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Title: Colorado Outings
Author: Steele, James W.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                            Colorado Outings

                            BY JAMES STEELE.

                           BURLINGTON ROUTE,

                          COPYRIGHT, 1898, BY
                    THE CHICAGO, BURLINGTON & QUINCY
                           RAILROAD COMPANY.

    [Illustration: A Colorado Mountain View—The Mount of the Holy Cross,
    as seen from near Leadville.]

                           Colorado Outings.

                               CHAPTER I.
                     Glimpses of a Mountain World.

Colorado—for thirty years no geographical name has been oftener written
in connection with the phrases that express height, vastness, space,
clearness and a colossal beauty that never wearies or changes or grows
old. Hundreds of books, millions of words, have described its scenes.
Many thousands have visited it. Endowed with a beauty of fascinating
awfulness, and with still another beauty that underlies the magnitude
and sits serene amid the grandeur, the inadequate, word-trammeled idea
of it has found endless expression, and yet the scenes of Colorado have
never been described. Whoever has visited her ever after turns aside
from words; whoever has not, can obtain from them but a faint conception
of that which in truth can be imagined only in actual presence—and
hardly even then.

Yet it seems necessary that maps should be drawn, and details written
out, and the camera be called upon to reproduce the stupendous
microscopic detail, and that magnificence should find a biographer and
be put into figures that in the presence of the reality are almost
meaningless. For it is a work-a-day world. The questions of time,
distance, convenience, cost, possibility, cannot be barred from their
foreordained connection in the human mind with even the magnificence
that was builded by the æons; the beauty whose mother was cosmos.

Imagine, to begin with, the extent of this piece of scenery. Colorado
contains 104,500 square miles—66,880,000 acres. Of this vast area—as big
as all New England with Illinois added—two-thirds is mountains. Not such
as claim that name in Maine, New Hampshire, Virginia and the Carolinas,
but Titanic. The height of the average Alleghanies and of the Blue Ridge
is perhaps 2,500 feet. The famed peaks of the chain may rise sometimes
to 5,000 feet. Katahdin is 5,385 feet high, and there are others 3,400,
2,800, etc. The thirteen peaks of Mount Desert Island and vicinity are
from 1,000 to 2,800 feet high. Mount Agamenticus is a hill that claims
670 feet. Kearsarge, historic name, has only 3,250 feet. The Peaks of
Otter, in Virginia, climb to 4,200 feet.

They might all be lost in this Colorado and never be found again. The
state is traversed by the main chain of the Rockies, the oft-quoted
“backbone of the continent,” the huge rooftree of our republic, prolific
mother of rivers, this great watershed gives rise to the Rio Grande, the
two Plattes, the Arkansas, the rivers of central Kansas, the Colorado
that in Arizona passes for two hundred miles between those sheer red
walls that are the scenic wonder of the world, and flows at last into
foreign seas.

Out of this mighty chain and its flanks rise the peaks beside which most
of the serenest heights of the common world are as hillocks; Pike’s,
Gray’s, Long’s, Lincoln, Ouray, Grant, Sherman, Yale, Harvard, Dome,
Spanish Peaks, the Wet Mountains; and scores of others whose heights
range from 11,000 to 15,000 feet. To him who sees them first from afar,
perhaps across eighty miles of plains-country, where the sudden rising
against the sunset of the Rampart range seems impossible—to him afar
these seem not mountains, but clouds. Thenceforth he is required to
modify his views of elevation and to extend vaguely and indefinitely his
notions of the picturesque. For these giants also he may come to know as
familiar things. The flowers he may gather here also, and may place his
hand within the clefts of those red cathedral towers that were not
reared with hands. Here, too, has the human conquered, and up these vast
defiles the railways climb. Puny they seem amid their strange
environment, yet of the vast wonder they are become a part. Were there
nothing else to appal or please, these alone would repay the journey
from afar, for they illustrate once for all the unabashed capacities of
that which amid nature’s wonders, and everywhere is the wonder above
all—the mighty human mind.

    [Illustration: The Colorado Capital—In Sixteenth Street, Denver.]

It is a strange country. The very name is a memento of the passing race
that, first of Europeans, saw these serene pinnacles leaning against the
blue. The name means red, light-brown, ruddy, florid, and may even be a
synonym for joyousness. _A Dios con la Colorada_—go thou merrily with
God—is a phrase one may hear in Seville when lovers part. Why red?
Because the dizzy walls that fence the cataract are in Colorado oftenest
of the rich, dull red-brown that even human architecture chooses for its
stateliest spires. One may imagine the Spaniard who clanked his broken
armor in the Cañon of the Arkansas for the first time, and looked
stiffly up at those ruddy walls, and remembered ever afterward, as most
men do, what he saw in the land that is red.

Sublimity and beauty are not usually convertible terms. They do not mean
the same. Grandeur is austere. Yet here one finds the most singular
combinations of these two incompatibilities. The grandeur is over all;
the overpowering sentiment of the vast domain. Yet in all her nooks and
corners nestles the other—beauty beyond compare. When one looks for the
first time upon the Rampart range, fencing the western rim of that vast
undulating plain like a wall, it is impossible for him to imagine
Manitou and Ute Pass and Cheyenne Cañon and the road to the Garden of
the Gods, nestling there so near at hand beneath the cold dome of Pike’s
Peak. When one is at Cañon City, a pretty town sleeping among its
orchards in the sunshine, he does not think how soon his train will
glide between the mighty jaws of the Arkansas Cañon. When one traverses
drowsily the mesa lands, smooth and wide and given over to bees and
gardens that lie west of Denver, he cannot by himself foresee the Clear
Creek Cañon just ahead, or imagine the six parallel tracks and the
windings and contortions that make the “loop” at its farther end above
Silver Plume. And at Salida, at five o’clock in the morning, when the
mountain world is filled with the turquoise blue—earth and air and sky,
not merely tinted, but full of the strange solid color that heralds the
mountain dawn—he cannot imagine the rare, sweet, thin air of the heights
of the Marshall Pass that is just ahead, or imagine the rocky bosom of
Ouray, bare, solemn, silent, changeless, serene in the vastness of the
upper air, yet so near that one may almost count the stones that strew
that gray summit where human toil and pain have never been.

    [Illustration: Minnehaha Falls—Roadside cascade on the line of the
    Cog Railroad up Pike’s Peak.]

So it is that beauty and grandeur have never been so nearly akin
elsewhere as they are in Colorado. Of nooks and corners and little
valleys and waterfalls grotesque shapes there are almost thousands. One
may sit at a car window all day, not knowing precisely where he is, or
caring, and catch them as they pass and come and go, until his soul is
tired. Yet it is all on a scale of inconceivable immensity. Even the
mesas and tablelands, where the grass grows as on a lowland farm, are
4,000 to 6,000 feet above the sea—more than twice as high as Mount
Everett. There is nothing low. One cannot get down to the plane of all
his life hitherto. The word “valley” is a relative expression; low and
high have not their usual significance. Looking back as the train crawls
up a mountain side in long doubling curves, one is surprised to see
floating far below him a long and trailing film of silver lace;
something so near and ethereal and beautiful that he cannot recognize it
as that which he has looked up to all his life—a cloud. And on one side
the valley sinks away, narrowing and lowering in distance that seems
infinite. One was down there half an hour ago—down in those narrow
depths, and they seemed high. But from the opposite window, whither one
transfers himself to see the very roof of the world, sure that he has
attained to such a height, as he looks out it is still up, up, up the
slanting, narrow track, the world of mountains below, above, everywhere.
Were he now far below he might look up and see this train as it actually
is; see it as one sees the small brown worm crawling slowly in a
slanting line high up on the face of the rugged, lichen-covered rock.

And if one will have it so, that is all there is to do in this world of
mountains—sit still and be carried amid heights and pines and clouds, in
a new air and an upper world that, save in respect of this railroad, has
nothing in it of human things.

Will the reader kindly glance at the map and note this spiderish network
of railways? When was it that the American engineer first discovered
that his art was precisely the opposite of what it had been imagined to
be—traditional—and that it was meant to make a locomotive climb where no
sane and humane man would think of pushing the reluctant donkey, and
amid heights and vastnesses where even the eagle was once, too,
solitary? Before anyone knew it, except the capitalists, the idea had
been absorbed by these unique brains, and the work was done. The result
is one of the most singular that can be added to ordinary human
experiences. Most travelers take it all for granted; it is there, and it
works, and that is all. Utterly unknown to fame, the men who did these
things have finished them and have gone away, but to them, nevertheless,
is due, not one little railway line led on tall steel trestles across a
few difficult places, but the most remarkable railway system of the

Queer experiences—small ones—occur at frequent intervals in the course
of this elevated and tortuous tour. As one passes by he may see a cleft
between the tawny walls that seems to him as narrow as a door—a gateway
into a mass of peaks that appear to lie jumbled and unbroken and
inaccessible for an unknown distance. But here as he looks back he may
see dimly shining in the half light the two steel rails of another road;
a branch, perhaps, but nevertheless leading somewhere into the heart of
this unknown world, and occupying all the space between the opening
walls with their narrow-gauge utilities. And then one wants to return to
that place sometime, and take that disappearing line, and be trundled
into this new kingdom to see what he may find there.

    [Illustration: Map of Marshall Pass.]


Your train may stop at some little station like Mears, beyond Salida.
Already you may have seen creeping up the mountain ahead of your train
another like it. And here at Mears, looking out and upward from your
window you again see this little train, this time directly above you two
or three hundred feet, on another track, and snakily gliding away
through a narrow gateway into the south. Reference to a map teaches you
that this was not a happening, and that this narrow gateway, as unreal
as a stage scene to the eye, and having a similar effect, is the opening
of an extensive system covering Southern Colorado and extending into New

Scores of times you see, away above or far below, another track. You may
see only a section of it, cut off by rocks at each end, and manifestly
having nothing to do with you and your travels. Then a person suggests
that we were at that place half an hour ago, and asks if you think we
have any connection with still another track, glimpses of which may be
caught on the side of a mountain directly across, with a yawning chasm
between that would make a crow dizzy if he looked down. And after awhile
one is there also, looking across to where he once was, and in his heart
not believing it.

All over this majestic mountain world, without a moment of weariness or
hunger, without cold or heat or loss of rest, seeing all and realizing
little; this is the material and artificial wonder of Colorado travel.

Mingled with these general sensations are the special wonders—the places
and scenes that have been described in thousands of pages. In the case
of most of them it was never of much avail to try to put them into
words; with them all the camera reproduces in miniature scientifically
exact, but failing utterly to convey any other meaning than that of
prettiness, and there is not anything in Colorado that is merely pretty.
When one says that the mountain torrent foams and tumbles among the
rocks beside the track in the cañon for eight or ten miles, it is
useless to say more. Then this camera comes; a wonderful and
indispensable machine, it is true; and makes the white waterfall as big
as one’s thumb nail—a foamy spot in a suggested colossal setting—and
that is all. The restlessness, the tinkle, the indescribable sound of
breaking foam, the overhanging shadow, the glimpse of the far blue sky
above and far beyond, the sense that this is nature, careless utterly of
you and all your tribe—all these things are left out. To be amid these
scenes is to live in a new way during the fleeting time that one is
there, and going away again it is to remember more vividly after ten or
twenty years than you did the day after you saw them first.

Scores of places are not in the guidebooks at all that strike the casual
stranger as vividly as anything that is. Every man’s Colorado is his
own. Descriptions weary him. In them the words, however well chosen,
illustrate only the orotund and the declamatory, not the thing
described. All the guidebooks need much to be done again, and there does
not live the man who can effectively rewrite them. Presence is required;
presence undeterred by all that is merely written, here or elsewhere.

It might be not unprofitably remembered that much of the pleasure lies
in the unmentioned things that lie between. One need not pass all the
fourteen miles of the Black Cañon looking for the single towering red
shaft that is called the Currecanti Needle. He need not wait and watch
for Chipeta Falls—a little snow-born rivulet that commits ten thousand
suicides in its tumble down the cliffs to die at last in the little
tumbling river that never notices, and goes on forever. He need not shut
his eyes because the guidebook gives him the impression that just ahead
somewhere stands that special wonder that he is almost sure he came so
far particularly to see. The entire endless, solemn, silent, chaotic
mass that fills the view for days has all its entirely undescribable

And amid it all live the plodding sons of men. Each little mountain nook
where there is water has its occupant. Often there are ranch houses, and
cattle and haystacks. Little mountain towns cling to the bench here and
there. These things seem strange to us, but how must the wide Nebraska
cornfield seem to the man who was born and reared amid scenes like

A man said he did not want any of that land; he thought it might pay,
but he was not willing to undertake a Colorado farm with any hope of
success. Would not a man, he inquired, go out in the morning with the
best intentions, but with almost the certainty that he would sit down on
the plow-beam and look at these mountains almost all day? And he was
morally sure, besides, that he could never wait until Saturday, as they
did in Michigan, to go a-fishing. Look at the river, he said, can a man
stay away from that to farm?

    [Illustration: A Nook in Estes Park.
    James’ Ranch.]

These are but glimpses. They fail, too, just as the guidebooks do, and
there is a vivid glimpse of but one fact—that a man can see and know,
and yet utterly fail to convey to any other human his conception of
anything beyond the merest commonplaces of a country that sends no
messages, writes no embellished chapters, and talks to her visitors only
as the sibyl did—personally and mysteriously or not at all.

                              CHAPTER II.
                        The Colorado of Reality.

There are two view-points for Colorado, as there are for a woman who has
two great endowments; wealth and personal beauty. Colorado is like such
a woman. Captivating all comers, she yet claims importance as an
industrial entity; a country with vast resources. In 1897, for example,
she produced something more than thirty millions in yellow gold. She
feeds herself besides, and has fruit, beef, wheat, galore.

But, attracted first by beauty, it is not such statistical, and withal
very pleasant, things as these the casual visitor cares most about. He
wants rather to understand the qualities and characteristics of so
unique a piece of God’s creation.

For it will finally come to be understood that of all the mountain
kingdoms she stands first, not even Switzerland and her Alps offering
more than a fair comparison. That crescent chain which forms the
chiefest attraction of Central Europe covers altogether an area of about
95,000 square miles. Its crowning peak, Mont Blanc, is 15,784 feet high,
the most famous and most often named of the mountains of the modern
world. But Colorado has many peaks lacking little of this height, and
they stand amid others much higher than, but not nearly so bleak, as
those the Alpine chain is made up of. The famous Jungfrau is 13,393 feet
high. The Matterhorn is still lower. Vegetation ceases at a lesser
height than it does in Colorado. The pass of the great St. Bernard is
8,170 feet high. Marshall Pass in Colorado is 10,850 feet, and is
climbed every day by the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad and not much said
about it. Veta Pass is over 9,000 feet high—another railway station. The
town of Leadville, a familiar residence for twelve thousand people, is
10,200 feet above the sea. Some of the beautiful and famous parks of
Colorado have their lowest depths higher than the average height of the
Alpine chain.

Vegetation is less affected by the altitude here than it is in Europe.
Cattle live all the year on indigenous grasses at elevations and in
pastures that figures of height would relegate to the woodchuck and the
mountain goat. Vegetables and fruits are raised in abundance in mountain
valleys wherein in Central Europe the vast, slow-crawling glacier would
lie. Timber line, and just above it eternal snow, mark 6,000 feet in the
Northern Alps. In Colorado 10,000 is not in all cases the limit of
vegetation, and the perpetual snow line is fixed at 11,000 feet, though
on many heights almost unknown.

    [Illustration: In Estes Park—James’ Ranch—Distant View.]

Nor is the impression correct that Colorado is all mountainous. It is
all of the mountains, mountainlike, but at least one diversifying
feature is the parks. It is a Colorado name for mountain-fenced
enclosures. No other mountain country has it, neither has any other the
especial feature. The Colorado “park” is distinctive and remarkable.
Many of them are of small size, by which it must be understood that they
are perhaps no bigger than Rhode Island or Delaware. Those four that are
named on the map are at least as large as some of the more important of
the New England states. These are North Park, Middle Park, South Park
and San Luis Park in the extreme south.

North Park lies near the northern boundary of the state, and is the
basin into which run the numerous small streams which gather to make a
beginning for the North Platte River, which runs all the way across
Nebraska and into the Missouri a few miles south of Omaha; a good twelve
hundred miles as it turns. It was a famous game country, and now its
streams abound in the dainty-tasting mountain fish. Its surface is
alternatively meadow and forest. It is the highest in elevation of the
four great parks, and one of the loveliest regions in the world.

Middle Park lies next this to the south, separated from it by a range of
mountains; one of the numerous “Continental Divides,” and big enough to
be that, as are all others of the same name. Here rise the waters that
finally flow into the Colorado of the West, and at last reach the Gulf
of California; those that flow east, as the Platte, rising on the other
side of the range. This park is fifty miles wide by about seventy long,
and its floor is not a plane, but is traversed by ranges of hills of
about the magnitude of the Alleghanies. There are several distinct and
extensive valleys. But the rim is studded with some of the highest peaks
of the state, among them Gray’s Peak, Long’s Peak and Mount Lincoln,
rising to an elevation of 13,000 to 14,000 feet.

Beside it on the west lies the smaller basin, called Egerea Park, and on
its northeast side is Estes Park. At its southeast corner lies the wee
county of Gilpin, one of the oldest, longest-yielding and richest gold
districts of the world.

South Park is thirty miles wide and about sixty long; a basin that
furnishes the headwaters of the Arkansas and South Platte rivers. It is
the best known of all the parks, as the discovery of rich mines in early
times opened roads and established settlements. The scenery is charming,
and fine pasturage and water offered superior inducements to those who
were in Colorado at a time when a man could much more easily have what
he fancied than he can now. The three hours’ ride across the southern
edge of this park on a clear afternoon, on the Colorado Midland road, is
an event to one new to these scenes. Here the South Platte River loses
entirely the character one learns to think is that of every mountain
stream, and has not even banks. The clear stream, entirely unruffled,
lies in innumerable bends—almost coils—along this level floor, without
any willow fringes, or even tall grass, just bank-full and no more. But
it makes up for this preternatural quietness when it breaks into its
foreordained cañon at the eastern edge, and begins its journey of some
hundreds of miles into Central Nebraska, where, in Lincoln County, it
joins its twin, which rises in North Park. Looking at the map one
wonders what mysterious affinity brings these two divergent branches
together at last, across distance, high mountains, wide plains and every
obstacle possible to running water.

    [Illustration: Hell Gate, on the Colorado Midland Railway.]

The San Luis Park is the last and largest of these unique mountain
amphitheaters, and lies in the southern portion of the state. It
surrounds a beautiful lake of the same name, some sixty miles in length,
and into which run nineteen streams. The San Luis Lake has no known
outlet, but in the respect of being fresh and not salt it departs from
the usual rule of lakes with no outflowing waters. This area of about
18,000 square miles, included in San Luis Park, is among the choicest
known for the uses of civilization. It was the only portion of what is
now Colorado that was to any great extent permanently occupied by the
Mexicans. About 25,000 of them lived here when our occupancy began, and
fully that number of their descendants are there still. It was into this
region that one Lieut. Zebulon M. Pike, of the United States army,
blindly wandered while he was surveying interior Louisiana—how strangely
the matter-of-fact old story reads now—and was politely taken in and
escorted to the capital, the opulent and ancient Santa Fe, and much
further elsewhere. He died in battle at last, a soldier and the son of a
soldier, and this little excursion into wilds absolutely unknown so
short a time ago gave him the most colossal and enduring of
monuments—Pike’s Peak.

In this beautiful region—where, besides the nineteen streams that feed
San Luis Lake, sixteen others flow into the Rio Grande, here a little
white mountain stream newly born—it is surprising how little great
elevation affects trees, grass and flowers. It is an all-the-year cattle
country at almost any height. Big trees grow 10,000 feet above the sea.
Cereals and the tender vegetables thrive at 7,000 feet, and potatoes at
8,000. Beautiful flowers and all the grasses are found at 11,000, and
the pines and firs are of fair size at 11,500 feet.

It is singular the discriminating eye for a good thing the early
Spaniard had, here and in California, especially the padres. They knew
it when they saw it, and took it and kept it for a considerable time.
And then we got it—always. And they accept us as neighbors and
fellow-citizens and lawmakers without any ill-will, and keep on doing
just as they always did, and as their ancestors did in Spain four
hundred years ago.

When the reader has assimilated the idea of these Colorado parks he is
left only one other mental task—to conceive of all the rest as a
piled-up succession of panoramas. Behind each other, far into the purple
distance, the ranges lie tier upon tier. The valleys that lie between,
great and small, number thousands. There are in Colorado two hundred and
sixty snow-born small streams, but large enough to have each a name.
There are nine named lakes. There are sixty-three rivers. Besides some
seventy peaks that are still unnamed there are about one hundred and
fifty towering domes that have names already given.

Amid these general scenes lie half-hidden those that are particularly
beautiful; the nooks and corners where one wonders grudgingly when one
comes upon them if they have lain there through the ages, and have been
as beautiful as they are to-day, wasted, so to speak, in a world where
gems are so very rare. There is an impression, held without warrant, but
natural, that these places have charms, yes, but that they are overrated
and overwritten after the manner of western efflorescence and the
frontier desire to surprise. The truth is that quite such scenes and
places do not exist elsewhere in all the world; that when white men
first saw some of them they were unable to convey to others any adequate
idea of them by means of even their own picturesque vocabulary. Since
then, and always, the same difficulty exists, because in the inadequacy
of mere descriptive words the idea becomes confused, and exaggeration is
taken for granted. There is a natural reason why hundreds of men and
women should go to Colorado, should meet there a revelation of natural
beauty that leaves them permanently affected, and yet should speak of
their experiences only to each other. It is useless to talk, or, alas!
to write.

    [Illustration: Sopris Peak, near Aspen, as seen from the Valley.
    12,972 feet high.]

                              CHAPTER III.
                 The Colorado Pleasure Ground—Manitou.

When the Colorado visitor comes for the first time he is fortunate if
his approach is by one of those lines whose trains, like those of the
Burlington, come careering across the high plains from the eastward at
an hour that shows the notched and serrated mountain wall against the
sky. There is no other mountain approach in the world like that to
Colorado from the east. Here is the sudden ending of that wide and
silent vastness in which the modern traveler now lives less than
twenty-four hours, but which the old-time wanderer dwelt in for more
than a month. To reach this mountain world, ending abruptly at the
plain, is a surprise. Let one ray of sunshine lie upon a peak, far in
the distance, and it is known that the fleecy texture of a cloud could
not give back that peculiar glint, cold and bright and half a frown, and
that these huge shapes are, at last, the Rocky Mountains. Such a glimpse
may not occur to the railway traveler once in a hundred journeys, but if
seen it is a suggestion of the spires that Bunyan saw; the Beulah that
lies beyond the river.

  More than a quarter of a century ago, before the time of the
  transcontinental lines, the present writer, visiting his guard lines
  at 4 o’clock in the morning on the banks of the Purgatoire, has seen
  one rose-colored spot high up among the fading stars, and wondered
  what it was. The mirages of the plains had shown no mountains to the
  westward while daylight lingered. It was the sunrise on Pike’s Peak,
  eighty miles away.

To this eastward edge of the mountains and western ending of the plains
all westward travelers come first, and it is here that the majority
linger. In it are situated Denver, Colorado Springs, Manitou, Pueblo,
Trinidad, Golden, Boulder, Fort Collins, Greeley, etc. These names are
all familiar. Their situation in respect to each other is in a crooked
line running north and south along the edge of the high plains, and
about three hundred miles long. Greeley is furthest north and Trinidad
furthest south. Denver is the center of the line, singularly situated as
the gateway to all that lies to the westward.

It is useless to attempt to occupy attention with a description of this
beautiful and well-known city. It is in reality of the plains, though
standing at an elevation of over five thousand feet. To it all roads
lead, and from it all go out toward the nooks and corners of an
intricate mountain system. The foothills of the real mountains rise
behind it, as high as the average Alleghanies.

Southward and northward from Denver lie the resorts that all tourists
visit, whether or not they go into the interior, whose general aspects
have been sketched in a previous chapter. Chief among these is Manitou.

    [Illustration: The road from Manitou to the Garden of the Gods—One
    of the most beautiful drives known.]

To visit Manitou it is necessary to take one of three lines running
directly south from the capital to Colorado Springs, a distance of
seventy-eight miles. This city is built on the mesa, and to be a health
resort was not its original purpose. But such it is, and it has a wide
reputation with that class who wish to avoid the activity and merriment
of Manitou, which lies in sight to the westward. The hotels are fine,
and, speaking largely, every day in the year is sunny. To be able always
to see the mountains, and to be able also at any time, and by an easy
railroad or carriage ride, to enter some of their most beautiful nooks,
is an attraction to many hundreds of people. The town has a population
of about twelve thousand, and an elevation of nearly six thousand feet.
Like Denver, it stands on the edge of the plains.

Between Denver and Colorado Springs or Manitou there are several smaller
resorts, all on railroad lines running south from Denver. Among these is
the village of Castle Rock, deriving its name from the castellated cliff
under which it nestles. Perry Park, a little distance away from the
line, is in a park filled with rock formations similar to those found in
the famous Garden of the Gods, near Manitou. Palmer Lake lies in the
midst of good foothill scenery. The peaks of the Snowy Range are visible
from near this point, and the walks and drives of the neighborhood are
fine. Glen Park, half a mile away, is the Chautauqua of Colorado. It is
one of the prettiest glens in this region of nooks and glens, and the
cliff behind it is 2,000 feet high. The Chautauqua assembly is held here
annually, and otherwise the place is used for summer residence and for

Almost midway between Colorado Springs and Manitou, and in sight of
both, is the old town of Colorado City. It was the first capital of
Colorado, and in some one of the now dilapidated log buildings,
wanderers in an unknown land called themselves to order after the manner
of the usual American empire builder.

Manitou—About this unique spot there will always be something to say.
But generalities do not describe it. He who has not been there at all
can get from them no conception of the real place. And it is not so much
a place as it is a locality; the center of a group of beautiful places
that have made it, with its surroundings, a spot once seen never to be

Imagine the outward opening of Ute Pass—a cleft in the undulating
mountain wall extending backward and upward. It opened into the plain,
as Pike’s tattered wanderers first saw it, in V-shape, and in this notch
bubbled three or four peculiar springs. There was no one there. The
antelope and buffalos from the plains, and the black-tailed deer and
elks from the mountains came there to drink. The Utes trailed down the
rocky cañon that bears their name, single file, afoot, and camped beside
the springs. One of them went out to the edge of the mesa, east toward
Colorado Springs and lay down on his naked stomach and peeped out over
the plain from behind a sage bush, and was on picket duty there to watch
lest the plains Apache catch his kindred unaware.

    [Illustration: Car and Engine used in the Ascent of Pike’s Peak by
    the Cog Railroad.]

The waters bubbled as they rose, and had a faint sweetish taste, and the
savages, and all who have since tasted them, liked them well. They were
“medicine waters,” too. There is a pleasant supposition that these
painted savages named the place “Manitou”—a name used by the Indians of
Cooper and tradition to express the idea of a spirit, God or Devil,
indifferently. It is a pretty name in sound, and the legend does not the
slightest harm. In reality, the Utes owned these unknown mountains in
large part, and they also liked to hunt buffalo on the plains, and they
passed this place in their migrations because it was convenient and they
were thirsty. All that is left of them now is their one supposed word,

Then, as now, the strange wind-wrought obelisks of the Garden of the
Gods stood near at hand, and in the trail the huge Balanced Rock seemed
waiting to be pushed to its fall by some passing child. Then, as now,
the gateway, guarded by its red perpendicular portals, springing more
than three hundred feet straight up from the level plain, stood open.
The clefts in the mountain’s flank that are called the north and south
Cheyenne Cañons were there as now, and the cascade that falls in seven
leaps five hundred feet in the southern cañon was there, it is almost
difficult to believe, precisely as it is to-day and as it has been for
ages. All the trees were there; the Douglas spruce, the Rocky Mountain
pine, the Picea Grandis, the creepers, the mauve and white clematis,
and, over all, towering and inaccessible, the red granite walls.

The twin cañon to the northward held its tumbling waters too, and Seven
Lakes, Monument Park, Rainbow Falls, Manitou Park, Williams’ Cañon, Cave
of the Winds, Engleman’s Cañon, Red Cañon, Crystal Park, Glen Eyrie—all
these were the same as now, but unnamed and almost unnoted. Nothing in
the modern world is ever done until a railroad comes.

Yet there has been a change; as great a change as the ingenuity of man
can make in everlasting things. The Manitou Grand Caverns have been
discovered and opened, precisely as though nature had not been lavish
enough before, and must needs do some other brilliant thing through
man’s accident and luck. Wagon roads have been graded in all directions,
and from one famous place to another, until there is no pleasure ground
in America, possibly in the world, so well equipped for out-of-doors
pleasure in a climate that has no vicissitudes, and amid remarkable
scenes that have been clustered around this one favored spot with a
profusion unknown elsewhere in all the civilized world.

To South Cheyenne Cañon from Manitou it is nine miles; to North Cheyenne
Cañon eight and one-half; from the mouth of the cañon to the Rainbow
Falls and Grand Caverns it is one and one-half miles, and every visitor
wishes it was further, because it is a road of rugged sweetness quite
unequaled; to Red Cañon it is three miles; to Crystal Park, three; to
the Garden of the Gods, three—a drive lovely as pleasure knows, with an
extraordinary scene at the end of it; to Glen Eyrie it is five miles; to
Monument Park by “trail”—which is native for a fine riding road—it is
seven and one-half miles; by carriage road it is nine miles; to Seven
Lakes, again by trail, it is nine miles; to the summit of Pike’s Peak,
this time by the Cog Road, it is nine wonderful miles, with an elevation
rarely attained in this life at the end of it; to the same by trail it
is thirteen miles. There are four ways of going up this mountain, to
climb which was a few years ago a remarkable feat—afoot, horseback, by
carriage and by rail. All these ways are practised, according to the
spirit and physical condition of the visitor. The bicycle, for only this
once, is not included.

These are some of the show places, the world-renowned scenes about which
there cannot easily be any exaggeration. People linger among them for
months, and go to them again and again.

But in addition to these there are scores of mountain nooks and corners;
cañons, caves, waterfalls; private places that the visitor seeks out or
casually finds for himself. There are acres, and quarter and half acres
that have been discovered hundreds of times, and are owned, practically
without cost, by the finder for so long as he lingers amid these scenes.
There may be sometimes a pair, to whom the place is a joint-stock

Within the limits of Manitou there are nine springs, all cold mineral
waters. They are of two kinds; the “soda” springs, effervescent and
resembling in taste and quality appollinaris water, and the iron
springs. All are medicinal, and all have records of cures. They are at
least the nucleus of an agreeable supposition: the beautiful scenery,
the crisp mountain air, the out-of-doors, the inducements to activity,
the tiredness that is really rest—these are the health-restoring
facilities of Manitou. The waters are very pleasant, and may be regarded
as a duty, always with the understanding that if the visitor is made
over again in the course of a few weeks, as he often is, he may ascribe
it to the waters if he wishes.

    [Illustration: The Colorado Mining Industry. Miner’s Pack Train near

It is manifest that of such a place a volume might be written. The
specific attractions of each attraction cannot here be described. It
would be useless space-writing if they were. Manitou, once visited,
remains ever after a picture of the mind, never put into words. Over
all, always, shimmers the indescribable Colorado sunshine, a light that
is not of other lands.

So far as creature comforts are in question, Manitou has long been
sumptuously equipped. There are five large hotels, capable of
accommodating an aggregate of over twelve hundred guests. There are,
besides, many small hotels, and there are cottages that may be rented
for periods of weeks or months.

One of the notable works of man at Manitou is the Cog Railroad to the
summit of Pike’s Peak. It was completed in 1891, and is in many respects
singular even for its kind. It climbs in the eight and three-quarters
miles of its length to a height of 14,147 feet above sea level. It cost
half a million dollars, and the construction is of the very highest
class. There is a cog-rail in the center, between the two other rails,
which weighs a hundred and ten tons to the mile. At intervals of two
hundred feet the track is anchored to heavy masonry. Brakes are so
contrived that the train can be stopped on any grade within a distance
of ten inches. The trucks of the cars and engines are always tilted at
the angle of the ascent, but in the case of the former the seats are
level to the sitter, and the engines are built high at one end and
remain so, even on level ground. The engine does not pull the train, but
pushes it. Three hours are consumed in making the ascent, and a hundred
passengers make a load for the train. Stops are made at interesting
points on the way up.

There are many feats of engineering and in the overcoming of great
physical difficulties that render this the most remarkable of the
climbing passenger railroads of the world. The ascent of this big
mountain was always a feat by the ordinary means; the elevation is one
not usually attained in this life under any circumstances, and the
sensations are indescribable in words.

No attempt is here made to describe in detail the scenes within the
scenes at Manitou. No one who has been there ever attempts this even in
ordinary conversation. They who return from the Cheyenne cañons or the
Garden of the Gods are ever a silent company. That name Manitou should
be applied to the entire region, as indicating vaguely that spirit far
removed from the platitudes and tediousness of ordinary language and
common life that pervades it all.

    [Illustration: A famous piece of railway construction—“The Loop,”
    above Georgetown.]

                              CHAPTER IV.
                   The Colorado Pleasure Grounds, II.
                          The “Loop” Journey.

In almost the opposite direction from that which takes the visitor to
Manitou, and still near the eastern rim of the mountains, is one cañon
that can be visited from Denver in a day. It lies upon one of the lines
of the U. P., D. & G. road, and is known as Clear Creek Cañon.

This defile in the mountains has been long known. When Colorado was
young it was a miners’ wagon road over the range. Tens of thousands have
seen it, and it still remains, especially to one who has no time to see
the overpowering scenery in the interior, an experience not to be left

From Denver it is fifteen miles to Golden, which is the simple name of a
town, one of the original gold camps, over a stretch of country that was
once an inlet of the great plains sea, and is as level as the Nebraska
prairie. It is a fruit, farm and ranch country, suggesting nothing of
the scene that is so near at hand. The basin in which the town lies is
the bottom of this sea, and the rocks around the shore are water worn,
and show where the waves once lapped. But a little distance beyond lies
the opening to this famous gorge and its tumbling stream, and thence the
road follows it for more than twenty miles.

The place, like most cañons, is apparently a cooling crock; a place that
opened in the shrinking of the crust when the white-hot world began to
harden. The projections of one side vaguely fit the indentations of the
other. Very often the red walls come very close together, revealing, as
one looks upward, only a narrow blue streak where the sky is.

Imagination, and a desire to have a place of beginning in detailed
descriptive writing, have given these rugged rock faces peculiar
resemblances, and fantastic names. They become faces, bold profiles,
fairy castles. But the dignity of the place does not bear out any of
these similitudes. Its charm lies in a general massive beauty; a
something that is feebly expressed by the word “grandeur.” This is
enhanced by the fact that one is there at the bottom of the gorge, and
can look upward to dizzy heights that are constantly changing before the
eye. There are places where the sun does not shine; others where the
walls widen a little and one catches a glimpse of white peaks far off.
Foaming along the bottom runs Clear Creek—now often of a color far from
clear because of its admixture with tailings from extensive mining
operations far toward its head. It is useless, here or elsewhere, to try
to describe these Colorado torrents. They make a picture upon the inner
consciousness, and one can shut his eyes long afterward and see and hear
them. But they have no _technique_; only some human picture has that;
and they are not the proper subjects of the inadequate things we know as
words. All that a distant reader can be asked to do is to imagine a
plain suddenly estopped by a red wall of rocks. In this wall a narrow
gateway; a square, sheer opening, and into this he glides. After the
entrance the walls grow higher and higher, and for half a day he is
seated in a gliding box with a roaring torrent beneath or beside him,
and these vast walls fencing him in on both sides. There are hundreds of
sharp turns, and often the sides of his upholstered gliding box almost
touch the wall. There is no opening but that which is toward the sky.
For countless ages only these foaming waters broke the silence here. It
is interrupted now only by the feeble clank of the wheel upon the
rail—the wheel and rail that are, after all is said, the only powers
that may not be daunted by such scenes.

In the V-shaped opening at the western end of Clear Creek Cañon lies
Idaho Springs, a mining town, where, if these scenes are new to the
visitor, odd glimpses may be caught of a life and traffic to most of the
world unknown. The surrounding hills are marked with white spots high
up, and these scars are almost countless. Mining is everything, and
everywhere, and scenery is incidental. But Idaho Springs, as its name
might indicate, is also a health resort. The springs consist of both hot
and cold mineral water, and there is a natural vapor bath and boiling
springs. The climate is celebrated even in Colorado.

    [Illustration: Country Road Bridge over the Uncompahgre
    River—Western Colorado.]

Fourteen miles further westward is Georgetown, and the road thither is
simply an extension of the Clear Creek Cañon, here taking the form of a
sloping-sided and very narrow valley. The town has a population of
nearly four thousand people. These mountain towns, sheltered by the high
ranges, have all a more equable climate than Denver. There is hardly one
that is not both a winter and summer health resort. Strong men who came
to this country many years ago with weak lungs, seeking the one great
desideratum of a climate where they could live all the year out of
doors, have gone wherever occupation and circumstances drew them in the
mountains, and are conscious as a rule of no great difference in
locality within certain well-defined and very wide lines. Winter does
not interfere with any industry of the country. The sheltered valley,
wherever it lies in central and southern Colorado, at least, furnishes a
residence for that large class who would surely die in two years in the
east, who know that fact, and who live here in health until they are

Perched high above Georgetown is the famous “Loop,” a wonderful piece of
railroad engineering skill. The mining town of Silver Plume is perched
at the apex of this work. Many eastern roads have “Horseshoe” and
“Muleshoe” curves, and make lithographs of them, and speak of them as
engineering triumphs worthy of the passenger’s particular attention. So
they were in their time, but they have been incalculably surpassed in
dozens of cases in Colorado.

The word “Loop” is in this case largely a misnomer. It is a railroad
_coil_. The doubles and turns are carried to an extent to the date of
its building unknown to railway engineering. There are places where one
can count five tracks below him from his window, apparently having no
connection with each other. The entire entanglement lies about ten
thousand feet above sea level. Still higher above the uppermost turn
there are working mines, the little square openings to which are like
dormer windows let into the immeasurable sloping roof of the world. The
casual traveler does not understand, the present writer does not know,
how these openings are reached from the lower world. There are said to
be lateral paths, not seen from the railway, where the patient and
remarkably clear-headed burro hath his mission as a very common carrier.
It was once thought beneath the dignity of the average American to use
this plodding beast as his assistant, but the exigencies of steepness
bring him at once far to the front. All over Colorado he is a factor,
eating little, working much, patient, plodding, long eared and long
lived, content as always with thistles and sunshine.

    [Illustration: Glimpse of the Valley of Grand River—A characteristic
    Colorado valley scene.]

Two and one-half miles from Georgetown is the famous Green Lake. It is
10,000 feet above the sea. It is full of fish, largely mountain trout,
not now, however, as easily caught as they were in early times. It is a
huge basin full of perfectly clear, deep water, but there is a
prevailing tint of green; water, sand, moss, and even the oar drippings,
are all green. At certain hours in late afternoon, when all the shadows
and reflections are right, it is possible to catch glimpses of its great
depth. There is a forest there, the trees still standing, but turned to

Seven miles away is Argentine Pass, where the highest wagon road in the
world is. From this pass there is a view that is remarkable, and for
this alone, the delightful road excursion to the pass is made by
hundreds of people every year. Four miles from Green Lake is Highland
Park, a resort and famous place for picnics. One day’s ride by stage
takes the tourist to Grand Lake, the largest body of water in Colorado.
This lake is also full of trout, and its numerous tributaries afford
fishing in plenty to those who like running water. The surrounding
region has grouse and large game in plentifulness quite remarkable for
these late times.

In Clear Creek Cañon, coming up, a rather remarkable railway junction is
found. It is called “Forks of the Creek,” and there does not seem to be
much room for car yards and switches, since the place is merely the
running into the main cañon of a lateral one, with its walls little less
steep and high than those of the main gorge are. But the branch line
from here goes to Black Hawk and Central City, famous mining towns.
These places can be reached also from Idaho Springs—by stage across the
six miles intervening, done in one hour. On this stage road lies Russell
Gulch, where in 1858 the first paying gold east of California was
discovered by a man named Russell from Georgia, one of the original
pioneers from that state to Colorado. The gulch was a great camp thirty
years ago, and the remains are there to-day. Three miles further on is
Central City, crawling up the mountain side. It is in the little rich
county of Gilpin, previously mentioned. Mining industries abound in
every direction.

A few minutes’ ride or walk down the cañon brings one to Black Hawk,
though by rail it is four miles—a slight illustration of the exigencies
of railway building in this country. On this four miles still further
exigencies are illustrated by probably the only permanent “switchback”
now in use. While going backward and forward down the sloping
mountain—five hundred feet of descent in the four miles—one can look out
of the car window and see, hundreds of feet below, the winding cañon
down from Central City.

From Black Hawk the train may be taken back to Denver, going eleven
miles to the junction mentioned in the heart of Clear Creek Cañon.

Gray’s Peak, one of the highest in Colorado, and its ascent by horses is
an excursion often made either from Georgetown or Idaho Springs. The
ride, to the beginning of the ascent by carriages, is one of the
choicest of Colorado excursions. It is past Silver Plume to Graymont, at
which point one may stop if scenery and views are the sum of his
desires. Gray’s Peak is a little higher than Pike’s, but the ascent is
easier. It is not unusual to start the horseback journey so early in the
summer morning that the summit may be reached in time to see the sun
rise. It is, of course, true that a description of this scene does not
lie within the power of language, of colors, of the camera, or within
any field but that of the remembering imagination. Painters, poets and
writers come back discouraged. It changes the current of thought for the
remainder of a lifetime, and tinges the creeping sordidness of the
common world with a color that hereafter never entirely fades. To all,
in whatever estate, this sordidness is an enveloping fog; accustomed
unseen. There does not live a man or woman to whom the heights of
Colorado are not necessary, once in their lives if no more.

    [Illustration: End of the Stage Ride from Terminal of the Burlington
    Route—Estes Park.]

It will be understood that it is not intended to do more here than give
a sketch of an easy journey out of Denver into a celebrated mountain
region. This little journey may be made over the “Loop” and back in one
day. It may last a month or all summer. It is one of the remarkable
features of Colorado travel that this trip among the heights and
fastnesses of nature, and all other delightful journeys here, can be
made without a moment of hardship, or even of inconvenience.
Civilization is everywhere. Roads, railways, bridges, towns, dot the
mountain world. Yet that world remains unchanged, lovely and magnificent
in single phrase, and capable of being seen and enjoyed with an
expenditure little greater than that which is always necessary at home
or elsewhere.

                               CHAPTER V.
                           Nooks and Corners.

The State of Colorado contains four thousand three hundred and
fifty-seven miles of railroads in a mountain area of a hundred and five
thousand square miles. In any other state every mile of this would be
“scenic,” and the most uninteresting part of it would elsewhere serve to
divert extensive travel.

In this area, penetrated in every part by the astonishing railway
mileage given, there are a hundred and fifty-five mountain peaks that
are over thirteen thousand feet high. That is ten times as many as all
Europe holds. One of these, situated so as to be seen sometimes a
hundred miles across the plains, is forsooth climbed by a human
railroad, and can be scaled and descended and the traveler be far on his
way toward home within the daylight hours of one eventful day. When one
begins to describe this country he has to deal with all the majesties,
mountains, parks, crags, cañons, glens, waterfalls, geysers, lakes,
caverns, cliffs, buttes, all spread out on a tremendous scale, none of
them small. There are, it is said, seventy-two high peaks that yet stand
nameless, waiting for some form of concurrent opinion as to how these
colossal sons of nature shall be best called in mere human speech.

There are about five hundred lakes, large and small, some of them
distinguished by a famous name, and many still asleep in mountain
hollows almost unknown, where every wanderer who finds them is a
discoverer for himself.

There are about six thousand miles of running water, born of snow,
filled with fish, most of their countless windings still untraced by him
who bears a rod and basket and would like to lure to unequal combat and
certain death the mountain fishes, all “game” and difficult of capture.
In the far recesses of the mountains there are places still unknown to
all save one—the prospector—and here linger the mountain lion, the
panther, black, cinnamon, grizzly and silver-tip bears, wildcats,
lynxes, porcupines, deer, elks, antelope, and all the creatures of the
wilds. These are never common; all the hunters’ tales do not ever make
them that, and they must be hunted. He who finds and slays them is an
adventurer, and was always such.

    [Illustration: Glenwood Springs—General view.]

Mineral springs abound. No one knows how many there are, yet there is a
long list of them already well known. The names Manitou, Glenwood,
Poncha, Pagosa, Buena Vista, Ouray, Idaho, Cañon City, have been heard
by all. Every town has its especial waters. At some of these there has
been a lavish expenditure of capital and hotel palaces have arisen. Some
are so especially endowed with outlying attractions that the waters are
a secondary consideration, and of these is Manitou. Others have
extraordinary temperatures and volume, so that nature’s chemistry is the
pastime of hundreds, and of these is Glenwood. Others are the favored of
a few. Every prospector knows of one or more, where isolated cases
believe that they must drink or die; have drunk, and did not die.

Every railway line in Colorado is truly an excursion line; to ride over
it is a pleasure tour, and one that the man in health and seeking rest
and recreation alone will enjoy first before he calmly chooses a spot
wherein to rest, and which will thereafter be _his_ chosen place before
all others. In this way thousands of tastes are gratified every year,
and each one wonders why all others cannot see with him in _his_ place
advantages incomparable and quite inexpressible. The Denver & Rio Grande
Railroad can reel off, so to speak, two dozen mineral springs and health
and pleasure resorts on its lines in one small publication, not
mentioning at all the places that are famous as scenery, passes,
heights, cañons, mountains and astounding feats of railway construction.
These number scores.

The Colorado Midland road, with less mileage and covering a much smaller
extent of country, mentions fourteen resorts, besides twice or thrice as
many famous pieces of scenery.

And here it may be remarked that of the famous resorts of Colorado one
is reached by both the Denver & Rio Grande and the Colorado Midland.
This is Glenwood Springs, sharing with Manitou an almost equal fame. The
place is at the junction of Grand River and Roaring Fork, in a valley
that is like an elongated bowl. The springs themselves are phenomenal,
running out on both sides of the river, and varying from twenty to a
thousand cubic inches a second—among the largest in the world. Those on
the north side of the river discharge an immense body of water at a
temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and this stream is made to flow
through an aqueduct on both sides of an island. On this island stands
the famous bathing house. Here is found every species of bathing
arrangement housed in magnificent style. There are twenty-two large
two-room bathing apartments for each sex—forty-four in all—and each is
supplied with hot, cold or warm mineral water, and the same temperatures
of fresh water, and also showers of either. Here in the heart of the
mountains will be found all the appliances of the highest grade of
civilization, electric lights, smoking, billiard and eating rooms, linen
rooms, hair-dressing rooms, laundries, etc. The feature of the place is
perhaps the swimming bath. It is a huge out-of-doors oval tank, full of
hot water, and ranging in depth from three and a half to five and a half
feet. Two thousand gallons a minute of hot mineral water pours into this
huge artificial swimming place, the high temperature being reduced by
colder water as it enters.

These features—chief among which is, of course, the hot mineral water in
immense volume, making the place remarkable among the resorts of the
world—are backed by a hotel which takes rank among the palaces. It has
two hundred guest rooms, in nearly all of which are open fireplaces, and
there is every convenience that pertains to civilization, mention of
which in detail is merely tiresome to the accustomed Colorado visitor.
One of the features of our national life is seldom mentioned, and there
is now only a small class for whom the mention is worth while. It is
that wherever the American establishes himself he takes with him all
there is. The refinement, the culture, the “style” of Newport and
Saratoga are all duplicated at Manitou and Glenwood, housed
magnificently of themselves and environed by scenes in comparison with
which those of most of the pleasure places of the world are tame.

    [Illustration: The Middle Falls of the Cascade in Cheyenne Cañon,
    near Manitou—This glen and waterfall are among the most celebrated
    in the world.]

A third line, the Union Pacific, Denver & Gulf, has all the famous
country beyond Clear Creek Cañon, full of scenery, resorts and mines;
the South Park line to Leadville and Gunnison—a trip often made by the
Colorado tourist for the pleasure of the journey—with the most famous
mining “camp” of the world at the end of it.

The Burlington Route has a line running northwest from Denver to Lyons,
whence one of the few remaining famous mountain stage rides may be taken
to that which is by many—by all who know it well—considered to be the
gem of the Colorado parks, Estes.

This park was in its time the most famous of the natural feeding grounds
for all the Colorado animals. It is largely so yet, though in visiting
it there is always a half regret that its location was ever divulged in
type, so that it might have remained always a chosen spot for those only
who could appreciate its original loveliness and were willing to share
it with the animals who live there. It is skirted by mountains nine,
eleven and fourteen thousand feet high. Two peaks of granite stand on
either side of its only feasible entrance. The interior is shaped
irregularly and there is little level ground. It is made up of natural
lawns and of slopes and grades. It is but twenty miles in length and is
not more than two miles wide in any place. One bright, swift trout
stream, known prosaically as the Big Thompson, is born in the snow of
Long’s Peak and flows crookedly through it from end to end. This is
really one of the loveliest streams in the world. There are waterfalls
and little lakes, fine groupings of trees, lawns that seem the work of
the landscape gardener on a large scale. Nevertheless, sublimity is the
dominant feature of Estes Park, after all. There are pinnacles of rosy
granite, the streams are lost in cañons almost or quite inaccessible,
and the upper end of almost every valley is closed in mystery. There
are, though it seems so far removed from the actual heart of the
Rockies, seven mountain ranges between Estes Park and the plains.

The lowest part of the park is 7,500 feet high. The summer midday is
very warm, but every night is cool, almost cold. People live there and
farm and there is no lack of either accommodation or hospitality. Still
it is isolated, with the charm of nature utterly unbroken, a good place
to fish and near the best remaining hunting grounds, perhaps, after all,
the loveliest summer-time resting place in all this wonderland of

    [Illustration: A Mountain Hotel—The Half-Way House on the carriage
    road up Pike’s Peak.]

All this northern region of which Estes Park is the gem calls loudly to
that large class who imagine they have enough of society at home, and
who wish for two or three blissful summer weeks to go where the Red Gods
call them; to fish, or hunt, or to lie under pines and blink at the
mottled sunshine, forgetful of newspapers and telegrams, and stiff
collars and polished boots. Of such as these are the churls who build
railroads and conduct enterprises and write real books, and torment
their days with action and their nights with thinking. Some of these
shamelessly bestow their women folk and their young men at Glenwood or
Manitou, or elsewhere beneath a mingling of mountain shadows and
electric lights, and then abscond with other temporary satyrs like unto
themselves to Estes Park and places even further away.

And there is a line of travel thus far, and amid many other enforced
omissions, not mentioned at all. It is operated by the Denver & Rio
Grande road, and may be said to begin at that point mentioned in a
preceding chapter, a little station beyond Salida, where in the early
morning a train mysteriously vanishes within a side cañon, seemingly on
a prospecting tour amid unknown depths and distances. The tour of this
train they call familiarly “Around the Circle”—a circle several hundred
miles in circumference.

This journey traverses the San Luis Park. It crosses the southern
boundary line into New Mexico and throws out an attenuated and very
crooked arm to Santa Fe, in the heart of a civilization that is the
oldest and quaintest in America. One would hardly credit the fact that
at the moment of disappearance this vanishing train is crossing the huge
northern rim of San Luis Park, and that emerging on the inner side it
proceeds to make a beeline, without a curve, across this vast mountain
amphitheater for a distance of fifty-six miles. While crookedness is a
wonder elsewhere, it is straightness that is a wonder here, and this
unwonted tangent is deliberately mentioned as a curious thing. The
grades immediately precedent were two hundred and eleven feet to the
mile, and the look downward and backward through Poncha Pass was
something as indescribable as any scene in Colorado. But it may be added
that this is the longest stretch of straight railroad track, not alone
in Colorado, but in the world.

On this circle route lies the famous Toltec Gorge, where the train
crosses the range at an elevation of 10,015 feet. The line passes the
corner of the Ute and Apache Indian reservations, and the aborigine has
never lost his interest in the still inexplicable power that was the
principal indirect cause of his being placed at last in this corner of
the realm he once owned. He sits in the sun and waits for the train.

There is a place where the line is laid on a shelf in a cañon that is
five hundred feet from the bottom and five hundred feet from the top,
and where the cost of construction for a single mile was $115,000.

At Mancos station the ethnologically inclined may stop and visit the
ruins of the cliff dwellers in Mancos Cañon. Rico, Lost Cañon, the
Valley of the Dolores, Rio de Las Animas Perdidas—“the River of the Lost
Souls”—the queer, sharp pinnacles known as the Needle Mountains, Sultan
Mountain, Lizard Head Pass, Trout Lake, the celebrated piece of
engineering known as Ophir Loop, the Black Cañon, are all places on this
“circle” journey.

    [Illustration: Bathing Scene at Glenwood Springs—A “Chute.”]

The mines and mining interests of Colorado are immense. They form a
special feature, and about them there is already an extensive
literature. It is the richest mineral region in the world, a fact
illustrated by the ease with which it can turn from silver to gold,
calling itself the “Silver State” for a period of years, and producing
in a year immediately succeeding more than thirty millions of gold.
Through all these wanderings, in every nook and corner, are the mines.
The country is known truly and in detail by but one class—the
prospectors. Thorough experts in mining are found in every walk in life.
Information in detail would fill a space ten times as large as can be
given here. The two largest mining camps, Leadville and Cripple Creek,
are both easy of access by rail from Denver, and, while as towns they
possess features that are unique, there is little in them outside the
lines of average American citizenship and human nature, except the vast
interests to which they are exclusively devoted. The home is there as
elsewhere; the school, the church and the average man and woman. The
frontier story has been told and is out of date. The community of a
great mining center is not so strange, nor apparently half so
extraordinary in its methods, as that which clusters daily around the
shrine in the Chicago Board of Trade.

To the miner, the farmer and the cattle raiser of Colorado the scenery
has in time naturally become as is Niagara to him who lives with the
thunder of the cataract always in his ears. It is to those to whom these
wonders are not a part of daily life that they appeal. The interest
involved in industrial Colorado is immense. The capital involved mounts
easily into millions. But it is a separate topic, interesting only to
business, appealing not at all to the man and woman whose cares and
toils are lessened, whose lives are strengthened by the touch of nature
once a year; for whom, since the first railroad line was laid across the
plains, there has existed no outing like that amid the Springs and peaks
and pines of Colorado.

    [Illustration: A Full Cargo—Children and Donkey at Manitou.]

    [Illustration: Life out of doors—Summer camping party in Cascade
    Cañon, near Manitou.]

                              CHAPTER VI.
                    Hunting and Fishing in Colorado.

One region after another in this country has been proclaimed to be, and
was in its day, “A Hunter’s Paradise.” One after the other these places
have come under the dominion of the plow until now the situation of that
poor man who wants to do above all others that thing he does not have to
do at all, is deplorable. In the matter of fishing the question is not
so exigent. In that of hunting the question that is oftenest unanswered
when asked is “where shall I go to find something to kill; something,
too, that I may fancy will kill _me_ if I don’t kill _it_.”

Now, if Colorado is a hunting country at all, it is one most of whose
preserves can be nearly approached in a Pullman car. The climate, even
in midwinter, is mild. There is always a town, a mine, a ranch,
somewhere within tramping distance; somewhere to go, something to eat, a
fire, good women, hospitable men. There is no Nimrod so hearty that
these are not to him valuable considerations; if not in the morning, at
least at night.

It may seem almost too much to say that nearly every prominent scenery
place in the state is contiguous to good hunting. “Over the range” is
always, in certain respects at least, another world. There are numbers
of men here who habitually prospect in summer and hunt in winter. There
is not one of these who does not know where large game is to be found.
The trouble is not so much with the place as it is with the unaccustomed
man. Find your appropriate and mountain-accustomed man as guide and you
will get the game—if you can hit a gray or a light brown spot four
hundred yards or such a matter away. It will hardly pay to come to these
mountains in order to learn, for the first time, how to shoot at a mark,
or how to go hungry because it was not touched.

  “Youth’s daring spirit, manhood’s fire,
    Firm hand and eagle eye,
  Must he acquire who would aspire
    To see the gray boar die.”

The forests still cover a large portion of Colorado. Many of these lying
away from other interests so far, are almost as silent as they were in
the beginning. They are the natural covert for elk, deer, antelope, the
mountain sheep and a variety of smaller game. Any prospector will tell
one that there is nothing more common than the fresh bear track near the
stream, looking like the footprint of a barefoot negro baby. All
mountain men encounter droves of elk and deer. Farmers will tell you
where they think they are, because they have often seen them there.

For many sportsmen, the northwestern and parts of the northern portions
of the state are the best large-game hunting grounds; Routt, Grand and
Garfield counties, and the region of which Estes Park is the center.
Parts of this northern region are more easily reached by the
Burlington’s line from Denver northwest to Lyons than by any other. The
region of the foothills, the land between plain and mountain, and
including both, is the natural home of the elk. It is in the more
outlying regions, of course, that the big shy game now live. Once, in
the days of Indian occupation, all Colorado was a hunting field, perhaps
the best known. Natural fastnesses, plenty of food and a mild climate
made it so. The encroachments of civilization have naturally restricted
the field, but with the result that there is now more game in the places
they still occupy than there was in former times. This unoccupied region
is still in the aggregate, and notwithstanding all the railroad lines,
as large as the entire state of New York. One would be illy occupied in
prescribing given localities to an accomplished hunter under these
circumstances. Every resident hunter knows, if he would always tell, of
half a dozen good hunting fields.

    [Illustration: Pike’s Peak as seen from Briarhurst, near Manitou.]

In brief, it may be said that there is still game all over Colorado
except on the plains, and there the jackrabbit lives in large numbers.
In localities where there is fine fishing every summer, such as the
Gunnison River, near Montrose or Delta, there is also fine deer hunting
in the season, and that is a region largely interested in farming and
grazing. Or an inquirer will be rewarded with valuable pointers about
the region of the mildest climate in the state; the nooks and valleys on
either side of the San Luis Park. A little inquiry developed, perhaps,
after the employment of a companion or guide, who is undoubtedly
necessary to a stranger, will elicit facts about the hunting grounds and
their possibilities that a man might wander over the state for a year
and not discover for himself. The best hunting here and elsewhere, is
obtained only by him who departs deliberately out of civilization for a
period, lives in a cabin, does nothing but hunt while he is thus
engaged, and stays long enough to learn the country and the haunts of
the beasts for whose life he thirsts. It is not now so easy as it was,
even in Africa. The time is coming when it will be a lost art.

People who hunt in Colorado unite in the opinion that the choicest
hunting grounds of the Utes were those wilder places that still remain
unoccupied. Among such places the country back of De Beque, a town on
the line of the Colorado Midland, is prominently mentioned. North of
this place lie the Book Cliffs, and through these wind narrow gorges
that at places widen out into little parks. There are in these
never-failing springs. The region is of large extent, full of trees, and
the natural covert of wild animals. A late writer states that he has
seen in this region in one morning and counted three hundred and fifty
deer. There is also on the mesas an abundance of quail, grouse and sage

In fishing, the case is slightly different. The watercourses of Colorado
comprise eight principal rivers, which flow from their sources in the
mountains in all directions, increasing in volume from almost countless
tributaries. In all these streams the mountain trout is a native. For
many years trout fishing has been the principal pastime of the people.
The trout is a fish that is particular in his habits to a degree almost
absurd, and when he has a place he usually stays there, with an
occasional change from pools to riffles, until he grows too large, or
until he becomes disgusted with the society of intruders in the persons
of large fishes, many of whom have a taste for him when he is young.
Like other fishes, they are deaf but they can see quickly, and are known
to be gifted with an acuteness above the average. And yet they are great
fools, shortsighted and capricious, biting a certain kind of bait one
day and refusing it the next, always hunted first by the angler, always
a little hard to get, yet caught by the thousands.

But it is only a question of time when the native trout will have
disappeared from Colorado waters. Since the propagation of the
California rainbow trout in these streams, and the eastern brook trout,
he has in many localities already disappeared. The exchange is not a
detriment. The rainbow trout grows to a great size here, specimens
weighing twelve pounds being often caught. It is rapid in growth, game,
and very fecund.

Great care is taken in the preservation of the fishing waters. A notable
example of this is the South Platte, one of the ideal trout streams of
the state. The railroad company plants here each season about two
hundred thousand young trout. Platte Cañon, a few hours’ ride from
Denver is a favorite ground. The Gunnison River, east of Grand Junction,
is another famous fishing stream. There are a great many smaller brooks
and streams. Every mountain stream that has not had its waters spoiled
by tailings and the refuse of smelters has fish in it. As a rule, the
further away from the haunts of many anglers one goes, the more fish
there are to be caught. The hunting grounds are fishing grounds as well.
The broad statement may be made that no other region of the world has so
many streams where game fish naturally live, and that with continual
stocking and great care by the railways and the state, the supply has
not perceptibly diminished. Many streams are spoiled; many others still
remain. They are well known. The accustomed angler knows his fishing
place when he sees it, and besides the places where everybody goes he
can easily find a domain where he and the fishes can have it out
together. There is a United States fish hatchery located at Leadville,
and the game laws of the state are well enforced. There is not the
essence of truth behind any statement that the days of sport in Colorado
are at an end.

    [Illustration: Waterfall in Thompson’s Cañon, Estes Park.]

The statutes of the state protecting game permit the killing of game
birds from August 15 to November 1; waterfowl from September 1 to May 1.
Deer and elk may be killed from August 1 to November 1. The killing of
buffalo and mountain sheep is prohibited. It is lawful to take fish with
hook and line from June 1 to December 1. Netting, poison and explosives
are prohibited.

                         How to Go to Colorado.

There is perhaps an impression in the public mind that is an inheritance
from the old time—that the long road across the plains is a dreary
monotony—that the “Great American Desert,” as the region between the
Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains was called until recent years, is
an uninteresting waste, tiresome to traverse. But a surprise is in store
for anyone having this picture in his mind, for the fact is that in the
Nebraska of to-day is found a continuation of that exquisite panorama of
farm-land scenery that is passed while traveling through Illinois and
Iowa, or Northern Missouri. The journey is one full of interest from the
beginning until the climax is reached, when on arriving within
seventy-five miles of Denver the first glimpse is seen of the great
rocky range of snow-capped mountains, which seem to stand as a barrier
to further progress toward the west. Again, to one unaccustomed to
extensive travel, the distance from the Great Lakes to Denver, for
instance, seems very great, but when one stops to consider that it was
only a few months ago that a special train over the Burlington Route
covered the 1,025 miles from Chicago in 1,047 minutes, without unusual
effort, and in the regular course of business, the long journey seems
shortened and glorious Colorado appears to be as it is, easily

There are several railroads reaching from eastern territory to Colorado,
but none which have the many advantages of the Burlington Route. This
road owns its own tracks from Chicago, Peoria and St. Louis to Denver,
and it has a world-wide reputation for the excellence of its equipment,
the high standard of its dining-car service, and the regularity with
which its trains make schedule time. For the individual bent on either
pleasure or business, it is the most desirable from every point of view,
and it appeals in particular to those entrusted with the selection of an
official route for delegates attending a convention, for the reason that
the Burlington’s system of lines reaches all the principal cities
between the Great Lakes and the Rocky Mountains, thus enabling the
entire delegation to concentrate and travel together under a contract
made with a single railroad. A glance at the map will demonstrate this.

Take the Burlington Route to Denver; it is the best line.

    [Illustration: Green Lake, near Georgetown—One of the highest pieces
    of water in the world that can be visited.]

                          The World’s Record.
                     1,025 miles in 1,047 minutes.

On the morning of February 15, 1897, a telegram was received at Chicago
from H. J. Mayham, asking for a special train from Chicago to Denver. No
details could be arranged until Mr. Mayham’s arrival at 9.15 a. m. Not
until then was it known that Mr. Mayham was hurrying to the bedside of
his dying son. Instructions were hurriedly given to get an engine ready,
and at ten o’clock a private car, attached to an engine which had just
brought in a suburban train and was most available, left the Union
Passenger Station with instructions merely to “make a good run.”

To Burlington, Iowa, the distance is 206 miles, and the trip to this
point was made in 228 minutes, including seven stops. After leaving
Burlington for the run across Iowa nothing of moment occurred until
after leaving Creston. Then it was discovered that the engine truck was
running hot, but nevertheless the 36 miles to Villisca was made in 34
minutes, and then it was found necessary to telegraph ahead to Red Oak,
15 miles away, and order another engine to take the train to the
Missouri River. These last 15 miles were made in 15 minutes. Lincoln,
the capital of Nebraska, was reached at 8.11 p. m., Hastings, 638 miles
from Chicago, at 10.03 p. m. The run from Hastings to Oxford, Neb., 78
miles, was made in 75 minutes, and from Oxford to McCook, 54 miles, in
51 minutes. The remainder of the trip through eastern Colorado and up
the gradual but very long grade into Denver was accomplished without
incident, and the train arrived, after the usual delays at crossings, at
3.53 a. m., mountain time. From the Union Passenger Station, Chicago, to
the Union Depot, Denver, a distance of 1,025 miles, the time was
eighteen hours and fifty-three minutes—breaking the world’s record for
long-distance running.

Two features in connection with this achievement make it unique. First,
no preparation of any kind was made for the run. Forty minutes after the
order was given for the train it started, and was handled all the way
through in the ordinary manner and with no idea of making a record. An
emergency had arisen, and the aim of the operating department was simply
to give a patron of the road, who paid for it, the best service possible
under the circumstances. Second, it so happened that all of the division
superintendents and chief dispatchers on the C., B. & Q. were in Chicago
attending a meeting, and the details of the trip were, therefore,
entirely in the hands of their subordinates. Both of these facts
emphasize the perfect state of discipline which exists, and which made
it possible to accomplish such a run without a hitch or impediment of
any kind.

                 Burlington Route Through Train Service

                             From Chicago.

_To Minneapolis and St. Paul_—Two trains daily. Connection is made at
St. Paul in Union Depot for Duluth and for all points in the northwest,
including Puget Sound.

_To Omaha, Denver and California_—Three trains daily. Connection is made
at Denver in Union Depot with the Denver & Rio Grande R. R. for all
points in Colorado, Salt Lake City, Ogden and California. Personally
conducted excursions to California, in through special cars, every week.

_To Montana, Yellowstone Park and the Pacific Coast_, via Omaha, Lincoln
and the Black Hills—One train daily. Passes by the Custer Battlefield.
Connection is made at Billings, Mont., with the Northern Pacific Ry. for
Yellowstone Park, Helena, Butte and the Pacific Coast.

_To Kansas City, St. Joseph, Leavenworth and Atchison_—Two trains daily.
Connection is made at Kansas City in Union Depot for all points in the

_To Dallas, Ft. Worth, Houston, Galveston and San Antonio_, via Hannibal
and the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Ry.—Two trains daily. Connection is
made for all points in Texas.

                            From St. Louis.

_To Minneapolis and St. Paul_—Three trains daily; one via east side
Mississippi River and two via west side Mississippi River. Connection is
made at St. Paul in Union Depot for all points in the northwest.

_To Kansas City, St. Joseph, Leavenworth and Atchison_—Two trains daily.
Connection is made at Kansas City in Union Depot for all points in the

_To Lincoln, Denver and California_—One train daily, via St. Joseph and
Lincoln. Connection is made at Denver in Union Depot with the Denver &
Rio Grande R. R. for all points in Colorado, Salt Lake City, Ogden and

_To Montana, Yellowstone Park and the Pacific Coast_, via St. Joseph,
Lincoln and the Black Hills—One train daily. Passes by the Custer
Battlefield. Connection is made at Billings, Mont., with the Northern
Pacific Ry. for Yellowstone Park, Helena, Butte and the Pacific Coast.

  Note—All through trains on the Burlington Lines are equipped with
  Vestibuled Pullman Palace Sleeping Cars, Reclining Chair Cars (seats
  free) and Burlington Route Dining Cars (meals served on the European
  plan). Some trains are equipped also with Pullman Compartment Sleeping
  Cars and Composite Cars, fitted with smoking room, sideboard and
  compartments for card players.

                          POOLE BROS. CHICAGO.

    [Illustration: Burlington Route]

    [Illustration: BIRD’S-EYE MAP

    [Illustration: Burlington Route]

                          Transcriber’s Notes

—Silently corrected a few typos.

—Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook
  is public-domain in the country of publication.

—In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by

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