos and threes, cut
logs and planted cabins as thick as corn.... Every day chronicled some
new accession of wealth, some additional tapping of the silver deposits
which were firmly believed to underlie every square foot of the region.
It seemed all a matter of luck, too, and skilled prospecting found
itself at fault. The spots old miners had passed by as worthless,
'tenderfeet' from Ohio dug down upon, and showed to be rich in
'mineral.' One of the first mines opened--the Camp Bird--was discovered
by the Gallagher brothers, two utterly poor Irishmen. Another early
piece of good fortune was that of Fryer, from whom Fryer Hill, one of
the most productive districts, derives its name. He lived in a squatty
little cabin on the side-hill, where the dirt floor had become as hilly
as a model of the main range, and the rough stone fire-place in the
corner was hardly fit to fry a rasher of bacon; but one day he dug a
hole up near the top of the hill, hiding himself among the secret pines,
saying nothing to anybody, and a few yards below the surface struck a
mine which has already yielded millions of dollars without being urged.
Innumerable incidents might be related of the patience and expense and
hardship which resulted in failure; of the equal pluck and endurance
that brought success; of happy chance or perfect accident divulging a
fortune at the most unexpected point. The miners have a proverb, 'Nobody
can see into the ground,' and the gamblers an adage, 'The only thing
sure about luck is that it's bound to change!'

"One of the grimmest of these tales is that attached to the Dead Man
claim, which is briefly as follows: It was winter. Scotty had died, and
the boys, wanting to give him a right smart of a burial, hired a man for
twenty dollars to dig a grave through ten feet of snow and six feet of
hard ground. Meanwhile, Scotty was stuffed into a snow bank. Nothing was
heard of the grave-digger for three days, and the boys, going out to see
what had happened to him, found him in a hole which, begun as a grave,
proved to be a sixty-ounce mine. The _quasi_ sexton refused to yield,
and was not hard pushed, for Scotty was forgotten and staid in the
snow-bank till the April sun searched him out, the boys meanwhile
sinking prospect-holes in his intended cemetery.

"One mine had its shaft down one hundred and thirty-five feet and the
indications of success were good. Some capitalists proposed to purchase
an interest in it, and a half of the mine was offered them for $10,000,
if taken before five o'clock. At half-past four, rich silver ore was
struck, and when at half-past five the tardy men of money came leisurely
up and signified their consent to the bargain, the manager pointed at
the clock, and quietly remarked:

"'The price of a half interest in this mine now, gentlemen, is sixty
thousand dollars.'

"Prospectors went everywhere seeking for carbonates, radiating from this
center up all the gulches, and over the foot-hills, delving almost
everywhere at a venture. One day, at a hitherto unheard-of point, wealth
comes up by the bucketful out of the deep narrow hole, that has been
pierced so unostentatiously. Instantly the transformation begins, and
the lately green hill-side, refreshing to the townsman's eye, becomes
forlorn in its ragged exposure of rock and soil where the forest has
been swept away, while trial-mines grow as thickly upon its surface as
pits on the rind of a strawberry. All these young mines, good or bad,
looked much alike, and were equally inaccessible and unkempt. There were
no roads, hardly any wagon-tracks and few paths. Every man went across
lots, the shortest way, pushing through the remnant of the woods,
clambering over the prostrate trunks and discarded tree-tops, whose
straight trunks had been felled and dragged away to the saw-mill, or
chopped into six-foot lengths for posts and logging. Teams must go
around, but life was too short for the man afoot to follow them; holding
his painful breath, he scaled straight up the steep and slippery ascent.

"But it is time to say something of the processes of getting out the
ores, and perhaps the best way is at once to attack the geological
structure of the region.

"Leadville appears to lie upon the eastern edge of the lava area of the
state. The last of the trachyte peaks are at the head of Mosquito pass.
Underneath the camp, and on all the hills where her riches are stored,
the soil is found to be a porphyritic overflow overlying a highly
silicified dolomite, that goes by the common name of 'limestone.'
Between these two formations (_i.e._, under the porphyry and above the
dolomite) are found the mineral beds. Various theories have been
advanced as to the reason for their position, so novel in the experience
of silver mining, and some of the explanations are a burlesque of
geology, though uttered in dead earnest. Those who are best qualified to
decide, although confessing limited observation, suggest what seems to
me the simplest theory and the one nearest the truth. The mineral
constituents of the ores are carbonate of lead in large quantity,
silica, oxides of iron and manganese, and the precious chloride of
silver. Sometimes the lead occurs as a sulphide, and there are some
other insignificant components. Now it is possible that the original
constituent parts of all these minerals should be contained in a
porphyritic eruption. Deposits of galena and some other minerals are now
occasionally found buried in the porphyry, or occupying slender
fissure-veins through it. Moreover, all these minerals are capable of
solution in water charged with carbonic acid, which, of course, was
present in abundance, and the suggestion is that they have leached
downward through the porphyry until they struck the limestone floor,
which became in time so highly silicified, as to admit no further
penetration of water, whereupon the valuable deposits that we are now
prying out gradually accumulated. The silicified surface of the lime,
and the semi-saturated line of the porphyry, next the carbonate, are
known as the 'contacts;' and when the miners strike this, they have good
cause to be hopeful of near success. The presence of great beds of
kaolin (hydrated silicate of alumina), derived from the thorough
decomposition of porphyry or granite, or both together, and the presence
of hydrate of magnesia with beds of semi-opal (always an aqueous
production), argue in favor of the truth of this explanation.

"The general fact of this position of the ores being understood, let me
suppose that our prospectors have been more than ordinarily successful;
that they have dug not more than a hundred feet, have curbed their shaft
securely with timber, have struck the greenish-white porphyry, and
finally have met with the longed-for 'contact,' which separates the
mineral bearing rock from the barren gangue. They have been little
troubled by water, and they have done all their work with the help of
one man, and the ordinary windlass. There being every indication that
wealth is just beneath their picks, they erect over the shaft a
frame-work of heavy timbers, called a 'gallows,' and hang in it a large
pulley. A little at one side, close to the ground, is fixed a second
pulley. Under this, and over the upper one is reeved the bucket-rope,
and a mule is hired to walk away with it, when the bucket is to be drawn
up, creeping back when the bucket goes down. This is a 'whip.' The next
advance in machinery is the 'whim,' which consists of the same
arrangement of gallows and pulleys as before; but instead of a mule
walking straight out and back, the mule travels round and round a huge
revolving drum, that carries the hoisting-rope. If you care to go down
one of these shafts you may stand in the bucket, or you may unhook it,
and, placing your foot in a noose, be lowered away in the bucket's
place. If your head is strong there is no great danger.

"When the miner really 'strikes it,' and the brown, crumbling,
ill-looking ore begins to fill the bucket to the exclusion of all else,
assaying fifty or a hundred or four hundred ounces to the ton, a house
is built over the shaft, and a steam-engine supersedes the patient mule.

"The depth at which a mine may be found (if at all) can hardly even be
guessed at. Paying 'mineral' has been met with from the surface to more
than three hundred and fifty feet in depth. Usually the shafts are over
a hundred feet deep.

"The deposit having been tapped, digging out the ore begins. This is
done by means of horizontal passage-ways or tunnels, known as 'drifts,'
which are driven into the rock from the bottom of the shaft.

"As the ores are brought to the surface they are scanned by an
experienced person, and the best pieces thrown in a heap by themselves,
while the ordinary ore is cast upon the 'dump' or pile which accumulates
at the mouth of the mine, and makes a little ruddy terrace on the green
or snowy hill-side. From this dump wagons haul the ore away to be sold,
the best part often being put in hundred-pound sacks, about as large as
quarter-barrel flour-bags, before being sold. Very rich ore is likely to
be bought by regular purchasers, who either have them smelted in
Leadville or forward them to smelting-works at Pueblo, Denver, St.
Louis, and Eastern cities. The inferior grades are sold by the ton to
some one of the dozen smelters here in town, the price being governed by
the market quotations of silver in New York on the day of the sale, less
several deductions amounting in all to about twenty-five per cent. as
the reducer's margin for profit, and plus three to five cents per pound
for all the lead above twenty-one per cent. which the ore carries.
Silver and gold are estimated in ounces; lead and copper in percentages;
but allowance is not made for both of the latter metals in the same ore.
The ore is hauled to the smelting-works by four or six-mule teams, for
the most part, the driver not sitting on the wagon, but riding the nigh
wheeler, guiding his team by a single very strong rein which goes to the
bits of the leaders, and handling the brake by another strap. He is in
the position of a steersman in the middle of his craft, and his 'bridge'
is the saddle. Every load is set upon the scales, recorded, and then
shoveled into its proper bin. A thin-faced, dusty-haired youth leaned
half asleep against a shady corner at one of these mills, recording the
tons and fractions of a ton in each load as he lazily adjusted the
balance. His air was of one so utterly listless and bored that I was
moved to remark cheerily as I went by:

"'You haven't chosen the most exciting part of this business.'

"'No,' he answered dryly, while an indescribable twinkle came into his
carbonated countenance. 'No, but I'm trying to do my duty. You know the
poet says, "They also serve who only stand and weigh it."'

"That fellow had a history, but I haven't time to tell it. Leadville is
full of such characters, and it only needs to put one's self _en
rapport_ with their happy-go-lucky good humor and stoicism under all
sorts of fortune to find these miners, at heart, the best fellows in the
world. They have a high regard for a gentleman, but a hatred of a swell;
no objection to good clothes, but a horror of 'frills;' a high respect
for genuine virtue, but boundless hatred of cant; an admiration for
nerve amounting to worship, but a contempt of braggadocio that often
results in an impulsive puncturing of both the braggart and his boasts.
A 'tender-foot,' that is, a new arrival from the East, green in the ways
of mountain life, they consider fair game for tricks and chaff. Usually
they attempt to frighten him, and his behavior at such initiatory
moments determines, to a large extent, his future standing in the camp.

[Illustration: MOUNT OF THE HOLY CROSS.]

"But this is a digression from the subject in hand, which is the
reduction of the ores. The smelters cannot be allowed to cool off, and
so are run the twenty four hours through. One evening we made up a party
and visited one of the great smelters. Its chimney-stacks pour noxious
smoke over a nest of cabins down on the bank of the creek, and guide us,
by scent as well as sight, through the streets and across the vacant
lots. The broad upper floor is divided along one side into a series of
bins, opening outwardly into a shed, under which the teams drive that
bring the ore. Each owner's lot is put into a bin and kept separate
until sampled and paid for. This sampling is a process akin to
homeopathy. Supposing one hundred tons are to be sold at the smelter.
Every tenth ton, as fast as delivered, is set aside to be sampled. This
ten tons is then subdivided,--perhaps by being carried from one part of
the floor to the other in wheelbarrows,--every tenth load being set
aside. The single ton thus remaining contains many large, hard lumps.
These are roughly screened out and put through a crusher, which chews
them into fragments no larger than walnuts. The heap of a ton of broken
material thus formed is now separated in a very ingenious way, by
catching a few lumps of the ore from each shovelful in a 'scoop,' which
a man holds above the wheelbarrow wherein the main portion is carted
back to the original pile in the bin. The saved portion, which has
happened to fall into the scoop, constitutes a new sample, to be further
reduced, by successive crushings and screenings, until finally there
remains only a pound of earth as the perfect representation of the
average quality of the five hundred tons of rocky ore offered from the
mine. This pound is then ground to powder on the bucking board, and a
tenth or twentieth is taken for the scientific fire-test, or 'assay,'
which shall determine its value. All these processes go on at night as
well as by day.

"The red-brown ores lay in little heaps about the floor when we entered,
divided from one another by low partitions. Men with spidery
wheelbarrows were cruising about, dumping a pile of precious earth here,
shoveling up another there, with seemingly aimless purposes, and the
bins were only like so many openings to a mine, so deep were the shadows
hiding their recesses. Across the room, lanterns showed four great
circular chambers of iron, from whose depths hoarse rumblings drowned in
a deep, steady bass the energetic crunch-crunch of the insatiate
ore-chewers. Wide door-ways admitted into these dungeons, where surging
volumes of murky vapors were confined, and through their hot portals
red-shirted men hurled the raw material that should be digested, and the
worthy part of which should issue from the furnaces below in a bright
and costly stream: first a barrow load of carbonate ore, next one of
charcoal, then a third of iron and limestone-flux.

"Day after day, night after night, these monsters are fed with this
diet, varied in proportions according to the richness and metallurgical
qualities of the ore that is being smelted. It requires very good
judgment to determine just how much foreign material and lime is needed
to produce the best results with the constantly varying ores. Luck may
find the silver ore but science must extract the bullion. Most profit
accrues to the smelter when the ore produces from seventy-five to two
hundred ounces of silver, and contains a goodly proportion of iron and

"Leaving the dungeons, we pick our way down the slope of a small
mountain of ore, and enter below, where the engine and boilers throb,
and the openings at the bottom of the furnaces give exit to the silver
and the slag we saw shoveled in above as ore. And what an exit! The low
roof shuts down close and dark upon the huge black cylinder of iron and
bricks that holds in its heart the molten metal. There are pipes and
valves, and draft-ways, and beams and braces, but they show indistinct
in the gloom, and are nothing beside that great central mass, begrimed
with soot and the dust of arsenic and oxides of lead. Watch that
workman. He lifts a lance and stepping near the base of the furnace,
where a single spark directs his aim, gives two or three quick thrusts.
How mighty an effect the simple act evokes! The gloomy and ghost-haunted
chamber becomes a home of fire; the grim furnace breathes out gaseous
flames of blue and green, with tongues of light which hover playfully
over a cataract of melted red metal bubbling, spouting, plunging out of
that Plutonic throat and falling in hissing streams into the iron bowl
waiting to catch its hot flood. The little lady who is with us, seeing
the sparks fly, draws timidly outside the doorway and none too soon, for
without warning the whole place becomes volcanic. No longer a steady
stream of artificial lava rolls down the iron channel, but the liquid
metal bursts its bounds and becomes a fountain. The furnace is hidden in
lurid gases out of which spring volley upon volley of burning fragments
that scatter showers of fire over the whole foreground.

"The slag-pot is a conical vessel, with a rounded apex, poised, base
uppermost, on four little legs; when it is full, an iron frame work of a
cart runs up, seizes it on opposite sides as though with two hands, and
wheels it, glowing and fuming, out where a mole of slag is pushing
itself over into the white gravel of the gulch, and where it is
deposited red and crackling among heaps of like cones, some fading into
the ashy hues of spent heat, some black and shining like inverted
crucibles of polished iron. It was an uncanny vision: the huge rough
outlines of the great mill, with its high chimneys and beacons of flame
and smoke; the blaze within, the wan moonlight outside, and the sinewy
men with skeleton carts leaping about in the glare of the spouting slag,
handling shapely burdens of fiery refuse.

"While the worthless slag is doing so much sputtering and making so
lively a show of itself, the silver and lead have quietly sunk to the
bottom as fast as the heat liberated them from the mass of the boiling
ore, and now come oozing up from a small exit far below the slag-spout,
into a well at the side of the furnace. As fast as needful, this liquid
'bullion' is ladled out and poured into iron moulds, where it remains
until it cools into solid 'pigs' or bars of lead weighing about fifty
pounds each, and carrying about two per cent. of silver. These pigs,
when cool, are stamped with the smelter's name and the number of the
car-load to which they will belong. Then from each one is cut a
fragment, and these pieces--when the whole 'run' of the furnace has been
made--are collected and re-cast and assayed to determine the value and
selling-price of the bullion."

The foregoing paragraphs, culled without indicating the omissions, and
so, perhaps reading abruptly, it must be remembered, were written in the
early summer of 1879. Yet, to a great degree, the picture outlined in
that (now old) magazine article holds good to-day. There are many more
people here, and the coming of the Denver and Rio Grande railway has
brought the world nearer and multiplied the means of trade. It has
reduced prices, afforded ready transportation out and in, civilized the
town. Harrison avenue has become a metropolitan street, crowded with
fine business houses, where you can buy almost as many things as in
Denver, and the hills in the outskirts are crowded with more mine-houses
and riddled with more tunnels than formerly. But all this is an advance
in degree, not an addition of a new kind. The paving of the central
streets, the erection of large business buildings, the introduction of
public water and gas, the police, the fire-patrol, the morning and
evening papers, the telephone and what not, are all indications of the
thrift and prosperity of the people but render the city less
characteristic and peculiar. The Leadville of '79 in which we took a
keen interest is now a thing of the past.

After dinner, the Madame and I go up as of yore, to a cottage we wot of
that commands a pleasant view, and sit watching the night put the
shading into the picture. But I tell her it is not the picture I used to
see and enjoy. That was a great map of new, bare houses spread out
before us, seemingly without arrangement or form. The steady drone of
late planing mills and the subdued, eager rasp of steam-saws begrudging
the approach of darkness, told how grew the magic town that was
overrunning the plateau, exploring the gulches, and swarming up the
flanks of the half-cleared foothills. It was a town without high
buildings or towers, church-spires or foliage. In the clearness with
which every detail is seen at a great distance, the houses looked
smaller than they really were. It was all rough and ragged, yet all the
more picturesque.

Slowly the long, sober twilight deepens in the valley into gloaming, and
sinks thence into a gloom out of which, one by one, peep the lights.
Still, outlines are not lost, and the massive figures of the foothills
thrust themselves hugely through the veil that night is dropping, solid
and blue and forbidding. It is a picture of perfect sweetness and
peace,--a poetic picture in which one can imagine nothing that is harsh,
or selfish, or mean. And overhead the mountains tower, rank behind rank,
peak crowding peak, the pinnacles vying in being the last to hold the
lingering rays of the sun, whose light now enkindles the heights until
all the wide snow fields burn rosily. Then one by one the glittering
banks fade into the softest of ash-tints as the reluctant sun bows
itself away, and the shadows of the blackening ridges fall athwart the
arctic panorama that fills the horizon. Keeping pace, the lights of the
city increase, shining duskily through a purple haze of smoke and mist.
Clearer above this ethereal stratum of haze, gleam the jewel-points that
show where huge engines are tirelessly at work, and where prospectors
and campers have built their fires on the hill-sides, and sit about them
boiling their coffee and gossiping on the events of the day and the
prospects of the morrow. Then the Madame and I saunter homeward--for
our comfortable cars seem very homelike to us these frosty
evenings--breathing the resinous flavor of the crisply fragrant spruce,
and watching the stars spring hastily over the coruscant line that
traces the serrated crest of the snowy range.


Leadville at night is a scene of wild hilarity, and yet of remarkable
order. The omnipresent six-shooters that used to outnumber the men of a
mining camp ten years ago are rarely seen here in public. If men carry
pistols, it is in their pockets; and the shoot-the lights out ruffianism
of the old frontier days rarely shows even a symptom of revival. You
find a city of twenty thousand people or so within the limits and up
the sides of the hills that overlook the town, where hundreds of
mine-houses, spouting ceaseless jets of steam from ever-laboring
engines, and hundreds of dumps of earth and ore brought to sudden
daylight from their beds in the heart of the hill, tell the story of
Leadville's prosperity. The rough old camp has crystallized into the
city she resolved to become.

As for these mines--what shall be said. Fryer Hill, which was the source
of Leadville's "boom," has gone into obscurity under the newer glory of
its rivals, Carbonate and Breece hills. It is said that Fryer Hill
proved a great collection of "pockets," very rich so long as they
lasted, but liable at any time to be exhausted. The other hills,
however, seem not to have suffered the geological turmoil through which
Fryer passed, and, therefore, when a deposit of ore is struck, one may
be reasonably sure of its holding out as long as any one man or
generation of men would be likely to feel an earthly interest in its
development. Men now know pretty well, or think they do, what ones of
the hundreds of "discovery shafts" sunk are really worth continuing, and
there is a constant tendency to the consolidation of adjacent properties
into the hands of large companies controlling vast capital, and pushing
operations with quiet dignity. The bullion-product of Leadville
increases year by year, and gives an annual output varying from
$17,000,000 to $19,000,000.

The yard of the Denver and Rio Grande railway, where our cars lay for a
whole week, is a scene of never ceasing activity. This is the terminus
not only of the main line from the east and south, but also of two
branches, one down the Blue river and the other over to the Eagle River
valley. Both have to cross the continental range, and abound in scenery
so picturesque that, in the phrase of the penny-a-liner, "to be
appreciated must be seen." That being the case, we propose to "see" it.



                    'Unto the towne of Walfingham
                      'The way is hard for to be gon;
                    'And verry crooked are those pathes
                      'For you to find out all alone.'
                                             --PERCY'S RELIQUES.

According to the virtuous intention of the last paragraph, we went one
day over to Red Cliff and the Eagle river. The branch of the railway
which runs thither, leaves the main line at Malta, and takes in some
very pretty scenery.

From Malta the line skirts the wide hay-meadows between the village and
the Arkansas river; I saw men spreading manure there, too, and was told
they had raised oats successfully. The whole mouth of California gulch,
here, is a vast bed of clean, drifted gravel, the result of the gold
hydraulic operations above, the placers having been worked more or less
continuously for twenty years.

Rising along a tortuous path cut at a heavy grade, as usual, into the
side hills, we mount slowly into Tennessee Pass, which feeds the head of
the Eagle river on one side and one source of the Arkansas on the other.
It is a comparatively low and easy pass, covered everywhere with dense
timber, and a wagon-road has long been followed through it. There was
nothing to be seen except an occasional pile of ties, or a charcoal
oven, save that now and then a gap in the hills showed the gray rough
summits of Galena, Homestake, and the other hights that guard the Holy
Cross. At each end of the Pass is a little open glade or "park," where
settlers have placed their cabins and fenced off a few acres of level
ground whereon to cut hay, for nothing else will grow at this great

One of the side-valleys, coming down to the track at right angles from
the southwestward--I think it is Homestake gulch--leads the eye up
through a glorious alpine avenue to where the cathedral crest of a noble
peak pierces the sky. It is a summit that would attract the eye
anywhere,--its feet hidden in verdurous hills, guarded by knightly
crags, half-buried in seething clouds, its helmet vertical, frowning,
plumed with gleaming snow,--

                    "Ay, every inch a king."

It is the Mount of the Holy Cross, bearing the sacred symbol in such
heroic characters as dwarf all human graving, and set on the pinnacle of
the world as though in sign of possession forever. The Jesuits went hand
in hand with the _Chevalier Dubois_, proclaiming Christian gospel in the
northern forests; the Puritan brought his Testament to New England, the
Spanish banners of victory on the golden shores of the Pacific were
upheld by the fiery zeal of the friars of San Francisco; the frozen
Alaskan cliffs resounded to the chanting of the monks of St. Peter and
St. Paul. On every side the virgin continent was taken in the name of
Christ, and with all the _eclat_ of religious conquest. Yet from ages
unnumbered before any of them, centuries oblivious in the mystery of
past time, the Cross had been planted here. As a prophecy during
unmeasured generations, as a sign of glorious fulfillment during
nineteen centuries, from always and to eternity a reminder of our fealty
to Heaven, this divine seal has been set upon our proudest eminence.
What matters it whether we write "God" in the Constitution of the United
States, when here in the sight of all men is inscribed this marvelous
testimony to his sovereignty! Shining grandly out of the pure ether, and
above all turbulence of earthly clouds, it says: Humble thyself, O man!
Measure thy fiery works at their true insignificance. Uncover thy head
and acknowledge thy weakness. Forget not, that as high above thy gilded
spires gleams the splendor of this ever-living Cross, so are My thoughts
above thy thoughts, and My ways above thy ways.

Red Cliff is a bright, fresh little camp, made of sweet-smelling, new
lumber just out of the saw mill; it looks _spruce_ in a most literal
sense. Perhaps a thousand or fifteen hundred persons live in and about
there, though you will not see a quarter of that number except on
Saturday nights and Sundays. The hotel where I stopped was made of
canvas, but they gave me a good meal, and when bed-time came took me off
to another tent roofed shanty, which I occupied all to myself,
surrounded by feminine finery and knicknacks, from tooth-powder and
hair-pins to ruffled skirts and a sewing stand; however, the
window-curtains consisted of two very "loud" copies of the _Police
Gazette_, so I locked my door with extra care for fear the fair owners
might unexpectedly return.

The mines in the neighborhood of Red Cliff--if you saw the toppling
piles of rust-stained quartzite which hung over the gulch, you would not
need to ask why the name was given--are of varied character, and of wide


Discovered only in 1878, it was at once seen that here in Battle
mountain were enormous deposits of carbonate of lead carrying silver,
which was so free from any refractory elements, like zinc or antimony,
and so abundant in lead, that they were unexcelled in the world for the
purposes of smelting. It has always been a drawback in the Leadville
ores that they contained lead in too small a proportion to the silver,
copper and other constituents, to make straight smelting feasible; that
is it is necessary to mix into each charge an addition of
"flux,"--chiefly lead, in order properly to perform the operation of
smelting. This Red Cliff ore, however, is so rich in lead, frequently
running sixty, seventy or eighty per cent., that no accessory is
needful, and it "smelts itself," as they say. In consequence, the
carbonates of this district are in great demand at Leadville, and really
bring more than their intrinsic value, since the smelters are anxious to
get them to mix with the more refractory home product, and so get enough
lead in the charge to secure the silver of both kinds of ore. Most of
the ores from this camp, therefore, are shipped to Leadville; and not
only that, but a large quantity of the bullion made here is sold there
also and re-melted in order to furnish the necessary lead.

Here, as well as further down the river, some streaks of gold-quartz are
found, and a stamp mill is about to be erected. Fissure veins of silver
ore are also known and worked somewhat, and much is expected of this
branch of production in future. But thus far the chief reliance of the
district is placed upon the carbonate ores of silver. You will find all
the hills and granite ledges and quartzite overflows about here punched
full of prospect-pits; but it is only on the southern slope of Battle
mountain that mines worth mention have been developed as yet. "The whole
interior of Battle mountain," one who knew said to me, "seems to be one
bed of carbonate of lead and silver." Then he took me into the sheds of
his smelter and showed me bin after bin full of brick-red, and rust
brown and dark and bright yellow earth, which lay in crumbling pieces
like dried mud, or had fallen into mere sand, and told me that that was
the general style of the ore. I lifted a handful and it was as heavy as
shot: no doubt about that being lead. This stuff is almost too easy to
mine; it is like digging into a sand bank, and every foot of the way
must be carefully protected by a timber tunnel to prevent its caving in.
A man can pull down three or four tons a day, to ship, and it is only
requisite to wheel it to the brow of the steep hill-side at the mouth of
the mine, and hurl it down a shute a thousand feet or so to the railway
track in the cañon.

This cañon of the Eagle, through which the railway runs, offers one of
the keenest pleasures in Colorado to the lover of scenery, and one of
the points of pilgrimage to the disciple of trout-fishing. The limpid
green waters of the pretty river, fed, just here, by Turkey creek
bringing the melted snows of the main range, and by the Homestake coming
from the foot of the Holy Cross, dash with laughter and gurgle through a
narrow defile of gayly colored rocks and thence pour out to rest awhile
in the parks before its struggle with Elbow Cañon down below. From here
to the mouth of the river, it is between fifty and sixty miles according
to the line of the railway, which will, some day, closely follow its
banks down the Grand to Grand Junction. The elevation is uniformly so
great, even after you get fairly out of the mountains, that agriculture
is hopeless, excepting the cultivation of some of the hardiest
vegetables, like turnips, and perhaps risky crops of oats and barley.

At the mouth of the Roaring Fork of the Grand (which is just below where
the Eagle debouches), some remarkable mineral springs bubble out of the
ground. These have long been held in high esteem by the Indians and
hunters, and now a little settlement has grown up around them called
Glenwood. A hotel, bath houses and other facilities for a pleasant and
healthful time have been erected, and the place is likely to prove a
favorite summer resort. Many men are living and digging upon the
headwaters of Brush creek, Gypsum creek, and other tributaries. Just
below, where the Eagle river discharges itself, the Grand receives the
Roaring Fork and various other pretty large tributaries, so that it
becomes a noble stream by the time the great Gunnison reinforces it, and
it mingles its waters with the Green river, which has come all the way
from the National Yellowstone Park, to make the mighty Rio Colorado.

Hither will come the painters, who need not go to Switzerland for snowy
bergs, nor to Scotland for lochs, nor to Norway for splendid forests of
pine and spruce. No mountains I know of abound in more that is
picturesque; but it is always some phase of the _grand_ rather than the
_pretty_. The scenery is wild and savage and primeval, being the stock
of which beautiful landscapes are made, rather than the culture that
gentler airs and more temperate winds bring upon the face of the earth
nearer the sea and the equator. The naturalist also may come here with
profit. The fauna and flora are boreal and western. The geologist and
mineralogist and meteorologist will find much here to interest them, and
clear up doubtful points.

This splendid, hilly, well-timbered, well-pastured, well-watered western
edge of the state, is the grandest hunting-ground in the United States,
and it will be long before the bears and mountain lions and wild cats;
the wolves and foxes; the mountain-sheep, the elk, the two deers and the
antelope, are driven from its shady courts and disappear from the wide
and sunny ranges. Long let us say, in fond hope, if not in serious
expectation, that _never_ shall the dread word _exterminated_ be written
after the name of any of the wild animals whose utility as game or for
beauty of form makes them of interest to us.

Another excursion from Leadville was out on the stub of a line to be
extended down the Blue river toward Middle Park.

To reach the valley of Blue river "the range" must, of course, be
crossed. The line from Leadville follows up the Arkansas and reveals to
us how small are the beginnings of great things in the way of
water-courses; how a miserable, shallow, wiggling little runlet, which
you can dam with a couple of shovels of mud and stand astride of like
another Colossus of Rhodes, may push its way along, undermining what it
cannot overthrow; sliding around the obstacle that deemed itself
impassable; losing itself in willowy bogs, tumbling headlong over the
error of a precipice or getting heedlessly entrapped in a confined
cañon; escaping down a gorge with indescribable turmoil, and always
growing bigger, bigger, broader and stronger, deeper and more dignified;
till it can leave the mountains and strike boldly across a thousand
miles of untracked plain to "fling its proud heart into the sea." Hark!
what does it prattle up here where we can leap its ripplings, and the
red willows tangle their blossoms and shade it from side to side?--

              "Clear and cool, clear and cool,
                By laughing shallow and dreaming pool,
              Cool and clear, cool and clear,
                By shining shingle and foaming weir."


Listen again below, where it rushes triumphant from the adamantine gates
that sought to imprison it:--

              "Strong and free, strong and free,
                The flood gates are open away to the sea;
              Free and strong, free and strong,
                Claiming my streams as I hurry along,
              To the golden sands and the leaping bar
              And the taintless tide that awaits me afar."

Almost in the very springs of the river, where an amphitheatre of gray
quartzite peaks stand like stiffened silver-gray curtains between the
Atlantic and the Pacific, we curl round a perfect shepherd's crook of a
curve, and then climb its straight staff to the summit of
Fremont's,--the highest railway pass in the world. The pathway is so
hidden in great woods, and the grim giants of the Mosquito range are
still so inaccessibly far above you, even when you have reached the
sterile _oberland_, above the trees, that you hardly realize the fact
that you are 11,540 feet--considerably over two vertical miles--above
the sea.

Once more on the Pacific slope, with the crossing of this range, we see
the first trickling of Ten-Mile creek, and enter the edge of one of the
famous mining districts of the state, catching a sidelong glimpse of the
Holy Cross as we descend.

"Although its now well-known silver mines," says a recent historical
account, "are of recent date, the district is not a new one, having been
run over by gold hunters in the 'flush times' of California gulch,
Buckskin Joe and other famous gold-camps of early days. Gold was found
in the bed of Ten-Mile creek, and in the connecting gulches, ... among
them McNulty's gulch, said to have yielded more gold in proportion to
its size than any other workings in the state, and many fine nuggets of
unusual size were taken from it.... The discovery in 1878, of the famous
Robinson group of mines, followed, by the White Quail and Wheel of
Fortune discoveries, attracted large numbers of prospectors to the new
camp, and in spite of the ten feet of snow that covered the ground
during the winter of 1878-'79 locations were made, and shafts and
tunnels begun in every direction. During the winter the town of
Carbonateville was settled, and for a time promised to become a thriving
camp. On the 8th of February, the town of Kokomo, which, with its
younger rival, Robinson, is now a prosperous and growing mining camp,
with two smelters in operation, was located. In the spring of 1880
Robinson's camp began to build up rapidly, under the support of the
great Robinson mines, and the fostering care of the late Lieutenant
Governor Robinson, and soon became a formidable rival to Kokomo. The
many discoveries made during the spring and summer of 1880, brought the
district into a prominence second only to that of Leadville, and a large
amount of capital was invested in the development of its many promising
mines and prospects. Two smelters were erected at Kokomo, and one near
the old town of Carbonateville, while extensive works, consisting of
furnaces, roasters, etc., were put up at Robinson to work the ores of
the Robinson mine. A railroad to connect the district with Leadville on
the south and Georgetown on the east, was projected, and partially
graded during the summer, but was finally absorbed by the enterprising
managers of the Denver and Rio Grande Company, who, with a watchful eye
for the future, began the construction, under the name of Blue River
extension of the Denver and Rio Grande, of a road, which in spite of
the many and great difficulties encountered, was completed to Robinson
on the 1st of January, 1881. Much of the grading and most of the
track-laying were done under a heavy fall of snow, the range being
crossed in midwinter, affording a striking instance of the energy and
contempt of obstacles characteristic of Western railroad builders."

[Illustration: RUBY FALLS.]

The Robinson mines alluded to, now abandoned so far as productive work
is concerned, and generally considered a failure, were called the best
mining property in the state only a year ago. They were discovered in
1878, the ore proving to be chiefly galena and iron, with large pockets
of rich oxidized ore,--the "mud carbonates" so-called. A year later this
mine passed into the possession of a stock company, headed by the late
Lieut. Governor George B. Robinson, with a capital of $10,000,000.
Extensive and thoroughly constructed tunnels, etc., were begun, which
were soon interrupted by litigations out of which grew a small war. In
the course of this Governor Robinson was accidentally shot by a guard,
in November of 1880. These troubles settled, ore began to be produced in
large quantities until the winter of 1882, when work suddenly ceased,
the stock of the company fell to nothing, and the report was given out
that the mine was a failure.

Moving on down the pleasant valley, whose level bottom is carbonate
tinted, not with ore dust, but with an almost continuous thicket of
stunted red willows, we pass the Chalk Mountain mines, the Carbonate
Hill district, Clinton gulch, where gold ore is alleged to be worth more
attention than it is receiving, and so come to Elk mountain and Kokomo,
a locality which has had a wonderful history. In the fall of 1880 she
had only the "White Quail" mine as a steady producer. A little later the
"Aftermath" group came to the front. Now probably not less than fifteen
distinct mining claims on Elk mountain are making a steady output of
ore. This ore is a hard carbonate, running about twenty-five ounces in
silver and twenty-five per cent. in lead, besides a third of an ounce in
gold, which is carefully separated at the smelter. Much of it is so
admirably constituted that it "smelts itself,"--that is, it requires
little or no addition of lead, iron and other accessories to its proper

We were told of alluring pictures of mountains and cañons below Kokomo;
of timber-belts and pleasant uplands; of green meadows and sparkling
streams beloved of trout and bass, and the drinking places of deer in
the twilight. But our plan would not permit us to go on to Dillon, the
present terminus, much less beyond it. Instead, we must turn back, make
a swift run down the Arkansas, and begin our exploration of the great
overland route to Utah and the Pacific coast.

I will not detain you with the account of our downward trip, but ask you
to suppose us, a few hours after our visit at Robinson and Kokomo,
snugly "at home" in the station in Poncho Springs, half a dozen miles
west of Salida.



                        Strength to the weary,
                          Warmth to the cold,
                        Blood to the wasted,
                          Youth to the old;
                        Ah, and the rapture
                        Thousand-fold dearer,
                          Ne'er to be told:
                        Learn ye the secret,--
                          Taste ye the sweetness.

The visitor to Poncho Springs is pretty sure to get into hot water, and,
strange to say, the visitor is pretty sure to like it. There are several
reasons for this peculiarity, and among the most important is this, that
like the wind to the shorn lamb, the water is tempered. It needs to be
tempered, indeed, for when one literally gets into hot water, one does
not like to have its warmth so emphatic as to make a veal stew of the
first leg that is thrust into it. Hot springs whose temperature makes
any well-regulated thermometer's blood boil and sends the mercury up to
180° in the shade certainly needs tempering. When properly moderated,
however, one cannot fail to enjoy a bath in the soda impregnated waters
of the Poncho springs.

The village, to which the springs have given their name, is snugly
tucked away in a niche in the Arkansas valley, at the mouth of Poncho
pass. The waters of the south fork of the Arkansas river, clear as
crystal, and flowing with a foam-flecked current, race rapidly past the
town. Along the river's course the cottonwoods crowd, and to their
branches, beginning to grow bare, still cling a few trembling yellow
leaves. Beyond the river and to the south and west rise the hills, their
sides and summits covered with dark phalanxes of pines. Turning one's
back upon the town and looking toward the north and west, one sees the
snow-crowned summit of the Collegiate range, with all the differences
between Princeton and Harvard and Yale entirely eliminated by that
distance which ever adds enchantment to the view. Closer at hand, and
towering grandly into the sky, a tremendous watch-tower in the west,
stands Shavano, while lesser peaks and nameless pinnacles cluster and
crowd around. Great plains, broken by buttes, stretch away to the
northward, but mountains and foothills circle round to the east and
south and west.


In this sheltered nook lies the picturesque village of Poncho Springs,
and hither do the invalids and tourists flock during the warm half of
the year to drink the medicinal waters and to bathe in the healing
springs. I strolled through the main street of the town, along which are
built substantial frame shops and hotels, and observed evidences of
stability upon every side. Poncho Springs is not the result of a
temporary craze, nor is it a railway terminus town to be torn down and
shipped forward as the road advances. There is a good agricultural
country around the village, and the Springs will be a source of
permanent prosperity. One of the most picturesque features of this
picturesque town is a residence which my traveling companions called "a
symphony in logs." The house is to the right of the main street and is
built of hewn logs, and with gables filled in with ornamental work, with
painted roof and fanciful porticos, presents a peculiarly pleasing

Passing on through the town toward the hills and crossing the river, one
discovers a sign board, upon which it is announced that the distance to
the hot springs is three-quarters of a mile. Putting confidence in this
announcement, the visitor cheerfully advances along a good wagon road,
which soon begins to twine and twist among the hills, at times making a
grade of thirty degrees. Finally, just as one begins to lose faith in
the guide board, the trail, with an abrupt turn to the right, descends
into a gulch, and rises steeply on the other side. Clambering up this
steep, the visitor sees to the left the hotel buildings, which announce
the presence of the springs, while to the right are pitched a number of
tents, late sleeping rooms for an army of summer visitors which,
vanquished by cold breezes, has broken camp and fled.

After a bath in the conventional zinc contrivance, to which was admitted
hot and cold water through most unpoetic and sternly practical faucets,
all of which suggested "modern improvements" rather than a wonderful
natural phenomenon, I went out in search of the hot springs, quite as
much to re-establish a somewhat shaken faith in their existence as for
any other purpose. My doubts soon dissolved, for back of the hotel and
half-way up the grade of a steep hill, I came upon a little rivulet of
soda water still steaming with the heat of its parent spring. A little
further on I saw a white tumulus of volcanic formation, and scattered
over its summit oval openings in which boiled and bubbled water fresh
from Pluto's kitchen. In some of these springs the water was scalding
hot, while in others it was merely lukewarm. Springs showing such
radical differences of temperature were frequently not more than two
feet apart. There are over fifty of these springs here, and no two of
them precisely alike.

The Springs have lately passed from their former ownership into the
hands of new men, who are very enterprising. Larger buildings have been
erected, and the camp-like freedom of the place has been exchanged for
something more nearly approaching ordinary hotel life. There is room for
about 150 guests, and every requirement for the comfort of invalids. The
advertisements issued by the proprietors dwell largely upon the
similarity of these waters to those of the Arkansas Hot Springs, and
recommend them as equally curative in the special ailments that have
long made the Arkansas waters famous.

A few miles northward of Poncho Springs there is a cluster of mining
villages, of which the chief are Maysville and Monarch. They lie well
under the shadow of the mountains, and silver ore is produced steadily
in considerable quantity. These towns communicate with the outside world
by a branch line of railway which diverges at this point.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the quiet of the evening, at this charming retreat--for we had few
pleasanter halting places--the Madame bethought herself (seeing the rest
of us pen and pencil in hand) that she owed a letter to her Eastern
_confidante_, and also remembered that she had promised her an account
of our youthful _chef_, with whom by this time we all felt tolerably
well acquainted. Happy accident brought this letter under my eye and I
seized the opportunity to copy it, so here it is, or at least so much of
it as relates to the boy:


"I must tell you about our cook; or, as my husband would, no doubt
correct me, our _porter_. How our first boy fought and bled and died I
wrote you before, and that the last I saw of him he was being bundled
rheumatically aboard the homeward train. Well, after I had finished that
visit at Pueblo San Juan with old Santiago's wife, whom I described to
you, I went home--that is, you know, back to our train--just at evening.
As I opened the door a bright-faced boy rose to meet me, with a pair of
the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen,--just the kind of orbs young
ladies waste oceans of sentiment upon, you know, in boarding-school
days. He was, so he told me, a mixture of Kentuckian and Canadian Indian
blood. His grandmother, the only one of his family to whom he seemed to
feel any allegiance, had set him up in business as a liquor seller.
'But,' he said, 'the business was too rough for _me_, so I gave it up to
a friend and came out West.'

"He proved the direct opposite of his predecessor. While Edward could
cook, Burt could not; and while Edward had an abhorrence of water, Burt
was never so happy as when his pots, pans and kettles were all before
him and he was busy scouring. The only difficulty was, that he could not
_keep_ clean, but was for ever 'clarin' up,' during which process it
required considerable ingenuity to make one's way through the débris of
the kitchen furniture.

"It was not long before the inside of his car was covered with tin-ware
of all descriptions, pails, smoothing irons, pokers, tools,--everything
that could by any possibility be hung up. He had a passion for driving
nails, the larger the more fun apparently, for his nails mostly went
clear through the car-walls, which soon came to bristle like a newly
furnished pin-cushion.

"With an eye to our future interests in all possible contingencies, Burt
laid hold of anything along the road that he thought might be of use to
us, entirely ignoring any proprietary rights which others might think
they had in the object 'smoudged,' as he expressed it. In this way we
gradually became possessed of an endless quantity of odds and ends,
which it required a decided exercise of authority to get rid of.

"In traveling, he was nearly always to be seen on the top of the car,
for he had an appreciative eye for scenery,--so much so, indeed, as
sometimes to interfere with his duties. His great fault was

"When we reached Durango he became very greatly depressed, and on my
inquiring the reason for his melancholy, he attributes it to the
dullness of the place; 'for, ma'am, there is no excitement,--no one has
been killed for two weeks. Not at all what I was led to expect.' On
reaching Leadville, he became much more cheerful, as he had only been in
the city six hours before seeing two fights and half of another.

"His gait was something peculiar. It can best be described by the ditty
we used to sing, my dear, which commemorates so touchingly the character
and adventures of Susanna in her excursions abroad,--

              'When she walks she lifts her foot,
                And then she puts it down again.'

"Long, lank, dark-skinned, dressed in flapping coat and immensely broad
and excessively slouched sombrero (until my husband bought him a cap),
with his loping walk and swinging elbows, he was easily recognized at a
long distance; and as he would come sailing down upon us from afar, with
arms full of bundles, he reminded one a little of some huge bird of

"He had a wholesome fear of rattlesnakes and grizzly bears, which the
wicked men of the fort maliciously represented to him, abounded in
terrible numbers, and of the most ferocious kind wherever we went. 'No,
ma'am,' he said, in his slow, stately way, when I cautioned him one day
about trying to shoot a bear if he happened to meet one, as they were
hard to kill and especially dangerous if wounded, 'No, ma'am; if I meet
a bear you just bet I don't stay to take his portrait, but shin up the
first tree I come to.'

"He was continually developing new accomplishments. We learned, after a
few weeks, that we had not 'prospected' him thoroughly at the beginning.
He proved to have had more experience than his youthful looks and
aimlessness of motive lead us to expect. We had little occasion to call
into use whatever knowledge he had acquired as a bar-keeper, because the
education of the gentlemen of the party had not been neglected in that
direction,--wholly in an amateur way, and they were accustomed, while
'concocting elaborately commingled potations,' (as they grandiloquently
termed mixed drinks) to say to one another: 'If you would have anything
well done do it yourself.'

"One day, however, great delight was caused by the discovery that Burt
was a barber. His services were at once required, and when, at the end
of long labors, he was munificently offered two nickels, he declined
them. This noble independence aroused 'Chum's' admiration. He said that
he was glad to see that the boy was free from the mercenary spirit so
painful to witness in the young.

"Our porter seemed to consider the whole expedition a huge joke, and
ourselves a show arranged for his especial benefit. If--as it frequently
happened, for a more thoroughly heedless and forgetful youth never
existed--we were obliged to expostulate with him on some neglect of
duty, a seriousness of countenance would remain with him for some time,
but the first joke that came to his ears dispelled it. Sullen, he never
was, or ill natured; and if any real emergency occurred, more willing
and unselfish help could not have been tendered by a firm friend than
was tendered by this servant. I repent me, indeed, Mrs. McAngle, of
having made fun of him, even in the privacy of a letter to you. The odor
of the steaks that he cooked still lingers in my grateful nostrils; I
remember that without him, material for many jokes would have been
wanting, and I look on his fast vanishing, but always picturesque
figure, with regret."

       *       *       *       *       *

Standing here at the very foot of the mountains that hid the enchanting
netherland of "the Gunnison," we were eager to hurry on to the Pacific
slope of the State; but one little side trip remained to be made, and on
the second morning we coupled our cars to the express bound for Villa
Grove and Bonanza. The course lay up Poncho Pass, and in five minutes
the noisy locomotives announced that the ascent had begun.

It was very pretty, as, indeed, we had suspected during our walk the day
before up to the hot springs, which stand near its entrance. The track
is dug out of the side-hill on the northern side of the gulch, and a
bright stream comes tumbling down through willows, cottonwoods, oak
shrubs, wild cherry thickets and bushes of service-berry whose crimson
fruit tempts you to leap off the train and taste its tart and fragrant
juices. The slopes on both sides are covered with evergreens and aspens

                "That twinkle to the gusty breeze."

Up through a rift in the trees we catch a glimpse of the little
watering-place, and a few miles farther, pass the log-buildings of the
old Toll Gate, occupying a pocket in the hills. Only now are the gray
carpeted plains of the Arkansas, the village at the mouth of the cañon,
and the rough high hills, away beyond the river lost to view. At the
head of Poncho Pass is Mears' Station. It occupies a narrow defile, the
walls rising steeply to unseen heights, and the gorges dropping
apparently to unfathomable depths. We could not trace the devious course
we had come, nor understand how it was possible the railway should
surmount the stupendous barrier lying to the westward. Yet we knew that
a day or two later our cars would roll steadily to the summit and
steadily descend on the other side, for this little nook, the head of
Poncho, is only the foot of Marshall Pass, by which the oceanic divide
is crossed on the transcontinental route. Nor was it easier to see how
we were to get away down the precipitous defiles in which the southern
slope of Poncho Pass seemed to lose itself. It was with strongly excited
curiosity, then, that we detached from the express and caused our cars
to be coupled to the freight train, which the bulletin averred knew how
to go down to Villa Grove, and would one day carry the traveller through
to Saguache and the South.

When all was ready to make good this promise,--and if that miserably
memorable engineer had thrust his shock of hair and bullet-head a trifle
further out of the cab-window the company might have dispensed with the
headlight--took the back track for a few rods, trended away on a curved
side-track to the right as far as the hillside would admit, crossed the
main line on a bridge, and having by this time accomplished a half
circle, headed eastward again and began to climb the southern side of
the gulch in a line so parallel with the lower track that a mile later
you could fling down a stone from one to the other though you were a
couple of hundred feet above. Half a mile more and the summit is
reached,--a green saddle between the foothills of Mount Ouray on one
side and the far-braced buttresses of Hunt's peak on the other. The
going down is fairly straight and easy work, and it is not long before
the gulches widen out, the diminished, grassy hills are left behind, and
your speed increases as you strike the firmly bedded, regular track,
pointing southward through a broad, treeless plain.

Perhaps I have said enough of the wonderful beauty of the Sangre de
Cristo range, seen from this side; have too often told of their compact
array and unbroken grandeur; of the scores of nameless peaks that vie
with Hunt's, Rito Alto, Electric, the gothic Crestones and the group of
pinnacled, sun-gilded summits that crowd near far-away Blanca; but in
the broad morning light of this day's trip they stood up in freshened
color and renewed majesty. All the cloud-curtains were rolled up, and
heaven shed unhindered its clear, sharp sunbeams from end to end of the
magnificent chain. The souvenirs of yesterday's storm added decoration,
for the summits were all dusted and powdered, with light snow, like
noble heads of the old _regime_; and this unwonted covering descended
far enough below timber-line to frost the upper lines of trees, so that
there was a soft gradation from the deep verdancy of the lower slopes,
through hoary greenish-gray to the unbroken white of the clear-cut
gables lifted into the serene and absolute solitude of the cærulean


Down between the sharp edged spurs come numerous streams, watering
little spaces where ranchmen had placed their cabins and fenced in their
fields. Large areas now given up to the badgers and sage-brush, can be
brought under irrigation, when the more favorable lower parts of the
valley have been utilized. A broad road runs down here,--the old wagon
road from Leadville and the Arkansas valley to Saguache, Del Norte, the
San Juan region and New Mexico.

The same words apply to the more broken western side of the valley, here
called Homan's Park, though it is only the upper end of the San Luis
valley; and, in addition, those western hills are full of prospectors,
and of places where prospecting for silver and gold has met with
success. This is the celebrated Kerber Creek district, and Bonanza,
Exchequer, Sedgwick and other little centers of human interest, lie back
of those rugged, green hills over which the angular heads of Exchequer
and Ouray mountains stand in high-chieftainship.

Of all these, Bonanza is the largest. The ores, however, are
characterized by being of a low grade, but great volume, and by
containing refractory elements, with a small percentage of lead, so that
the large smelter at Bonanza has been compelled to cease running until
it could provide itself with a more adequate outfit of fluxes, etc.

Villa Grove--a pleasant little village on San Luis creek, which drains
the upper part of the park--is the railway point for all these mines and
several other settlements not yet mentioned. Looking southeast from the
station you can see where the track runs up into the foothills of the
Sangre de Cristo to one of the great iron mines of the Colorado Coal and
Iron company, whence large shipments are being made daily. Though of
great importance and value, the seeing of this mine amounts to little,
since it is hardly more than an open quarry.

From Villa Grove stages leave daily for Bonanza, Saguache and half a
dozen other places, such as Crestone and Oriental,--little mining camps
in the foothills. The roads are so smooth and level everywhere that the
great six-horse Concords are unnecessary and spring wagons are used.


                         THROUGH MARSHALL PASS.

              Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
                  When a new planet swims into his ken;
              Or like stout Cortes, when with eagle eyes
                  He stared at the Pacific--and all his men
              Looked at each other with a wild surmise--
                  Silent upon a peak in Darien.

One of the wonders of Colorado progress is the Gunnison valley. The
"Gunnison," as it is usually termed, embraces a wide area, being, in
popular parlance, everything in Colorado west of the Continental Divide,
north of the San Juan mountains and south of the Eagle River district.
In fact, this is correct enough, for nearly all this great region is
tributary in its drainage to the Gunnison river,--the third great stream
which unites with the Grand and the Green to form the Rio Colorado. The
water-shed between it and the Rio San Juan, the only other feeder of the
Rio Colorado worthy of mention, is the very high and wintry ridge of the
San Juan mountains, crossing which you find yourself in Baker's Park and
the region we had just come from. Betwixt the head of its northern
branches and the springs that feed the Grand River basin, stand the Elk
mountains and the high table lands of the Grand Mesa. From the one
water-shed to the other it is about fifty miles.

Ten years ago this region had hardly a wanderer in it from one season's
end to the other, and was full of Ute Indians. There were two or three
agencies, and roads leading thereto, but it was all a reservation.
Everything civilized that entered the district came up from Saguache
through Cochetopa Pass and along Cochetopa creek into the Uncompahgre
valley, where the Utes spent their winters. There was also a trail,
occasionally traveled by sportsmen and explorers, leading southward from
the Los Pinos agency to the headwaters of the Rio Grande and on over
Cunningham Pass into Baker's Park. I marched over it in 1874, and a
cruel march it was, though full of picturesque interest. An Indian trail
northward to White river was about the only other internal pathway. The
region, therefore, was a _terra incognita_ to Coloradoans, as well as to
the rest of the civilized world.

But this mystery was soon to be cleared away. The search for gold and
silver, which has led to more exploration of unknown regions than all
the geographical societies of the world put together, did not hesitate
to encounter the darkness that overspread the Pacific slope of the
State, and to go prospecting thither as soon as ever a hope of finding
"mineral" entered into the miner's heart. Close following upon the rush
to Leadville, was repeated the history of the Pike's Peak sequel. Now,
as then, men disappointed in not finding mines of fabulous wealth,
during the first week of their stay, or shrewdly thinking to anticipate
the crowd, began to walk further and further afield in search of new
argentiferous rocks, so that by the summer of 1879 we began to hear not
only of Ten Mile and Red Cliff, but of the Gunnison, as a district where
success had met the prospector. That was only a little over four years
ago. Now how well are we acquainted with this erst mysterious and
Indian-haunted valley! Four years ago a mule was the best mode of
conveyance hither, and an Indian trail almost the only pathway.
Yesterday I rode into the heart of it in a parlor car, and found, ready
for my perusal, the morning newspaper, with a day's history of all the
world, from Chicago to Cathay.

The Gunnison country boasts several towns of considerable size, some of
them the center of a circle of mines which radiates from them, and from
which they absorb cash and conviviality. First in size is Gunnison City;
and after it in importance are Crested Butte, Lake City, Ouray,
Montrose, Delta and Grand Junction,--the last three being situated in
the old Ute reservation in western Gunnison. Of less size, but yet
centers of population, are a large number of small mining towns or
"camps," such as Ruby, Crooksville, White Pine, Pitkin, Irwin, Barnum
and Ohio. Each of these would require some attention from a faithful
chronicler of the county, for they are all in Gunnison, where the
territory is large enough to enable one to set in it the whole State of
Massachusetts without crowding--that is if you lopped off Cape Cod or
curled it up into Marshall Pass.

It is by the way of Marshall Pass that the railway enters the Gunnison.
Leaving the main line and the Arkansas valley at Salida, only five miles
are traversed before the train begins to enter Poncho Pass and climb the
mountains, which it requires four hours, express speed, to cross,--four
hours of uninterrupted pleasure.

Of Poncho's prettiness I have already spoken. Its summit is found at
Mears' Station, and then begins the real ascent of the Continental
Divide. In a few moments the circling rim of the pit-like valley is
surmounted, and Hunt's peak, by its cap of snow signifying its
superiority to the giants of the Sangre de Cristo about it, rises like a
planet over the hills we are leaving behind. We seat ourselves on the
rear platform and watch it until the whole range, of which it is the
northernmost officer, stands drawn up in purple line before us, and we
can trace the summits, pressed back into straight line, for perhaps
sixty miles to the southward--

                        "----Sierras long,
                In archipelagoes of mountain sky."

What can that goodly rank, each peak sharp and pyramidal just along side
of the other, every curve of the foothills parallel with the one before,
sweeping down into the trough-like park at their hither base,--what can
all this uniformity be but the splendid chain of the Sangre de Cristo?
Have we not seen it time and time again, beheld it from east and west
and south, and now here from the north; and has it ever been out of
line, or anything but a soldierly array of uniform heights bearing the
same relation to the ill-assorted army of the rest of the Rockies, that
the famous grenadiers of Frederick the Great did to his peasant

This sight explains to us also, that the great width of lofty hills we
are picking our way through now is the junction mass of two ranges. It
is here that the Sangre de Cristo starts off on its own line to the
southeastward, while the main chain, forming the backbone of the
continent, trends somewhat westward and continues to do so more and more
till it loses itself in the jumble of San Juan, San Miguel, Uncompahgre,
Bear and other ranges that fill the southwestern corner of the State.
The summits north and southwest of us divide the Atlantic from the
Pacific; but that magnificent corps that will not be left behind, but
seems to march steadily after us, in battle array, separates only the
Arkansas from the Rio Grande. The glimpses of valley we get now and then
just this side its base are of Homan's Park, which is only the upper end
of the wide San Luis, and places can be seen that we could not reach by
long traveling.

Marshall Pass itself, which we enter imperceptibly out of Poncho, is a
depression in the main range and lies between Ouray and Exchequer
mountains. It was a daring scheme to run the road over here--for
_through_ wouldn't express it properly. The summit is almost eleven
thousand feet above the sea, and timber-line is so close that you can
think sometimes you are actually there. The trees are stunted and all
stand bent at an angle, showing the direction of the fierce and
prevalent winds that have pressed upon them since their seedling days.
The cones they bear start bravely, but after perfecting three or four
broad circles of scales and seeds the nipping frosts of August and
September admonish them to make haste; so the remainder of the cone is
put forth so hastily, in Nature's attempt to complete her work, that the
whole remaining length of fifteen or twenty circlets will not exceed the
length of the first two or three full-grown scales, and the cone ends
ridiculously in a little useless acuminate tip.

To attain this height, the road has to twist and wriggle in the most
confusing way, going three or four miles, sometimes, to make fifty
rods; but all the time it gains ground upward, over some startling
bridges, along the crest of huge fillings, through miniature cañons
blasted out of rock or shoveled through gravel, and always up slopes
whose steepness it needs no practiced eye to appreciate. To say that the
road crosses a pass in the Rocky mountains 10,820 feet in height is
enough to astonish the conservative engineers who have never seen this
audacious line; but you can magnify their amazement when you tell them
that some of the grades are 220 feet to the mile.

The mountains and hills in the neighborhood of Marshall Pass are clothed
for the most part with grass, or else sage-brush and weeds, and with
timber, scant in some places, dense in others. The tourist will not see
there the startling cliffs and chasms that break up the mountains on the
road to Durango, but, on the other hand, he will not feel any terror at
dizzy precipices, nor tremble lest some toppling pinnacle should fall
upon his fragile car. No better exhibition of the greatness and breadth
of these mountains could be found, however, than here. There stretches
away beneath and around you an endless series of hills, some rounded and
entirely over-grown with dark woods, others rising into a comb-like
crest, or rearing a dome-shaped head above the possibilities of
timber-growth and covered with a smooth cap of yellowish verdure. They
crowd one another on every side, and brace themselves, each by each, as
though their broad and solid foundations were not enough for safety.
They stand cheek by jowl in sturdy companionship, taking rain and sunny
weather, hurtling storms and serene days with impartial equality. Your
vision will not find the limit of these huge hills until it is cut off
by the serrated horizon of the crest of the Sangre de Cristo, or by some
frowning monarch near at hand, holding his head high and venerably gray,
as becomes a chieftain, where he can get the first messages of the gods
and be looked up to by a thousand of his more humble kin.


"It is like a huge green sea," murmurs the Madame, hitherto silent with
gazing. "I know a great many people have made the same comparison
before--have often said that these commingled ranges were as a sea,
tossing its white crests here and there and all at once congealed; but
that is the very impression which fixes itself upon you. These rounded,
or sharp-edged, tumultuous mountains _are_ like a wide, green ocean."
The great cone on the northern side of the track, close to which the
roadway skirts nearly the whole distance through the pass, is Ouray
peak. Ouray, as nearly everybody must know, was the head chief of the
Utes. This tribe only very lately abandoned all this portion of
Colorado, leaving last that reservation which lies beyond Gunnison City,
and which we are soon to visit. The peak we have hugged so closely does
honor to the dead chief. The farther you get around it the more nobly do
its proportions rise into the blue ether. Like Veta mountain, which it
closely resembles, this peak is of white volcanic rock that has
decomposed into small blocks. The sides then are loose "slides," as
steep as the fragmentary stuff will lie, and the top is a narrow summit
with smooth, rounded outlines. We are only a few hundred feet from the
topmost timber, yet the bald white summit rears its head to almost
unmeasured heights above, and claims our admiration by its simple
majesty, far more than does the broken, cliff-furnished upthrust of
Exchequer peak opposite, though its black head is held quite as high.
Perhaps this is only because we have become somewhat tired of the
closely-shutting high mountains; weary of being

          "----under ebon shades and low-browed rocks,"

as Milton puts it. Certes, it _is_ good once more to be able to look

On our way to the summit we had crawled through long snow-sheds, built
to protect the road from the snows of winter, and which are hung late in
spring with brilliant icicles formed by the sun without and the cold
within. Passing through the last shed, which has a length of fully half
a mile, we reached the highest point of the divide, and while the extra
engine which had helped pull us up the steep grades went cautiously down
the valley toward Gunnison before us, we climbed the rocks about the
little station house, to enjoy at its best the magnificent view
presented. To the northeast, white with snow, towered the serrated range
of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, rising abruptly from the valley which
stretched away to the southeast and standing out in bold relief against
the deep blue sky. Between the range and us were lower hills and
isolated peaks tumbled into a confused mass, and only prevented from
pressing too closely together by the little valleys that ran between
them. Immediately around us grew stunted pines, bent, barren, blackened
and lifeless. Down the mountain side the forests became denser, greener
and fresher, while from the distant valleys, at the bottom of which we
could see tiny streams working their way to worlds beyond, came low
murmurs and sweet odors. Toward the west, and losing itself in a hazy
distance, ran the Tomichi valley, narrow, heavily wooded, and free from
all that rocky harshness so prevalent in Colorado. Far below we could
look down upon four lines of our road, terrace below terrace, the last
so far down the mountain as to be quite indistinct to the view. The iron
loops were lost to sight at times as the road wound about some
interfering hill; and often the forest was so dense that the track
seemed to have disappeared for ever. Five hundred feet down the mountain
side we could see a water-tank, and knew that it marked the spot where
we would be, after an hour of twisting down the incline. As we gazed
upon the mountains, the valley, and the far and farther heights, we
could imagine ourselves returned to the beginning of things, and shown
the globe only that moment finished. There was a wealth of coloring, a
sublimity unsurpassed, and withal an attention given to detail by which
the picture was made perfect. I remember to have stood on Marshall Pass
once when the sun was just dropping out of sight beyond the rolling
hills to the westward. As it sunk lower and lower behind its curtain of
snowy peaks, prismatic hues came flashing along the pathway of its
fading light, which touched the rugged sides of Ouray peak and the
white-capped range beyond until every treeless spot and gabled peak
shone with a mellow hue. All objects--those near by and those far
away--flashed bright colors, beautiful, brilliant, and as varied as
those of the rainbow. From the mountains long shadows were cast, and in
the forest crept dark shades. All nature prepared to sleep, and no
sounds came from around the lonely pass but the sighing of the wind as
it swept through the tangled trees. "All outward things and inward
thoughts teemed with assurances of immortality."

Our descent from the pass was continuous but slow. At least it was slow
at first. All steam was shut off in the engine and the air-brakes were
used to preserve a uniform speed. Winding in and out among the trees,
and catching at different times extended views of the Tomichi, we worked
our way to more level country and were soon skirting the meadows and
whirling across the ranch properties of the fertile valley. Close beside
us ran a sparkling stream, tapped here and there by the farmers, who
used its water for their lands, and again winding its way through the
willows that grew on its banks. Looking back over the way we had come,
there appeared dark-green forests, backed by high mountains with bared
summits; but before us lay the Tomichi, shut in on either side by low
hills and extending westward so far that its end was lost in haze.
Everything was green, fertile, luxuriant. Cattle grazed in the meadows,
ricks of hay stood by the side of low-roofed cabins, and narrow valleys
came down from the northern mountains to join the one along which we
kept the swift and even tenor of our way.


                      GUNNISON AND CRESTED BUTTE.

                    "Over the Mountains of the Moon,
                    Down the Valley of the Shadow,
                          Ride, boldly ride,"
                          The shade replied,
                    "If you seek for El Dorado."
                                             --EDGAR A. POE.

At its lower end, as the mountains in the range we have crossed begin to
grow indistinct in the distance, the Tomichi valley pushes aside the
hills which have hitherto confined it, and broadens into a wide, grassy
plateau, encircled by mountains, in the center of which stands Gunnison,
the chief town of Western Colorado. Westward, where the river comes
down, sculptured cliffs rise near and abrupt; but elsewhere the
mountains are far away enough to make invisible all their lesser
characteristics. Those to the north and south east have their long line
of irregular summits capped with snow; but to the west the ranges grow
less rugged and more rounded, while between the hills runs the valley
occupied by the Gunnison river on its way to the Grand, and by which the
railway enters the rich farming lands of the newly opened reservation
and the territory of Utah.

Drawing rapidly nearer the center of the plateau, we approached the city
and perceived that it consisted of two distinct parts, with a gap of
half a mile between them. Then a new freight-house cut off the view and
we came to a stoppage in one of the busiest "yards" outside of Denver.

The town, as I have said, stands in the middle of a level park, at an
altitude of about 8,000 feet above the sea. There is room enough "to
hold New York City," as the people are fond of saying. No stream waters
the middle of this area, but skirting the further edge, just under the
bluffs, which on every one of these bright summer evenings

                "----topple round the West,
                A looming bastion fringed with fire,"

runs the Gunnison river, through a bosky avenue of full-foliaged trees
and thickly interlaced underbrush. Away to the southward of the town
again, the Tomichi curves about the base of rounded, plush tinted hills
that look like the backs of gigantic elephants. I have called the first
of these streams the Gunnison, but if you follow it up a little way you
will come to repeated forkings known as East river, Taylor river, Ohio
creek, and so on. I believe, therefore, that properly the Gunnison does
not attain individuality and deserve its name until all this cluster of
northern tributaries joins with the Tomichi, just below the town, and
the united and largely increased stream flows independently onward.

[Illustration: A UTE COUNCIL FIRE.]

It is in the fork of these chief sources of the Gunnison,--at its very
head so to speak,--that the town is placed. It is not upon the banks of
either, but the pure waters are easily led in open aqueducts all over
the site, running by their own current. There are places enough for them
to run, too, and people enough to consume them, leaving only begrimed
tailings for the engine-tanks at the station.

The town began in two parts and became the shape of a dumb-bell, the
handle represented by Tomichi avenues. The knobs of town at each end are
rival districts known as Gunnison and West Gunnison, but the former is
the larger, seems to have the start, and has secured such distinctions
as the post-office, the banks, the court-house, the high school and the
principal newspapers. These, with several of the mercantile
establishments, show fine structures of brick and stone, the latter
being a white sandstone of great excellence for building purposes, which
abounds in the buttes on the edge of the plateau. The majority of the
houses, both for business and for residence, however, are frame
buildings. Some are of pretentious size, and many prettily decorated, so
that we do not know, a cleaner, more regular, cosy-looking city in the
state than this. The divided appearance is gradually disappearing by
increased building between, which proceeds with amazing rapidity.

The history of this valley and town is entertaining. In the early days
of Rocky Mountain exploration, this whole region was known as the Grand
River country, its noblest stream, now called the Gunnison river, then
being known as the South Fork of the Grand. Of its history, or its
geography, as I have intimated, little has been known until very recent
times. It is recorded that in 1845, ex-Governor Gilpin, then a mere lad,
traversed the entire length of the river valley from west to east, on
his return from Oregon to St. Louis. "Having crossed southern Utah by an
old Spanish trail he pushed his way up through the valleys of the South
Fork of the Grand, crossing the divide very near the southeastern corner
of what is now Gunnison county. Although pursued relentlessly by savages
he was enthusiastic over the results of his trip and embodied the
knowledge so obtained in a map which is now on file in Denver. The
interval following Governor Gilpin's exploration between 1845 and 1853
is entirely an historical blank, only vague Indian stories being given
out by occasional trappers and by the Mormons, who joined in relating
the beauty and richness of the country.

"In 1853 Captain Gunnison, a gallant officer, following Rock creek up to
its head, discovered a nobler stream coursing southward from the Elk
mountains. This stream cost him his life. As he was exploring it, he was
set upon (whether by Indians or not seems doubtful) and cruelly
murdered. After this adventurous officer the Gunnison river was named
and afterwards Gunnison county. In 1854 the indomitable 'Old
Pathfinder,' General Fremont, passed over nearly the same country from
east to west and in his report paid glowing tribute to the beauty and
wealth of these regions. It was not, however, until 1861, when some
prospectors, approaching through California gulch, where Leadville now
stands, gave names to Washington gulch, Taylor park, Rentz's gulch, and
Union park, that any positive development was undertaken. Then it was
only on a very small scale, and although the discoveries they made
created considerable excitement in mining circles, the fear of Indians
was yet so great as to prevent any immigration of any consequence. This
fear was heightened by the horrible discovery one morning of the
massacre of twelve men in Washington gulch. This wholesale tragedy gave
a gloomy side-defile the name of Dead Man's gulch. The story of this
outrage quickly spread throughout the entire country, each person
coloring it as it went and adding a little to the horrors of the event.
At this time nothing could tempt the daring miners of the adjacent and
already populous Colorado gulches to risk their lives in this country.
Even the most marvelous stories which were told of the golden bullets
used by the Indians, and of mines to which El Dorado and Comstock and
Golconda were vanities, failed to tempt their cupidity sufficiently to
cause them to venture into the blood-christened country. A few, however,
who had already forced their way in, earned a precarious livelihood in
Washington gulch, fortified from the Indians and living for months at a
time upon game and fish. In their leisure moments, between fighting
Indians and hunting game, they occupied themselves in placer mining and,
it is said, made from five to twenty dollars a day. Not until 1872,
however, was any organized attempt made to open up the country. In that
year Jim Brennen, of Denver, headed a small party of prospectors and
located in the Rock Creek region.

"From this time really dates the origin of the mines, their reports
being so enthusiastic that in 1873 Dr. John Parsons, Professor
Richardson and thirty miners entered from Denver. One of the stories of
this party which is told, but which is historically doubtful, runs to
the effect that in pushing around by the southern entrance over the
Saguache, General Charles Adams, who was then in charge of the frontier,
forbade their further progress without the consent of the Utes. A heated
debate is supposed to have arisen over the matter, which was settled by
Chief Ouray himself, voting to grant them permission. In 1874 a colony
was formed in Denver to settle upon and cultivate the Gunnison's
agricultural lands. Accordingly twenty men, all told, located themselves
at various points upon Tomichi river and gave their special attention to
ranches. The mining districts, however, on account of the Leadville and
San Juan excitements, together with the difficulties and inconveniences
of mining in this country at that time, did not really begin to grow
until several years later."

In the latter part of 1877 the state legislature set off Gunnison
county, containing about twelve thousand square miles, or an area
somewhat larger than the state of Connecticut. Three-fourths of it lay
within the Ute Reservation, and it has since been subdivided into four
new counties,--Gunnison (restricted to the eastern end), Montrose, Delta
and Mesa. By 1880 matters began to assume a fixed condition. The people
left their tents and sought more durable habitations. Business ceased to
be desultory. The prospect-diggings, of which five thousand had been
recorded, were developed as rapidly as possible, the buzz of the
saw-mill and planer was heard, and smelters began to be erected.

Historically, there is little to add. Steady growth has benefited the
city. New and large business blocks have been erected, a handsome hotel
built, and a smelter put in operation. It has now a population of fully
five thousand, is lighted with gas, and has a system of water-works. The
streets are wide and clean; and the entire town has lost that frontier
appearance which characterized it in its earlier days.

And Gunnison is a railway center. To the north the Denver and Rio Grande
has extended a branch to Crested Butte and brought into closer
communication with the outside world the adjoining mining towns of
Irwin, Ruby, Gothic, and others of less importance. The road leads
northward from Gunnison up the pointed valley until it gets close upon
the bank of East river. Following the river, the valley narrows into a
ravine, and some interesting masses of broken volcanic rocks, injected
edgewise into the general sandstone strata, attract the eye.

It is the far-away landscape, nevertheless, that holds attention as we
look backward. Rising above the level of the plain upon which the city
is built, you can span with your vision hills and mesas southward, and
behold "striking up the azure" a vast length of the ever-magnificent San
Juan mountains,--the same glorious pinnacles that towered about us, near
at hand, in Baker's park. We could count the peaks by dozens if we
tried, but it would be rash to try to name the separate points of the
long serration. Many snow clouds have shed their burdens upon them since
we saw them last, but to-day their heavens are clear and the sun blazes
down upon scores of miles of lofty _nêve_ fields, the uniform purity of
which, at this distance, seems broken only by the shadows the higher
peaks throw upon their lowlier companions and upon their own
half-concealed sides. Gazing at them across the dim foreground of
sage-plain, the middle scene of receding, intermingled, haze-obscured
and bluish hills, we were more and more delighted with their
loveliness,--a word whose propriety you will appreciate when you, too,
have laid away this treasure of memory--one of the most entrancing bits
of landscape in Colorado.

There are a few patches of rank meadow, but most of the way the hills
run down so close to the river banks, that there is barely room for the
road-bed to be made. Growing so close to the water that they are
reflected in its depths, are sweet-smelling trees, tall, graceful,
luxuriant, but in winter they bend beneath the snow that clings to them.
Reaching to the top of the hills and completely covering them, are
tangled masses of brush, pushed aside at times by forests of pines and
torn asunder in places by the rocks that have lost their balance on some
far summit and been rolled to the river below. In the narrowest places
precipices menace each other across the stream; and on their faces,
brown and weather-beaten, grow hardy shrubs, clinging to the crevices
and hugging the bold headlands.

Nor does the valley afford satisfaction to the lover of what is only
picturesque in nature. We have seen many a trout whipped from his cool
retreat under the shadow of the rocks. The region is a sportsman's
paradise. Nature is at her best, the forests are full of health-giving
odors, and a day's tramp could not fail to bring color to the palest
cheek, strength to the weakest body.

[Illustration: OURAY.]

Twenty-eight miles north of Gunnison the narrow valley lets us into a
snug little basin among the hills which border upon the Elk range, Slate
river comes winding through it from the north, while Coal creek sweeps
abruptly around a lofty spur at the left. Straight ahead, behind a green
ridge, a white conical mountain stands challenging our admiration, and
on our right a still nearer height rises like a mighty pyramid of gray
stone from a richly verdant base.

The Madame gazes at them with delight a moment, but quickly glances with
more eager interest to the meadow-land in which we are coming to a
standstill, for the lush grass is dyed with innumerable flowers.

"Why Crested Butte?" she asks as the station sign comes in view.

I point, for reply, to the conical gray height which dominates the

"That is neither a butte, nor is it crested," she says. "A butte
properly is not a peak of volcanic or primitive rock even if it is
isolated--the proper name for that is 'mountain' or 'spur.' A butte is a
hill of sedimentary rock, not mountain-like in appearance, and standing
by itself in a flat region. Moreover there isn't a bit of crest. Its
apex is as sharp and round as a well-whittled pencil."

"If you could look at it from the other side you might find a very
well-marked crest."

"But I can't, and nobody does, see it from the other side. However"--and
here her prerogative of inconsistency was exercised--"I am glad they
adopted the mistake for now the town has a name worth remembering,
something you can't say of too many of these mountain villages."

Crested Butte had the honor to be the first settlement in the Gunnison
region. A recent review of its history says that in the spring of 1877
the Jennings brothers, who were hardy prospectors, penetrated as far as
the Butte and were somewhat surprised and delighted at finding coal.
Instantly turning their attention to that branch of mining they located
some land. The fame of this discovery, blending with that of others,
proved an incentive to the overflow from Leadville and the rest of
Colorado. In 1877 a few men came in, but no effort was made even to
survey the country until 1878. In that year Howard F. Smith dropped in
and purchased some coal interests. He soon had the country surveyed,
erected a store and advertised so well that within a few weeks a village
had been started which is now one of the pleasantest summer places on
the western slope, and can boast a hotel that has no superior in the
Rocky mountains for comfort. This is the Elk Mountain house, and it is
the property of the town-site company, who appreciate that the first
impressions of a traveler (and possible settler) are largely colored by
his early experiences in the matter of food and lodging.

No mines for gold and silver exist in the immediate vicinity of the
village, though many "camps" in the Elk Mountains from five to twenty
miles away are tributary to it; and the chief reliance and _raison d'
être_ of the settlement is found in the coal-beds that are adjacent to
it. These are of the greatest value and importance, and at night, when
the blaze of the coke ovens sheds a lurid glare upon the overhanging
woodlands and the snug town, one can appreciate the far-seeing
expectations that lead the people there to call their town the
Pittsburgh of the West.

Between two great foothills south and west of the town, flows a little
creek whose channel is cut through five beds of coal, dipping southward,
with the rest of the stratified rocks, at an angle of about six degrees;
the lowest is ten feet in thickness, the others six, five, four and
three feet. This coal is bituminous, and has been proved to be the best
coking coal in the United States, as is shown by the following
authoritative analysis:

          Coal       .44       34.17      72.30       3.09
          Coke      1.35       -----      92.03       6.62

The railway having reached Crested Butte, the coking veins are now well
opened "by three drifts on water level, working the seam to the rise."
The mines are prepared for an output of four hundred to five hundred
tons of coal per day, and the coke can be furnished to any extent, by
the Colorado Coal and Iron Company, who own the mines. At first this
coke was made in open pits, but now a long series of ovens has been
built, and the railway tracks run to the ovens and almost to the
mine-entrance. The cars drawn up the incline from the "breasts" to the
surface, are thence dragged by mules through a quarter of a mile of
sheds, built to guard against the deep winter snows, down to the ovens
and the cars. Forty or fifty miners are employed at present, and these
live with their families in large log houses built under the edge of the
forested hill close to the mine.

The coke of all coal, being composed of fixed carbon and ash, depends
for its value on the minimum of ash. The coke from the coal of Crested
Butte contains from two to six per cent. less ash than the coke of the
best eastern coals, its total of ash amounting only to six per cent. For
all purposes of steam, this bituminous coal is said to have no superior
on the continent. A well known mineralogist is reported to have said of
it that, while a pound of Pennsylvania anthracite will make twenty-five
pounds of steam, a pound of this bituminous coal will make twenty-three
pounds; but while one pound of eastern anthracite is burning, two pounds
of this will burn. Therefore, while the pound of Pennsylvania anthracite
is making twenty-five pounds of steam, this coal will generate

These coal-beds can be traced without difficulty up Slate river, exposed
here and there in the western bluff, and can be found hidden in the
opposite hills. As it is followed, however (rising in altitude with the
upheaval toward the mountain-center), a change is seen to take place in
its character. Two miles above the village it is neither soft nor hard;
a little farther on, a part of the bed is decidedly anthracitic; while
four miles above Coal creek, and at an elevation of a thousand feet or
so above it, genuine anthracite of the best quality is mined from the
same seams that, four miles below, yield the coking soft coal. "Nothing
could be plainer, nor more beautiful to see," than this practical
demonstration of how under different conditions of heat and pressure,
the same carbonaceous deposit becomes bituminous or anthracitic.

The anthracite mine is at the top of a wooded hill and is reached by one
of the most entertaining roads in all Colorado. The coal-beds form
strata right across the hill, so that the miners can run their tunnels
out to daylight in any direction, and need not fear the gas which is so
troublesome in the bituminous diggings below. The vein now worked is
five feet thick at the entry, but increases to ten feet in thickness
within. It is solid and pure, and is thrown down by blasting. The men
are paid seventy-five cents per ton for breaking it into convenient
pieces and loading it into the little cars. These cars are then drawn to
the brow of the hill and dumped into larger cars which travel on a
tramway sixteen hundred feet long, and most skillfully erected on a
curved trestle, down to the breaker at the river level. This breaker is
the only one west of Pennsylvania, and is capable of transmitting five
hundred tons a day, properly crushed, to the railway cars, which run
underneath its shutes.

The highest excellence is claimed for this anthracite coal by its
owners, not only for domestic purposes, but in the making of steam. In
price, this company is able to meet the Pennsylvanians at markets on the
Missouri river, and to furnish all nearer points at a much lower rate
than eastern shippers can afford; while they hope to secure a large
part, if not the whole of the California business, which amounts to
about fifty thousand tons annually. The mine and breaker have now been
put in shape to yield steadily a large product; they are hereafter
expected to be able to meet the whole demand. The anthracite beds in
this region are believed to be very extensive, so that undoubtedly other
mines will be opened as soon as a large enough demand will justify it.
The discovery of these anthracite beds caused an immense excitement, for
it was the first true hard coal found in the State; and a mob of men
rushed in as though to an old-fashioned placer-find.

This region in 1879, indeed, caused a great flurry in the minds of
prospectors who began to enter it at the risk of their lives long before
it ceased to be an Indian reservation. As long ago as 1872 argentiferous
quartz had been found in Rock creek just over the divide between these
waters and the Roaring Fork of the Grand river, where Galena, Crystal,
Treasure and Whopper mountains are seamed with large veins of
comparatively low-grade, but easily smelted galena ore. The center of
this district is Crystal City, and from that point prospectors pushed
their way right and left as fast as they dared, and thus led to the
opening of the Gunnison region.

It was not until 1879, however, that the precious metals were found in
the southern slopes of the Elk mountains, and the region in which we are
now interested was heralded abroad as the long-awaited El Dorado.
Hundreds of men flocked in, striving to be first on the ground. A few of
the earliest comers chose a spot at the base of the sharp, white
mountain so plainly in view north of Crested Butte, and decided that a
town must be placed there to be called Gothic--a name suggested by the
appearance of some cliffs near by. It was done, and the people came to
fill it. To it came all the business of the Brush creek, Rock creek,
Copper creek, Sheep mountain, and Treasure mountain silver and gold
mines, besides those nearer at hand--Schofield, Galena, Elko, Bellevue
and others.

Another somewhat separate mining locality was one that we looked down
upon as we stood at the mouth of the anthracite tunnel and gazed across
the deep gorge which sank between this and the opposite hills, and down
which flowed the gentle current of Slate river. The wall on the other
side rose above the line of timber growth, and one peak showed an
exposed face of brilliant red rock in high contrast to the blue-gray of
the rest. Beneath it lay Redwell basin. At the right frightfully rough
cliffs and forested crags shut in Oh-be joyful gulch, at the head of
which, just out of sight, was Poverty gulch, while Peeler basin showed
its edge. It seems to us that we can perceive through the clear
atmosphere every tree and stone and crevice on the opposite slopes,
though miles away, and can almost hear the prattle of the great
waterfall that shines white in the shady bottom of the gorge; but we can
see no signs whatever that a human being has ever been in all that area.
Nevertheless over all that mountain side there is said to be scarcely an
acre of ground not partially covered by mining claims, and upon some
part of each one of these a discovery-shaft has been sunk. Many of the
fissures thus disclosed are of immense size, carrying veins of
argentiferous galena from three to nine feet in width, assaying on the
surface from forty to one hundred and sixty ounces of silver to the ton.
In some cases ruby silver or gray copper have been reached at forty or
fifty feet in depth, assaying over one thousand ounces. At night the
coal men see the opposite mountains dotted with camp-fires, and the
merchants of Crested Butte will tell you that many a wagon-load and
train of burros is packed with provisions for those apparent solitudes.

"What's in a name!" exclaims the Madame as we are riding homeward, while
talking over these districts and discussing the notable properties.

"Generally nothing," it is replied, "so far as the designations of mines
are concerned, but from the prevalent style of names in the whole
district it would be possible to judge something of the men who settled
it. Here, for instance, one can't help noticing an absence of the rough
gambling titles so common among California mines. The 'Euchre Decks,'
the 'Faro Banks,' the 'Little Brown Jugs,' etc., are few, and in their
place we find the 'Shakespeare,' the 'Iron Duke,' 'Baron De Kalb,'
'Catapult,' and others with similar literary, historical or mythological
meanings. It is evident that no rude typical miner presided at their
christening, but that intelligent, and in many cases highly educated,
men discovered and named them."

Eight miles northwest of Crested Butte are the almost united towns of
Ruby and Irwin, which, in 1879 and '80, had "booms," but now are almost
deserted. The neighborhood abounds in silver, but it has been found that
too many obstacles stand in the way of successfully working the mines,
which are very high, and in a region famous for its deep snows, until
the science of ore-treatment has progressed, and cheaper methods of
operation and transportation have been devised.

Leaving Chum to take the Madame and the train back to Gunnison, I left
Crested Butte on the morning after our ride to the anthracite mine, on
my way to Lake City, discouraging all company.

[Illustration: GATE OF LODORE.]


                          A TRIP TO LAKE CITY.

              A wild and broken landscape, spiked with firs,
              Roughening the bleak horizon's northern edge.

Lake City is a mining town at the foot of the San Juan mountains thirty
miles south of the railway station of Sapinero (the latter named after a
sub chief among the Utes who was looked upon by the whites as a man of
unusual sagacity). It was at that time reached by a buckboard, carrying
the mail and passengers.

The stage-road led up a long, long hill to the top of the mesa between
the Cochetopa and the Lake Fork of the Gunnison. This much of the way
was in the track of the old southern road to California, which came up
from Santa Fe to Taos, San Luis park, Saguache, and so on over here
along the Cochetopa, striking the Gunnison river just above this point
and continuing on down to the Uncompahgre, where it crossed the Gunnison
to the northern bank and pushed westward to Utah. This was the route
followed by Captain Gunnison in 1853, and it came to be known as the
Salt Lake Wagon Road; and the whole course of the Denver and Rio Grande
railway follows it closely from Grand Junction to the Wasatch mountains.
The road is still occasionally traveled for short distances by light
wagons and by men driving bands of horses, who wish to escape paying the
tolls demanded along the new and improved roads, so that it is in no
danger of becoming obliterated.

From the top of this high plateau, a great picture opens before the eye,
in all directions. Northward the peaks of the Elk range form a long line
of well-separated summits. Northeastward, the vista between nearer hills
is filled with the clustered heights of the Continental Divide in the
neighborhood of the Mount of the Holy Cross. Just below them confused
elevations show where Marshall pass carries its lofty avenue, and to the
southward of that stretches the splendid, snow-trimmed array of the
Sangre de Cristo. They fill beautifully the far eastern horizon, and end
southward in the massive buttresses of Sierra Blanca, of which no more
impressive view can be had than this elevated standpoint affords. As we
advance a few miles other mountains rise into sight straight
ahead,--that is, in the southward. These are the cold and broken
summits of the Sierra San Juan; while isolated from them, and a little
to the right, stands the Saul of their ranks,--Uncompahgre peak, head
and shoulders above all his comrades. Nor is this figure an idle
comparison, for his tenon shaped apex easily suggests it.

Half way to our destination, the crazy buckboard rattles us painfully
down a steep and stony hill into the valley of the Lake Fork of the
Gunnison, where there is room for several ranches whose fields of hay
and oats show a plentiful growth, and whose potato-patches are something
admirable. The best of these is Barnum's, where there is also a store
and a post-office, and where your "humble correspondent," supposing
himself about to lay his head upon a soft bag of oats, nearly dashed his
brains out by hurling it in misplaced confidence against a marble-solid
bag of salt. _Eheu! miserere me!_

When we had wound our way farther up the narrow cañon into which the
valley contracted on the further side of this gateway, there came to
view the precise similitude (but here on a lesser scale) of the massive,
pillared, mitre-crowned cliffs that form the shores of the Columbia
river between Fort Vancouver and The Dalles.

As a mining-town Lake City is not now so active as formerly. It stands
in a little park at the junction of the Lake Fork (of the Gunnison) with
Henson creek,--both typical mountain streams, each wavelet flecked with
foam and sparkling like the back of the trout it hides. Henson creek
became especially famous among prospectors, who found that, however
large an army of miners might flock in there, new veins were always to
be had as the reward of diligent searching. Thus a populous and highly
enterprising town arose, which became the supply point for a wide
mountain region, owing to its accessibility from both north and south;
and though it was over one hundred miles--mountain miles at that!--from
a railway, more than ten million pounds of merchandise, and five million
pounds of mining machinery and supplies were taken in on wagons during
1880, at a cost of over a million dollars for transportation alone. A
very good class of people went to Lake City, too, so that a substantial
and pretty town arose, school-houses and churches were built, and I have
never seen a mining camp where the bookstores and news-stands were so
well furnished and patronized. At the beginning of 1881 about two
thousand people lived in the town itself, not counting the great number
of men in the mountains round about; and three factories for the
treatment of ores were in operation.

Since then, however, Lake City has retreated somewhat; not that the
mines have proved false to the confidence placed in them, but because it
has been shown that until cheaper methods of transportation and more
economic treatment can be devised, the mines cannot be worked to the
same profit which a similar investment in some neighboring districts
will return. This is due to the fact that the ores, of marvelous value
when their mass is considered, are of too low grade, as a rule, to
afford a high margin over the expenses of working. This by no means
condemns the district; it only causes its stores of wealth to be held in
abeyance for a while before their coinage. Many another district, a few
years ago thought equally profitless, has risen to become the scene of
steady dividend-making labor through the perfection of processes. It
will not be long, before, by like means, the reviving of Lake City's
mines will occur, and enable her to catch up with her more fortunate
sisters in the wide circle of the San Juan silver-region.

[Illustration: WINNIE'S GROTTO.]

But when that time has come,--though the Alpine grandeur of the scenery
cannot be lost, the splendid shooting and fishing which now make the
village one of the favored resorts of the west, will have disappeared;
and there are some of us, more sentimental than world-wise, who will
regret the change. Over these rolling uplands, among the aspen groves,
upon the foothills and along the willow-bordered creek deers now
throng, and even an occasional elk and antelope are to be seen. In the
rocky fastnesses the bear and panther find refuge, and every little park
is enlivened by the flitting forms of timid hares and the whirring
escape of the grouse disturbed by our passing. Upon these lofty,
grass-grown plateaus, some cattle already get excellent feeding; and the
time will be short before they are multiplied into the vast herds whose
pasturage will be economised by good management, and for which a market
will be found within a few days drive of the range. Too high and arid
for extensive farming, the opposite, yet inter-dependent, pursuits of
mining and cattle-raising, will ere long bring all this elevated
interior of the state into full utilization. When one wonders how this
railway company is to support itself amid the wilds, this future must be



  By what furnaces of fire the adamant was melted, and by what wheels of
  earthquake it was torn, and by what teeth of glacier and weight of sea
  waves it was engraven and finished into perfect form, we may hereafter
  endeavor to conjecture.
                                             --JOHN RUSKIN.

It was with eager interest that we despatched a hasty breakfast, and
attached our cars to the early morning express westward bound from
Gunnison. The Grand Cañon of the Gunnison lay just ahead. An open
"observation" car, crowded with sightseers, was hooked on behind us, but
that did not interfere with our favorite rear platform, and thither our
camp-stools were taken.

This river Gunnison has a hard time of it. The streams that finally
unite to make it up, are loath to do so, and it came near not being born
at all. The flat country we see just below the town vouchsafes a few
quiet miles under the cottonwoods, but presently the hills close in, and
then the river must needs gird up its loins for a struggle such as few
other streams in the wide world know. Its life thenceforth is that of a
warrior; and it never lays aside its knightly armor till the very end in
the absorbing flood of the Grand.

Above the rattle of the train, echoing from the rocky highlands that hem
it in, we can hear the roaring of this water as we thunder down its
sinuous course toward Sapinero. Great fragments that have fallen from
the steep banks, where an avalanche of stones lies precariously as
though even the shock of our passing would set them sliding, fret the
stream with continual interruptions and turn its green flood into lines
of yeasty white. These same rocks are admirable fishing-stands, however,
for the trout love the deeply aërated water that swirls about them; and
we see more than one silvery fin snatched from its crystal home to hang
in mute misery upon the angler's switch of forked willow.

"Do you think it's right?" asks the Madame, with a pitiful tone in her

"No, but it can't be helped; and you'll find some casuistry to meet the
case about dinner-time."

"Casuistry--casuistry?" says Chum reflectively. "Is that a new kind of

Ahead the green hills, marked with horizontal lines, that we suspect to
indicate outcroppings of lava, shut quite across our path. Nevertheless
we can detect a dark depression toward which the track points straight
as an arrow, and we suppose that at that point an entrance exists.
Behind it stood summits so lofty that this barrier did not seem
imposing; but now that a gateway has opened (yet far enough only for our
track to enter by encroaching on the river's highway), we are surprised
at the altitude of the walls which momently rise higher and higher on
each side, as though we were descending a steep incline into the earth.
At what an abyss must the river lie in the middle of the range!

[Illustration: ECHO ROCK.]

The early morning sun streams warm and rich into the cañon, dispelling
the nocturnal chill and making the air delightful beyond expression. We
are hurled along between close-shutting crags that are the type of
solidity, yet seem to waver and topple at their summits as we gaze at
them, cut strongly against the tremulous blue of the sky. Our ears are
assaulted by the crashing of iron against iron and steam shrieking at
the wind, and by the roar and dashing of enraged and baffled water. The
lyric sweetness of the distant hill-picture caught in our backward
glance as we entered the gates of the cañon, is gone; the poetry of this
scene has the epic dignity and the stirring excitement of a war-story
sung on the eve of righteous battle. This is the site and the monument
of a struggle between forces such as we have no capacity to comprehend.
Take a fragment of this shining rock not so large but that you may lift
it, and you will find that studied ingenuity, and the vigorous
application of power that men speak of as enormous, are required to
break it into smaller pieces. Yet here are masses many hundreds of feet
high and wide, that have been riven as I might halve a piece of clay.
You may say it was done thus, or so. No matter, the impression of
stupendous power remains and imprints itself deeply on the mind. Here
for miles we pass between escarpments of rock, a thousand, fifteen
hundred--ay, here and there more than two thousand feet high. This is
not a valley between mountains with sloping sides slowly worn away. Here
are vertical exposures that fit together like mortise and tenon; facing
cliffs that might be shut against one another so tightly that almost no
crevice would remain. To view this mighty chasm thoughtfully, is to
receive a revelation of the immeasurable power pent up in the elements
whose equilibrium alone forms and preserves our globe; and if we call it
"awful," the word conveys not so much a dread of any harm that might
happen to us there, as the vague and timorous appreciation of the
dormant strength under our feet. If the gods we call dynamic can rive a
pathway for a river through twenty miles of solid granite, of what use
is any human safeguard against their anger?

But away with these serious thoughts! The cliffs are founded in unknown
depths it is true, but their heads soar into the sunlight, and break
into forms not too great for us to grasp. Straight from the liquid
emerald frosted with foam which flecks their base--straight as a
plummet's line, and polished like the jasper gates of the Eternal city,
rise these walls of echoing granite to their dizzy battlements. Here and
there a promontory stands as a buttress; here and there a protruding
crag overhangs like a watch-tower on a castle-wall; anon you may fancy a
monstrous profile graven in the angle of some cliff,--a gigantic Hermes
rudely fashioned. In one part of the cañon where the cliffs are highest,
measuring three thousand feet from the railway track to the crown of
their haughty heads, faces of the red granite, hundreds of feet square,
have been left by a split occurring along a natural cleavage-line; and
these are now flat as a mirror and almost as smooth. On the other hand,
you may see places where the rocks rise, not solid, sheer and smooth,
but so crumpled and contorted that the partition-lines, instead of
running at right angles, are curved, twisted and snarled in the most
intricate manner, showing that violent and conflicting agitations of the
rock must have occurred there at a time when the whole mass was heated
to plasticity. In another place, the cliff on the southern side breaks
down and slopes back in a series of interrupted and irregular terraces,
every ledge and cranny having a shapely tree; while not far away another
part of the long escarpment, the rocky layers, turned almost on edge,
have been somewhat bent and broken, so that they lie in imbricated tiers
upon the convex slopes, as if placed there shingle-fashion.

Just opposite, a stream whose source is invisible has etched itself a
notched pathway from the heights above. It plunges down in headlong
haste until there comes a time when there is no longer rock for it to
flow upon, and it flings itself out into the quiet air, to be blown
aside and made rainbows of, to paint upon the circling red cliffs a
wondrous picture in flashing white, and then to fall with soft sibilancy
into the river. The river has no chance to do so brave a thing as this
leap of Chippeta falls from the lofty notch; but seeing a roughened and
broken place ahead where the fallen bowlders have raised a barrier, it
goes at it with a rush and hurls its plumes of foam high overhead, as,
with swirl and tumult, and a swift shooting forth of eddies held far
under its snowy breast, it bursts through and over the obstacle and
sweeps on, conqueror to the last.

In the very center of the cañon, where its bulwarks are most lofty and
precipitous, unbroken cliffs rising two thousand feet without a break,
and shadowed by overhanging cornices,--just here stands the most
striking buttress and pinnacle of them all,--Currecanti Needle. It is a
conical tower standing out somewhat beyond the line of the wall, from
which it is separated (so that from some points of view it looks wholly
isolate,) on one side by a deep gash, and on the other by one of those
narrow side-cañons which in the western part of the gorge occur every
mile or two. These ravines are filled with trees and make a green
setting for this massive monolith of pink stone whose diminishing apex
ends in a leaning spire that seems to trace its march upon the sweeping

It was in the recesses of the rift beside Currecanti Needle, says a
tradition which at least is poetic, that the red men used to light the
midnight council-fires around which they discussed their plans of
battle. Though judgment may refuse the fact, fancy likes to revel in
such a scene as that council-fire would have made, deep in the arms of
the rocky defile. How the fitful flashes of the pungent cedar-flame
would have driven back the lurking darkness that pressed upon it from
all sides! How, now and then starting up, the blaze-light would sally
forth and suddenly disclose some captive of the gloom rescued from
oblivion--perhaps a mossy bowlder, an aged juniper, a ghostly cottonwood
stump, or a ledge of sleeping blossoms! How the bright and polished
rocks would be re-reddened and sparkle at their angles under the
glancing light; while the pretty soprano of the stream and the deep bass
of the river's roar sang a duet to the narrow line of stars that could
peep down between the cañon walls! Surely the time and place were
suitable for planning the lurid warfare of a savage race; and as these
untamed men, their muscular limbs and revengeful faces, disclosed
uncertainly, like the creatures of a flitting fantasy, in the red
firelight, enacted with terrifying gestures the fierce future of their
plotting, a spectator might well think himself with fiends,

                "On Night's plutonian shore,"

or else discard the whole picture as only the fantastic scenery of some
disordered dream.

Opposite Currecanti Needle and cañon stand some very remarkable rocks,
underneath the greatest of which the train passes. Then there is a long
bridge to cross where the river bends a little; and perhaps the echoing
chasm will be filled with the hoarsely repeated scream of a warning
whistle. And so, past wonder after wonder, Pelion upon Ossa, buried in a
huge rocky prison, yet always in the full sunlight, you suddenly swing
round a sharp corner, leaving the Gunnison to go on through ten miles
more of cañon, and crashing noisily through the zigzag cañon of the
Cimmaron, which is so very narrow and dark it deserves no better name
than crevice, quickly emerge into daylight and a busy station.

Thus I have tried to give the reader some trifling indication of what he
may expect to see during his hour in the heart of the "Black" cañon,
which is not black at all but the sunniest of places. I cannot
understand how the name ever came to be applied to it. No Kobolds
delving in darkness would make it their home; but rather troops of
Oreades, darting down the swift green shutes of water between the
spume-wet bowlders, dancing in the creamy eddies, struggling hand over
hand up the lace ladders of Chippeta Falls, to tumble headlong down
again, making the prismatic foam resound with the soft tinkling of their
merry laughter. All the Sprites of the cañon are beings of brightness
and joy. The place is full of gayety.

This sense of color and light is perhaps the strongest impression that
remains. Though it is quite as deep and precipitous as the Royal gorge
it is not so gloomy and frowning; though the cataracts are greater than
those at Toltec, they are not so fear-inspiring. In place of dark and
impenetrable walls, here are varied façades of lofty and majestic
design, yet each unlike its neighbor and all of the most brilliant hue.
The cliffs are architectural, suggestive of human kinship and more than
marvelous--they are interesting.

Then there is the brilliant and resistless river. At Toltec it is only a
murmuring cataract; in the Royal gorge a stream you may often leap
across; the Rio de Las Animas is deep and quiet. But here rushes along
its gigantic flume a great volume of hurried water, rolled over and over
in headlong haste, hurled against solid abutments to recoil in showers
of spray or to sheer off in sliding masses of liquid emerald. Now some
quiet nook gives momentary rest. The water is still and deep. Small
rafts of seedy foam swing slowly around the edges, tardy to dissolve.
The rippled sand can be seen in wavy lines far underneath like the
markings on a duck's breast. The surplus water curves like bent glass
over the dam that rims the pool on its lower side, and beyond is a
whirlpool of foam and the hissing tumult of shattered waves amid which
rise the sharp crests of crimson bowlders flounced with snowy circles of

[Illustration: GUNNISON'S BUTTE.]

Alternating with the vast pillars and the slick faces of red rock are
the nooks and ravines where trees grow, flowers bloom and the eye can
get a glimpse of a triangle of violet sky; while sometimes a silken
skein of white water can be traced down the deepest recesses of the
glen, and the gleam of swallow's wings flitting in colonies about their
circular adobes bracketed against the wall.

These facts, noted like short hand memoranda upon the brain as they
quickly flash by, slowly return to the memory and feed recollection, as
the mind in after days elaborates the impression made by each, and
summons a series of separated and leisurely pictures before the
imagination; but no writer can depict for another what the form of these
pictures shall be. I recite to you the elements--stupendous
measurements, majestic forms, splendid colors, the gleaming green and
white of water, the blue and gold of sun and sky, the crystalline
sparkle of reddened rocks; but you must yourself receive these elements
if you are to paint adequately to your fancy the pictures of the cañon.
It is not literary cant, but the literal truth, when I say that to be
understood, this marvelous pathway through the mountains must be seen.
And having seen it, you have enriched your memory beyond anything you
could have foretold.


                        THE UNCOMPAHGRE VALLEY.

                                    The hills grow dark,
              On purple peaks a deeper shade descending;
              In twilight copse the glow-worm lights her spark,
              The deer, half-seen, are to the covert wending.
                                             --WALTER SCOTT.

The station at the western end of the cañon of the Gunnison is called
Cimmaron after the river upon whose banks it stands. In the prehistoric
days before the railway, this was Cline's ranch, where all the stages
from the Gunnison to the San Miguel region stopped. He was one of the
few pioneers who got on well with the Indians, and his monument stands
in the name of a peak down by Ouray.

From Cimmaron upward stretches one of the steepest grades between Denver
and Salt Lake, in order to surmount Squaw Hill in the Cedar range,--the
water-shed between the Cimmaron and the lower drainage of the Gunnison.
Two locomotives drag us at a snail's pace, struggling, puffing rapidly
and spasmodically just as though their lungs were tortured by the rarity
of the air. Their efforts suggest Pope's line, and seem to beat time to

          "When Ajax strives, some rock's vast weight to throw,
          The line, too, labors, and the words move slow."

There is nothing to be seen but great knolls of grass and sage brush,
sometimes showing their rocky anatomy; and this nakedness is a relief
after the strain upon our attention in the cañon. Finally we get high
enough to look far away to a horizon full of hazy mesas and peaked
mountains, with a touch of valley land down in the center of the
picture. A cool breeze blows, and comes with refreshing.

The valley we see is our first view of the Uncompahgre; and in the
middle of the afternoon we reach the town of Montrose,--a settlement of
wooden houses.

Here we stopped. There were two reason: first, this was the point of
departure for the upper valley of the Uncompahgre, and the mining region
on the northern front of the San Juan mountains; second, we wanted to
know the arguments that had induced some hundreds of people to make
their homes in the midst of this white sahara.

The first of these objects required instant attention, for between our
arrival at Montrose and the departure of the stage up the valley to the
Uncompahgre Cantonment, and the town of Ouray, there was time only to
get a hearty luncheon. Chum had said from the start that he was quite
willing to concede all the attractions of Ouray, and declined positively
to leave the comfort of home. I told him he was missing a good deal, but
he said that he had lost all faith in good deals--didn't "gamble any
more on that chance,"--and persisted in his "No, thank you."

[Illustration: BUTTES OF THE CROSS.]

The Madame felt both inclined and disinclined. She knew the horrors of
staging, she said it was a fit punishment for malefactors, and she
dreaded even forty miles of it, on a level road, worse than a fit of
sickness. Then she looked unutterable sympathy at me, and began to
reflect that possibly her duty as a wife required her to go (seeing that
I couldn't escape it,) in order to share the discomforts her husband was
obliged to undergo, and do what she could to alleviate his tortures.

Just at this juncture, for doubt had swayed her usually well-decided
mind up to the last minute, she caught a glimpse of the big red coach
coming from the hotel toward us. Its noise was as the thundering of "the
chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof." It swung from side to side
like a fire steamer tearing over Baltimore cobble stones. It lunged into
irrigating ditches and came pitching up out of them, while the hind boot
dived in to be brought up with a frame-cracking jolt, and it rocked fore
and aft like a Dutch lugger in a chop sea. Its great concavity was
packed full of unfortunate Jonahs, swallowed "bag and breeches." Its
capacious baggage receptacles before and behind were distended with
trunks and valises, rolls of blankets, packages of newspapers, boxes of
fruit and dozens of mail-sacks. Its roof was piled with a confused mass
of luggage and sweltering humanity. There wasn't a lady to be seen. Chum
looked at me as I buttoned my duster, and lifting a corner of the
Madame's apron to his eye, choked back a sympathetic sob.

"Come on!" I called to the person who was anxious to alleviate my
tortures, but she held back.

"I'm--thinking--whether--after all"--

"Oh, are you? Good--give us a kiss--good bye! Better do your thinking
now than after you're tired out up the valley. I'll be back shortly, and
expect you to know all about Montrose."

The big red coach came to a lurching anchorage close by the door and I
climbed to the vacant seat beside the driver, for which, with the wisdom
of experience, I had telegraphed a request the day before.

"Been a-keepin' this seat for you with a club," said Jehu, curtly, as he
gathered up the reins of four grey horses and removed his foot from the

There was the sensation of a geological upheaval, forward. I dug my
heels hard into the mail-sacks heaped upon the foot-board, clutched the
hand-rail of the seat, set my back against the knees of the man on the
dicky seat, stiffened my neck to save my head from being snapped
off,--and we were under way.

A whole chapter could be written about that stage ride and my fellow
travelers, but it will keep. The road crossed the yellow Uncompahgre,
and stretched like a chalk-mark athwart the sage green expanse of
gravelly valley. One of the outside passengers was an Englishman who had
spent seven years in the diamond fields of South Africa. He told us this
region reminded him of that land, and entertained us by his accounts of
it, and of the Caffres--especially the English habit of knocking one
down (a Caffre-boy was always handy) whenever the aggrieved temper of a
white man required any little relief. So, with umbrella overhead and
green goggles to break the glare,--despite the purple-blue storms we
could see stalking about the mountain-ranges ahead--the first seven
miles passed speedily, and we drew up at the sutler's store of the
pretty military cantonment, whose buildings had loomed mirage-like for
more than half the way.

When the Utes were ready to be moved from this valley over to the new
Uintah agency, a military post was established here. As its permanence
was not decided upon, only a cantonment was founded, providing temporary
quarters in log houses for six companies. It was called simply the
Cantonment on the Uncompahgre, and was at first garrisoned by the
Twenty-third Infantry. In 1882, however, this regiment was relieved by
four companies of the Fourteenth Infantry. Its commanding officer,
Lieutenant Colonel Henry Douglass is here, although the headquarters of
the regiment are at Sidney, Nebraska.

The post, as I said, is not intended to be a permanent one. The visitor
must not expect, therefore, the handsome buildings and grounds to be
seen at Camp Douglass, Salt Lake City, where this regiment was domiciled
for seven years, enduring meanwhile some hard service in Indian

We had already passed Ouray Farms, where Ouray, the fine old head-chief
of all the Ute confederation, lived toward the end of his life in a good
house built of adobe after the Mexican fashion, and cultivated the
neighboring bottom-lands. His farm made the grand center of Ute
interest, and from the pleasant groves near it radiated all the trails
across mountain and plain. Many out-houses, of log and frame, surrounded
the main building and testify that order was one of the great chief's
good qualities. Here, after his death Chippeta, widow of Ouray,
continued to live, raising farm products and pasturing sheep, and so
attached had she become to the spot that she importuned the government
to be granted the privilege of abandoning her race and returning to her
farm home. The government refused this request, but decided to sell the
farm for the personal benefit of Chippeta.

All along the river, which ran between thick belts of trees some
distance at our left, we had seen spaces of meadow and a few ranches. At
the old Agency--four miles above the post--we came to its lofty bank at
a point where the river bent in so close to the foot of the bluff, that
water for the station-stables was drawn up by means of a pulley mounted
in a tall scaffolding of poles standing in front of the cliff, and
reached by a bridge. It was a well, built some sixty feet out of ground,
like that Nevada tunnel Mark Twain describes, which, having gone quite
through the hill, was continued out upon a staging.

The road thence ran along the edge of the bluff and through the woods--a
road upon which we rattled at a steady trot, although on the left there
was nothing to break our fall for a hundred feet or so, should an
accident tip us over. The river valley, thus sunken, was sometimes
narrow and the stream turbulent among rocks; sometimes a mile or two
wide with willow-covered bottoms; sometimes showing islands crowded with
trees and thickets, or of great bends where lay spaces of rank meadow.
Two or three little houses were pointed out where head men among the
Indians had lived on small farms, and the driver, who had run a stage
before the red men left, told us many interesting stories of their life
in this favorite valley.

Leaving the river and the verdant gorge, its cottonwoods illumined with
flaming light of the sunset, the road took to the higher ground and gave
us many a good jolt in crossing the small acequias which watered the
upper ranches on the edge of the mesa, and then came into view of
Uncompahgre park, stretching away to the westward like a prairie, and
the scene of some of the finest farming in Colorado. There are about
thirty ranches where, half a dozen years ago was nothing but wild
pasture. The ranchmen were all poor men when they came here; now they
have pleasant houses, well fenced and irrigated farms and equipments in
abundance. I heard of one ranch sold lately for ten thousand dollars,
and was told of another where the owner cleared six thousand dollars for
his last season's profits. Everything is raised except Indian corn, but
wheat is not cultivated so extensively as it will be when milling
facilities are better. Barley, oats, hay and vegetables are the
principal crops, and potatoes probably offer the highest return of all.
Prices have decreased to one-fifth the figures of five years ago, yet
the ranchmen prosper and increase their acreage, putting surplus money
into cattle which roam upon the adjacent uplands. The land is by no
means all taken up, however, and improved property can be bought at
reasonable prices. There is plenty of water, too, an important

In the center of the park we passed a copious spring of hot mineral
water, carrying much iron, as we could tell by the circular tank of
ferric oxide it had built around it, forming a bath large enough for a
hundred persons at once. As yet there are few arrangements for making
use of this fountain,--a fact due to the plentiful hot springs of iron
and of sulphur (sulphate of lime, etc.), water close to Ouray, where a
sanitarium and bath houses have been fitted up, and where persons
suffering from rheumatism and kindred ailments find great benefit. So
much warm water is poured into the Uncompahgre, in fact, that nothing
more than a film of ice forms upon it in the coldest weather.
Remembering all these varied advantages, it is no wonder the Utes loved
the place and protested against its loss.

The mountains ahead came into plainer view, as we left the park; we
caught a glimpse of the curious Sawtooth range off at the left, saw that
the rounded outlines of the bluffs on each side were changing to abrupt
walls, and trending inward, and then the hush of night and the quiet of
weariness came to still our conversation and turn our thoughts into
meditative channels. Darkness enveloped the world and we pulled slowly
through it by the light of a thousand brilliant stars--the same stars
that shone on the Madame and Chum; that, beyond the Range, shed soft
light on the shepherds and herdsmen of the great plains; that trembled
in the eddies of the Mississippi; that were watched by wakeful people on
the slopes of laurel-crowned Alleghanian hills; that caught faintly the
eye of revelers--for it must now be after the opera--in New York; that
spoke a mysterious language to the watcher upon the far ocean; and, oh,
best of all! that looked in at a curtained New England window and saw a
child in peaceful slumbers. Little daughter under the ancient
elms,--planet in the far sky,--father passing under the massive shadow
of gigantic cliffs whose pine-fringed bulwarks are lost in the thick
gloom above! What an immeasurable triangle, yet how swiftly does the
mercury of thought compass it and link its points together?


                       AT OURAY AND RED MOUNTAIN.

              Bathed in the tenderest purple of distance,
              Tinted and shadowed by pencils of air,
              Thy battlements hang o'er the slopes and the forests,
              Seats of the gods in the limitless ether,
              Looming sublimely aloft and afar.
              Above them, like folds of imperial ermine,
              Sparkle the snowfields that furrow thy forehead,--
              Desolate realms, inaccessible, silent,
              Chasms and caverns where Day is a stranger,
              Garners where storeth his treasures the Thunder,
              The Lightning his falchion, his arrows the Hail.
                                             --BAYARD TAYLOR.

Ouray is--what shall I say? The prettiest mountain town in Colorado?
That wouldn't do. A dozen other places would deny it, and the cynics who
never saw anything different from a rough camp of cabins in some quartz
gulch, would sneer that this was faint praise. Yet that it is among the
most attractive in situation, in climate, in appearance, and in the
society it affords, there can be no doubt. There are few western
villages that can boast so much civilization.

Ouray stands in a bowl-shaped valley--a sort of broad pit in
fact--hollowed out of the northern flank of that mass of mountains which
holds the fountains of so many widely destined rivers. A narrow notch in
the bowl southward lets the Uncompahgre break through to the lowlands,
and furnishes us with a means of ingress; otherwise the most toilsome
climbing would be the only way to get into or out of town. From this
point diverge three or four short but exceedingly lofty, and several
lesser ranges, like the spokes of a wheel from its hub. Eastward
stretches the continental divide of the Sierra San Juan proper;
southward the Needles and the circling heights that enclose Baker's
park; westward the Sierra San Miguel; northward the spurs of
Uncompahgre; and the diminishing foothills and mesas that sink gradually
into the Gunnison valley.

[Illustration: MARBLE CAÑON.]

Yet the first comers--it is only seven years ago, but the mists of
antiquity seem to gather about it--did not enter that way, but came over
the range from the south. Prospectors for precious metals, they ascended
the Rio Las Animas from Baker's park, until they found its head, and
stood upon the dividing crest of the range. Here a streamlet trickled
northward, and they followed its broadening current down the unknown
gorges into which it sank. The walls were often too steep to allow any
foothold for them, and then they would wade in the icy water and stumble
over the slippery bowlders that had fallen from above. When a dozen
miles of this work had been accomplished, they found themselves entering
a cañon so narrow, that by stretching out their arms they could almost
touch both of its walls; and so irregular that a few rods before and
behind was all the distance that ever could be seen at once. Uncertain
when they would be brought to a standstill by some pool or precipitous
fall, and compelled to struggle back against a torrent which scarcely
allowed them to move downstream in safety, they pushed on until they
suddenly emerged into a beautiful round valley, filled with copses of
trees and sunny glades. In this haven the chilled and weary prospectors
rested for the night. While one man--there were no more than three, I
believe,--built the fire, sliced the fat bacon and molded the bread; the
second went to the river with his fishing-line, and the third started
out with his gun. By the time the bread was baked the angler came back
with eighteen trout and the hunter returned for help to bring in a bear
he had killed within a couple of hundred yards. So runs the tradition,
and there is no reason to discredit it.

Now, where the bear was shot and the trout caught, stands a town of
fifteen hundred people, which forms the center for supplying a wide
circuit of mining localities, including Red Mountain, Mt. Sneffles,
Mineral Point and Mineral Farm, Bear Creek, and half a dozen other
places of lesser note; and which affords a good market for the
agriculturists of the lower valleys, and the cattle breeders of
neighboring mesas. Prosperity, comfort, and even much luxury prevail
now; but some of the trials of the earliest settlers, beset by
isolation, winter, famine, and the fear of Indians, would be worth
recounting could I have unlimited space.

This is not a miner's guide, and nothing could be drier reading for a
stranger than a catalogue of diggings and minerals. The ores abound in a
thousand ledges which run up and down, and here and there, all through
the mountains, from the metamorphic limestones of the outer ledges to
the storm-hewn trachyte that caps the hoary summits. What I have said
concerning the ore of the opposite (southern) side of the San Juan
system of mountains, and the way in which it occurs, applies well enough
to this side also. It could not well be otherwise, for the age and
general geology of the two regions is as nearly alike as the two sides
of the same mountain-chain are very likely to be. In a word the ores are
varied, but chiefly ores of galena and copper, occurring in fissure
veins and carrying a "high grade" proportion of silver (in various
forms) and a considerable quantity of gold. The extraordinary variety of
minerals, and the vast bulk of the ore deposits are the two noteworthy
features of the region. These ores, moreover, as a rule, are not
"refractory" though containing antimonial elements which in an excess
would make them so. Works for their concentration, _i.e._, the sifting
out (after pulverization) of the worthless vein-matter, in order to save
the expenses of transportation, are run to great advantage.

Ouray's principal claim to our notice as sightseers lay in its beautiful
situation, and the attractive bits of mountain scenery in its
neighborhood,--a collection of pictures which it would be hard to
duplicate in an equally limited space anywhere else in the whole Rocky

The valley in which the town is built is at an elevation of about 7,500
feet above the sea, and is pear-shaped, its greatest width being not
more than half a mile while its length is about twice that down to the
mouth of the cañon. Southward--that is toward the heart of the main
range,--stand the two great peaks Hardin and Hayden. Between is the deep
gorge down which the Uncompahgre finds its way; but this is hidden from
view by a ridge which walls in the town and cuts off all the farther
view from it in the direction, save where the triangular top of Mt.
Abrams peers over. Westward are grouped a series of broken ledges,
surmounted by greater and more rugged heights. Down between these and
the western foot of Mt. Hayden struggles Cañon creek to join the
Uncompahgre; while Oak creek leaps down a line of cataracts from a notch
in the terraced heights through which the quadrangular head of White
House mountain becomes grandly discernible,--the easternmost buttress of
the wintry Sierra San Miguel.

All of these mountains, though extremely rugged, precipitous, and
adorned with spurs and protruding shoulders of naked rock, yet slope
backward somewhat, and through one of these depressions passes a most
remarkable and picturesque wagon road to Silverton, constructed at
immense cost and displaying wonderful engineering skill. But at the
lower side of the little basin, where the path of the river is beset
with close cañon-walls, the cliffs rise vertical from the level of the
village, and bear their forest-growth many hundreds of feet above. These
mighty walls, two thousand feet high in some places, are of metamorphic
rock, and their even stratification simulates courses of well-ordered
masonry. Stained by iron and probably also by manganese, they are a deep
red-maroon; this color does not lie uniformly, however, but is stronger
in some layers than in others, so that the whole face of the cliff is
banded horizontally in pale rust color, or dull crimson, or deep and
opaque maroon. The western cliff is bare, but on the more frequent
ledges of the eastern wall scattered spruces grow, and add to its
attractiveness. Yet, as though Nature meant to teach that a bit of
motion,--a suggestion of glee was needed to relieve the sombreness of
utter immobility and grandeur however shapely, she has led to the
sunlight by a crevice in the upper part of the eastern wall that we
cannot see, a brisk torrent draining the snowfields of some distant
plateau. This little stream, thus beguiled by the fair channel that led
it through the spruce woods above, has no time to think of its fate, but
is flung out over the sheer precipice eighty feet into the valley below.
We see the white ghost of its descending, and always to our ears is
murmured the voice of the Naiads who are taking the breathless plunge.
Yet by what means the stream reaches that point from above, cannot be
seen, and the picture is that of a strong jet of water bursting from an
orifice through the crimson wall and falling into rainbow-arched mist
and a tangle of grateful foliage, that hides its further flowing.

As Mr. Weston well says, and as I have insisted in my chapters upon the
southern side of the San Juan range, the indescribable charm of this
scenery is due not so much to its gigantic proportions, its grotesque
and massively-grand outlines, or its variety of composition, as to the
contrasts of color and condition. "Even now (May) while I write," he
says, "it is warm and summery in town, the side hills are covered with
flowers and the whistle of the humming bird's wing is heard in the air;
yet I can look up at White House peak and see the snow banners blowing
from its summit, as in the coldest day in winter. In the autumn, more
especially, are the contrasts of color seen, and the landscape, as it
then appears, if painted on canvas, would, I believe, be laughed at, if
shown in Europe or the Eastern States, as an impossibility. I have
climbed the heights above Ouray, and looked down on it, when the
atmosphere of the valley seemed of a hazy blue, the sloping sides of the
surrounding mountains being clothed with the golden yellow and the red
brown of the quaking aspen and the dwarf oak, the varied greens of the
spruce, balsam, cedar and yellow pine, and above that the brown gray of
the trachyte peaks, their snow-capped summits forming a charming
contrast against the lovely violet blue of the evening sky."

This valley alone, with its everchanging panorama of summer and winter,
of verdurous spring and the noise of gushing waters, of flaming autumn
and the drapery of haze etherializing the world, presenting under always
novel aspect the forms and colors so lavishly displayed--this nook alone
would satisfy a generation of artists. But the enchantment of the half
hidden gorges, the allurement of the beckoning peaks urge us to explore
beauties beyond.

       *       *       *       *       *

I cannot redescribe the way in which these bristling peaks of purple and
green trachyte cut the tremulous sky, nor try to make you understand
anew the abysses that sink narrowly between the closely crowded
mountains. If the reader will kindly turn back to where I have
endeavored to convey to him some idea of the Alps that lie about Baker's
park and at the head of the Rio Dolores and the Rio de La Plata, he will
learn what I might repeat of scenes this side of the divide; for some of
those former peaks can be seen from here, and this, too, equally with
the southern slope, "is Silver San Juan."

The ride across the hills towards Red mountain was something to be
remembered. The great walls of maroon rock and the precipices that rose
in terraced grandeur upon their shoulders, coming into view one by one
as we ascended from the basin to the foothills, were all wet with the
night dews, and gleamed like mirrors under the morning sun. The
foothills themselves were rugged jumbles of rocks heaped about the base
of the mountains, and full of deep crevices where the streams coursed
far out of sight and hearing. They were covered with a mingled growth of
spruces, cedars, small oaks and several other shrubby trees. There were
open spaces where a dense chapparal or heather of small thorny bushes of
various kinds hid the ground; and other slopes where tall grass and
innumerable flowers formed favorite pastures for sedate groups of
donkeys. Passing the dizzy brink of the chasm into which Bear creek
makes its awful leap, snatching a beauty beyond portrayal from the very
jaws of terror, we enter a rank forest of aspens and spruces. One might
fire a pistol-ball across to the side of Mt. Hayden, which rises an
almost sheer wall of indigo-gray from a gulf between us and it, whose
creviced-bottom is out of sight below. Deep and varied shadows lie in
the little ravines that seam its almost vertical slopes, and streaks of
dusty snow lurk in the higher crannies feeding trickling cascades of
sunbright water that drop like tears into the unfathomed cañon.


Through the trees southward, to the right of the triangular peak of
Engineer mountain, and the great barrier of Abrams, we could now catch a
glimpse of a rounded summit as gaudy as the hat of a cardinal. This was
the Red mountain, of which so much has been heard. The road there
follows the course of Red Mountain creek from its mouth for two miles
through dense pine timber. At this point, four miles from Ouray, and two
thousand feet higher, it enters a flat valley or park two miles long,
which is covered with willows and with prairies of long grass that every
autumn is mowed for hay. This park contains many ponds and miry places,
and is said to be underlaid everywhere with bog iron-ore. On either side
of the park is a high range of mountains and trachyte peaks, that on the
west being the divide between the Red Mountain district and Imogene
basin in the Sneffels district, and that on the east being the divide
between the Red Mountain district and the Uncompahgre district and
Poughkeepsie gulch. At the upper end of the park commences the chain of
scarlet peaks, from twelve to thirteen thousand feet in altitude, which
are regarded as the volcanic center toward which all the lodes of the
surrounding region seem to converge.

The history of this new "camp," Red Mountain, is a short one. In the
summer of 1881 three men discovered the Guston mine, but as the ore was
low grade it was worked only because it gave an excess of lead which was
just then in demand at the Pueblo smelter. In August, 1882, John
Robinson, one of the owners, was hunting deer, and while resting,
carelessly picked up a small bowlder, after the manner of prospectors
who never stop a moment anywhere but they scrutinize every bit of stone
within reach, out of pure habit. Astonished at the weight of this piece
he broke it in two and found it to be solid galena. This clue led to the
discovery of the Yankee Girl lead close by. A month later the owners had
sold the prospect-hole for $125,000, but retained two other apparently
equally valuable mines near at hand. In the Yankee Girl rich ore was
found only a dozen feet below the surface; and though it had to be
packed upon mules and burros all the way down to Silverton, it yielded a
profit of over fifty dollars a ton.

Upon the heels of this discovery there was a great rush of miners and
speculators toward the scarlet heights, and several large
settlements--principally Ironton and Red Mountain Town--sprang up on the
rough and forested hillside. Claim stakes dotted the mountain as thick
as the poles in a hop-field, and astonishing success attended nearly
every digging. Among them all the first lode opened, the Yankee Girl,
held supremacy, as is so often the case; but a few months later a
neighboring property, the National Belle, leaped far to the front at a
single bound.

This occurred by the accident of a workman breaking through the tunnel
wall into a cavity. Hollow echoes came back from the blows of his pick,
and stones thrown were heard to roll a long distance. Taking a candle,
one of the men descended and found himself in an immense natural
chamber, the flickering rays of the light showing him the vaulted roof
far above, seamed with bright streaks of galena and interspersed with
masses of soft carbonates, chlorides and pure white talc. On different
sides of this remarkable chamber were small openings leading to other
rooms or chambers, showing the same wonderful rich formation. Returning
from this brief reconnoisance a party began a regular exploration. They
crept through the narrow opening into an immense natural tunnel running
above and across the route of their working drift for a hundred feet or
more, in which they clambered over great bowlders of pure galena, and
mounds of soft gray carbonates, while the walls and roof showed
themselves a solid mass of chloride and carbonate ores of silver.
Returning to the starting point they passed through another narrow
tunnel of solid and glittering galena for a distance of forty feet, and
found indications of other large passages and chambers beyond. "It would
seem," cries the local editor in his account of this romantic
disclosure, "as though Nature had gathered her choice treasures from her
inexhaustible storehouse, and wrought these tunnels, natural stopping
places and chambers, studded with glittering crystals and bright mineral
to dazzle the eyes of man in after ages, and lure him on to other
treasures hidden deeper in the bowels of the earth.... The news of the
discovery spread like wildfire, and crowds came to see the sight, and to
many of them it was one never to be forgotten."

This was only the first of these surprises, for many cavities have since
been divulged, great and small, in each of which crude wealth had been
locked up since the world was made. The character of the ores, the
occurrence of these cavities, and the extremely short distances beneath
the turf at which rich ore is struck, have combined to cause much
discussion among geologists as to the true history of the district.

       *       *       *       *       *

One of the most striking scenes in the neighborhood of Ouray is the
passage through which Cañon creek makes its way down to join the
Uncompahgre just above the village. A wild and interesting gorge leads
upward toward the western foot of Mt. Hayden, the trail carrying one
along the edge of a little cliff, and the walls rapidly contracting so
that little room is left even for the foot-trail. A quarter of a mile,
perhaps less, above the village, these walls suddenly close together,
and the steep, brush-grown slope, is lost in a lofty crag, towering far
above the tallest spruces, and standing squarely across the gorge. In
this escarpment a zigzag crevice shows itself extending from top to
bottom: at the top you may look some distance within it, but at the foot
the protruding masses on one side, the sharp curve on the opposite, and
the deep shadows, never illumined by the highest sun, shut off all
searching by the eye. Out of this narrow, upright, cave-like crevice, as
though from its original strong fountains, gushes the deep and turbulent
stream, cold as ice and sparkling with a million imprisoned bubbles of
air. Get as near as you can to its aperture--crane your head around the
very corner of these mountain water-gates, and you can see nothing but
darkness, in which only the outlines of the nearest irregularities in
the rocky walls are dimly defined, while the beetling ledges above shut
out the narrow line of sky that might be seen were the sides of the
cañon smooth. Retreating down stream a little way, you look past bright
pillars of rosy quartzite, across the glittering pathway of foam flecked
water, glorying in its escape, up to the lofty gates and the shadowy
crevice between, whence the river comes ceaselessly and with singing;
you note the color-touches of the flowers and blossoming vines; the soft
hangings of the ferns under the damp ledges, the emerald foliage of the
poplar standing bravely beneath the shadow of the cliffs and the darker
forms of giant spruces--you see this contrast of brightness and color
and sunshine just without the damp gloom of the mysterious portals; and
you tell yourself that there are few scenes in the Rockies that can
equal it.

There is a roundabout way to get to the top of these cliffs and look
down into the chasm; and at one point, where it is much more than one
hundred feet in depth, a person may easily step across from edge to
edge. Though it would probably be impossible in the lowest stage of
water to make one's way up from below against the swift flood that fills
the whole width of the chasm, yet by going above it is possible to work
your way down stream for a long distance into the crevice. A cave exists
there, entered at the surface of the water, and occasional picnic
parties are made up to go to it. These consist mainly of young people
whom age has not sobered, for during the latter part of the way it is
needful that the gentlemen wading should carry the ladies across
frequent portages--to borrow a word from a reverse custom. The cave
entrance at the water side is only an ante-chamber to the real cavern.
To reach that a ladder and rope is required, by which the men first
ascend to a second higher chamber and then draw the ladies up. The
entrance is a hatchway so narrow that portly persons have been known to
express fears as to their getting through.


Both cave and cañon are eaten out of the limestone, and several chasms
of the same sort occur upon this and neighboring streams, where the
water flowing along the strike of the upturned strata, has cut into it a
narrow channel between walls of more resisting rock. Along Portland
creek, just above the village, such a cañon is to be visited, containing
many beautiful cascades, where the cañon walls do not rise vertically
but at a considerable slant, one leaning over the other, and the stream
ever edging sidewise as it cuts deeper and deeper. The erosion in these
cases is not accomplished so much by attrition, as by a chemical
decomposition of the limestone. Yet attrition must do a great work at
times; for now and then these purling brooks become the channels for
cloudbursts at their sources, and then a mighty and impetuous flood
hurls itself down the gorge and chokes the bursting cañons with an
unmeasured mass of water and detritus, whose weight and velocity are so
great, however, that the flood of water not only, but thousands of tons
of bowlders and rocky fragments are forced through and spread out in the
valley below. Every such a deluge leaves its marks plainly upon the
sides of the cañons, as well as upon the softer banks outside.

It was in the afternoon that I mounted the coach homeward bound, and
bade good bye to a host of pleasant acquaintances. I felt rather guilty.
I had stayed longer than I intended, and had had a much better time than
I had anticipated. I felt somehow, therefore, as though I defrauded the
Madame and Chum out of a pleasurable opportunity; and I resolved to note
more carefully whatever I might see that was delightful.

The gap in the great red cliffs which lets the river and us out to the
lowlands is only two or three hundred yards in width, and is filled with
a dense growth of trees. The river trickles as a narrow, winding stream
through a broad swath of pebbles that it has swept down, and which
annually it overflows. The lofty cliffs stand on each side, erect and
imposing. Theirs were the massive forms seen dimly in the darkness and
enveloping us in inky shadows when we came up at midnight. Their
irregularities break into new forms of picturesqueness as we roll past,
enchanting our eyes. Three or four miles below town the thick growth of
trees in the bottom and on the ledges thins out, while the valley grows
wider, and ranches begin to appear. Pleasant houses, surrounded by
trees, stand in the midst of wide fields of grain and low-lying meadows
of natural hay. The cliffs still rise hundreds of feet high and are
redder even than those above,--as brightly vermillioned as the crest of
the treasure-mountain I have compared to a cardinal's hat. Those on the
eastern side (we are heading squarely northward) are sparsely wooded
with spruces and cedars that get a foothold on the rocky shelves and
lean outward craving the light; those on the left are almost bare, even
of herbage.

It is said that _Uncompahgre_ in the Ute tongue, means "red stream,"
and, if so, it is easy to understand the application. The water is not
red (though it might sometimes look so when roiled by freshets,) but the
whole cañon is crimson and blood-stained. The color shines between
bushes and trees, stands out in great upright masses, tinges the dust
underfoot, and intensifies both the green of the heathery hills and the
azure of mountain and sky.

At Dallas Station, where the Dallas river comes down from the west into
the Uncompahgre, we stopped to get supper and wait for the stage from
Telluride, Rico, Ames, and the other mining towns in the San Miguel
range, whose outlet is this way. Those mountains were in plain
view--Sneffles, Potosi, and all their peers,--glorified in the sunset;
while away in the eastward could be seen the gashed and splintered peaks
of that quartzite group (here called the Sawtooth, but reckoned on the
maps as part of the Uncompahgre range) the outline of which I can only
compare to the jagged confusion of the broken bottles set along the top
of a stone wall.

It is dark when we leave Dallas and darker in the gloom of the mesa
shadows and under the shrubbery that overhangs the road along the high
river bank. Out of the blackness below came up the sound of the river's
fretting as from a nether world, for we could only now and then get a
glimpse of the shaded water. When this had been passed, however, and we
were going at a steady trot across the wide-reaching and starlit
uplands, it was very delightful. The air was cool and soft and drowsy.
The stars shone with that brilliance which long ago suggested to the
savage mind that they were pin-holes in the canopy through which beamed
the ineffable refulgence of an endless clay to be attained when the
probation of this life was over. Every moment or two a meteor would leap
out, flash with pale brilliance across the firmament, eclipsing the
steady stars for an instant, and then disappear as though behind a veil.
Sleepy cattle, resting in the dust, would rise with heavy lurchings to
get out of our way and stupidly stare at us as we swung past. The "watch
dog's honest bark" came to our ears from ranches, whose position we knew
by a dot of yellow light; ghostly forms would quickly resolve themselves
into the white hoods of freight wagons, their poles piled with harness
and their crews asleep underneath; faint rustlings in the sage-bush told
of disturbed birds and rabbits; and so, peacefully and enjoyably,
midnight brought us to our journey's end.


                          MONTROSE AND DELTA.

                    My father left a park to me,
                      But it is wild and barren,
                    A garden too with scarce a tree,
                      And waster than a warren;
                    Yet say the neighbors when they call,
                      It is not bad but good land,
                    And in it is the germ of all
                      That grows within the woodland.

The compassion I had been feeling for probable _ennui_ endured by the
two who had been left behind at Montrose was quite unnecessary. They had
amused themselves very well during my prolonged absence.

"Montrose is better than it looks," they told me.

"But what did you do?" I asked.

"Well, we studied the situation," said Chum, who is becoming thirsty for
knowledge in these latter days. "And we got acquainted with some very
pleasant people, who told us good stories, and took us out riding and
lent us books."

"Yes," said the Madame, "in one of our rides we went up to the camp."


"And heard how you spent a whole day there doing nothing but playing
billiards with the officers. Do you call that being industrious?"

"Well," I began.

"No, it is not well at all; at any rate you might have told me, and not
made believe you only saw the camp by passing through. And we heard all
about that hop in Ouray. You forgot that, too, didn't you? The people
were greatly surprised to learn you were not a gay young bachelor. It
was three o'clock in the morning before you went home."

"Oh, Oh-h!" groans Chum.

"'Pon honor, it wasn't," I protest. "It was only two."

"Only two! Well, the next time you go to Ouray I'm going with you."

Chum sings:

"Now is the time for disappearing," and takes a header out of the side
door. It is my cue to follow suit, but instead the Madame picks up her
parasol and sails out with dignity. She wouldn't make a bad figure in
the Lancers, I think, as she closes the door. I had intended to do some
writing before the time came to pursue our journey, but I don't feel
like it now and pick up _Felix Holt_ and a cigar. Presently the two
return in high good humor over some joke, and luncheon is ordered and
eaten amid a fusilade of chattered nonsense.

Betweentimes I extract bits of information in regard to Montrose and its
neighborhood. The town is the center of a very large agricultural
district. It supplies all of the valley of the Uncompahgre as far south
as Dallas creek, and westward nearly to Delta; while northward its
bailiwick extends over to widely scattered but numerous settlers on the
North Fork of the Gunnison and its tributaries. A glance at the map will
show the reader that a great number of small streams come down from the
mountains lying north of the Gunnison, and of its North Fork, to feed
those trunk-streams. The mountains themselves, and the spurs that
stretch down between the creeks are rocky, sterile, and too cold for
farming; but in the valleys where the descent is always rapid, water is
easily led aside in irrigating ditches, and the soil is invariably found
to be rich and responsive. Throughout these remote creek-sides, then, a
large farming and stock-raising population has already settled itself;
and though out of sight, it forms a large element in the class of buyers
for whom the merchant at the railway station must provide. Those living
on the lower part of the North Fork trade at Delta.

Lately coal has been found within half a dozen miles of town, and veins
of great thickness and soundness are being opened in several places by
Montrose men, who can sell it much cheaper than it has hitherto been
brought from Crested Butte. At Cimmaron, about twelve miles from
Montrose, coal of very good quality occurs in great abundance, and is
being mined. On the mesas, surrounding Montrose, grows timber of unusual
size and importance, and nearly all the large sticks--some forty-four
feet in length,--used by the railway in the construction of bridges on
this half of the line, were derived from those forests of yellow pine.
Several sawmills, each a nucleus of small settlements, buy and sell at
Montrose. Local cattle-owners make the town their headquarters, the
herds ranging on the upland pastures within a few miles. The cattle
business in this region has just begun, but everything proves so
favorable that great expectations are entertained of it as a source of
wealth. The object is to raise fat beef for local markets, and Durham
blood is being introduced to raise the grade of the native stock. The
Cimmaron range, the heights beyond the North Fork and the Uncompahgre
mesa, supply the chief ranges at present. A good many people are
employed at Montrose, also, in the forwarding business,--that is, the
re-loading of merchandise and other goods into the huge trailed wagons
which they used to call "prairie schooners" on the plains, to be dragged
away to the mountain mining camps. Finally, the town is the county

[Illustration: EXPLORING THE WALLS.]

While these resources are all of importance Montrose depends mainly upon
the farming which she says is to make her valley and the dun-colored
mesas, "blossom as the rose."

"They tell me," says Chum, "and they prove it, too, that there is
nothing you cannot raise here short of tropical fruits, and they're not
quite sure about that, for they propose peaches, nectarines, and
apricots. And as for grain, great Injuns! why I saw stalks of oats as
big as a walking-stick, and stems of barley that looked like

The Madame raises her eyebrows and coughs slightly, but I take no

"And as for wheat, sir,--wheat? why it's immense! Thirty-five and forty
bushels to the acre is the regular yield, and of oats they will produce
fifty or sixty bushels, and of barley eighty or ninety. As for corn, I
forget the figures, but when we go down the road this afternoon you'll
see great green fields of it that'll make you think you're back on the
banks of the Wabash. There isn't anything they can't raise in these
bottoms, where they have more water than they know what to do with, and
it'll be only a few years before this whole great patch of greasewood
and chalk will be verdant with--with potatoes and corn."

It was a bit of a break, but when this young man gets a fair grip upon
poetry he don't let go so easy. He frowned down the suspicion of a smile
round the corner of our eyes, and rising to his feet, continued:

"I tell you, sir, in five years from now the people of this favored spot
can say in the words of the immortal singer--speaking historically, of
course, you understand--can say,

            "Behind, they saw the snow-cloud tossed
            By many an icy horn"

                   *       *       *       *       *

            "Before, warm valleys, wood-embossed
            And green with vines--

(watermelons, squashes, pumpkins, hops, morning glories, grapes,
strawberries, parsley, honeysuckles--I've seen 'em all!)

                                        "--and corn."

We exploded with laughter, and even the enthusiastic orator smiled
grimly as he sat down.

"May be Mr. Whittier wouldn't have seen so much poetry in the way I used
his words, but I tell you Montrose knows there's a heap of truth in it."

"Yes, no doubt. But how about the 'icy horn'--these high and dry benches
up here?"

"Well, they say the very strongest and most productive soil of all is on
those same gravelly mesas. It's lighter and different from the saline
clays of the bottoms. Now, over there"--pointing to the great upland,
which lay elevated a hundred feet or so above the river on the southern
side of the Uncompahgre--"lies a mesa that contains about twenty-two
thousand acres. Then down below, at the mouth of the river, is another
stretch just twice as large. All that is needful to make that productive
farming land is water. A company here is building a canal which will be
twenty-seven miles long and will cost a hundred thousand dollars. It
takes the water out of the Uncompahgre away up by the Cantonment, leads
it along the foot of the wooded bluffs behind the mesa, and can furnish
enough to water the whole expanse. If you have a farm there, all you
have to do is to select half a mile square or so--there's heaps of it
left untouched as yet,--pay $1.25 an acre, dig side ditches and draw as
much water as you need at so much an inch rental from the company.
That's going to make one vast wheat-field."

"I see, but what next?"

"Well, by the time your wheat is grown there will be mills here to
grind it. There is one now at Montrose which will make from seventy-five
to one hundred barrels of flour per day, and when the crops get ahead of
it other mills will be built. This is not poetry and fancy and talk; it
is a settled fact, for the soil has been tried in more places than one,
and--but, hello! there's our train!"

Precipitately retreating to our "parlor," we don our dusters and go
steaming down toward Grand Junction.

The mountains whence I have just come lift their snow-embroidered
heights grandly to the sky, and I can point out nearly all the separate
peaks though they are fifty miles away.

              "You should have seen that long hill-range
                With gaps of brightness riven--
              How through each pass and hollow streamed
                The purpling lights of heaven--

              "Rivers of golden-mist flowing down
                From far celestial fountains,--
              The great sun flaming through the rifts
                Beyond the wall of mountains."

On the right, extended a long line of bluffs, close at hand, sprinkled
with cedars between which the brick-red soil showed queerly. The strata
in the base of these bluffs were yellowish white and had been cut by
water into a series of little knolls and spurs like sand-dunes and
equally bare of vegetation. They were hot, desolate, and glaring.

The train ran along the edge of the bottom-lands of which these bluffs
were the boundary, and on the left stretched a continuous line of farms
watered from the river which was hidden in a distant grove of
cottonwoods. That the land was rich was shown not only by the
flourishing fields of grain, and of Indian corn, but by the luxuriance
of sagebrush and greasewood in the uncultivated spaces. This was the
Uncompahgre we were following, and at Delta, where the bottom-lands
spread out into a spacious plain, we reached its junction with the
Gunnison, and passed to its right bank over a long bridge.

Dominating everything here to the northward is that vast plateau,
protected from decay by its roofing of lava over the softer substances
that make its bulk, which forms the watershed between the Gunnison and
the Grand rivers, and is called the Grand Mesa. We know that its surface
is hilly and rough, but from here and everywhere else, its edge, as far
as can be seen, cuts the sky with a perfectly straight and even line as
though it were as level on top as a table. In color it appears dark
crimson above the brown and green of mingled forest and exposed rocks
that cover its lower front. Looking past it, up the river, we can see
the snowy Elks, and a line of rails is surveyed from Crested Butte right
down to this point through a series of cañons. There is little
opportunity for farming below the mouth of the Uncompahgre, where abrupt
walls of red sandstone shut in the river, and sometimes hem it so
closely that a road bed had to be blasted out of the cliff. The river
has grown, since we saw it last in the Black cañon, to be a hundred
yards wide. It still flows deeply and swiftly, but has lost the
cataracts. Its color, too, after so much contact with loose earth, has
changed from green to turbid yellow. The run along its banks is straight
and swift. Generally the track is laid just at the brink, upon the solid
rock, and the river is occasionally crossed upon admirable bridges. One
of these bridges, I remember, is at a place where enormous cliffs of
carmine-tinted sandstone most curiously worn full of little pits and
round holes as though moth-eaten, rise sheer from the water to a great
height. The strata of these cliffs--which also have bands of
yellow--wear away unequally but always in a rounded shape, so that you
can see them edgewise, as at a bend, the protuberances take the form of
"volutes;" and this will continue for long distances unchanged, as if
the cliff had been adorned with gigantic beads of molding. It is one of
the most interesting stages of the whole journey.

Just east of the Grand are the finest cliffs of all,--great piles of
ponderous masonry, fit for the bulwarks of a world, each massive block,
a hundred feet or so square, set firmly upon its underlying tier, and
the whole rising two or three thousand feet in majestic proportions and
colors that please by their softness and harmony. Past these we roll
slowly out upon the longest bridge in the state--950 feet--spanning the
swift yellow flood of the Grand river just above where the Gunnison
enters, and find ourselves at Grand Junction.


                        THE GRAND RIVER VALLEY.

  As a true patriot, I should be ashamed to think that Adam in Paradise
  was more favorably situated, on the whole, than a backwoodsman in this

A very honest little circular--quite a phenomenon among
prospectuses--had come into our hands, which gave in terse language the
claims that Grand Junction made to the notice of the world and upon the
attention of the man who was looking for a place of residence in western
Colorado. This honest little circular, toward its end, contains the
following paragraph:

  We desire, however, to inform all eastern people who may be thinking
  of coming west, that, while this is one of the most productive valleys
  in Colorado, it is anything but this in appearance now. Excepting
  along the banks of the streams or near them, there is probably not a
  tree to be seen in the valley, unless it was planted since the valley
  was settled, or within the past eighteen months. The soil has a dull
  grayish appearance, with hardly a blade of grass growing in it for
  several miles back from the river, and it produces naturally only
  sagebrush and greasewood. It is uninviting and desolate looking in the
  extreme, and yet it is far from being so in reality. We are thus
  explicit in speaking of the desolate appearance of the country, so
  that no homesick wanderer in this far-off western land will say when
  his heart fails him in looking over our valley, that he has been
  deceived, and that all that has been said of Grand Junction and its
  surrounding country is a delusion and a snare. If the reader of this
  lives in the east, he will almost surely be disappointed at first, if
  he comes out here. It will be the disappointment of ignorance though,
  for it is only a man who is ignorant of the productiveness of this
  country who will refuse to believe what is said of it in this respect.

That paragraph put us upon our metal. We were eastern people
undoubtedly, but then we had seen "a heap" of Colorado, and the word
"ignorance," we would not confess applied in our case. It was therefore
with no little curiosity, and something of a resolution to be pleased
anyhow (since we had been told we might not be,) that we detached our
peripatetic home and slipped into a resting-place upon the customary
siding. The glow of the sunset filled the valley with a blaze of yellow
light, and the mesas wore chevrons of indigo shadow and pink light to
the northward, while the scarred bluffs across the Grand reflected the
last rays from burning crests of red sandstone. Weary with travel we
threw open our doors, brushed and dusted and bathed, while the kitchen
was busy, and then sat down to dinner in the cool soft air of the
twilight. When it was over a multitude of twinkling lights alone showed
where the town lay, and so we left until morning learning more about it.

[Illustration: CASTLE GATE.]

       *       *       *       *       *

When we came to the learning, there were persons enough to teach us,
besides all the explicit information Mr. William E. Pabor and others
have put into type about the new town--the western Denver, the
metropolis of--

"Didn't we hear Gunnison called that, too? and Montrose? and--?" asks
the Madame, whose serious mind can never quite become accustomed to
local flowers of speech.

Undoubtedly we had; but who shall say which one of them, a century from
now, shall not deserve the name? Describe it? That would be merely
repetition. Situated, as I have said, in the midst of a level
sage-plain, utterly treeless, it is an orderly jumble of brick
buildings, frame buildings, log cabins, tents, and vacant spaces. It is
South Pueblo or Salida or Durango, or Gunnison of two years ago over
again. The more important question to be answered, is, why is a town
built here at all? It is here in anticipation of the agricultural
productions of the valley by which it is surrounded, water for the
irrigation of which is supplied by the largest river in Colorado, and
therefore inexhaustible.

A year before the railway came, speculators, chiefly from Ruby and
Irwin, who had no dread of loneliness, went to this point and started
the town. "They staked off several ranches," says the report, "and
located one irrigating ditch and a town site." This town, which they
called Granville, is situated across the Grand from the mouth of the
Gunnison. A town site was afterwards staked by the Crawford party, and
given the name of Grand Junction.

That is the way these marvelously new and flourishing towns are started
out here. They reverse the proverb and may be said to be _made_ not
_born_; or, as Chum puts it, _fititur non nasce_. I couldn't have done
that, but it was easy enough for Chum who has been to college; he don't
mind a little gymnastics in Latin like that.

In the mountains dividing Middle park from North park the clustering
streamlets pour steadily into Grand lake, whose surface is rarely free
from gusts of chilling wind or the shadow of gathering storms. Hidden in
heavy forests, it occupies a basin scooped out by the mighty plow of a
glacier and held back by moraines and _montonnes_ that record a
geological history of the utmost interest to the student. About this
solitary lake gather gloomy traditions of fierce warfare between Ute and
Arapahoe, and since the Indian owners have yielded it to the white men,
one of the darkest crimes in the history of the Rockies has happened
upon its shores.

From this dark mountain-tara flows a strong outlet fed by the snows. Its
whole youth lies in the depths and gloom of cañons, for range after
range open their gates to let it pass, but the gates are narrow and the
pathway rough. Thus this river, constantly recruited, more and more the
_Grand_, fights its way from the center almost to the western edge of
the state. There, when its labor is fairly done, and aid is no longer
needed, comes the help of the powerful Gunnison, and doubly strong it
rolls westward to the Utah line, and then southwestward till it meets
the flood of the Green and both become the Rio Colorado.

Where the Gunnison now empties into the larger stream was once a wide
lake embanked by the abrupt and lofty bluffs that now bound the plain,
and whose mesa-top indicates the ancient level of the whole country, out
of which the valleys, cañons and lake-beds were eroded.

Into this old expansion of the rivers, had been poured the freight of
soil brought down from the mountain-sides, where the varied rocks were
being ground to powder under the feet of glaciers, and swept along by
gigantic torrents fed with endless meltings. Hither was carried by the
swift waters the mingled dust and pebbles of primeval granite, volcanic
overflows and sedimentary sands, lime, and argillaceous rock. It was the
latest mixture of all that before this had been handled again and again
through the fires that upheaved the inner ranges, and the waters that
laid down the rocky tables, leaning against their flanks. Into the
river-lakes went all this mixture to sink into mud upon the bottom of
the quiet sea,--a union of the best elements in all the composition of
the western slope of the Rockies. In the whole world you could not find
a soil made after a better recipe. Slow changes in the climate
proceeded, and the lake drained away and left a valley twenty-five miles
long and half as wide, waiting to nourish the farmer's grain and the
children's flowers.

The first requisite to adapt it to human service, however, was that the
valley should be watered. Thousands of acres of good land in the Rocky
mountains from Kootenai to Chihuahua remain worthless because there is
not enough water available to spread over them, but at Grand Junction
there is no such deficiency. The great drainage of the Grand would not
miss all the water that could possibly be used. Already along its margin
miles of ranches have been begun, by men digging small and temporary
ditches bringing water to irrigate a single farm or a small group of
fields in the bottom. These were the first comers who had choice of the
whole area. Later two or three larger ditches were made having a greater
scope, and now there has just been finished a waterway, led for
twenty-five miles along the benches at the base of the Roan or Little
Book Cliffs, bounding the plain on the north, which will bring under
cultivation thirty thousand acres of valley heretofore unwatered, and
may be extended when the population demands. This ditch comes out twelve
miles above town. It is fifty feet wide across the top, and is
thirty-five feet at the bottom; the depth is five feet, and it delivers
seven hundred cubic feet of water each second, at a speed of two miles
an hour, though there is only twenty-two inches of slope in each mile of
length. A ditch like this costs $200,000, yet dividends are confidently
expected. If anybody can invent a steamer which will not wash the banks,
pleasure yachts and freight barges will be put upon it, for it is of
considerably greater dimensions than the Erie Canal when first opened.
There is no lack of water, therefore. Competent observers say the supply
is sufficient for half a million acres, so that the intricate and
expensive lawsuits vexing the farmers of the eastern slope can hardly
arise here. This abundance is a matter of vital importance, and an
inestimable advantage. Water has a value above that of land everywhere
in Colorado. Where land, in the valley of the Cache la Poudre, is valued
at ten dollars per acre, a water right carries a cash valuation of
fifteen dollars per acre and is more easily disposed of. The blessing
attending the cultivation of the soil where the water-supply exceeds the
area of land, can only be appreciated by those who have seen their crops
wither for want of it.

[Illustration: IN SPANISH FORK CAÑON.]

It is only recently that this water-supply has become available,
however, through the medium of the canals, for any extended farming.
Large crops, therefore, cannot be expected until next year, but enough
has been learned to make it sure that when the peculiarities of this
adobe soil and the looser mesa soil are understood, so that the farmers
may know exactly how to supply their irrigation to the best advantage,
the most plentiful crops of all the cereals can be produced. We were
told that the experiments right here at Grand Junction already, had
yielded corn-stalks eleven feet seven inches high; a bunch of wheat
having seventy-four stalks in one stool; barley with seventy-six stalks
in a stool; oats five and a half feet high; Egyptian millet, one hundred
and five stalks from a single seed, weighing thirty-six pounds; four
cuttings of alfalfa; Irish potatoes weighing from two to four pounds
apiece; cabbages from five to twenty-three pounds apiece; beets,
carrots, parsnips, and all the vegetables of equally prodigious
dimensions. There can be no question of the extraordinary productivity
of this region, and that its agricultural future is to be a very
prosperous one.

Equally large expectations are held at Grand Junction, Delta, Montrose
on the North Fork, and in all the adjacent lowlands, that this whole
region will prove a great fruit-bearing country. The plentitude and
excellence of the wild fruits along the streams and in the foothills is
remarkable, and formed one of the attractions of the reservation in the
eyes of the Indian. The similarity in soil, climate and altitude to the
fruit-growing region of Utah is adduced, and, in respect to grapes,
peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, and all the small fruits,
successful experiments have justified all the arguments. Just below
Ouray, last year, a ranchman raised seven thousand quarts of
strawberries for market. I saw watermelons and muskmelons growing finely
on Surface creek at the foot of the Grand Mesa near Delta, and
everywhere you will find young fruit trees doing well and uninjured by
winter, which is always mild so far as known, the thermometer rarely
indicating cold below zero, and the snowfall in the valleys being light.
"This new Colorado has a climate essentially different from that of old
Colorado and the country east of the Continental Divide. It is the
climate of the Pacific coast modified only by altitude and latitude. The
air currents come up over the valleys, plateaus, hills and mountain
sides, fresh from the ocean currents that wash the Pacific shores. These
ocean streams are heated under an equatorial sun and sweeping north
around the circle of the earth, temper the whole western slope."

In this neighborhood, too, are splendid grazing regions, which are
rapidly filling with cattle. I have before me a trustworthy scrap from
the _Colorado Farmer_ on this point: "The face of the country," says the
writer, referring to the hill regions of the Uncompahgre and the grand
plateaus, "is gently sloping but cut by gulches, ravines and cañons;
grass grows luxuriantly from the creek and river bottom to the very tops
of the highest plateaus; on the higher uplands there are plenty of pine
and piñon trees, in many places interspersed with cedars and aspens;
many small brooks and springs course their way down the hillsides;
natural shelter is found in every neighborhood from storms when they
come, which is seldom. Game abounds in the greatest plenty and taken all
in all, it is probably the finest stock range in the state. The quality
of the grass is excellent and cures completely. It is different from the
plains grass, grows tall with an abundant wealth of leaf, stem and
seed. This country is to be the great cattle country of the state. The
Rio Grande railway runs through it and will carry the fattened beeves to
the market of the mountains and to Denver and even start them on their
way to the great markets of the East. There are already cattle there and
they are but forerunners of the thousands yet to come."

The important point is, that the wide mountain areas insure summer
pasturage without driving to great distances; while the valleys afford
good winter grazing. I have been in every cattle region in the United
States, and I never saw anywhere such magnificent grass as I have ridden
through for miles and miles along the upper part of Surface creek in
Delta county. When the herds have so increased that the winter pasturage
falls short--some years must elapse before that--the valley lands will
furnish an abundance of millet, oats, alfalfa and other grasses, by
means of the inexhaustible supply of water which is possible for

As further aids to her progress, Grand Junction has easy access to coal,
both hard and soft; has limestone in great abundance, and excellent
white sandstone for building purposes; while the soil is adapted for
making sun-dried adobes or for being made into burned brick, of which
material most of the buildings and many of the sidewalks in town are now
constructed. Game is common in the neighboring mountains, especially
throughout the great wilderness which stretches northwest, and the
rivers abound in edible fishes.

At length there comes a day when we are ready to leave Grand Junction
and "go West." It is a long ride that lies ahead and we turn our parlor
car into a sleeper by setting up the cots and curtains that have not
been needed for several weeks. It is late in the afternoon, and when the
morrow's light dawns we shall be out of Colorado and among the lakes and
deserts, the mountains and Mormons of Utah.


                              GREEN RIVER.

            And then the moon like a goddess came
              Over the mountains far,
            Wrapping her mantle of silver light
              Over each golden star;
            And the cliffs grew grand in the dazzling light,
            High as the skies, and still and white.
                                             --FANNIE I. SHERRICK.

The sweet clear twilight was fading from the cliffs, and had long since
left the valley, when it came time to leave Grand Junction. The rising
moon beckoned us on, however, and we look forward with eagerness to our
journey, for to-night we are to cross "the desert," to span the
cañon-begirt current of Green river, and beheld the mountains of Utah.
Doubtless the silent hours of the dog watch would finally close our
eyelids; but now we bade Bert be sure that the lamps in the parlor car
were well filled and trimmed, for none of us would confess the least
desire for sleep.

In a short time the valley of Grand Junction had been left behind, and
we quickly passed through the gravelly, grass-covered hills that lie
between the river and the cliffs in this region. It was not quite dark,
therefore, when all this had disappeared, and our train ran in a swift
straight course across an open and level, though by no means smooth
plain. Northward it was bounded at a few miles distant by the frowning
and banded wall of the Book cliffs, colorless now in the wan light, but
distinct in their majestic outline; southward it stretched to the
horizon, save where it was broken by the splendid file of the Sierra La
Sal--an isolated group of eruptive mountains singularly graceful in
contours. The surface of the ground was drab or blue or yellow in color,
nowhere quite flat, but divided into low, rounded ridges and conical
mounds, by the shallow dry channels, down which have coursed the waters
of the powerful storms that at long intervals burst over the desert.
Stimulated by the occasional moisture in these channels, a few spears of
grass and twigs of wormwood are thrust up through the soil, along their
depressions; but between--over the general face of the country,--not a
sign of water, vegetation, or animal life appears. It is the repose of
utter silence and quietude, a netherworld only half lighted by the
worn-out moon. Yet it has a fearful beauty, found in the magnitude of
the space--the grandeur of the huge rocky masses faintly but
continuously outlined against the bright sky north of us--the wide
realms of gray darkness southward--the marvelous brilliance of the
moon--the luminous glory of the overspreading dome, unbroken from
horizon to horizon, almost as at sea, and so seeming really a part of
the globe and not an external thing. These things impress us greatly and
emphasize the sense of loneliness and remoteness. No other railway
journey in the country, I believe, could reproduce as this does the
impressions of an ocean-voyage.

At Grand Junction we leave the Grand river, though our course for some
miles is parallel with it and not far remote. Skirting the edge of the
great Uncompahgre plateau which lies between the Uncompahgre and
Gunnison rivers and the Rio Dolores, the river flows west and southwest
through deep gorges in the Jurassic and Triassic rocks as far as the
mouth of the Dolores. This river comes in from the southeast, taking its
origin in the Sierra de La Plata, and running a most picturesque course.
Through its mouth it is supposed the Gunnison, before it was deflected
toward its more northern outlet by the slow upheaval of the plateau,
once flowed by the way of a cañon which connects the present valleys of
the two rivers. This deserted cañon was called by the Utes Unaweep (Red
Rock), describing the scenery it presents. The granite rises vertically
from the bottom of the valley, in narrow, bas-relief columns, for some
hundreds of feet; above, the beds of red sandstone cap it in broken
precipices. In some places massive promontories of the granite, whose
slow elevation has raised the whole breadth of the plateau upon its
shoulders, juts out into the valley worn down through it. The scenery
reminds one strongly of the Yosemite.

In the acute angle between the Rio Dolores and the southward bending
Grand lies the Sierra La Sal,--a center of drainage in all directions.
It is a mass of volcanic rocks thrust up from beneath. Like the Henry
mountains, the Sierra Abajo and other groups of that region, these peaks
were once covered by a great thickness of sedimentary strata bent over
them; but they have been cleaned away, leaving the hard core of
porphyritic rock exposed. The original shape of the upthrust was
probably that of a huge dome, but the tooth of time has gnawed it into a
score or more of clustered mountains rising eight and nine thousand feet
above the level of the adjacent rivers. Yet there is no doubt that the
summits of mountains like these, as I remarked of the elevations about
Abiquiu in New Mexico, mark the depressions in the primitive surface
before this prodigious work of erosion and corrosion had begun. One of
the streams flows with strong brine, suggesting the name Salt mountains
to the group; but the rest give pure, sweet currents when they flow at
all, which with many of them is only for a few hours following a storm.
The source of Salt creek is in Sinbad's valley,--a steep-walled nook in
the mountain-side abounding in crystallized salt.

After receiving the Dolores the Grand river flows straight southwest to
its junction with the Green, burying itself at first in a deep, narrow,
winding cañon in the red beds, then emerging into a valley of erosion
surrounded by tremendous cliffs of deep red sandstone, 1,600 to 2,500
feet high, carved in fantastic forms. It rose 8,150 feet above the sea,
350 miles away; it has fallen to 3,900 feet, or an average of more than
ten feet in every mile, and delivers to the Rio Colorado about 5,000
cubic feet of water every second. Considering this weight and speed we
need not wonder at the profound cañons it has cut, and is still
chiseling deeper and deeper, nearly keeping pace with the slow elevation
of the land.


The line of ragged, roan-tinted, book-edged cliffs on the north, behind
whose battlements stretched an invisible plateau of broken wilderness,
covered with grass, but almost treeless and waterless, where the
traveler must not leave the Indian trails,--this line of massive and
vari-colored cliffs stretched all the way to Green river (and far beyond
it,) rising there into the loftier and bluer bluffs which have been
named Azure, and, in the sunlight, seemed carved from cobalt. Between
their towering portals, through the corridors of Gray cañon, came the
yellow flood of the Green river, sweeping with enormous power from north
to south, and crossed by us toward midnight upon a long and lofty
bridge. We looked down with eager eyes upon its swift flood of
chocolate-colored water, half as broad as the Missouri--twice as deep
and impetuous. We wished it had been daylight, that the pregnant
mysteries of the half-darkness might be revealed, wherein distant forms
full of curious interest were dimly suggested. They told us that here,
at noonday, the passenger upon the railway can see the summits of the
broken walls that form the Grand cañons of the Colorado, fifty miles to
the south.

But all the "grand cañons" are not away in the southern drylands. The
whole track of Green river from its birth to its death runs in gorges
whose depth and splendor excite our amazement. There are few rivers in
the world that have a history so striking; and if, as is fair, we count
it one stream from the Wind River mountains to the Pacific, the mighty
river is without a peer in its erosive work.

Its source is at the southwestern corner of Yellowstone park, in
Wyoming; its mouth, two thousand miles southward, at the head of the
Gulf of California. The present writer pens with gratification the
record that he has seen both these points. Its upper course lies in
open, or wooded valleys, where sparkling, trout-haunted rapids alternate
with pools in whose mirror-smooth surface the images of fleecy clouds
play with the tremulous forms of snowy peaks. Then it learns lessons for
the hard-working future among the plains and buttes of southern Wyoming,
cutting through its first obstacle where the Alcove bluffs rear their
gaudy crests abreast of Bitter creek.

Here is a little village, settled long ago by emigrants and
cattle-breeders, and here, in 1869, Major J. W. Powell, now Director of
the United States Geological Survey, and chief of the Bureau of
Ethnology, began his celebrated exploration of the river in small boats,
which ultimately navigated all the thousand miles of almost continuous
cañons that lay unexplored, uncanny and perilous before them. Wonderful
stories of it were believed by the frontiersmen. Boats, they told Major
Powell, had been carried into overwhelming whirlpools, or had been
sucked with fearful velocity underground, never to reappear, for the
river was lost in subterranean channels for hundreds of miles. Falls
were reported, whose roaring music could be heard on distant
mountain-tops; and the walls were so steep in the desert, that persons
wandering on the brink had died of thirst, vainly endeavoring to reach
the waters they could see below. The Indians believed the river had been
rolled into an old trail that once led from their hard home to the
beautiful balmy land of the Hereafter in the great west, in order to
keep them away until death gave their release.

Undeterred by these tales, the explorers started. Their story has been
told by Major Powell himself in his report to the government, and in
magazine articles. Before him Macomb, Ives, and Newburry had seen the
southern gorges; since then Dutton, Homes and others of the Geological
Surveys have surveyed, mapped and sketched the strange scenery of that
strange river. Yet to no one can anything but seeing with his own eyes
bring more than the faintest conception of the reality. And here we are,
at midnight, in the very midst of it--northward and southward lie the
profound chasms, the immeasurable and uncountable cliffs;--under our
feet flows the mighty river that carved them out and connects them into

What a voyage was that of Powell's! The fantastic architecture of the
Alcove foothills, with the gleaming points of the Uinta range in the
south; the ever-changing panorama of the badlands--scenery for Hades;
the vermillion gateway opened through the snow-capped mountains, called
Flaming Gorge, where lies a vast amphi-theatre, each step built of naked
red sandstone, and a glacis clothed with verdure! Then the cautious
advance, after letting the unladen boats down with ropes over foaming
rapids; threading gorge and cañon and flume, each characteristic in some
new way, and separated by little parks and lowlands filled with trees
and quaintly shaped rocks from the next; always hemmed in by lofty and
brilliant walls; on to the Cañon of Lodore and Ashley's Falls where
years ago a party of men were drowned and where Powell loses one of his
boats. "Just before us," he says at one point, "the cañon divides, a
little stream coming down on the right, and another on the left, and we
can look away up either of these cañons, through an ascending vista, to
cliffs and crags and towers, a mile back, and two thousand feet over
head. To the right a dozen gleaming cascades are seen. Pines and firs
stand on the rocks, and aspens overhang the brooks. The rocks below are
red and brown, set in deep shadows, but above they are buff and
vermillion, and stand in the sunshine. The light above, made more
brilliant by the bright-tinted rocks, and the shadows below more gloomy
by the somber hues of the brown walls, increase the apparent depth of
the cañons.... Never before have I received such an impression of the
vast heights of these cañon walls; not even at the Cliff of the Harp,
where the very heavens seemed to rest on their summits."

Below the Cañon of Lodore was found the wonderful Echo Rock, where the
Yampa enters; next the Whirlpool, where the boats waltz down the
tortuous and bowlder-strewn rapids in a merry dance of eddies over which
the oars have no control. "What a headlong ride it is! Shooting past
rocks and islands! I am soon filled with an exhilaration only
experienced before in riding a fleet horse over the outstretched
prairie." Passing through the "broad, flaring, brilliant gateway" of
Split mountain, and down a series of rapids in a more open region, the
mouths of the White and Uinta rivers are passed, and the river brings
them to the chaotic scenery of the Cañon of Desolation.

This cañon is very tortuous, and many lateral cañons enter on either
side. The great plateau, in which they are sunken, extends across the
river east and west from the foot of the Colorado Rockies to the base of
the Wasatch. It is eight thousand feet above the sea, and therefore in a
region of moisture, as is attested by the forests and grassy vales. On
these high table lands elk and deer abound, and they are favorite
hunting-grounds for the Utes, whose trails cross them. Nothing of this,
however, is seen from the river level, where the voyager is surrounded
by a wilderness of gray and brown crags. "In several places," says
Powell, "these lateral cañons are only separated from each other by
narrow walls, often hundreds of feet high, but so narrow in places, that
where softer rocks are found below, they have crumbled away and left
holes in the wall, forming passages from one cañon into another....
Piles of broken rock lie against these walls; crags and tower-shaped
peaks are seen everywhere; and away above them long lines of broken
cliffs, and above and beyond the cliffs are pine forests.... A few dwarf
bushes are seen here and there, and cedars grow from the crevices--not
like the cedars of a land refreshed with rains, great cones bedecked
with spray, but ugly clumps, like war clubs beset with spines."

Various adventures carry the plucky party through and beyond this gorge
down to where our railway bridge spans the river with its tenacious
links. They note the existence of an Indian ferry of rude log-rafts
somewhere near here, but there was nothing to induce their stoppage for
more than a night. Now, those of us who are minded some day to behold
the wild crags of Desolation cañon will reverse Major Powell's course,
and embarking at this railway station on the river bank go up the Green,
through the Azure Cliffs and fifty miles beyond. Or, turning southward,
our boat may equip itself for a longer journey, and our minds make ready
for even more marvelous and memorable sights, in the profundities of the
cañons of the Rio Colorado, below the junction of the Green and the
Grand. If so long a journey is forbidden, there is much delight, with
the advantage of easy and safe navigation, to be found between the
railway and the mouth of Grand river.

A few miles after leaving the railway, downward bound, the voyager would
get among curious bluffs and buttes that would interest him all the way
to the mouth of the San Rafael, a strong tributary from the west, up
which passed one of the principal overland trails from New Mexico to
Utah. If he is interested in archæology, Indian "relics" in abundance
will reward his search along the banks. The river is tortuous here, but
deep and quiet. Sometimes there is a narrow flood-plain between the
river and the wall on one side or the other, the peninsulas being
pleasantly wooded. The walls are orange-colored sandstone, and vertical,
but not very high. At one point, where the river sweeps around a curve
under a cliff, a vast hollow dome may be seen, with many caves and deep
alcoves. The doublings of the river are many; one loop carries you nine
miles around, yet makes only six hundred yards of headway. Gradually the
chasm of the river grows deeper; the walls are systematically curved and
grandly arched; of beautiful color, and reflected in the quiet waters
with deceiving distinctness.

This is Labyrinth cañon, or, as the Indians called it, _Toom'-pin
wu-neár_,--the Land of Standing Rocks. "The stream is still quiet, and
we glide along through a strange, wierd, grand region. The landscape
everywhere, away from the river, is of rock--cliffs of rock; tables of
rock; plateaus of rock; terraces of rock; crags of rock--ten thousand
strangely carved forms. Rocks everywhere and no vegetation; no soil; no
sand. In long gentle curves the river winds about these rocks. When
speaking of these we must not conceive of piles of bowlders, or heaps of
fragments, but a whole land of naked rock, with giant forms carved on
it: cathedral-shaped buttes, towering hundreds or thousands of feet;
cliffs that cannot be scaled, and cañon-walls that shrink the river into
insignificance, with vast hollow domes, and tall pinnacles, and shafts
set on the verge overhead, and all highly colored--buff, gray, red,
brown and chocolate; never lichened; never moss-covered; but bare, and
often polished."

Below the Labyrinth is Stillwater cañon, forty miles long. Its walls at
the lower end are beautifully curved, as the river sweeps in its
meandering course. Suddenly gathering swiftness it rushes hastily
forward to unite with the current of the Grand. These streams join their
floods in solemn depths, more than twelve hundred feet below the general
surface of the country. Up the Grand you look into another "labyrinth."
It is the central artery toward which innumerable side-cañons
concentrate. In every direction they ramify, deep, dark and impassable
to everything but the winged bird. Through such underground passages are
sent the waters from the distant highlands, and their confluence fills
the whole chasm of the Grand with a turbid stream.

Climb out, laboriously and cautiously, ascend one of the
fantastically-formed buttes that rise above the level of the plateau,
and what a world of grandeur is spread before the eye! Nothing one can
say will give an adequate idea of the singular and surprising
landscape,--nothing in art or nature offers a parallel. Below lies the
cañon through which the Colorado begins its wonderful course. It can be
traced for miles, and occasional glimpses of the river caught. From the
northwest comes the Green, in a narrow, winding gorge; from the
northeast the Grand, hidden in a cañon that seems bottomless. "Away to
the west are lines of cliffs and ledges of rock,--not such ledges as you
may have seen where the quarryman splits his blocks, but ledges from
which the gods might quarry mountains, that, rolled out on the plain
below, would stand a lofty range; and not such cliffs as you may have
seen where the swallow builds its nest, but cliffs where the soaring
eagle is lost to view ere he reaches the summit.... Away to the east a
group of eruptive mountains are seen--the Sierra La Sal. Their slopes
are covered with pines, and deep gulches are flanked with great crags,
and snow fields are seen near the summits. So the mountains are in
uniform--green, gray and silver. Wherever we look there is but a
wilderness of rocks; deep gorges where the rivers are lost below cliffs
and towers and pinnacles; and ten thousand strangely carved forms in
every direction; and beyond them, mountains blending with the clouds."

       *       *       *       *       *

I cannot go on to tell of the profound crevices in the crust of the
globe beyond, where the Rio Colorado, taking its name from its
vermillioned borders, flows a full mile below the surface. A whole
volume like this would not suffice to portray fully the pictures and the
teaching of a single day's ride down that engulfed stream, or an hour's
march along the giddy brink. Only one man, Captain C. E. Dutton, has
ever given anything approaching an adequate description. He lived on the
plateau and studied it for years; and he tells us that it is a long time
before the unaccustomed mind can come to have any real comprehension of
the magnitude and the sublimity and the exquisite beauty of what the
cañons above and below have to show to the attentive eye. Nothing in the
wide world equals or compares with it in its peculiar and amazing beauty
and force.

But the fanes and museums of these rock-gods are guarded against the too
easy profanation of human curiosity. The terrors of personal discomfort
and danger surround them. Enduring and brave must be the horseman or
canoeist--what a trip for the Rob Roys of the future!--who penetrates
this naked wilderness and feasts his eyes on the riches of novel color
and form spread before him in the glory of the setting sun!

       *       *       *       *       *

The dog watch comes. The gray waste of sterile land sweeps steadily
past. The stars wheel slowly along their cosmical paths. Utter
loneliness envelopes us as we rush forward with direct and tireless
speed. The rolling music of our progress, and the solemnity of our
thoughts as we ponder what we have seen and heard, quiet mind and body,
the lamps are turned down, the curtains drawn, and silence and darkness
reigns in our car, as over the night-beleaguered desert save where some
official passes silently through, shading his lantern with his hand.

[Illustration: SALT LAKE CITY.]


                         CROSSING THE WASATCH.

            The splendor falls on castle walls
            And snowy summits, old in story;
            The long light shakes across the lakes
            And the wild cataracts leap in glory.
                  Blow bugle, blow; set the wild echoes flying;
                  Answer, echoes, answer, dying, dying, dying.

With the first full light of dawn, on the morning after leaving Grand
Junction, the vigilant Madame was awake, and we heard her calling upon
us from her curtained corner to wake up and look out of the window.
Well, as the Shaughran said when punished for his fox-hunt on the
Squire's horse, "It was worth it," even at the expense of the morning
nap. Here was something different from anything seen before.

We were far inside the boundary of Utah Territory and were already
beginning to climb the first steps toward the heights of the
Wasatch--the western bulwark of the Rocky mountains. The way lay up the
South Fork of the Price river, along a broad valley sunken between
enormously high walls of sedimentary rock whose horizontal
stratification betrayed no signs of disturbance. How long must the
waters of the paleazoic sea have surged against the primitive granitic
caves and lava-masses--how steady must this part of the earth's crust
have remained for ages--to let these thousands of feet of rocky tablets
be piled up! And then, when it was done; when the slow upheaval had
come, and the water had gradually been drawn off; how patiently did the
centuries wait while these great depressed spaces were cut down and the
material carried away to be spread--who knows where?

Here mountain-like table-lands stretched their white and cedar-spiked
terraces, one above another to the plateau-top, for scores of miles out
from the range against which they were braced. The water and the
sand-blast of the fierce winds had worn their exposed cliff-faces, and
sometimes carved their crests (now gold-tipped by the first sunbeams)
into fantastic shapes that recalled pictures in the Dakota badlands or
the grotesque monuments near Colorado Springs. In some places they were
honeycombed with round holes, connecting pits and fissures, like a
prodigious display of Arabesque fret-work; elsewhere they would stand
massive and plain. As we proceeded colors began to appear,--yellows,
warm browns and pale reds, against which, in thorough keeping, grew the
bent and aged forms of junipers. In the soft gray of the morning light,
nothing could be more pleasing than these worn and variegated
battlements, between which for miles and miles the road winds its way.
Every stupendous headland was a new rendering of the general idea--a
novel design coherent with hundreds of its fellows; and of each the eye
was afforded several altered aspects as the train changed its point of

Finally we attained a higher level, and the cliffs came nearer, became
more precipitous and the inter spaces more green. This was Castle
Valley. We had risen and dressed ourselves and were thinking of
breakfast. The sun had come high enough over the "great, lone land" in
our rear to shoot his beams half way down the projections of the dewy
and glittering cliffs, when the train came to a stop, though there was
only a side-track. Stepping to the platform to enquire why, we came with
all the shock of complete surprise face to face with what to me, is the
most inspiring, as a single object, of all the marvelous scenes between
the Plains and the Salt Sea. This was Castle Gate.

The cañon here becomes very narrow and tortuous, with picturesque
defiles opening here and there and conducting tiny streams, swelled in
spring to noisy torrents. Trees and bushes in great abundance grow on
the narrow banks of the river and swarm up the rough heaps of rocks that
bury the foot of the cliff on each side. Just here, these cliffs are
several hundred feet high and exceedingly steep, showing great
ledge-fronts as upright and clean of vegetation as the side of a house.
All the rocks are bright rust-red, darker and lighter here and there;
and over all arches a sky, violet-blue, vivid, and immeasurably deep,
for you may look far into it, as into water that lies quiet and luminous
under the sunshine.

Now out from this wall on one side pushes a great projection half way
across the valley, crowned on its point by a round turret. This is on
the left or southern side. Opposite it has been left standing an
enormous natural wall--a thin promontory projected from the face of the
mountain as Sandy Hook stretches narrow and straight out in the ocean
beyond the Atlantic coast-line. From base to combing it rises sheer and
toppling whichever way you scan it; and on the western side the topmost
ledges overhang. Here the face is scarred not only by the horizontal
lines denoting the separate strata, but also by vertical gashes of
cleavage some of which are strongly marked cracks extending from top to
bottom. These show how, by the continual scaling off of enormous slabs
on each side, under the prying levers of heat and cold, moisture and
weight, this once thick headland has been reduced to a thinness so
contracted that its thickness in proportion to its height is no greater
than that of Cleopatra's Needle or any other monumental shaft; while
the narrowed peninsular, which connects it with the main crag, has only
the proportions of a garden wall: but what a wall! for it is eight
hundred feet from its weedy top to the foundation. You can count in the
patches of freshly exposed rock on its surface how season by season it
is diminishing; and one great crack almost splits its extreme edge in
twain so that some day, with an earth-jarring crash, half the thickness
of this noble remnant will drop to its base and burst into dust and

Heedless of such a catastrophe, and unmindful of the grandeur of their
home in human eyes, birds build their nests in the crevices and crannies
that are nicked into its crimson front, and bats shrink from the light
into the seams that make a network upon its sides. Great gaps mar the
regularity of its sky line; but these mark the ruinous hand of time and
add to the antique grandeur of the pile. We cannot take our eyes from
it, and forget the even more lofty walls and pinnacles opposite, which
have not the advantage of the isolation, and the Olympian dignity and
pose, of this daring pier.

A little group of Indians on horseback, in the full toggery of Uinta
Utes, were jogging along the road beside the track when presently we
emerged from Castle Valley and drew up at Pleasant Valley Junction. Here
a branch road comes from some important coal mines sixteen miles to the
westward. This coal occurs in a bed eleven feet in thickness, and so
situated as to be worked very conveniently. The mines were opened four
years ago, and a railway built to them from Provo--a distance of sixty
miles. This was bought by the Denver and Rio Grande and a part of it was
utilized. Now all the coal comes down from the mines by gravity, and the
locomotive is required only to haul up the empty cars.

This coal is bituminous, and of better quality than that from Rock
Springs, in Wyoming, which it is gradually displacing in the Utah
markets, since it is found to give more heat, ton for ton. Its
introduction was a boon to the people generally, for instead of seven
dollars and fifty cents a ton, with occasional extra prices, they now
pay only five dollars, and get a better article. The mines are operated
by the Pleasant Valley Coal Company, who employ about one hundred men
and produce a daily output of three hundred tons, which is constantly
increasing to meet the growing demand.

After leaving Pleasant Valley Junction the ascent of the Wasatch was
begun in earnest, but, though a long pull, the grade was not remarkably
steep, nor was the cañon (worn through a red pudding-stone,) astonishing
in any way, while always interesting. By the time breakfast was fairly
out of the way, the summit had been reached and the descent began
through the cañon of the Spanish Fork into Mormondom.

A few miles down we came to Thistle Station, a place of some consequence
because it is the railway outlet for the large San Pete valley, which
stretches nearly along the western foot of the Wasatch until it emerges
into the valley of the Sevier. This valley is reached from the westward
by a narrow-gauge railway line, built years ago by Mormon capital. It
enters it from Nephi by the way of Salt creek and terminates at Wales,
where there are coal mines worked by Welchmen and operated by English
capital. The San Pete valley is not particularly interesting. Yet the
little settlements back in the eastern foothills where the many streams
come down are pleasant enough.

This valley became famous in 1865-67 as the scene of the San Pete Indian
War. "Several companies of the Mormon militia were mustered here, and
held the mountains and passes on the east against the Indians, guarded
the stock gathered here from the other settlements that had been
abandoned, and took part in the fights at Thistle creek, ... and the
rest, where Black Hawk and his flying squadron of Navajos and Piutes
showed themselves such plucky men."

Toward the lower end of the valley stands the important town of Manti,
its suburbs encroaching on the sagebrush. "As a settlement," says Phil
Robinson, the most recent traveller thither, "Manti is pretty, well
ordered and prosperous.... The abundance of trees, the width of the
streets, the perpetual presence of running water, the frequency and size
of the orchards, and the general appearance of simple, rustic comfort,
impart to Manti all the characteristic charm of the Mormon settlements."
Robinson says that the people in that region are chiefly Danes and
Scandinavians. "These nationalities contribute more largely than any
other--unless Great-Britishers are all called one nation--to the
recruiting of Mormonism, and when they reach Utah maintain their
individuality more conspicuously than any others." The temple at Manti
will be something worth going far to see when it is completed. "The
site, originally, was a rugged hill slope, but this has been cut out
into three vast semicircular terraces, each of which is faced with a
wall of rough hewn stone, seventeen feet in height. Ascending these by
wide flights of steps you find yourself on a fourth level, the hill-top,
which has been leveled into a spacious plateau, and on this, with its
back set against the hill, stands the temple. The style of Mormon
architecture, unfortunately, is heavy and unadorned, and in itself,
therefore, this massive pile, one hundred and sixty feet in length by
ninety wide, and about one hundred high, is not prepossessing. But when
it is finished, and the terrace-slopes are turfed, and the spaces
planted out with trees, the view will undoubtedly be very fine, and the
temple be a building that the Mormons may well be proud of."

The lower part of the valley is undulating,--"for the most part a
sterile-looking waste of greasewood, but having an almost continual
threat of cultivation running along the center," until it suddenly
opens, at Mayfield, into a great meadow of several thousand acres.
Passing on to the Sevier, volcanic hills and benches shut in the valley,
but the bottoms along the river were level, grassy, "clumped with shrubs
and patched with corn-fields." Here there are frequent settlements, one
of the most important of which is Salina, where the alkalies that infect
the soil of all this region are concentrated in salt-beds that have long
been dug for export. The Denver and Rio Grande Company have projected a
track from this point due east to join its main line and thus secure not
only the salt trade, but tap this farming and grazing region, which some
day will be of great consequence, for there is plenty of water.
Furthermore, this same company has laid a sort of preëmption right upon
a railway route surveyed westward from Salina toward the Pacific coast
through southern Nevada and central California, which will pass close by
the Yosemite and the Caleveras groves of Big Trees.

We had gathered all this information from books and good friends, and
the recollection of former reading, while

                    "like Iser, rolling rapidly,"

we descended the Spanish Fork. This cañon is not rough and cliff-bound,
but its sides, though steep, are rounded, and soft walls of
greenery--small bushes, rank grass and tufted groves of aspen and oak;
while the river purls along the narrow depression under the continuous
shade of young maples, alders, oaks and other shrubbery. A wagon road is
to be seen most of the way showing long use. The rude kennels built for
temporary use by the railway-makers have not yet had time to crumble,
and add a picturesque note to the pleasant vale. Here and there were
camps of emigrants, or of railway people. That they were Mormons was
plain by the comfortable, home-like appearance of each bivouac, where
buxom women were tending to the children and carrying on the ordinary
duties of housekeeping in houses of cloth and kitchens made under booths
of maple boughs. Children and dogs and donkeys abounded, and at two or
three camps we caught sight of pet fawns. This cañon was formerly an
Indian highway, and through it, in days gone by, more than one incursion
of Navajos and Piutes has swept down upon the settlements, "bringing
fire and the sword." Through it also came, long, long ago, the pious
friars,--explorer-priests--bent upon the conversion of the Indians; and
the digging up of a few coins and other relics of their visits has given
the name of Spanish Fork to the stream, which really is a "fork" of no
other water course, but empties directly into Lake Utah.

As we emerge from the cañon a wide, haze tinted sketch of mountains and
green-gray plains, with a touch of steel-white water, greets the eye to
the westward, where stretch the arid deserts and volcanic ranges of Utah
and Nevada. Southward, nobly tall and rugged, rise the hights of the
Wasatch, with the magnificent pyramid of Mt. Nebo, overtopping the rest,
exalted above the sunlit clouds and crowned with early snow wreaths. It
is the last of the great, lone, Rocky Mountain peaks that we shall see,
and a worthy reminder of the splendid scenery in whose presence our life
has been expanded and glorified during the bygone months.


                             BY UTAH LAKES.

                Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures
                Whilst the landscape round it measures;
                Russet lawns, and fallows gray,
                Where the nibbling flocks do stray;
                Mountains, on whose barren breast
                The laboring clouds do often rest;
                Meadows trim with daisies pied,
                Shallow brooks and rivers wide;
                Towers and battlements it sees,
                Bosomed high in tufted trees,
                Where, perhaps some Beauty lies
                The Cynosure of neighboring eyes.

Nebo does not long remain in sight from our windows; for speedily we
swing out into the sloping valley land, bringing into close
companionship on the right the northern half of the Wasatch range,
which, were it a trifle more arctic and bristling aloft, would remind us
strongly of the Sangre de Cristo. On each side now are spread wide areas
of grain field and grassland, with abundant hedges and thickets and
orchards surrounding clusters of houses and barns. The train makes
frequent halts at little villages, which seem to have been built along
both sides of the track, because the reverse process occurred and the
rails were laid in the middle of the main street. The first of these
farmer-settlements was Spanish Fork (the Palmyra of old settlers) where,
not long ago, a copper image of the Virgin Mary was dug up, together
with some fragments of a human skeleton. "This takes back the Mormon
settlement of to-day to the long ago time when Spanish missionaries
preached of the Pope to the Piutes, and gave but little satisfaction to
either man or beast, for their tonsured scalps were but scanty trophies,
and the coyote found their lean bodies but poor picking." A few miles
further is Springville, hidden in well-watered trees, where a stream
tumbling out of a mysteriously dark cañon just behind the town, turns
the wheels of extensive flour mills and woolen factories.

It is with growing and animated interest, that we pass on through miles
of fertile farmland and come into plain sight of Utah Lake,--a glassy
sheet of water beyond which loom through their mist the vague forms of
many angular hills. The water is fresh, and none of the barrenness that
has smitten the shores of the Salt sea northward accurses this beautiful
lake, with which the Indians strangely enough, associated many evil
influences and dark legends. Between us and the shore stretch vast
meadows of green prairie grasses and bulrushes, upon which herds of
sleek cattle and fine horses were grazing. Except upon the western side,
where the hills yield no water, there is a semicircle of villages at the
feet of the encompassing hills, with checkered fields of grain and
fodder between the embowered clusters of houses and the swampy meadows
along shore. Sometimes the meadows and gardens, the squares of wheat and
Indian corn come clear down to the shore.

[Illustration: BEE HIVE HOUSE.]

Though most of the houses were of adobe, showing signs of long occupancy
in the advanced state of orchard and garden, and the home-like air about
them, the pioneer's wagon top makes him a good enough house for several
weeks in this dry and genial climate, but he builds something better for
the winter. The second season, therefore, will find him living in a
small, but tight and warm, cabin of slabs, chinked and roofed with dirt.
His stables will be low structures of poles thatched with straw or
rushes cut at the border of the lake, and his grain will be stacked out
of doors.

A great gap in the Wasatch has been in sight for some time, in which
lies the source of the Provo river, and down here upon its banks is
Provo--the largest town on Utah Lake. We have "Sinners and Saints" open
before us as we draw up at the station; and the Madame reads to us what
the author has to say about this very town:

"Visitors have made the American Fork cañon too well known to need more
than a reference here, but the Provo cañon, with its romantic waterfalls
and varied scenery, is a feature of the Utah valley which may some day
be equally familiar to the sight-seeing world. The botanist would find
here a field full of surprises, as the vegetation is of exceptional
variety and the flowers unusually profuse. Down this cañon tumbles the
Provo river; and as soon as it reaches the mouth ... it is seized upon
and carried off to right and left by irrigation channels and ruthlessly
distributed over the slopes. And the result is seen, approaching Provo,
in magnificent reaches of fertile land and miles of crops. Provo is
almost Logan [in Cache Valley] over again, for though it has the
advantage over the northern settlement in population, it resembles it in
appearance very closely. There is the same abundance of foliage, the
same width of water-edged streets, the same variety of wooden and adobe
houses, the same absence of crime and drunkenness, the same appearance
of solid comfort. It has its mills and its woolen factory, its 'co-op.'
and its lumber-yards. There is the same profusion of orchard and garden,
the same all pervading presence of cattle and teams.... The clear
streams, perpetually industrious in their loving care of lowland and
meadow and orchard, and so cheery, too, in their perpetual work, are a
type of the men and women themselves; the placid cornfields, lying in
bright levels about the houses, are not more tranquil than the lives of
the people; the tree-crowded orchards and stack-filled yards are
eloquent of universal plenty; the cattle loitering in the pasture
contented, the foals all running about in the roads, while the wagons
which their mothers are drawing stand at the shop door or field gate,
strike the new comer as delightfully significant of a simple country
life, of mutual confidence, and universal security."

At Springville and again at Provo, the train was surrounded by a flock
of little girls who held up to the windows baskets of fruit--apples,
pears, raspberries, plums, grapes and peaches. They sought buyers very
prettily, offering whole handfuls of the fruit for five cents. Everybody
bought it, for nothing could be more welcome after the weary journey.
The Madame rushed out to the platform and proceeded to empty the basket
of one gentle speculator whose frock was white and clean, but whose
shapely legs and feet were bare and brown. She wore no hat, and there
fell down her straight young back a heavy braid of beautiful corn silk
hair tied at the end with a bow of cherry ribbon. Her figure and manners
were full of _naïve_ grace. As the bargain was concluded and we rolled
away, the Madame came near kissing her goodbye, and we heard some one

                    "Happy little maiden she,
                    Happy maid of Arcadie."

But was it this, or another little maid, or both, she had in mind, while
the soft light shone in her eyes?

Nephi, the next station--a mass of orchards surrounding straggling
streets of doubled-doored gray houses--is memorable because of the
remains of fortifications that surround it, with lesser defences near
many of the houses. These consisted of thick mud parapets pierced for
rifles; and they recall the dangers these pioneers had to encounter from
the "Lamanites," as they called the redskins. "Young men tell how as
children they used to lie awake at nights to listen as the red men
swept, whooping and yelling, through the quiet streets of the little
settlement; how the guns stood always ready against the wall, and the
windows were barricaded every night with thick pine logs."

The beautiful valley of Utah Lake has now been left behind, and the
scene returns to the familiar sagebrush and volcanic scoria, through
which a small river of yellow water finds its way, and we follow all its
curves. The river is the Jordan, so called because it connects the Utah
with the Great Salt Lake, as its namesake does Galilee and the Dead Sea.
But the yellow river and its desolate ridges are presently passed, and
there opens out on each side a vista of great fields of wheat and
tasseling corn; of orchards heavy with ripened fruit, and meadows sere
with summer heat; and of houses hidden in trees and hopvines, and
touched with the brilliant points of climbing roses and honeysuckles, or
the lofty standards of the hollyhock, flying by like the panorama of a

Up the grand slope of the Wasatch beyond, stretches a mass of houses and
a forest of shade trees, that are sweeping every instant nearer. Shade
of Jehu, how we are tearing along! Swish! That was a smelter. Swish
again! That was a furnace. Crash! Bang! Salt Lake City! Shall we halt?
No, only a few moments to watch the crowd alight and wrestle with the
hotel runners; and also to detach and arrange for the side-tracking of
our two household cars. We will keep the coach and go on to Ogden while
we are "in running order" as Chum says. Then we will come back to-night
and stay in Salt Lake City as long as we please. So with a parting
admonition to Bert we take our seats and are moving onward once more.

Here again the track for a long distance runs along the middle of a
suburban street slowly traversed,--a street of lowly houses, each in its
dense garden. It is not at all a bad notion of the whole city, which
that glimpse gives the traveller, but shortly it is exchanged for a
sage-bush-plain, followed by a region reminding us strongly of the St.
Clair flats in Canada. Meadows and marshes, vividly green, stretch to
the westward, diversified by planted groves of cottonwood, while
mountains rise close at hand on the east. Here and there pools of calm
water flit by, on whose surface large flocks of snow-white gulls sit
motionless. It is a great place for blackbirds, also,--Brewer's grakle
and the yellow-headed blackbird--one of which races with the train,
apparently just to show how fast he can fly. Presently the ground
becomes dryer and shows wide cultivation. Stacks of hay and straw dot
the level and unfenced expanse, but the houses and barns of the farmers
are all at our right along the foot of the hills. They are pleasant
homes, embowered in orchards, and the whole scene is sunny and peaceful.

The soil is black and loamy, the foothills green and studded with
blooming farms and homesteads, the lowlands lush with long grass and
willow thickets. Westward, the scene might be a _replica_ of, say, the
coast of North Carolina, for now the Great Salt Lake is in full view,
and the mist which hides the mountainous islands and western shore,
leaves its expanse as limitless as that of the open ocean, whence no
salter breeze could blow than this morning air. We gradually approach
the shore, or its bays bend forward to our straight line, and we leave
the fields behind to skirt and cross a great expanse of salt whitened
mud flats, where chestnut-backed plovers flit about as the only sign of
life. On higher ground, just beyond, a frail pier or landing stage runs
far out into the lake, where is moored a small steamboat, and two or
three sailboats rest on the gently ruffled water. This is a bathing
resort and picnic grounds, which hereafter will be made more of than at
present. Beyond, for miles and miles, the country seems to have been one
continuous wheat-field, for the golden stubble stretches in vast
unfenced spaces, and we can count dozens of huge yellow stacks that have
been reaped. A long ridge of dry gravel is traversed, a vista of valley
land, filled full of groves, and orchards, market gardens and neat
houses, opens at the base of high rocky walls and the locomotive gives
its last long shriek, for this is Ogden, the terminus of our westward
jaunt,--771 miles from Denver, 2,500 miles from New York, 864 miles from
San Francisco.

       *       *       *       *       *

When luncheon was over, I sat me down to my work, and the Madame began
putting on her hat, making quite sure that it was straight, nor leaving
the neighborhood of the mirror until wholly satisfied on that head.

"That is complimentary to Ogden!" I observe with a rising inflection.

"Not particularly," she answers slowly. "I would want my hat to sit
straight and my feather be right if I were going into a camp of Digger
Shoshones. It wouldn't feel right otherwise."

I do not argue the question. Turning to Chum she enquires sweetly
(ignoring anybody else) if he will go with her on a stroll of
exploration. That young man is just filling his pipe, and the
expression of anticipated delight fades utterly from his countenance.

"E-r-r," he stammers, thinking how he may escape. "Thanks, thanks, but I
can't very well--I--I have letters to write, you know."

"Yes, I know, everybody has, under certain circumstances. However, I can
go alone. _Au revoir!_"

Then I sit down at work. Chum lights his pipe and lazily scratches a
postal card to keep up appearances, and silence reigns for an hour or

It is put at end by our lady's return.

"Well, what did you see?" we both ask.

"Oh, Ogden is a big collection of little houses and behind each house is
a pretty little farm and market garden. There is a ledge beyond the main
part of the town, and up there are situated the better houses of the
city, with larger gardens and lawns, from which you can look off over
the wide plain with bluffs and ridges, in the foreground, catch a
glimpse of the lake in the middle distance, and a vision of
sharp-pointed mountains on the horizon."

Ogden holds interest at present, chiefly--and it always will I fancy--as
a center for transportation lines. Here, in 1869, was welded into a
continuous whole the first line of rails connecting the Atlantic with
the Pacific. This is the scene of Bret Harte's stirring poem, which
tells us

                   "... what the engines said,
                Pilots touching--head to head,
                Facing on a single track,
                Half a continent at each back."

That event was an occasion of public rejoicing, and the success of those
lines at that time was a matter of public concern.

Since her one line east and west was first connected, Ogden has seen a
great growth in railways. The traveller may now go northward into the
mining regions of southern Idaho, or on to the quartz and placers and
the silver ledges of Montana; or, still further, around Pend' Oreille
and Coeur d'Alêne and down the majestic Columbia to Oregon, Washington
Territory and British Columbia; he may go westward to California and the
Pacific; he may go southward to the farms and mines of southern Utah; or
eastward into the heart of the Rockies and so through to the Atlantic
over the route we ourselves have just passed.

Ogden has some thousands of people claiming it as home; and besides the
large patronage of the railways it is the supplying-center, and the
market for a considerable farming district in southern Idaho. It is a
busy and enterprising and growing town. Its union station is a sort of
narrows through which the larger part of all exchange of men and goods
between the east and west must drain; and there is excitement and
variety enough to keep alive the attention of the dullest witness. The
train that brought us in the morning had sent a merry crowd on to San
Francisco--a train-load of acquaintances in jolliest mood, for the
other incoming trains contributed very few to the company bound
westward. Now the arriving train of the Central Pacific poured across
the busy platform another just such a merry company, filling the cars of
the Denver and Rio Grande, to which our special was attached, and losing
few to the older line.

       *       *       *       *       *

At Salt Lake City, that evening, our faithful Bert had a good dinner
ready for us almost the moment we returned; and, restored to the
comforts of our own bed and board, we made an auspicious and
good-natured entry to Zion, and to Deseret, the chief city of the Latter
Day Saints.


                            SALT LAKE CITY.

  "I have described in my time many cities, both of the east and west;
  but the City of the Saints puzzles me. It is the young rival of Mecca,
  the Zion of the Mormons, the Latter-day Jerusalem. It is also the City
  of the Honey Bee, 'Deseret,' and the City of the Sunflower--an
  encampment as of pastoral tribes, the tented capital of some Hyksos,
  'Shepherd Kings'--the rural seat of a modern patriarchal democracy;
  the place of the tabernacle of an ancient prophet-ruled Theocracy."
                                                        --PHIL ROBINSON.

It was on a Saturday night that we returned to Salt Lake City. It
followed, therefore, as a matter of course, that the ensuing morning was
Sunday. Had the calender not been our authority we might have known it
from the solemn stillness that prevailed--a contrast very vivid and
suggestive after our experience of the Holy Day in the mountain mining

Everybody was eager of course to go to the Tabernacle.

The Tabernacle stands inside the big wall surrounding the "Temple
block," and could have been found by simply falling in with any one of
the currents of Sunday-dressed people which set toward it from every
direction. We went early so as to look about us at leisure.

This square of ten acres was set apart for temple purposes at the
founding of the city, and there the pioneers held their first worship.
There was built the building known as the Endowment House, and there,
thirty years ago, were laid the foundations of the temple, wherein (it
is promised) Jesus Christ shall appear bodily to the faithful as soon as
it is completed. Reared to a height of eighty feet above the ground, but
not yet ready for the roof, its snowy walls gleam in the sun, hot and

There is a little time before the services in the Tabernacle and we go
over to the new building, picking our way among redoubts of the
sparkling blocks of granite. A picture of the building as it will appear
when the work is finished, hung under glass, at the closed door of the
superintendent's office, and enabled us to get a very good idea of how
the great structure would look. The Madame joined the rest of us in
admiration for the massive character of every part of the work.


We found that above the enormous foundations the wall had a thickness of
nine feet, which decreases to seven at the height of the roof. Nor was
this wall hollow, or filled or backed with brick or anything else, but
was made solid throughout of hewn granite. Even the pillars, the
partitions, the stairways, the floors and ceilings in many apartments,
were of solid matched stone. The beveled window openings through these
thick walls are like embrasures of a fort; and the many small rooms in
which it is to be divided, will cause the structure to seem more like a
prison than a religious temple. In fact it is not designed as a house of
worship,--the Tabernacle remains for that--but is intended as a sacred
edifice within which various ordinances of the Church, closely allied to
those of Masonry, now performed in the Endowment House, shall be

The external ornamentation of the great building is original and
symbolical in its plan. The wall is pierced with four tiers of large
windows, the second and fourth tiers being circular. The keystone of
each of the arches over these windows, as well as over the various
doors, bears a star in high relief; and between the windows room is
found for three tiers of circular bosses, eight on each side, upon which
symbols will be carved in high relief. The lowermost of these rows will
bear maps of various parts of the world; the second tier, eight phases
of the moon; and the topmost tier eight blazing suns. The suns, moons
and stars are already cut, but the maps of the earth remain to be

The cost of the temple has been the subject of much public questioning
and careless slander. A man assured us that it had cost sixteen millions
of dollars. This is certainly an exaggeration. I have the word of
President Taylor that the total cost up to the present time has been
about two millions of dollars, derived from the church tithings. The
same work could be duplicated now for a far less sum; but a large part
of this was done before the railway was built, when the stone had to be
hauled from the distant quarries by ox-teams. It is supposed that
another million dollars and two years more time, will complete and
furnish the building. That will be a great day for Salt Lake.

By the time we had finished our inspection of the temple, the Tabernacle
had been pretty well filled by the crowds of people who poured into its
many doors. One of these streams we followed.

The Tabernacle has been so often described and figured that I need spend
little time over it. Imagine an elliptical dome, shingled, set upon a
circle of stone piers about twenty feet in height, and you will have an
image of this extraordinary building. Were it set upon an eminence it
would be as grand in its place (perfectly fitting Utah scenery in its
severely simple outlines) as the Acropolis at Athens.

Service in the Tabernacle is held on Sundays at two o'clock in the
afternoon. The people assemble not only from the city but from all the
country around. Women and children are in great force. The great
amphitheatre supplies seats for thirteen thousand people, and it is
nearly filled every Sunday. A broad gallery closes around at the front
end where the choir sit in two wings, facing each other--the men on one
side and the young women on the other. The space between is filled by
the splendid organ (back high up against the wall) and by three long,
crimson-cushioned pulpit-desks, in each of which twenty speakers or so
can sit at once, each rank overlooking the heads of the one beneath. The
highest of these belongs to the president and his two counselors; the
second to the twelve apostles, and the lowest to the bishops. The
acoustic properties of the building are wonderful; a person standing in
a certain space near one end, can hear the gentlest whisper, or, that
universal test, a pinfall, from quite the other end. A former deficiency
of light, has been overcome by the use of gas and electricity; and the
chilling barrenness of the vast whitewashed and unbroken vault is
relieved by a liberal hanging of evergreen festoons, and trailing
wreaths of flowers made of colored tissue paper. These trimmings are far
enough away from the eye, and in masses of sufficient size to make their
effect very satisfactory.

Every Sunday the sacrament is administered, the tables loaded with the
baskets of bread and silver tankards of water (never wine) occupying a
dais at the foot of the pulpits, upon which several bishops take their
places, and break the bread into fragments. Precisely at two o'clock the
great organ sends forth its melodious invocation, and the subdued noise
of neighborly gossip, which, as the Madame said, "seemed the veritable
humming of the honey bees of Deseret in their house hive," is wholly
hushed. The music at the Tabernacle is far-famed in the west, and gives
constant delight to all the people. The singing is followed by a long
prayer by some one of the dignitaries in or about the pulpits, during
which the time is utilized to prepare the bread and water; and as soon
as the prayer has ceased a large number of brethren begin to pass the
sacred food and drink. Everybody, old and young, partakes, and it is an
hour and a half before the communion is completed. Meanwhile some one of
the highest officers of the church, or perhaps two or three of them in
succession, has been preaching; so that two long hours are exhausted
before dismissal. Such was the experience of our visit, and it was an
average occasion.

The history of Salt Lake City is the history of the "Mormons,"--of the
Church of the Latter-Day Saints in Utah. It begins on the 24th of July,
1847, when Brigham Young, leading the people, who likened their
pilgrimage to a second exodus of Israel, emerged from the long cañon
that had let them through the westernmost range of the Rockies. As the
head of the weary train passed the last barrier they saw spread before
their eager vision a huge basin--miles of sage-green, velvety slopes,
sweeping down on every side from the bristling mountain-rim to the azure
surface of the Salt sea set in the center.

Here, their leader told them, the Lord commanded a halt; here his
tabernacle should be raised. It was done, and to-day a populous city
stands on the site of the first camp of the religious host,--a city as
baffling to describe in its appearance, in its social aspects, in its
pervading sentiment as any which can be found in Christendom. It was
with an intense sympathy for Mr. Robinson, that I listened to the Madame
reading the opening paragraph of the fifth chapter of his "Sinners and
Saints," a part of which I have selected as the motto of the present

Yes, like Mr. Robinson, I would have liked "to shirk this part of my
experiences altogether," but the reader would never have pardoned me.
"What? Leave out Salt Lake City!" I hear you exclaim. "What's the good
of mentioning Utah at all, if you do that?"

Well, to begin with, the city is not on the lake nor within a score of
miles of it. When the pioneers came they descended to the foot of the
last "bench" in which the foothills yield their rights to the plain, and
there made their camp. In the same spot was founded the city. It was
quite as good a locality as any other, no doubt they thought,
considering that the whole region alike was nothing but a plain of
sagebrush. Indeed, you cannot see the lake at all from the city, except
by going up upon the "bench" of higher ground to the northward and
eastward, whence it appears only as a line of distinct color between the
dusty olive of the wide foreground, and the vague blue of the distant

The habitations of the pioneers were not built hastily and at random.
Brigham Young caused a town-site to be carefully surveyed and accurately
laid out, and it was done on a generous scale. The streets were made one
hundred and thirty feet wide, placed true to the points of the compass
and crossing one another at right angles. Each square contains ten
acres, so that when the Madame and I merely walked "around the block"
while I smoked a post-prandial cigarette, we tramped precisely half a
mile. A square of nine blocks was made to constitute a "ward"--now the
city has twenty-four-presided over by a bishop of the church. Despite
his title, he was more a temporal than a spiritual head, deciding all
small matters in dispute in those simple first days when there was no
appeal, nor desire for one, from ecclesiastical decisions to civil
judgment. Even yet, this ward classification enters largely into the
social constitution of the city.

When the streets and wards had been determined each pioneer was given an
acre and a quarter as a town lot, and as much outside land as he could
occupy. This accounts in a great measure for the ample space and
farm-like appearance of the grounds around most of the houses in this
widely dispersed city.

To make this real estate of value, however, water for irrigation must be
brought to it. This was supplied by the "City" creek flowing down from
Emigration cañon, whose current was led into ditches all over the new
colony, and still fills the roadside gutters with sparkling streams,
nourishing many gardens, and the roots of the long lines of varied shade
trees, whose boughs almost reach over the thoroughfares. All the
brethren worked in common at this ditching, and it was done so soon that
within a few days after their arrival seeds had been put in the ground
for the first crop.

"Yes," says the Madame, as I relate this history, "and they say that old
Jim Bridger watched them cynically and said they were a pack of--well,
no matter what kind of fools, and that he would give a thousand dollars
for the first ear of corn raised there."

"That's said to be true," I assent.

"But he had to acknowledge the corn," Chum puts in--and flees!

Formerly this water alone was available for domestic purposes and
drinking, as well as for irrigation, and even yet the poorer part of the
population dip it up at the curbstone for daily service. But the
introduction of pipes and hydrants has now superseded this old way,
though the water is no better; for table use, therefore, the sweet pure
beverage drawn from very deep wells is preferred. Experiments are making
in this respect to artesian wells also.

The houses built by the first settlers were mainly log cabins, and some
relics are still to be found hidden away in blossoming orchards. The
Spanish-American _adobe_ house was also a favorite, and has continued so
to the present, though instead of almost shapeless chunks of mud,
plastered in Mexican fashion, regular unburnt bricks are made by
machinery. These _adobes_ are twice the size of ordinary bricks, and the
wall into which they are formed is made twice as thick as one of burned
bricks would be. Of course this material lends itself to any style of
architecture, and many of the elaborate buildings, as well as cheap
cottages, are made of it, the soft gray tint of the natural _adobe_, or
the gentle tone of some overlying stucco harmonizing most tastefully
with the crowding greenery. Low houses, with abundant piazzas and many
nondescript additions, are the most common type in the older part of the
town; and over these so many vines are trained, and so much foliage
clusters, that one can hardly say of what material the structure itself
is formed. The residences recently built have a more eastern and
conventional aspect, and some are very imposing; but, big or little, old
or new, it is rare to find a house not ensconced in trees and shrubs and
climbing plants, while, smooth, rich, well-shaven lawns greet the eye
everywhere in town, in brilliant contrast to the bleak hills towering
overhead just without the city. As for flowers, no town east or west
cultivates them more universally and assiduously.

"There are no florists here," says the Madame.

"And no need for any--each man has his own plants if not the luxury of a

Salt Lake City, then, is beautiful--a paradise in comparison with the
buffalo plains or the stony gulches in which the majority of Rocky
Mountain towns must needs be set. Nor is there any question as to the
fact that this is wholly to the credit of the Mormons--not because they
were Mormons, but because they were diligent and foresighted, and came
hither not to make a fortune and escape, but to stay and build up
pleasant homes and a prosperous commonwealth. Any other set of men might
have done the same; but certainly no other set of men _did_, for to no
others was presented the same compelling motive.

The suburbs--except toward the rocky uplands northward--grade off quite
imperceptibly, the streets continuing straight out into country roads
between dense jungles of sunflowers,--glorious walls of gold, and green;
and in these suburbs you may find some of the queerest, most idyllic

The two broad distinctions of "Mormon" and "Gentile," are not enough to
represent the elements of Salt Lake society. At least three divisions
ought to be counted. First, the Latter-day Saints; second, the seceders
from the Mormon Church; third, the Gentiles--respectable people, mostly
attendants at Christian churches.

"Such a classification must make queer comrades," remarks Chum, as we
sit talking over these matters.

"I should say so," I reply, "the Jew becomes a Gentile, and the Roman
Catholic becomes a Protestant, making common cause with Calvinism
against the hierarchy of the Temple."

"I do not suppose," the Madame observes, "that they can sink their own
little differences, although allied in one fight; so that society must
necessarily be divided into a lot of little groups, and thus lose a
great deal."

"Yes, the people who profess no religious adherence have rather the
easiest time of it in Salt Lake, I believe."

The non-Mormon part of the citizens probably enjoy themselves more than
they would if the isolation of the locality did not compel them to be
self-centered and contrive their own amusements to a great extent. It is
a society made up of the families of successful merchants and mining
men, of clergymen and teachers, of the officers of the army stationed at
Camp Douglass, and the representatives of the government in the judicial
and other territorial offices. This composition, it will be seen,
presupposes considerable intelligence and cultivation. It was not until
Gentile gold came in to break up the old custom of barter, that the
resources of the Mormon community became really available either to
themselves or to others.

Utah has always been pre-eminently an agricultural district. Out of her
one hundred and fifty thousand people probably one hundred and twenty
thousand are now farming or stock-raising in some capacity or other.
When you look down the valley from the city, your eye takes in a wide
view of fields, orchards and meadows, green with the most luxuriant
growth, and marked off by rows of stately trees or patches of young
woodland. All these farms are small holdings, and though cultivated by
no means scientifically, have long produced well up to their several

[Illustration: GREAT SALT LAKE.]

The exports of all sorts of grain, produce and fruit are large, and
increasing, thanks to this new railway of ours and its encouraging rates
of freight.

The Mormon leaders, and particularly Brigham Young, at first opposed any
attempt at a development of the mineral resources of the territory,
though the latter is said to have been well informed of their character
and value. He forbade all mining to his people, and would have closed
the mountains to Gentile prospectors if he had been able. So far as a
desire existed to avoid the evils of a placer-working excitement,
drawing hither a horde of gold-seekers, this course was a wise one; but
as years went on, it was seen by the shrewder heads among the Mormons
themselves that this abstinence from mining was harmful. There was no
cash in the treasury, and none to be got (I am speaking of early days).
If a surplus of grain was raised, or more of any sort of goods
manufactured than could be used at home, there was no sale for them,
since at that time, the market was so far away that the profits would
all be lost in the expense of transportation.

It is funny to hear the tales of those days. Business was almost wholly
by barter, and payments for everything had to be made by exchange. A man
who took his family to the theatre wheeled his admission fee with him in
the shape of a barrel or two of potatoes, and a young man would go to a
dance with his girl on one arm and a bunch of turnips on the other with
which to buy his ticket. Gentile emigrants and settlers soon began to
bring in coin, but the relief was gradual and inadequate.

Finally, about fifteen years ago, it was publicly argued by more liberal
minds that the only things Utah had which she could send out against
competition were gold and silver. When, from preaching they began to
practice, and enterprising men encouraged outside capital to join them
in developing silver ledges in the Wasatch and Oquirrh ranges, then Salt
Lake City began to rouse herself. Potatoes and carrots and adobes
disappeared as currency, and coin and greenbacks enlivened trade which
more and more conformed to the ordinary methods of American commerce.

One quite legitimate means taken for centralizing of trade was the
establishment, twenty-five years ago, of Zion's Coöperative Mercantile
Institution. In the early days it was extremely difficult for country
shopkeepers to maintain supplies when everything had to be hauled by
teams from the Missouri river, and the most extortionate prices would be
demanded for staples, whenever, as frequently happened, a petty dealer
would get a "corner" on some article. A few great fortunes were quickly
made, but a stop was put to this by setting on foot the coöperative
establishment, which was imitated in a small way in many rural

The design of this institution was to furnish goods of every sort known
to merchants out of one central depot in Salt Lake City under control of
the Church and partly owned by it. This was a joint-stock "coöperative"
affair, however, and the capital was nearly a million dollars. The
people were advised from the pulpit to trade there, but they would have
done so anyhow, for the "Coöp," as they called it, was able to reduce
and equalize prices very greatly. Branches were established in Ogden,
Logan, Soda Springs, and lately a warehouse built in Provo. These and
other additions were rapid. The central salesrooms in this city now
occupy a four-story brick building, three hundred and eighteen feet long
by ninety-seven wide, where every species of merchandise is to be found.
In other quarters are a drugstore, a shoe factory (supplied by its own
tanneries and running one hundred and twenty-five machines propelled by
steam), and a factory for making canvas "overall" clothing. Altogether
about two hundred and fifty persons are employed, working reasonable
hours and for reasonable wages. The stock, which originally was widely
scattered, has been concentrated for the most part in the hands of a few
astute men, who are credited with large profits. There is an air of
great prosperity about the institution, whose business is stated to
reach five million dollars annually, derived almost wholly from Utah.

Though this concern had a practical monopoly at first, as soon as the
railways came to Salt Lake, individual merchants could sell goods about
as cheap, and opposition to it arose.

Religious competition has arisen. Among the first of these local
Protestants was a mission of the Roman Catholics. Now they have a
considerable colony here and in Ogden. The St. Mary's Academy, in charge
of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, has a large building, beautiful
grounds, and the reputation of being a first-class higher school for
girls. There is a school for little boys in the same enclosure. The
boarders at the Academy amount to about one hundred annually, and the
day scholars to one hundred and fifty. The Sisters of the Holy Cross
also have charge of a large and finely-conducted hospital in the eastern
part of the city.

Another hospital is the St. Marks, supported partly by monthly dues from
miners, and otherwise by special contributions. This is in charge of the
Episcopal Church, which has been active in Utah for many years under the
guidance of Bishop Tuttle. St. Mark's School, belonging to the local
church organization, had three hundred and thirty pupils during its last
term. The Methodist Episcopal denomination, also, has churches scattered
about the territory and schools in Salt Lake City, among the rest night
schools for Chinamen, who are an important element of the population.
The Presbyterian Church has set up here a Collegiate Institute, owning
property worth about seventy-five thousand dollars and giving
instruction to about two hundred pupils, from the primary to a
high-school grade. This is unsectarian, as, I suppose, are all the rest
so far as any active religious pressure is brought to bear. The most
exclusive school, probably, is that sustained by the Hebrew Society. As
in other western towns the Jews are in large force in Salt Lake City,
their characteristic names occurring on many a signboard.

The Mormons themselves sustain a system of public schools, in which, in
addition to the usual branches, the tenets of their faith are taught.
These schools are well conducted and will compare favorably with those
in any city the same size.

Salt Lake City is a great center of wholesale trade in provisions and
textile fabrics not only, but in machinery and mining supplies. She has
smelters; a lead-paint factory; foundries and boiler works;
sampling-mills handling two hundred tons of ore a day, brought from far
and near; breweries, carriage and furniture shops; and all sorts of
small factories. Traction engines and locomotives, if not wholly built
there, are reconstructed; and complicated machinery of other sorts is
manufactured. Her salt business, now that a liberal minded railway has
come to her relief, is likely to become of the greatest importance,
which will be a benefit to her, not only, but to all the smelters and
chlorodization works in the Rocky Mountain region.

The city grows rapidly and becomes daily more cultivated and beautiful,
and less _outre_. Every appliance of civilization is utilized, and she
has the best hotels by far between Denver and San Francisco--some think
even better than either, but that is an extravagant estimate. Statistics
show that six hundred new houses were built, five hundred and
seventy-four of them dwellings, at a cost of $1,636,500. By the time the
next census is taken, in 1890, she may contain fifty thousand
inhabitants. The Madame and I thought we would rather make our home in
Salt Lake than in any town west of the Plains; but Chum cast his vote in
favor of Denver.


                       SALT LAKE AND THE WASATCH.

            Behind, the silent snows; and wide below,
              The rounded hills made level, lessening down
            To where a river washed with sluggish flow
                                A many-templed town.
                                             --BAYARD TAYLOR.

One day we all went out to the great Salt Lake, as in duty bound. You
might as well go to Mecca and fail to see the tomb of the Prophet, as to
visit Deseret and avoid the lake. It is a ride of twenty miles by rail,
and the fare for the round trip is only fifty cents. Two trains are run
every day in summer, and they are especially well-filled on Sundays. The
cars used are chiefly open ones, with seats crosswise, like those run to
Brighton and the other Beaches from New York, and it would be good fun
in itself to go racing in this free way across the breezy desert between
the city and the lake, even if there were not the salt waves at the end
of the journey.

For, of course, the only object in going to the lake--or at any rate the
prime object--is the bathing. There are two or three landings, all much
alike, and not far apart; which one it was we stopped at, I have
forgotten, and it doesn't matter. One is called Garfield and another
Black Rock, after a great cubic mass of lava that stands out of the
water a little way from shore like the end of a huge ruined pier.

Unfortunately it is impossible to make trees grow at the shore. The
water and the soil are too bitterly salt; moreover, there is no fresh
water in the rocky hills of the Oquirrh that tower straight up from the
beach, and irrigation is thus forestalled. In lieu of this, a few
wide-verandahed houses and open sheds exist, with several booths made of
boughs and evergreens, under which are long tables and benches for the
accommodation of those who bring their lunches. Nearly every day you
will see these bowers half-filled with picnic parties who have come to
spend the day; and there are frequent excursions from the city, where
large parties go out in the evening, dance all night and return by a
special train in the early morning.

At the edge of the water are rows of dressing closets where the bathing
suits are donned and whence you go by stairways directly into the water.
No special hours are thought preferable. Men and women go in under a
noonday blaze that makes the brain swim on shore, and assert that their
bare heads suffer no discomfort. We thought their crania must be harder
than ours, however, and postponed our dip till the cool of the evening.

While the danger of sunstroke seems very small--the rarity and purity of
the air get the credit for this--the lake is a treacherous place for
swimmers. The great density of its waters sustains you so that you float
easily, but for the same reason swimming ahead is very tiresome work.
Moreover, fatal consequences are likely to ensue if any considerable
quantity of the brine is swallowed. It not only chokes, but is described
as fairly burning the tissues of the throat and lungs, producing death
almost as surely as the inhalation of flame. Of course this occurs in
exceptional cases only, but many persons suffer extremely from a single
accidental swallow. I remind the Madame of this as I lead her rather
timid feet down the steps, and add that most of the sufferers hitherto
have been women.

"That's because they can't keep their mouths shut even on pain of
death," remarks Chum, with malice aforethought. For this remark, some
day, I have no doubt, he will be called to account, by my wife, who
seems more worried at present, however, to keep the brine out of her
hair than out of her mouth.

The powerful effect of this water is not surprising when one remembers
that the proportion of saline matter--about twenty per cent.--in it is
six times as great as the percentage of the ocean, and almost equal to
that of the Dead Sea, though Lake Oroomiah, in Persia, is reputed to
contain water of a third greater density yet. This density is due mainly
to common salt held in solution, but there are various other
ingredients. In Great Salt Lake, for example, only 0.52 per cent. of
magnesia exists, the Dead Sea having 7.82 per cent.; of lime, Salt Lake
holds 1.80 per cent., while the Dead Sea contains only a third as much.
As you look into it the water seems marvelously transparent, so that the
ripple-marked sand and pebbles at the bottom show with strange
distinctness. This is usually adduced as an evidence of its purity, and
in one sense it is so; but it is also the result of its density, since
the invisible particles of salt in it, catch and carry the light to far
greater depths than it would be able to penetrate in distilled water,
which, also, would be perfectly clear. The crystal clearness and intense
color of the water of the Mediterranean is noticed by all travellers;
but it is also the fact that the Mediterranean is considerably salter
than the open Atlantic.

Great flocks of gulls and pelicans inhabit the upper part of the lake
and breed upon the shores and islands; what they all find to eat is a
mystery. No vegetation can survive where the spray of these bitter waves
has dashed, save a miserable little saltwort and a melancholy species of
_Artemisia_, whose straggling and thorny limbs appear black and burnt on
the scorching sands. Salt is made in great quantities in summer, by the
simple process of damming small bays and letting the enclosed water
evaporate, leaving a crust of crystallized salt behind. Several
thousands of tons are exported annually, and great quantities used at
home in chlorodizing silver ores.

I think few persons realize how wonderfully, strangely beautiful this
inland, saline sea is. Under the sunlight its wide surface gives the eye
such a mass of brilliant color as is rarely seen in the temperate zone.
Over against the horizon it is almost black, then ultra marine, then
glowing Prussian blue; here, close at hand, variegated with patches of
verdigris green and the soft, skyey tone of the turquoise. If the lake
were in a plain (remembering the total absence of forest or greensward)
doubtless this richness of color would not suffice to produce the effect
of beauty, but on every side stand lofty mountains. They seem to rise
from the very margin to their riven, bare and pinnacle-studded crests
spotted with snow, though some of them are miles beyond the water's

Two mountainous islands stand prominently in view at the lower end of
the lake--Church and Antelope. On the former some two thousand head of
cattle are pastured. The latter has a less prosaic history, though at
present similarly utilized as grazing-land. When the Mormons first came
hither they wintered their cattle and horses upon it. The eastern side
of the island contains some farming land, and a quarry of roofing slate.

An obliging gentleman told us all about the island, and also gave an
account of what must have been an exciting chase. He said that until two
or three years ago there roamed upon the island a remnant of the
horse-herds once pastured there, numbering fifty or sixty horses and
mares. These were as wild as wild could be, and grazed upon the western
side of the island, which is very broken and rocky, and traversed by
narrow trails that the horses had worn in the hillsides. It was decided
to attempt to capture some or all of these horses and a novel method of
snaring was adopted. Nooses were made at the ends of long lines which
were securely anchored; the nooses were then hung in the bushes in such
a way as to overhang the trail at the proper height. Several mounted men
then got behind a few of the wild herd, and drove them as furiously as
they could frighten them forward along the narrow trails. Overcome with
terror the leading animal never saw the dangling rope, but rushed his
head through the noose and was instantly jerked off the trail. Tearing
wildly past him half a dozen others, one by one went into as many
consecutive snares and were caught.

As each horse was caught, one of the pursuers would hasten to him as
rapidly as possible, fasten the end of the lariat to the horn of his
saddle, and then lose no time in loosening the noose about the captive's
neck, which by that time would have choked the poor beast almost into
insensibility. This done, he would leave the wild and tame animals tied
together, to fight it out, and hurry on to help his companions. In this
way several horses were captured, and proved very docile and capable
when put in the harness.

The story has scarcely been concluded, when we are called to our
homeward-bound train. It is just at sunset--the western horizon a
fountain of fiery gold seen through a saffron veil of ineffable
splendor. The air seems to become saturated--thick with color throughout
the whole space between us and the horizon. The mountains shine through
this veil in a sharply defined mass, not a single feature visible, but
their whole silhouette washed in with a flat tint of marvelous softness
and inimitable delicacy. Yet it changes, almost every instant, and
gradually, as the orb disappears behind the island, and the cloth of
gold laid down for his feet across the lake, is drawn away, the
island-hills and the jagged sierras beyond settle into cold ashy blue,
and the coolness of approaching night already fans our cheeks.

       *       *       *       *       *

Another day we made an excursion up into the cañon of the Little
Cottonwood to Alta--a mining town known all round the world. The place
is not only entertaining in itself, but in its neighborhood are a large
number of easily accessible gorges, lakes and hilltops full of artistic
material and of trout fishing; or, if the tourist goes late in the
season, of good shooting and ample opportunity for dangerous adventures
in mountaineering. The Little Cottonwood is one of those great crevices
between the peaks of the Wasatch range plainly visible from Salt Lake
City, and distinguished by its white walls, which when wet with the
morning dews gleam like monstrous mirrors as the sunlight reaches them
from over the top of the range.

We took the early morning train down to Bingham Junction, so called
because branch roads diverge here, not only to Alta, our destination,
but also to Bingham, a mining camp opposite, in the Oquirrh, which has
attracted much attention in the past and still has very profitable
mines, with many peculiarities of great interest to the specialist. Here
at the Junction stood awaiting us a locomotive heading a train made up
of almost every kind of car known to rolling stock. Whisked away past
fields of lucerne we were quickly climbing the foothill benches and
entering the mouth of the cañon, where the train came to a standstill
underneath an ore-shed and alongside of a beer-saloon. In front of the
saloon stood on slender rails two or three of the queerest vehicles it
was ever my fortune to ride in. If you can imagine the body of a
three-seated sleigh, with its curled up splash-board, mounted upon a
hand-car and rigged with a miniature "boot" behind, you will have an
idea of these vehicles in which we were to finish our trip up the eight
miles of cañon remaining. The motive power consisted of two black mules,
harnessed tandem, and the driver was the conductor of the train, who
disguised himself so effectually in a big hat and bigger duster that it
was a long time before we discovered his identity.

The walls of this cañon are extremely lofty, and in places almost
vertical. Though in crevices and ledges here and there some fearless
bushes and trees have maintained a foothold, yet there are large spaces
of almost upright slope, wholly bare of the least soil or vegetation,
and smoothed by the waters that drip over them, the sliding avalanches
that sweep their faces, and the fierce winds that polish them under
streams of sharp-grained dust. Whiter precipices I have never seen, and
the rock lies in long layers, that in the case of sedimentary rocks we
would call strata, inclined at a very steep angle against the higher
heart of the range within. Here, too, are the usual lines of
cross-cleavage, and in these lines, as well as between the layers, water
finds itself able to penetrate more or less easily. Hence the frost
during past ages has slowly cracked off great masses of exposed cliff
and hurled them down. This rock does not crumble, as would the lavas,
but falls in masses, and with these the bottom of the cañon has been
gradually filled up. The water of the creek finding its way over and
among the great pieces, never ceases to be a cataract, or has a moment
rest from its foaming haste; and our tramway squirmed and dodged among
angular fragments, each as big as a house, which had fallen so recently
as yet to be lying on top of the ground.

It is by splitting to pieces these great detached droppings of the
cliff--solid fragments of the original granite cliff,--that the
contractors get the fine building stone of the Mormon temple in the
city. There is no need to open any quarries. It is only necessary to
drill and blast these big stones lying on the surface, and the demands
of a hundred temples would not exhaust the supply. Men were at work as
we passed, splitting out blocks that were dragged by stoneboats, or sent
along the tramway down to where they could be loaded upon the railroad
cars. Until three years ago every bit of this stone was hauled all the
way to Salt Lake City by bullock teams, and the great expense and labor
account both for the large expense and the slow progress of the mighty

A mile or so above Wasatch station, the tramway entered a snow-shed; and
with momentary exceptions, it never got out of it for seven miles. To
the sight-seer this was discouraging; but it was compensated by the
coolness, for in the stillness of the cañon, the sunshine, reflected
from the dazzling walls, was fiercely hot, and our occasional emergences
into it was like passing before the door of a blast furnace. These sheds
are said to have cost one hundred thousand dollars, though the timber
was close at hand and sawed in the cañon. They were necessary, for this
is a gorge famous for its depth of snowfall and its avalanches. It
required two hours to toil through the sheds and at the end we found as
peculiar a scene of human life as could well be imagined. The cañon
"heads" here, in an almost complete circle of heights, some of which
reach, stark and splintered, far above timber-line. At the disbandment
of General Connor's regiment of Californian troops in 1863, they
scattered through the mountains and among other places came here.
Prospecting the higher slopes, silver ore was discovered, and a host of
miners came in, and began digging on all the hills. The famous "Emma,"
the "Flag Staff," and dozens of other mines were opened. A town,
well-called _Alta_ (high), sprang up, and filled all the level land at
the head of the valley, while buildings, and machinery and dumps dotted
the mountain sides to their topmost ridges. Long paths had marked the
ruin of avalanches before this, but when, to supply timber for the mines
and the cabins, the mountain sides were denuded of their forests, large
areas of deep snow became loosened in every great storm, and slid with
crushing force, tearing up and carrying everything before it, to the
bottom of the slope. Once the whole corner of the town was swept clean
away; again and again miners lost their buildings at their tunnel
entrances. Little work could be done in winter yet many stayed in Alta,
isolated from the world, and at the mines, and many and many a one lost
his life, to have his body found in a horrible condition when the winter
was over. Then in the spring, when the frost was loosening the ground,
and the melting snow was pouring a thousand waterfalls down the sides of
the cañon, the snowslides were succeeded by the giving away of masses of
soil and loose rocks, which came headlong into the bottom of the cañon.
One such avalanche of rocks was pointed out to us which had slid down
the opposite mountain with such force as to carry it clear across, and
almost a hundred feet up the hither slope, sweeping away the tramway,
sheds and all.

Meanwhile the original owners of the mines had sold them in the most
prominent cases, for enough to make the men wealthy. Companies had been
formed, the stock had been put upon the market, and the usual history of
a mining camp was gone through. The "Emma," in the hands of a company of
English capitalists, was made notorious by litigation, and for a long
time was shut down. Now, however, a new era is beginning. Work has been
resumed on many lodes that for years have been idle, and arctic Alta may
yet range herself among the foremost silver-producing localities of the
territory. We were all glad we went up there, yet were quite ready at
four o'clock to return.

When we took our seats in the little sleigh-like car, no mules stood
sedately tandem in front of it; and before we understood that we were
ready, behold we were off! It was merely the loosening of a brake, and
the car began to roll swiftly down the track. That was an exhilarating
ride! Whisking round the curves, rattling through long tunnels, dodging
out into the sunlight to catch a glimpse of a sparkling waterfall, or a
bit of plain seen away down the cañon, then back again into the tunnel,
where gophers and chip-munks and cotton tails were continually perking
up their heads and then scuttling into some small cave of refuge as we
rushed past--on and on, down and down in the face of the stiff breeze
and under lofty walls, without an instant's check, until we glided into
the little terminus, just twenty-five minutes out of Alta!

But our gravity railroading was not done yet. A small passenger car
stood at the head of the railway track by which we had come up from the
valley. As soon as we had entered it, our jolly driver-conductor (there
was no gravity about him!) loosened the brake and we rushed off again
like the ghost of a train, without engine or engineer, and went spinning
down the tortuous track for a dozen miles to Bingham Junction. It was
just as good fun as coasting--and better, for you didn't have to drag
your own sled back up hill again.


                               AU REVOIR.

                End things must, end howsoever things may.

This was our last excursion, and all three of us knew it as we gathered
in our own coach again at Bingham Junction.

"At last," remarks Madame, cheerfully--she is thinking that before many
more days an apple-cheeked little damsel in far New England will be back
in her arms--"we have come, sir, to the final chapter. The emptiness of
your utmost corner-pigeon-hole will reproach you no longer. A few days
more and _Finis_ will be written across the completed manuscript, and
our glorious cruise will be a thing of the past. Meanwhile, sir,
remember your 'Cochelunk,'--

                'Act, act in the living present,
                Heart within and God o'er head.'"

"For instance?" I ask, after this homily.

"Observe, and make a note of, these great meadows of rich grass and the
russet areas where hay has been cut. Note how, among the plumey masses
left standing scarlet flowers are burning like coals--I wonder if
prairie fires ever originate from their igniting the dry and feathery
stalks! See how the Jordan flows stately down the center of this wide
mountain trough, its banks crowded with farmhouses, each in its little
copse of trees. Long lines of Lombardy poplars mark the boundaries of
many farms and willows show where the big irrigating ditches pass or
rivulets trickle. All these things are of the highest interest, and
imply a mass of statistics you ought busily to gather and carefully to
record in tables of precise and copious information."

"Eh?" I say.

What is the matter with the Madame? Is she making fun of somebody whom
she ought to hold in a respect almost amounting to awe? Feeling that I
ought to assert myself I gently hint that this is my affair, and her
help is uncalled for in the matter of book-making; that her own
department is wide enough for all her energies; and that--

But here Chum interrupts in that strix-like way of his which always so
commands attention that one must listen whether or no.

This young man is possessed of a family heirloom in the shape of
several hundred traditions of a more or less mythical grandfather. Some
of these tales are distinctly poetical, while none of them are prosy. It
is one of the traditions coined in the ingenious brain of this talented
old gentleman with which we are now regaled, _apropos_ of the matter in

The old gentleman, it appears, was once--but let his heir-apparent--

"Who," the Madame interrupts maliciously, "has very little hair

"Let him," I say, ignoring the insinuation, "tell his own story."

"Why it was this way, as you very justly remark. The old gentleman was
once captured by the Indians, who, instead of scalping him, decided to
make him a beast of burden. They, therefore, loaded him down with
cooking utensils, the most prominent article of which was the useful,
but heavy frying-pan known in the vernacular as 'skillet.' Each Indian
deposited upon my grandfather's venerable and enduring back, his
skillet. The old gentleman dare not protest, but meekly submitted and
trudged off under his Atlas-like burden. After two hours hard marching,
however, he resolved to argue the question, so he shouted imperatively,


"The Indians paused in wonder. The venerable victim climbed upon a
fallen tree and delivered his famous forensic effort, as follows:

"'Mr. Injuns! I have a proposition to make. _I move that every Injun
carry his own skillet._'

"The modesty and yet fairness of this proposition met with an
enthusiastic reception and every Indian after that 'carried his own
skillet,' which commendable example it would be well for all to follow."

"That's a good story!" I remarked. "A good moral story! This expedition,
my dear Madame, was for fun, not for geographical pedantry; and my book
shall make no pretense to be a cyclopædia, a guide, or a useful
companion of any sort, but just a jolly story of a care-forgetting
vacation. If it jogs the curiosity, whets the appetite, nerves the
fingers, weak through long toil in tying, and untying purse strings, to
come and see what _we_ have seen, that is all the effect that can be
expected; and this much done, the traveller who follows our uncertain
trail will find out far more for himself than we ever could hope to tell
him. Seeing Colorado, no matter how briefly,

            'Of her bright face, one glance will trace
              A picture on the brain,
            And of her voice in echoing hearts
              A sound must long remain.'

"But here we are at Salt Lake, and home again, for one more gay dinner
in the red-walled car; one more gay evening under the cool stars; one
more night's rest in the queer little stateroom. To-morrow, Chum, old
'friend and fellow-student,' in lonely grandeur you will be taking the
long-to-be-remembered 'special' swiftly back to Denver; while the Madame
and I are rolling away to the Golden Gate. Fill your glasses. And what
shall the toast be? The God-wrought landscape we have seen? The
wide-awake people we have known? The splendid railroad whose
achievements we know and of whose hospitality we have partaken? The
glorious 'good times' we've had? The stores of health we have laid away?
Ay, all these and more. Let us toast each other; and then--

                              GOOD NIGHT!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note:

The approximate position of each illustration, including any
caption text, is shown as [Illustration: caption]. Those which
occur in the middle of paragraphs are positioned at the nearest
paragraph break.

Punctuation is sometimes missing from the images used to create this
text, and has been restored. Normally, there is space where the
punctuation was intended. Commas are sometimes vestigial, appearing as
full stops, and have also been restored, without further comment. On
occasion the punctuation is simply incorrect, and has been changed to
follow the conventions elsewhere.

For example, from p. 81:

  "... or deep blue, or washed with an amethystine tint[,/.] Arching over
   all bends the cloudless azure of the canopy."

or, from p. 237:

  so here it is, or at least so much of it as relates to the boy[:]

The few instances of the 'oe' ligature have been rendered as
separate characters.

Spelling is not entirely consistent and is left as printed, with the
exceptions noted below. Hyphenation of compound words varies. Where the
sole instance appears on a line break, the hyphen is generally retained.

The word 'height' was spelled twice as 'hight' (p. 225 & 316), and both
instances were retained. The caption of the image on p. 21 is spelled
'PHEBE', but appears as 'PHOEBE' in the list of illustrations. It is
also retained.

The following table summarizes any other obvious printer's errors that
have been corrected. It also includes a number of dubious spellings or
questionable usage. Misspellings in quoted text are retained.

  p. 15     mig[r]atory                                  Added.

  p. 175    I've hooked him                              Added.

  p. 237    as it relates to the boy[:]                  Added.

  p. 238    [(]until my husband bought him a cap)        Added.

  p. 281    the easter[n]most buttress                   Added.

  p. 285    reconnoisance                                _sic_

  p. 303    and beh[e/o]ld the mountains of Utah.        Corrected.

  p. 309    a strange, [wierd], grand region             _sic_

  p. 314    catatrophe/catastrophe                       Corrected.

  p. 315    Wel[c]hmen                                   _sic_

  p. 315    chara[c]teristic                             Corrected.

  p. 319    eq[u]ally                                    Added.

  p. 320    a[t/s] they called the redskins              Corrected.

  p. 320    su[r]burban                                  Removed.

  p. 321    Brewer's [grakle]                            _sic_

  p. 336    the Mediterranean is considerably [salter]   _sic_
            than the open Atlantic

  p. 339    and our occasional emergenc[i]es into it     Corrected.

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