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This book was written anonymously in 1874 as a tour guide but is now appreciated as an historic look at the then emerging state of Colorado. If you can visit Colorado - go. I went after reading this - (beware the lure of the Rockies!) - and couldn't believe how beautiful it was. If you can't go, by-all-means read this and dream.
"The author describes mining towns, scenic vistas and other impressions, often with a dry sense of humor. . . .
"One of the final chapters was a devastating eye opener for me. . . After reading about the Utes (indians) being described as 'human dirt and vermin,' I put the book down in disgust and disappointment. But I couldn't stop thinking about it. . . . Sometimes we need a shock to shake up our complacency."
from the Daily Freeman
Exploring Cheyenne Canyon
A (long) Chapter It is a drive of several miles from Manitou to Cheyenne Canyon, across a fine section of farming country, from the edge of which, upon the bluffs, a good view of Colorado Springs and outlying sections, away to the Divide at the north,--the high country that breaks the water-courses of the Arkansas and the Platte rivers,-- can be obtained. The roadway takes us to the mouth of the canyon, and, leaving our horses there, we make the remainder of the distance afoot. It is nearly three miles to the point we wish to reach, and the novice in mountaineering will find this distance apparently stretching into as many leagues before he has picked his weary way over the rocks and up to the falls beyond. The trail--such as there is, for it is not an easy place in which to make a pathway--leads through tangle underbrush, on each side of the little stream which dashes and foams and makes music between the granite walls. The pathway crosses and recrosses the brook so many times that one becomes tired of counting the fordings, up the rocks and down, and along the water's edge. Care is essential to a journey of this canyon, lest while enraptured with gazing upon the mountain sides and admiring the granite cleft, the foot slip and meditation receive the reward of careless travel in the cooling waters of the brook.
Passing into the canyon about a quarter of a mile, the rocks suddenly close in behind, and the first impressions are obtained of the grandeur yet to come. Another turn, and we clamber up on the side of the rocky incline that sweeps to the water's edge, and on our right, high above us, towards the ethereal blue, is St. Peter's dome, and directly in front Pulpit Rock, from which it would seem some giant expounder might proclaim salvation to the world. At this point begins the most attractive portion of the canyon, which is but the separation of a giant mountain from its summit to its base. Again the walls become almost perpendicular, the level summits, on either side, apparently not a stone's throw apart, twenty-two hundred feet above the level of the creek. We go on and on, up the trail, across the shallow stream, and the defile still maintains its mammoth proportions. The rocks close in behind, as the stream turns here and there, and the oppressiveness of the grandeur and massiveness of the scene beggars description. Two miles and a half of the climbing,--but it does one good and makes the muscles strong,--and the roar of the cataract suddenly burst upon our ears. The roaring grew louder and louder as we stumbled on, panting for breath, when suddenly we emerged into a chamber, over a ledge on one side of which a seething and sparkling sheet of water tumbles full thirty feet or more. The air was damp and the rocks spray-covered, and into the dark nook a shaft of sunlight fell from a rent in the mountains above.
There were evidences of the presence of humanity in this far-away and solitary canyon, at some time not long preceding our advent. On a pile of rocks, just below the falls, and made of drift-wood, was a rude cross. The universal Yankee had been there too, and left his mark indelibly carved on the base of that cross. There were his initials, but he must have been a Yankee of elegant leisure and out of business, else he would have daubed some "ready relief" advertisement high up on the granite walls, and written a verse commemorative of his jaunt up the canyon. As he had set the example, and as we are Yankees, too, we added our letters to the others and felt serenely happy when the deed was done.
This cross, symbol of faith, was raised by a woman, the first of her sex to penetrate to this cascade. She was ambitious to make her mark, and she manifested more energy and perseverance, and showed more muscle than do the average of the female kind. Now, however, since the way has been cleared, and the trail is open, ladies can go up with the utmost ease, provided they are not afraid of water, slippery rocks and the prospect of fatigue.
There is a trail up the mountain side, just below the fall, by means of which we can ascend to the bench above the cataract, and, climbing farther up, we have opened to the view a succession of falls, six in all, rising one above the other at almost regular intervals, the remotest and highest several miles removed from the point of our observation. Right and left the mountains tower high above the stream; below, we look down into the canyon for some distance over the route we have traversed; and above, the (continued in the book)
Peak your interest? As I said - a great read!
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