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ver, Central, and Colorado cities, in virtue of the mere fact that he was first in the field. Wast quantities of hard wood are needed in Denver and the mines; yet the impossibility of getting it close at hand is so great that I have seen men come into George Tappan's store, buy half a dozen imported rakes, and break off the teeth and bows to make fishpoles of the handles. Nothing else sufficiently strong, light, and pliant was to be had for love or money. Every train of Tappan's, Byram's, or the other merchants running wagons from the Missouri, brings out a cargo of the hard woods; but these necessarily command prices which must long ago have stimulated Coloradian enterprise into attempting tree culture for itself, had not the one idea of mining hitherto absorbed every faculty of the people. This matter must and will right itself in time. At least, I hope so; for certainty is not quite possible to one who has seen the same destitution prevailing in parts of Oregon which have been much longer settled, have no excuse in the importunity of mining, and very little help to their condition from anything like a well perfected system of imports.
. What I have said touching this matter may seem too large an excursion from the recital of our trip; but it is my object, so far as possible, to take the reader along with me, let him see what I saw as it occurred, and have him share the suggestions awakened within me as they arose on the spot. We shall thus be in less danger of overlooking many apparently trifling but still important traits of the country and people we travel through, which by their minuteness might slip the grasp of a more orderly and ambitious classification.
On the whiffletree having been adjusted, we resumed our line of march, turning, in about five miles from Colorado City, between shaggy precipices and thickets of low evergreen, to the cañon of Camp Creek. The character of the uplifts in the mouth of this cañon is even bolder than at the Garden of the Gods. The most remarkable columnar structure that I saw in our whole journey exists here, in an obelisk of the same brilliant natural brick which forms the material of the Gods, rising quite unsupported to the height of about four hundred feet, with a curious swell at its summit which much exceeds in circumference the lower portion of the shaft, and gives the whole structure a look of self-poise and strong insecurity in the face of natural laws, not excelled by the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I was compelled to sketch it for myself, there being so much more artistic work at hand for the artist's pencil; but I could not give with my black lines an idea of the color, however truthful the drawing in figure. How much is lost by the absence of color, may be conceived by imagining a shaft higher than the loftiest steeple of our metropolitan churches, red as blood from foot to capital, and relieved against dense green rock-pines, bare brown mountains, shining uplifts of the white variety, or the intense blue sky of a Colorado summer.
Behind the obelisk to the west, the cañon entered the mountains between heightening walls of an unrivaled savage beauty, its last glimpse being a lofty gap with serrated edges like a giant's staircase, formed by the great mass of schistose sandstone broken into square blocks. Neither in pictures nor landscape do I remember a more exquisite gradation between foreground and sky than that which led my eye from the tall red obelisk to the glimpse at the top of the cañon. Nothing occurred on the return to Sprague's—our half-way house both going and coming—more important than the shooting of a fine sickle-bill curlew, which was floating over the long sandy dog-plain I have before noticed. The last place where I had held a curlew in my hands was far up the St. John's River, among the tangled yellow jasmines and convolvuli that border Floridian lagoons; and it was a singular sensation to see this bird so far away from all his (to me) familiar haunts. But the curlew is considerable of a cosmopolitan. In regard to this bird we were compelled to acknowledge a fact that often forced itself upon us afterwards. There is no use in attempting to collect such specimens, unless one goes specially provided for the purpose. You cannot satisfy yourself on the vast field between the Missouri and the Pacific by maturalizing merely en amateur. You must set out with something more than an empty box and a piece of arsenical soap. The climate, being antiseptic, is in your favor; but all else is against you. You have no adequate means of packing your skins, and keeping them from vermin; none for transporting them safely, on the wild routes which we travelled, and in the way we were compelled to travel them. Mineral specimens are all that the amateur can be sure of getting home to the States in good order. This vast field of the Central Continent must be beaten by specialists, each provided with his own definite plan, tools, and means of carriage. At the best, he will have to sacrifice much that it is a real pain not to carry away; for his collections accumulate faster than he will ever be able to forward them to the settlements till the Pacific Railroad has opened its great artery from Pike's Peak to the sea. So, despite our arsenical soap, this fine curlew eventually became so much deteriorated that we had regretfully to throw him away. I will not stale these pages by a review of the route between Sprague's and Denver. We took dinner at the Pretty Woman's Ranch, and came down the slope of the Cherry and Plum Creek Divide just after sunset, getting in twilight a magnificent view of fires which were devastating the dense fir and pine growths of the mountain gorges behind Denver. The smoke and heated air from the vast chimneydraughts of the cañons were wafted full in our faces; and the leaping sheets of flame, or their flickering fringe along the forest top, almost crackled in our ears, and added to the evanescent orange of sundown a bloodier, baleful red. It was about nine o'clock in the evening, when, after a ride through a perfect Shaker meeting of jumping hares, we got over the broad plain between the divide and Jim Beckwith's station, skirted the silent Platte lying steel-gray in twilight shadow, whirled past Camp Weld, and came into Denver.
INTO THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
THE day before our party left Denver finally, was passed by myself in visiting, under Mr. Pierce's guidance, one of the principal coal outcrops thus far discovered in the Territory. For a wonder, our dust was laid by a fine drizzling rain, which lasted the entire day. The ranchman at whose house we stopped to dine, was quite delighted by it. It was doubtless a godsend to his crops; but, aesthetically speaking, Colorado does not look well in a shower. The Plains seem surprised by it. There is none of that bright, thankful receptivity in them which rain meets from every grassy stretch in the East. There is no hope of their laughing back at bounty in a gayer green,-a green like our meadows, growing greener even while you look at it, and the rain still falls. In spite of the drizzle, our blankets and waterproofs kept us perfectly comfortable on Mr. Pierce's buck-board. Sixteen miles of tolerably smooth driving, picked out by ourselves among the undulations of the Plain north of Denver, brought us to what was called “the Mine.” Nobody was working it at present. It was situated on an entered quarter-section, and some uncertainty as to the title retarded its development. Thus far the workings had been limited to a single