Mrs. JAMES EDWIN MORRIS
Illustrated from Photographs Taken En Route
by James Edwin Morris
LONDON NEW YORK MONTREAL
Dedicated to Alaska’s Beautiful Daughter,
Miss Edna McFarland
Linked in my memory of those sea-girt shores where snow-crowned mountains tower like castles old; where wild cataracts hurl their waters down rugged cliffs to the sea; where sea gulls mingle their cries with the rushing torrents; where frost giants stride up and down the land; where the Aurora flames through the long winter nights, will ever be the name of this gifted daughter of Alaska.
If you ask what motive she who loved these scenes had in essaying to portray them with pen and camera, she would reply that like the Duke of Buckingham, when visiting the scene where Anna of Austria had whispered that she loved him, let fall a precious gem that another finding it, might be happy in that charméd spot where he himself had been.
A Pacific Coast Vacation
Off to see the land of icebergs and glaciers; the land I have often visited in my imagination. It seems but yesterday that the first geography was put into my hands. O, that dear old geography, the silent companion of my childhood days.
The first page to which I opened pictured an iceberg, with a polar bear walking right up the perpendicular side, and another bold fellow sitting on top as serenely as Patience on a monument.
“What was an iceberg? What were the bears doing on the ice and what did they eat? Was that the sun shining over yonder? Why didn’t it melt the ice and drop the bears into the sea? No, that was not the sun, it was the aurora borealis. Aurora? Who was she and why did she live in that cold, cold country, the home of Hoder, the gray old god of winter?”
The phenomenon of the aurora was explained to us, but to our childish imagination Aurora ever remained a maiden whose wonderful hair of rainbow tints lit up the northern sky.
We talked of Aurora, we dreamed of Aurora, and now we are off to see the charming ice maiden of our childhood fancy.
Off to Alaska. For years we have dreamed of it; for days and weeks we have breakfasted on Rocky Mountain flora, lunched on icebergs and glaciers and dined on totem poles and Indian chiefs.
Much of the charm of travel in any country comes of the glamour with which fable and legend have enshrouded its historic places.
America is rapidly developing a legendary era. Travel up and down the shores of the historic Hudson and note her fabled places.
The “Headless Hessian” still chases timid “Ichabods” through “Sleepy Hollow.” “Rip Van Winkle,” the happy-go-lucky fellow, still stalks the Catskills, gun in hand. The death light of “Jack Welsh” may be seen on a summer’s night off the coast of Pond Cove. “Mother Crew’s” evil spirit haunts Plymouth, while “Skipper Ireson” floats off Marble Head in his ill-fated smack.
With a cloud for a blanket the “Indian Witch” of the Catskills sits on her mountain peak sending forth fair weather and foul at her pleasure, while the pygmies distil their magic liquor in the valley below.
“Atlantis” lies fathoms deep in the blue waters of the Atlantic, and the “Flying Dutchman” haunts the South Seas.
We have our Siegfried and our Thor, whom men call Washington and Franklin. Our “Hymer” splits rocks and levels mountains with his devil’s eye, though we call him dynamite.
Israel Putnam and Daniel Boone may yet live in history as the Theseus and Perseus of our heroic age.
Certainly our country has her myths and her folk lore.
In time America, too, will have her saga book.
Yonder, Black Hawk, chief of the Sac, Fox, and Winnebago Indians, made his last stand, was defeated by General Scott, captured and carried to Washington and other cities of the East, where he recognized the power of the nation to which he had come in contact. Returning to his people, he advised them that resistance was useless. The Indians then abandoned the disputed lands and retired into Iowa.
Just north of Chicago we passed field after field yellow with the bloom of mustard. Calling the porter I asked him what was being grown yonder. He looked puzzled for a moment, then his face lighted up with the inspiration of a happy thought as he replied:
“That, Madam, is dandelion.”
“O, thank you; I suppose that they are being grown for the Chicago market?” said I, knowing that dandelion greens with the buds in blossom and full bloom are considered a delicacy in the city.
“No, Madam,” answered my porter wise, “I don’t think them fields is being cultivated at all.”
I forebore to point out to him the well kept fence and the marks of the plow along it, but brought my field glasses into play and discovered that the disputed fields had been sown to oats, but the oats were being smothered out by the mustard.
Wisconsin is a beautiful state. Had the French government cultivated the rich lands of the Mississippi valley and developed its mineral resources as urged by Joliet, Wisconsin might still be a French territory. But all his plans for colonization were rejected by the government he served. A map of this country over which Joliet traveled may be seen in the Archives de la Marine, Paris, France, to-day.
The soil is light and farming in Wisconsin is along different lines from that of her sister state, Illinois. In every direction great dairy barns dot the landscape. Corn is grown almost entirely for fodder. The seasons here are too short to mature it properly. In planting corn for fodder it is sown much as are wheat and oats.
The principal crops of this great state are flax, oats, hops, and I might add ice. Large ice houses are seen on every side. Much of the country is yet wild. Acres of virgin prairie just now aglow with wild flowers, take me back to my childhood, when we spent whole days on the prairie, “Where the great warm heart of God beat down in the sunshine and up from the sod;” where Marguerites and black-eyed Susans nodded in the golden sunshine, and the thistle for very joy tossed off her purple bonnet.
Here and there in northern Illinois and Wisconsin kettle holes mark the track of the glaciers that once flowed down from the great névé fields of Manitoba and the Hudson lake district.
In traveling across Wisconsin one is reminded of the time when witches, devils, magicians, and manitous held sway over the Indian mind.
Milwaukee is a name of Indian origin,—Mahn-a-wau-kie, anglicized into Milwaukee—means in the language of the Winnebagoes, rich, beautiful land.
According to an Indian legend the name comes from mahn-wau, a root of wonderful medicinal properties. The healing power of this root, found only in this locality, was so great that the Chippewas on Lake Superior would give a beaver skin for a finger length piece.
The market place now stands on the site of a forest-clad hill, which had been consecrated to the Great Manitou. Here tomahawks were belted and knives were sheathed. Here the tribes of all the surrounding country met to hold the peace dance which preceded the religious festival. At the close of the religious services each Indian carried away with him from the holy hill a memento to worship as an amulet.
It was the greatest wish, the most passionate desire of every Indian to be buried at the foot of this hill on the bank of the Mahn-a-wau-kie.
Recent investigation has shown that Wisconsin was the dwelling place of strange tribes long before the advent of the Indian.
The Dells of the Wisconsin river was a favorite resort of the Indian manitous. Yonder is a chasm fifty feet wide, across which Black Hawk leaped when fleeing from the whites. He surely had the aid of the nether world.
In this beautiful region, hemmed in by rugged bowlder cliffs, lies a veritable Sleepy Hollow. In a dense wood back of the cliff stands the mythical “lost cabin.” Many have lost their way searching for it. The strange thing about it is that they who have once found it are never able to find it again. Weird stories are told about it. Its logs are old and strange, different from the wood of the dark old forest in which it stands. There are stories afloat that it is haunted by its former inhabitants, who move it about from place to place.
At the foot of this rugged cliff lies Devil’s lake. At the head of this fathomless body of water is a mound built in the form of an eagle with wings outspread. Here, no doubt, lies buried a great chief. Nothing is left in Wisconsin to-day of the Indian but footprints,—mounds, graves, legends and myths.
At Devil’s Lake lived a manitou of wonderful power. This lake fills the crater of an extinct volcano. Now this manitou, so the tale runs, piled up those heavy blocks of stone, which form the Devil’s Doorway. He also set up Black Monument and Pedestaled Bowlder for thrones where he might sit and view the landscape o’er when on his visits to the earth. These visits have ceased, since the white man possesses the country. One day this wonderful manitou aimed a dart at a bad Indian and missing him, cleft a huge rock in twain, which is now known as Cleft Rock. At night, long ago, he might have been seen sitting on one of his thrones or peeping out of the Devil’s Doorway watching the dance of the frost fairies or gazing at the aurora flaming through the night.
Every night at midnight Gitche Manitou appears in the middle of the lake.
In days gone by a strange, wild creature, known as the Red Dwarf, roamed the region of the great lakes, haunting alike the lives of red man and white.
The snake god, the stone god, the witch of pictured rocks, were-wolves and wizards held sway in that charméd region where San Souci, Jean Beaugrand’s famous horse, despite his hundred years, leaped wall of fort and stockade at pleasure.
JUNCTION OF THE MISSISSIPPI AND BLACK RIVERS.
At LaCrosse we crossed Black river into Minnesota and shortly after crossed the Mississippi. LaCrosse, although French, originally, means a game played by the Indian maidens on the ice. The heights on either side of the Mississippi river remind one of the Catskills along the Hudson. Indeed, the scenery is very similar. You easily imagine yonder cliffs to be the palisades. Here, a spur of the Catskills range and the little valley between might be Sleepy Hollow. But you miss the historic places—Washington’s headquarters, Tarrytown, West Point and others. Like forces produce like results. When you have seen the Hudson river and its environs you have seen the upper Mississippi.
St. Paul and Minneapolis form the commercial center of the North. Although the ground freezes from fifteen to sixteen feet, the concrete sidewalks and pavements show no effect of the touch of Jack Frost’s icy fingers. The street-cars here are larger and heavier than any I have ever seen. Then, too, they have large wheels, and that sets them up so high. This is on account of the snow, which lasts from Thanksgiving to Easter, good sleighing all the time.
The French and Indian have left to this region a nomenclature peculiarly its own. There is Bear street and White Bear street. In the shop windows are displayed headgear marked Black Bear, White Bear and Red Cloud. There are on sale Indian dolls, Indian slippers, French soldier dolls, Red Indian tobacco, showing the influence still existing of the two peoples. One sees many French faces and hears that language quite often on the streets and in the cars.
The falls of St. Anthony are at the foot of Fifth street in Minneapolis. The water does not come leaping over, but pours over easily and smoothly in one solid sheet. On either bank of the river are located the largest flouring mills in the world. Not a drop of the old Mississippi that comes sweeping over the falls but pays tribute in furnishing power for these mills. Huge iron turbine wheels that twenty men could not lift are turned as easily as a child rolls a hoop.
FALLS OF SAINT ANTHONY.
On the site of these mills long ago were camped the Dakotas. They had just come down from another village where one of the men had married another wife and brought her along. The woman was stronger than the savage in wife number one, and when the Indians broke camp and packed up their canoes and goods for the journey to the foot of the falls, the forsaken wife, taking her child, leaped into a canoe and rowed with a steady hand down stream toward the falls. Her husband saw her and called to her, but she seemed not to hear him and she did not even turn her head when his comrades joined him in his cries. On swept the boat, while the broken-hearted wife sang her death-song. Presently the falls were reached. The boat trembled for a moment, then turning sideways, was dashed to pieces on the rocks below.
Minnesota was the land of Gitche Manitou the Mighty and Mudjekeewis. Mackinack was the home of Hiawatha and old Nokomis. There Gitche Manitou made Adam and Eve and placed them in the Indian Garden of Eden. One day Manitou or Great God made a turtle and dropped it into Lake Huron. When it came up with a mouth full of mud, Manitou took the mud and made the island of Mackinack.
As we steamed up the Mississippi to the falls of Minnehaha we had a good view of the bank swallows in their homes in the sandstone banks along the river. The action of the air on sandstone hardens a very thin crust on the surface, and when this is scraped off one can easily dig into the bank. The swallows are geologists enough to know this and hundreds of them have dug holes in the perpendicular walls. Here the chattering, noisy little cave-dwellers fly in and out all day long, flying up over the cliffs and away in search of food or resting in the shrubbery which grows in the water near by. It is a pretty sight to see the happy little fellows skim the water. It makes you wish that you, too, had wings.
At the entrance of Minnehaha park we were greeted by a merry wood thrush, whose voice is melodious beyond description. There he sat on a swaggy limb not ten feet from us. We were familiar with his biography and recognized him by his brown and white speckled coat. We advanced cautiously. We had come six hundred miles to see him and I think he knew it, too, for when we were so near that we could have taken him in our hands he recognized our presence by nodding his graceful head first this way, then that, and sang on. We spent some ten minutes with him, then “bon voyage” he sang out as we passed on.
FALLS OF MINNEHAHA.
Three miles above Minneapolis are the beautiful falls of Minnehaha, Laughing Water. These falls are beautiful beyond the power of my pen to describe. The water does not pour over, but comes leaping and dancing, like one great shower of diamonds, pearls, sapphires and rubies. The vast sheet of water sixty-five feet high reminds one of a bridal veil decked with gems and sprinkled with diamond dust.
“Where the falls of Minnehaha
Flash and gleam among the oak trees,
Laugh and leap into the valley.”
It was here that Hiawatha came courting the lovely maiden Minnehaha. The falls are surrounded by a government park. Hurrying along through glen and dale, looking for the falls, we met a party of young ladies who were having a picnic in the park.
I accosted one of them, “Beg pardon, Mademoiselle, can you tell me where to find the falls?”
She looked astonished for a moment. “The falls of what?”
“The falls of Minnehaha.”
“O, I don’t know; never heard of her,” replied my maiden fair as she turned and tripped away.
It has always seemed so strange to me that people living near places of interest are oftentimes ignorant of the fact.
We next met a youth of some fourteen summers, who knew the history of St. Paul, Minneapolis and their environs. He could tell you all about the big mills, the soldiers, the barracks and old Fort Snelling. He knew the story of Minnehaha, too; had been to the falls hundreds of times, and knew the Song of Hiawatha as he knew his alphabet. Gitche Manitou had but to set his foot on the earth and a mighty river flowed from his tracks. Mudjekeewis was a great warrior, but Hiawatha was his hero. It was with genuine regret that we bade good-by to this interesting youth.
OLD FORT SNELLING.
Our next visit was to old Fort Snelling, three miles out from St. Paul. This fort was built in 1820. It is round, two stories high and is constructed of stone. The old fort, of course, is not used now. The regular soldiers stationed here are located in delightful quarters. The barracks are just beyond the old fort. The hospital is a large, commodious building of stone. The parade field is a delightful bit of rolling prairie. The barracks are quite deserted now, most of the regiment being in the Philippines. Only a small detachment of twenty-five troops remains to take care of the property. Fort Snelling was the rendezvous of the Chippewas and the Sioux in the old days of Indian occupation.
While the two tribes smoked the pipe of peace and made protestations of friendship they might not intermarry.
At one of these meetings a Sioux brave won the heart of a Chippewa maiden. Their love they kept a secret, but when the tribes met again at old Fort Snelling a quarrel arose among the young warriors which resulted in the death of a Sioux.
The Sioux fell upon the Chippewas with the cry of extermination.
In the midst of battle lover and loved one met, but for a moment. They were swept apart and the young warrior knew that the fair maiden lived only in the land of shadows.
There dwells in the river at the falls of Saint Anthony a dusky Undine. She was once a mermaid living in a placid lake, longing for a soul which the good Manitou finally promised her upon her marriage with a mortal. The mortal appeared one day in the form of a handsome Ottawa brave, and to him the beautiful mermaid told her tale of woe. The two were wed. The mermaid received her soul and the form of a human, but her new relatives disliked her. They quarreled over her and at last the Ottawas and the Adirondacks fought over her, and threw her into the river. There she lives to this day, thankfully giving up her soul for the peace and quiet of a mermaid’s life.
This is the home of the pine and the birch. The white melilotus grows rank in the byways of Minneapolis.
ROADWAY, SOLDIER’S BARRACKS, FORT SNELLING.
The horse may not have to go, but the bicycle has surely come to stay. A unique figure on the streets of St. Paul is a window washer, black as the ace of spades, mounted on a wheel. Rags of all sorts and conditions hang from his pockets. He carries his brushes aloft a la “Sancho Panza.” He rides up to the curbstone, dismounts, leans his steed against the curb, washes his windows and rides away at a pace that would make Don Quixote’s sleepy squire open his eyes in amazement.
A beautiful morning in June finds us aboard the Great Northern Flyer, bound for the Pacific coast. We were soon up on the river bluffs. Here is some fine farming land, the only drawback being the lack of well water. The geological formation is entirely different from that of Indiana and Illinois, where water may be had on the bluffs as easily as lower down toward the riverbed. Here the underground water current lies on a level with the bed of the river and a well must go down five or six hundred feet through the bluff before water is obtained.
Our route here follows the Mississippi, which in places is jammed with rafts of logs on their way down to the saw mills. Each log bears the owner’s mark. One sees many logs, big fellows worth ten or fifteen dollars, which have slipped from their rafts and like independent boys, get lost in all sorts of places.
George Monte was an Indian lumberman of the north. He worked at a chute where the logs were floated down to the river and held back by a gate until it was time to send them through en masse. When all was ready the foreman ordered the log drivers to open the gate. One chilly night the order came to open the gate. The night was dark and the men drew lots to see who should attempt the dangerous feat. Monte drew what was to him the fatal slip. Without a word he opened the door and passed out into the night. The jam was broken and the logs passed through, but hours passed and Monte failed to return. Then his companions went in search of him. Investigation showed that the big gate which sank by its own weight when the pins had been removed, was held by some obstruction. The object was removed with long spike-poles and proved to be the mangled body of Monte. The chute was soon abandoned, for every night at midnight his ghost walks the banks. His moans can be distinctly heard above the swish and lap of the water.
On the Coteau des Prairies (side of the prairies) in Minnesota, pipe-stone, a smooth clay, from which hundreds of Indians have cut their pipes, forms a wall two miles long and thirty feet high. In front of the wall lie five big bowlders dropped there by the glaciers. Under these bowlders lies the spirit of a squaw, which must be propitiated before the stone is cut. This quarry was neutral ground for all the tribes. Here knives were sheathed and tomahawks belted. To this place came the Great Spirit to kill and eat the buffalo of the prairies. The thunder bird had her nest here and the clashing of the iron wings of her young brood created the storms. Once upon a time, when a snake crawled into the nest to steal the young thunderers, Manitou, the Great Spirit, seized a piece of pipe stone and pressing it into the form of a man, hurled it at the snake. The clay man missed the snake and struck the ground. He turned to stone and there he stood for a thousand years. He grew to manhood’s stature and in time another shape, that of a woman, grew beside him. One day the red pair wandered away over the plains. From this pair sprang all the red people.
From St. Paul to Fargo not a stalk of corn was to be seen, but there was field after field of fine wheat. This part of Minnesota is much more thickly settled than immediately around St. Paul and Minneapolis. Morehead in Minnesota and Fargo, across the line in Dakota, are thriving towns. The country here looks like Illinois. The lay of the land is the same and groves and houses dot the landscape. Here dwelt the Dakota tribes from which the states of Dakota and Minnesota take their names. Here came Hiawatha and his bride, Minnehaha, whom he won at St. Paul when the tribe was visiting that country, for Minnehaha was a Dakota girl, you remember.
Hiawatha’s fight with his father began on the upper Mississippi and the bowlders found there were their missiles. Hiawatha fought against him for many long days before peace was declared between them.
The evil Peace Father had slain one of Hiawatha’s relatives. He engaged him in combat all the hot day long. They battled to no purpose, but the next day a woodpecker flew overhead and cried out, “Your enemy has but one vulnerable point; shoot at his scalp-lock.” Hiawatha did this and the Peace Father fell dead. Taking some of the blood on his finger the victor touched the woodpecker on the head and the red mark is seen on every woodpecker to this day.
Dakota as well as Wisconsin has her Devil’s Lake, about which hang many legends, but unlike that of Wisconsin the Great Spirit, Gitche Manitou, does not appear in the middle of it every night at twelve o’clock.
Indians as well as whites believe in a coming Messiah. In 1890 a frenzy swept over the northwest, inspiring the Indians to believe that the Messiah, who was no less than Hiawatha himself, and who was to sweep the white people off the face of the earth, would soon arrive. Dakota was the meeting ground of the tribes. Sitting Bull, a Sioux chief, told them in assembly that he had seen the wonderful Messiah while hunting in the mountains. He told them that having lost his way, he followed a star which led him to a wonderful valley, where he saw throngs of chiefs long dead, as they appeared in a spirit dance. Christ was there, too, and showed him the nail wounds in his hands and feet and the place where the spear pierced his side. Then the old rogue returned to his people and taught them the ghost dance, which caused the whites so much trouble.
Dakota is a beautiful state. The land along the route of the Great Northern railway lies more level than in Minnesota. The crops are looking well in this region. There seems to be but one drawback to farming here and that is the famous Russian thistle imported a few years ago. The principal crops are oats, barley and wheat. Rye bread is plenty and good, too. Out there on the broad cheek of the Dakota prairie the weeds are holding high revelry. Some of the same old weeds we have at home and many which are new to the writer. Wild ducks build their nests in the tall grass of the ponds just as they did in Illinois thirty years ago.
At Minot, Dakota, we set our watches to Mountain time, turning them back one hour. We arrived at Minot at 11:10 P. M., remained fifteen minutes and left at 10:25. At 9:15 o’clock the sun was just sinking in the west. It does not get dark here, only twilight. At 10 o’clock the moon came up and we bade good night to Saturday.
Sunday we spent in the Bad Lands of Montana. “Hell with the fires out” is the popular name given to the Bad Lands in the wild, fearless nomenclature of the west. It is an ancient sea bottom. The lower strata is clay and the one above it is sand. They are wild and rugged beyond description. The action of the air, wind and storm have worn them into towers, citadels and fantastic peaks.
The highly colored scoria rocks crop out here and there, adding a beauty of their own. Summer and winter, long before the advent of the white man the coal mines in this region were burning. Looking down into the fiery furnace one may see the white-hot glow of the coal and the heated rocks glowing with a white heat. Rattlesnakes wriggle through the short grass. Quails and grouse fly up and away.
There is a banshee in the Bad Lands whose cries chill your blood if you happen to hear her, which I did not. She is most frequently seen on a hill south of Watch Dog Butte, in Dakota, her flowing hair and her long arms tossing in wild gestures, make a weird picture in the moonlight. Cattle will not remain near the butte and cowboys fear the banshee and her companion, a skeleton that walks about and haunts the camps in the vicinity. Leave a violin lying near and he will seize it and away, playing the most weird music, but you must not follow him, for he will lead you into pits and foot falls. The explanation of all this is the phosphorus found in this vicinity, which glows in the night air.
Standing Rock agency is the best known of our frontier posts. The rock from which the post takes its name is only about three feet high and two feet in width. This rock was once a beautiful Indian bride who starved herself to death upon her husband marrying a second wife. After her death the Great Manitou turned her to stone, and here she stands to this day.
Glasgow, Montana, lies in the midst of the Sioux reservation. Like the Spartans of old, these warriors of the plains dwell in tents during a part of every year. Just beyond the town tepees now dot the landscape where for a brief space the red man forgets the things taught him by his white brother and resumes his old wild ways, but at the approach of winter he abandons his tent and returns to his log cabin and to civilization.
The Indian costume is a mixture of savage and civilized dress, looking more like that of the Raggedy Man than any other.
Blackfoot is a village in the heart of the Blackfeet reservation, lying just west of that of the Sioux. These people, like the ancient Greeks, reverence the butterfly.
“Ah!” exclaim these red children of nature when they see one of these Psyches of the prairie flitting from flower to flower over the green meadow, “ah, see him now. He is gathering the dreams which he will bring to us in our sleep.”
If you see the sign for the butterfly which is something like a maltese cross painted on a lodge, you will know that the owner was taught how to decorate his lodge, in a dream by an apunni,—butterfly. A Blackfeet woman embroiders a butterfly on a piece of buckskin and ties it on her baby’s head when she wishes to put it to sleep. Wrapped in their blankets the Indians stood about Blackfoot village as we came in reminding us of Longfellow’s address to “Driving Cloud:”
“Wrapt in thy scarlet blanket, I see thee stalk through the city’s
Narrow and populous street, as once by the margin of rivers
Stalked those birds unknown which have left to us only their footprints.
What in a few short years will remain of thy race but footprints?
How canst thou tread these streets, who hast trod the green turf of the prairies?
How canst thou breathe this air who hast breathed the sweet air of the mountains?”
When one has trod the velvety green turf of the prairies and breathed the sweet air of the mountains he is quite ready to sympathize with “Driving Cloud.”
The government schools for the Blackfeet Indians are located in a valley beyond Blackfoot village. The schools are conducted exactly as our public schools are, only that the Blackfeet children must go to school ten months in the year. Think of that, boys and girls. During July and August these dusky redskins get a vacation, which they spend with their parents and for the time being return to the savage state. The agent told me they were always quite wild upon their return to school after two months of hunting, fishing and living in tepees.
Now and then a fine covey of quails or prairie chickens flies up and away. How glad they would make a sportsman’s heart!
With our glasses we see easily two hundred miles in this rarefied atmosphere. I discovered several coyotes running along a ledge in the Bad Lands that I could not see at all with my naked eye. The Sweet Grass mountains, sixty miles away on the Canadian line, loom up so plainly that they appear to be only two miles distant. With the aid of the glasses we could see the vegetation and rocks on the sides of the mountains quite plainly.
The United States geological survey reports Montana the best watered state in the Union. It has more large rivers than all of the states west of the Mississippi combined. Milk river is five hundred miles long. This valley is one of the finest in Montana. Here irrigation is a perfect success.
Here one sees the cowboy in all his picturesqueness. The saddle is your true seat of empire. Montana cattle bring a big price in the Chicago market. The top price paid in 1897 was five dollars per hundredweight, and was paid to George Draggs for a shipment from Valley county. I would almost be willing to live in the Bad Lands if I might always have my table supplied with the juicy mountain beef which we have been eating since we arrived at St. Paul.
This is a fine sheep as well as cattle country.
Montana is not all sage brush, coyotes and rattlesnakes.
Montana has according to the report of the secretary of the interior seventy million acres of untillable lands. A great portion of this land can be reclaimed by irrigation.
We passed the Little Rockies sixty miles to the north (the distance looked to be only about two miles). The Bear Paw mountains are west of these. The Indians are very superstitious about the mountains. The great spirit, Manitou, they tell us, broke a hole through the floor of heaven with a rock and on the spot where it fell he threw down more rocks, snow and ice until the pile was so high that he could step from the summit into heaven.
After the mountains were completed, Manitou by running his hands over their rugged sides, forced up the forests. Then he plucked some leaves, blew his breath upon them and gave them a toss in the air and lo they sailed away in the breezy blue birds. His staff he turned into beasts and fishes. The earth became so beautiful he decided to live on it and starting a fire in Mt. Shasta he burned it out for a wigwam.
An interesting part of life on the plains is the prairie dog and his town, the streets of which were not laid out by an engineer. Each dog selects the site of his home to suit his taste. The houses are about the size of a wagon wheel, almost perfectly round. As the train whirls by they sit on top of their houses looking much like soldiers standing guard. The dogs are three times as large as a gopher and of a pale straw color. As one walks toward them, down they go through the door, but they are very curious and presently back they come for another look. They are agile and graceful in movement. One handsome fellow lay on the projecting sill of a house basking in the sun. We approached very near before he saw us. The flies were annoying him. He shook his head and blinked his eyes at the flies, paying little attention to us.
The wild flowers of Montana are as abundant and beautiful as those of the Alps, and more varied. Shooting stars greet the spring. Dandelions abound but do not reach full rounded perfection. The common blue larkspur, however, revels in the cool air and warm sunshine. The little yellow violet which haunts the woods in the eastern states makes herself quite at home here. Blue bells nod and sway in the breeze, little ragged sun flowers turn their faces to the sun and mitreworts grow everywhere.
Along the shady streams wild currants flaunt their yellow flags while hydrangea, that queen of flowers, lends a shade to the violets blooming at her feet. Wild roses strew the ground with their delicate petals. Stately lilies, their purple stamens contrasting strangely with their yellow petals, are abundant. The most dainty of this fair host is the golden saxifrage, and the most delicate gold thread, whose dainty, slender roots resemble nothing so much as threads of pure gold.
At Havre, Montana, the Twenty-fourth United States Infantry came aboard. They are stalwart colored soldiers who will do credit to the uniforms they wear. They go to San Francisco, where they take transports for Manila. The good-bys at the station between the soldiers and their friends and relatives were pathetic indeed. Not one of the brave fellows but acted a soldier’s part.
Just as the train was pulling out a handsome girl ran along one of the cars to the window calling out to her sweetheart:
“O, lift me up till I kiss you again.”
We were glad when two big black hands came out through the open window and strong arms clasped the maiden for a moment.
Every heart beat with the same thought; how many of these brave men would return from the deadly Philippines?
We were proud of the Twenty-fourth when they bade good-by to their friends at Havre; we were proud of them when they marched up the street at Spokane; we are proud of them still.
The officers of this regiment are white. They and their wives came into our car.
The conversation was enlivened with tales of camp life. When a private, one officer was greatly annoyed by the Indians, who came day after day to sit in the shade of his quarters, when having been on night duty he wanted to sleep. He bought a sun-glass and when they began talking he would sit down at the window and carelessly with the glass draw a focus on one of his tormentor’s feet. With a yell worthy an Indian with the bad spirit after him he would bound away, followed by his companions. Soon they would return, when the glass would be brought into play with the same effect. At last the Indians came to believe the house haunted and our captain was no longer troubled by his red brothers.
After forty miles of mountain climbing we reached the summit of the Rockies. At nine o’clock we were still in the mountains and the sun was still shining.
The smallest owl in the world has his home in these mountains. It is the Pigmy owl, but you must look sharply if you see him as he flits from limb to limb and hides in the dense foliage. The Rocky Mountain blue jay is not blue at all. His coat is a reddish brown, he sports a black-crested cap and has black bars on his wings like his Illinois brothers.
Flowers, ice, snow and mountain torrents spread out in one grand panorama. Fleecy white clouds not much larger than one’s hand float up and join larger ones at the summit of the peaks. There is no grander scene on earth than this range of snow-capped mountains spread out in mighty panorama, peak after peak and turret after turret glistening in the golden sunshine against skies as blue as those of Italy.
“Come up into the mountains—come up into the blue,
Oh, friend down in the valley, the way is clear for you;
The path is full of perils, and devious, but your feet
May safely thread its windings, and reach to my retreat.
The mountains, oh, the mountains! How all the ambient air
Bends like a benediction, and all the soul is prayer.
How blithely on this summit the echoing wind’s refrain
Invites us to the mountains—God’s eminent domain.
Oh, soul below in the valley where aspirations rise
No higher than the plunging of water fowl that flies,
Come up into the mountains—come up into the blue;
Leave weary leagues behind you the lowland’s meaner view,
The autumn’s rotting verdure, the sapless grasses browned,
Come where the snows are lilies that bloom the whole year round.
Here in the subtle spirit of all these climbing hills,
Man may achieve his dreaming, and be the thing he wills.”
—Joseph Dana Miller.
When one has felt the inspiration which the air of the mountains gives, he feels that he may achieve his dreaming, may be the thing he wills.
Ten o’clock found us going down the western slope of the Rockies in the twilight. Daylight comes at two o’clock in the morning. All along the track over the mountains are stationed track walkers, who live in little shacks. Before every train which passes over the road each walker goes over his section to see that all is well.
All the Indians east of the Rockies located the Happy Hunting Ground west of the mountains and those west of the divide thought it was on the eastern side, and that every red man’s soul would be carried over on a cob-web float.
At Spokane we turned our watches back another hour. We are now in Pacific Coast time.
PLENTY OF ROOM
There is plenty of room in the great Northwest. For twenty-five years to come Horace Greeley’s advice “Go west,” will hold good. Charles Dickens once said that the typical American would hesitate to enter heaven unless assured that he could go farther west. “Go west.” Surely these are words to conjure with. “Go west,” thrills the blood of youth and stirs the blood of age.
The tide of immigration is turning this way. No matter what your trade or profession, there is room for you here.
Agriculture, the supporting pillar in the temple of wealth of any nation, stands in the front rank in Washington and Idaho, the soil being wonderfully productive. Stock raising, dairying and fruit farming are carried on with great success. But the great mining interest must not be forgotten. The annual rainfall varies from thirty-five to sixty inches. A healthful climate meets one in almost every part of these great states. Malaria is practically unknown. As to scenery one may have here the sublime grandeur of Switzerland, the picturesqueness of the Rhine and the rugged beauty of Norway.
The lava beds of eastern Washington are wild and barren as to rocks, but the soil is very productive when irrigated. The lava is burned red in many places. Castle after castle with drawbridge, turrets and soldiers on guard, all of solid rock, greet the eye. Column after column stand hundreds of feet high.
ENTERING THE CASCADE RANGE.
The Cascade mountains surpass the Rockies in grandeur and ruggedness of scenery. We crossed on the Switch Back. This is by “tacking,” as a sailor would say. We had three engines, mammoth Moguls, one forward, the other two in the rear. There are but two engines in the world larger than these.
To explain more fully we went back and forth three times on the side of the mountain until we reached the summit, then down on the other side in the same manner. Going up we made snowballs with one hand and gathered flowers with the other, tiger lilies, perfect ones one and one-half inch from tip of petal to petal on tiny stalks five inches high. Blackberry vines run on the ground to the summit of the mountains. They creep along like strawberry vines. They are in bloom now and the berries will ripen in time.
The snowfall last winter on the summit was one hundred and nine feet. Miles of snowsheds are built over the road and men are kept constantly at work keeping the tracks clear of snow and bowlders. Five huge snow-plows are required, all working constantly to keep the sixty-six highest miles clear. The fall of snow for one day is often four feet. The Great Northern road is putting a tunnel through the mountains now, and will thus do away with the Switch Back. Eight thousand men work in the shafts night and day. They have been at work two years and expect to finish in 1901.
For hours we traveled above the clouds and at other times we passed through them and were deluged with rain. Magnificent ferns grow everywhere on the mountain sides and towns and villages are to be seen frequently.
LAVA BEDS IN WASHINGTON.
Descending the mountains we came to the Flat Head valley, the scenery of which is wild and rugged enough to suit the taste of the most imaginative Indian. The Flat Head river, a wild, raging, roaring torrent which sweeps everything before it as it comes leaping down the mountains, flows peacefully enough in the valley. Here water nymphs bathe in purple pools, yonder fairies and fauns dance on the green.
On the trees we see such signs as “Smoke Red Cloud,” “Chew Scalping Knife,” “Drink Smoky Mountain Whisky,” “Chew Indian Hatchet,” “Chew Tomahawk,” “Drink White Bear.”
Wenatchee valley is famous for its irrigated fruit farms. A great variety of fruits is grown. Water is easily and cheaply obtained. Mission District is another fine fruit valley. The interest in agriculture is growing. Bees do well here. If you do not own all the land you want come west where it is cheap, good and plenty. The country is rapidly filling up with settlers. We passed fine wheat lands that stretch away across the country to Walla Walla. Men are now coming in to the wheat harvest just as in Illinois they come to cut broomcorn. But they are a better looking class of men. One sees no genuine tramp. There is no room for him here, there is too much work and he shuns such districts as one would a smallpox infected region.
Seattle.—The first white men to explore this coast was an expedition under command of Juan de Fuca, a Greek pilot in the service of the Viceroy of Mexico. They explored the coast as far north as Vancouver island in 1592. Two hundred years later Captain George Vancouver, of the British navy, made extensive explorations along this same coast. The first overland expedition was commanded by Lewis and Clarke. The next was also a military expedition and was commanded by John C. Fremont. The first people to settle in the country were the fur traders. The first mission was established by Dr. Marcus Whitman at Walla Walla in 1836. It was Dr. Whitman who rode to Washington, D. C., leaving here in December, and informed the government of the conspiracy of England to drive out all the American settlers and seize the country. The first town was Tumwater, founded in 1845 by Michael Simmons. These are some of the people who helped make Washington.
General Sherman said, that God had done more for Seattle than for any other place in the world. It is destined to be the Chicago of the West. The largest saw-mills in the world are located here. The population is about eighty thousand and the increase is rapid. The University of Washington, supported by the state, is grandly located in Seattle. The Federal government has a fine military station twelve miles out of the city.
TANGLE OF WILD FERN IN A WASHINGTON FOREST.
At every turn Indian names meet the eye. We steamed down the bay on the Skagit Chief to the city park, where we lunched at the Duramash restaurant. In the shop windows Umatilla hats, Black Eagle caps and Ancelline ties are offered for sale.
Ancelline was an Indian princess, daughter of Seattle. Seattle was chief of the Old Man House Indians. These Indians had a big wigwam in which the entire tribe lived during the winter. They called this the Old Man House and the tribe took its name from this house. There is but one family of these Indians left.
The Indians on this side of the mountains have never received any support from the government. They are much more industrious than their red brothers on the other side. There are many tribes here and many of them are quite well to do in the way of lands and money. All talk English but prefer to speak Chinook.
Nokomis was an old Indian woman who did laundry work for a family in Seattle with whom I have become acquainted. Nokomis was exceedingly stubborn. She would permit no one to tell her how to wash for had she not washed in the creeks and rivers all her life? This old woman was somewhat deaf and when directions were being given her she could not possibly hear and continued the work her own way. But when the mistress would say, “Come Nokomis, have some coppe (Chinook for coffee) and muck amuck (Chinook for ‘something to eat’),” she never failed to hear, though this was often said in a low tone of voice to test Nokomis’s ears.
Wheat in this section easily goes fifty bushels per acre. The root crops, potatoes, turnips, onions, carrots, beets and parsnips yield enormously, with prices fair to good. The fruits are fine and prices good. Strawberries sell here now three quarts for twenty-five cents. The fruits go to Alaska, Canada and east to Montana and Minnesota. Stock and poultry do well here and supply eastern markets at good prices. Another industrial resource in which many are engaged is fishing. The cod, halibut, oyster, crab, shrimp, whale and fur seal yield fine profits. Canned fish go to the Eastern States, to Europe, Asia and Australia. The timber, coal, iron, gold and silver industries are well represented.
There is one industry that is not represented here at all, and that is the window-screen industry. There is but one fly in Seattle; at any rate I have seen but one. Meat markets and fruit markets stand open. The temperature has averaged sixty-two in the shade for several days. It is quite hot in the sun, however.
If you are out of a fortune and would like to make one, come to Washington.
Mount Rainier is the highest peak of the Cascade Range and the most beautiful. Though standing on American soil it bears an English name, that of Rear Admiral Rainier of the English navy. The local name was for years Tacoma, but in 1890 the United States board of geographic survey decided that Rainier must stand on all government maps.
The people of Washington speak lovingly of this splendid peak which was smoking so grandly when the Pathfinder found his way into this country fifty years ago.
From its summit eight glaciers radiate like the spokes of a wheel down from which flow as many rivers. Its ice caverns formed by sulphur vent holes in the crater, its steam jets, its moss draped pines, its dainty vines and hemlocks, its grassy vales, where wild flowers are swayed by the breath of the glaciers, its beautiful lilies, remind one of “Aladdin’s” journey through the wonderful cave in search of the magic lamp.
Here blows the heather and the shamrock.
“With a four-leafed clover, a double-leafed ash, and a greentopped seave,
You may go before the queen’s daughter without asking leave.”
There stands fair Daphne, changed to a laurel tree.
In the legends of the Silash Indians Mount Rainier has always been held as a place of superstitious regard. It was the refuge of the last man when the waters of Puget Sound swept inland, drowning every living thing except one man. Chased by the waves, he reached the summit, where he was standing waist deep in the water when the Tamanous, the god of the mountain, commanded the waters to recede. Slowly they receded, but the man had turned to stone. The Tamanous broke loose one of his ribs and changing it to a woman, stood it by his side, then waving his magic wand over the two, bade them to awake. Joyfully this strange Adam and Eve passed down the mountain side, where they made their home on the forested slopes. These were the first parents of the Silash Indians.
In the very center of the Cascade range stands another mountain of equal beauty, Mount St. Helens.
Washington is the home of the genuine sea serpent. He makes his headquarters in Rock Lake, where he disports himself in the water, devouring every living thing that ventures into it or dares to come on the shore. Only a few years ago he swallowed an entire band of Indians.
Expansion seems to be the law of our national and commercial life. Beyond the placid Pacific are six hundred million people who want the things we produce. China and Japan furnish a market for our wheat. The cry now is for more ships to carry our produce to Asia, Australia, to islands of the Pacific and to Alaska, not to speak of the Philippines. Manila is the center of the great Asiatic ports, including those of British India and Australia. Our trade with the Orient is growing and Manila will make a fine distributing depot. These eastern countries use annually over eighty-six million dollars’ worth of cotton goods and nearly forty million dollars’ worth of iron and steel manufactures. This we can produce in this country as cheap if not cheaper than in any other country. Seattle is the best point from which to export, as the route is shorter than from San Francisco.
The battleship Iowa is in dry dock here. I should liked to have been a marine myself and have stood behind one of those big guns when Cervera left the harbor of Santiago. And now I’d like to train that same gun on the anti-expansionist and send him to the bottom of the sea, there to sleep with the Spaniards and other useless things. Officers and marines alike are proud of their ship and delighted to explain the mechanism of the guns.
We took a steamer over to Tacoma one morning, where we had the pleasure of seeing the North Pacific steamship Glenogle, which had just arrived from Japan, unload her cargo. She brought two thousand tons of tea, over two thousand pounds of rice, two thousand and twelve bails of matting, two hundred and eighty-six bails of straw braid, one hundred and thirty-nine cases of porcelain, two hundred and eighty-five packages of curios, three thousand packages of bamboo ware, silk goods and a multitude of small articles made the load. She had forty Japanese passengers for this port, and left forty-five at Victoria.
STREET IN TACOMA, WASHINGTON.
The air was fragrant with the odor of roses and beautiful pinks.
On the street we met a party of Indians in civilian dress, wearing closely cropped hair and moustaches.
Tacoma pays ninety dollars per ton for copper ore from Alaska.
Returning across the bay we met a flock of crows on the flotsam and jetsam which floats down from the saw-mills. Their antics reminded me of a party of school boys playing tag. At the steamer’s approach the leader gave a warning caw and they were up and away before the steamer struck their floating playground and scattered it to the waves.
At sunset the reflection of the sun-lit clouds on the waves and the fire and glow of the sparkling water, now ruby red, changing to turquoise blues and emerald greens, make a scene delightful to the eye of one who loves the sea.
OFF FOR ALASKA
“All aboard!” At ten o’clock we steamed out of the harbor of Seattle and headed toward Alaska, the land of icebergs, glaciers and gold fields. Seattle sat as serenely on her terraced slopes as Rome on her seven hills. The sun shone bright and clear on the snow-capped peaks of the Cascades. Mt. Tacoma stood out bold and clear against the sun-lit sky.
We steamed at full speed down Admiralty Inlet.
At noon we stop at Port Townsend, the port of entry for Puget sound. One sees at all these coast towns many Japanese, some dressed in nobby bicycle costumes, leading their wheels about the wharves, others wearing neat business suits and sporting canes. The less fortunate almond-eyed people are here too, dressed in the garb of the laborer, but it is to the former, the padrone, that the American employer goes for contract labor.
In any case the laborer pays his padrone a per cent. of his wages.
It holds true the world over that “some must follow and some command, though all are made of clay,” as Longfellow puts it.
We are soon out on the ocean, where it is all sea and flood and long Pacific swell.
All up and down the picturesque shores of Puget Sound live the Silash Indians, who to-day dress in American costumes and follow American pursuits. One sees them on the streets of the cities and towns. The Silash, like the ancient Greeks, peopled the unseen world with spirits. Good and evil genii lived in the forest; every spring had its Nereid and every tree its dryad. They believed the Milky Way to be the path to heaven; so believed the ancient Greeks.
One beautiful day there gleamed and danced in the sunshine a copper canoe of wonderful design. Down the sound it came. When the stranger whom it carried had landed he announced that he had a message for the red man, and sending for every Silash, he taught them the law of love. The Indian mind is slow to adjust itself to new thought. Such ideas were new and strange to these children of nature. When this beautiful stranger about whose head the sun was always shining, told them of the new, the eternal life in the world beyond, they listened with deep interest, but the savage was stronger than the man in the red skins and they dragged the stranger to a tree, where they nailed him fast with pegs in his hands and feet, torturing him as they did their victims of the devil dance.
Then they danced around him until the strange light faded from his beautiful eyes. Slowly the radiant head dropped and life itself went out. A great storm arose that shook the earth to its very center. Great rocks came tearing down the mountain side. The sun hid his face for three days.
They took the body down and laid it away. On the third day, when the sun burst forth, the dead man arose and resumed his teaching. The Indians now declared him a god and believed in him.
Year by year the Silash grew more gentle and less warlike, until of all Indians they became the most peaceful. My readers will readily see that this is a confused tale of the Christ.
Another fantastic tale of this region is that of an Indian miser who dried salmon and jerked meat, which he sold for haiqua,—tusk-shells,—the wampum of the Silash Indians. Like all misers, the more haiqua he got the more he wanted.
One cold winter day he went hunting on the slopes of Mount Rainier. Every mountain has its Tamanous, to which travelers and hunters must pay homage. Now the miser, instead of paying devotion to the god of the mountain, only looked at the snow and sighed, “Ah, if it were only haiqua.”
Up, up he went, and soon reached the rim of the volcano’s crater, and hurrying down the inside of the crater he came to a rock in the form of a deer’s head. With desperate energy he flung snow and gravel about. Presently he came to a smooth, flat rock; summoning all his strength, he lifted the rock. Beyond was a wonderful cave where were stored great quantities of the most beautiful haiqua his eyes had ever beheld.
Winding string after string about his body, until he had all the haiqua he could carry, he climbed out of the crater and started down the mountain side. But the Tamanous was angry. Wrapping himself in a storm cloud, he pursued the miser, who buffeted by the wind and blinded by the snow and darkness, stumbled on, grasping his treasure. The unseen hands of the god clutched him and tore strand after strand from his neck.
The storm lulled a moment, but returned with renewed energy; the thunder and lightning increased; again the unseen hands held him in a vice-like grasp. Strand after strand the angry god tore from the miser’s grasp, until by the time he arrived at the timber line but one strand remained; this he flung aside and hurried on down the mountain. Not one shell remained to reward him for his perilous journey. Weary and foot-sore he fell fainting in the darkness. When he awoke his hair was white as the snow on the mountain’s brow. He looked back at the snow-crowned peak with never a wish for the treasures of the Tamanous. When he arrived at his home an aged woman was there cooking fish. In her he recognized his wife, who had mourned him as dead for many long years. He dried salmon and jerked meat, which he sold for haiqua, but never again did he brave the Tamanous of Mount Rainier. Thus ends the weird tale of Puget Sound.
Clearing this port, our course lay across the straits of Juan de Fuca, named for the Greek explorer before mentioned. The green slopes of the beautiful San Juan islands now came into view.
We landed at Victoria, the capital of the province of British Columbia, at eight o’clock in the morning. The city was still wrapt in slumber. A cow placidly munching grass in the street, looked at us inquiringly. We met a dejected looking dog and presently a laborer going to his work.
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, VICTORIA.
A handsome hotel occupies a commanding site, but the doors were closed. Not a store was open. The government buildings, naval station and museum are the only places of interest.
The Island of Vancouver is composed of rock and sand. All along the shore are magnificent sea weeds, ferns and club mosses, growing fast to the rocky side and the bottom of the sea. Many of these plants break loose and go floating about.
Imagine a perfectly smooth, flexible parsnip, from twenty to fifty feet long, with leaves of the same length like those of the horse radish in form, but the color of sapless, water-soaked grasses, and you have a kelp. Coming toward you head on, the long leaves floating back under it, you have a miniature man-of-war.
The fortifications for the protection of the harbor are submerged. You would never suspect that below that innocent looking daisy covered surface great guns were ready at a moment’s notice to blow you and your good ship to atoms should her actions proclaim her an enemy.
Farther up the coast Exquimalt, the most formidable fortress on the American Continent, occupies a commanding site.
We were glad to retrace our steps to the steamer and shake from off our feet the dust of that sleepy old town, which never felt a quiver when “Freedom from her mountain height unfurled her standard to the air,” and shake off too that strange feeling which possesses one when treading a foreign shore.
All day long Mount Baker of the Cascade range has stood like an old sentinel, white and hoary, to point us on our way.
Fair Haven and New Whatcomb, the terminus of the Great Northern railway for passenger traffic, are delightfully located on the coast. These towns are growing rapidly. The population is now twelve hundred. The largest shingle mill in the world is located here. It turns out half a million shingles every ten hours. The saw-mill turns out lumber enough every day to build five ten-room houses, while a tin can factory turns out a half million cans a day.
In time Fair Haven and New Whatcomb will be two of the most beautiful towns in Washington. The streets are broad. Green lawns surround handsome homes and pretty cottages.
At noon we passed the forty-ninth parallel, the boundary line between the United States and the British possessions. What a vast expanse of territory had been ours had we adhered to our determination to maintain the fifty-fourth parallel. “Fifty-four, forty or fight,” we said, but gave it up without a blow.
Forty miles across from Vancouver lies the busy collier town of Nanaimo. The Indians discovered the coal fifty years ago. On the knoll near the coal wharves, there is a beautiful grove of madronas. In the surrounding forest gigantic ferns and strange wild flowers grow in great profusion. Berries are plentiful and game abundant.
At Cape Mudge we bid farewell to the Silash tribes. Cape Mudge potlatches are famous for their extravagance. In 1888 a neighboring tribe was worth nearly five hundred thousand dollars. The British Columbia legislature prohibited potlatches and in one year their wealth decreased four-fifths. The prohibition of potlatches quenched their desire to accumulate property.
GORGE OF HOMATHCO.
The wild gorge of Homathco is the result of the relentless glaciers.
In Jervis Inlet is a great tidal rapid, the roar of which can be heard for miles. It is considered the equal of the famous Malstrom and Salstrom of Norway.
At Point Robert we pass the last light house on the American coast. The stars and stripes floated from the flag staff. With a dash and a roar the white crested waves tumbled on the beach. With a last farewell to Old Glory, we steam ahead and for six hundred miles plow the British main.
LIGHT HOUSE, POINT ROBERT.
The scenery becomes more wild, savage, grand and awful. Snow-clad mountains guard the waterway on either side. Such Oh’s and Ah’s when some scene of more than usual grandeur bursts upon our view. A canoe shoots out from yonder overhanging ledge. The glasses reveal the occupants to be four Indians out on a fishing expedition.
Nearly every one of our three hundred passengers was interested in the first whale sighted. “O yonder he goes, a whale;” “O, see him spout;” “Now look, look!” “Ah, down he goes.” Then everyone questions everyone else. “Did you see the whale?” “Did you see our whale?” “O, we had whales on our side of the boat,” and adds some one, “They were performing whales, too.” Then the gong sounds for dinner and the whale is forgotten in the discussion of the menu.
Many of our passengers are bound for Dawson City, Juneau and other Alaskan points. One hears much discussion of the dollar, not the common American dollar, but the Alaskan dollar, which seems to be more precious as it is more difficult to obtain.
Here are young men bound for the frozen field of gold who could carry a message to Garcia and never once ask, “Where is he ‘at?’” “Who is he?” or “Why do you want to send the message, anyway?” Young men with backbone, muscle and brains, who would succeed in almost any field.
From Queen Charlotte’s sound to Cape Calvert we were out on the Pacific. Old Neptune tossed us about pretty much as he liked, although Captain Wallace, who, by the way, is a genial gentleman and a charming host, assured us that we had a smooth passage across this arm of the old ocean. Many suffered from mal de mer.
Wrapped in furs and rugs, we sit on deck, enjoying the panorama of sea and sky. Sun-lit mountains, white with the snows of a thousand years and green-clad foot hills covered with pines as thick as the weeds on a common. Here and there in a wild, dreary nook the glasses revealed an Indian trapper’s cabin. Here he lives and hunts and fishes. When he has a sufficient number of skins he loads his canoe and skims across the water, it may be eighty or a hundred miles, to a town, where he trades his furs and fish for sugar, coffee, tea, and the many things which he has learned to eat from his white brother. He is very fond of tea and rum. He does not bury his dead, but wraps them in their blankets and lays them on the top of the ground, that they may the more easily find their way to the Happy Hunting Ground. Then he builds a tight board fence five or six feet high about the lonely grave and covers it tightly over the top to keep out the wild animals which roam the mountain sides. A tall staff rises from the grave and a white cloth floats from its pinnacle. We sighted one of these lonely graves on the top of a small island on our second day out, and were reminded of that other lonely grave in the vale of the Land of Moab.
FJORDS OF ALASKA.
Bella Bella is an Indian town located on Hunter island. The houses are all two-story and nicely painted. There is nothing in the aspect of the town to indicate that it is other than a white man’s town, though the Indians who reside here were once the most savage on the coast. On a smaller island near by is a cemetery. Small, one-roomed houses are the vaults in which the bodies are placed after being wrapped in blankets. Here we saw the first grave stones. They stand in front of these vaults and are higher. On them are carved the owner’s name and his exploits in hunting or war in picture language.
The Silash Indians are very gentle and kind. If you are hungry they will divide their last crust with you. If you are cold they will give you their last blanket. They wear civilized dress, fish and hunt and are quite prosperous. Many hops are grown in the State of Washington and in the fall these Indians go down in their canoes to pick hops. They are preferred to white pickers, because of their industry and honesty.
Saturday night we crossed “Fifty-four forty or fight” and Sunday morning found us in Alaska.
FISHING HAMLET OF KETCHIKAN.
We visited the Indian village of Ketchikan. The Episcopalians have a mission at this place. The teacher is an able young woman. A young lady, a handsome half-breed Indian girl, came upon the wharf to meet someone who came on the boat. Her carriage, language and manner were those of a lady. We landed some freight at this point. The freight agent was a half-breed Indian, quite good looking and a gentleman.
New Metlakahtla is a most attractive village on the Annette Islands.
The Metlakahtlans are the most progressive race in Alaska. Mr. Duncan visited the United States in 1887, enlisting aid for the Indians. Henry Ward Beecher and Phillips Brooks became champions of his cause.
The government at Washington assured Mr. Duncan that his people would be protected in any lands which they might select in Alaska.
In the spring of 1887 four hundred Metlakahtlans crossed to the Annette Islands.
These enterprising people print their own newspaper. They have a photographer. The silversmiths, woodcarvers and bark weavers do a large business on tourist days.
The salmon cannery ships from six to eight thousand cases a year. There is a government school and a boarding school for girls. On steamer days the Indian band plays on a platform built on the tall stump of a cedar.
These people, all Christians, have all subscribed and faithfully live up to a code of rules, called the Declaration of Residents.
The inhabitants are greatly disturbed over the discovery of gold on these islands. The white man discovered the gold and now he wants the islands. Will the government keep faith with the Metlakahtlans?
Now let me tell the boys and girls what our vessel has down in her hold. Our boat, The Queen, is three hundred and fifty feet long and draws twenty-five feet of water, so you see she has a big hold down below her decks. There are twenty big steers going to Juneau to be made into beef; two big gray horses going to Dawson to work about the mines in the Klondike and when winter comes to be killed and dried for meat for dogs, as there will be no feed for the horses in the Klondike when winter sets in and the grass dies. A sad fate. They are gentle horses, poking their noses into your hand as you pass for an apple, peach or bit of grain. There are five hundred chickens down there, too, going to different points in Alaska. Two little Esquimaux pups, worth one hundred dollars each, are also here. Their mother, which was killed by the electric cars at Seattle the day before we sailed, cost four hundred dollars. The little curly-haired fellows play and tumble about very much like kittens, then suddenly they remember their mother and set up such a pitiful wail.
There is also a big, black Husky aboard. He is a cross between an Indian (not an Esquimaux) dog and a wolf. He is a big, heavy fellow, large of head, strong of limb and feet widened in muscular development wrought in his race by generations of hard service in this rugged climate. He is valued at three hundred and fifty dollars. He will pull three hundred pounds and travel forty miles a day over ice and snow, being fed but once a day on dried fish.
The most curious and by far the handsomest dog aboard is a Malamute. He is a beautiful dog. His furry coat is heavy and his fine ears stand erect. For actions, manners and affection for his master he is a fine specimen of the canine tribe. His walk is somewhat of a stride like that of the bear.
His owner, who lives in Chicago, is aboard. He paid three hundred dollars for the dog and took him home, but it is too warm for him in Chicago, so he is taking him back to Alaska.
There are many cases of oranges, lemons, peaches, apples, apricots and plums and tons of groceries of all sorts for Skagway, Dawson, Juneau, Sitka and other Alaskan points. Also many pounds of dressed beef, mutton, flour, cornmeal, oatmeal and canned goods. There are one thousand cases of oil, lots of dry goods and many miners’ outfits. So you see there is quite a traffic up and down this coast.
As we steam steadily on toward the home of Hoder, the stormy old god of winter, the air grows colder, the scenery more wild and strange. Snowclad mountains, sun-lit clouds resting on their peaks and veiling their sides, blue sky and sparkling water make a scene which may be imagined but not described.
FORT WRANGEL, ALASKA.
Alaska is the aboriginal name and means “great country.” It was at the request of Charles Sumner that the original name was retained. Seven million two hundred thousand dollars for a field of stony mountain, icebergs and glaciers! Had Seward gone mad? Ah, no. He builded wiser than he knew. Alaska is nine times the size of the New England States and cost less than one-half cent per acre.
The northwest coast of Alaska was discovered and explored by a Russian expedition under Behring, in 1741. Russian settlements were made and the fur trade developed.
The climate is no colder than at St. Petersburg and many other parts of Russia. The warm Japan current sweeps the coast and tempers the climate. Sitka is only three miles north of Balmoral, Scotland. The isothermal line running through Sitka runs through Richmond, Va., giving both points the same temperature. The average summer temperature is fifty-two degrees and the average winter weather thirty-one degrees above zero.
The average rainfall at this point is eighty-two inches. Native grasses and berries grow plentifully in the valleys. The chief wealth of the country lies in its forests, fish, fur-bearing animals and mines. The forest consists of yellow pine, spruce, larch, fir of great size, cypress and hemlock. The wild animals include the elk, deer and bear. The fur-bearing animals are the fox, wolf, beaver, ermine, otter and squirrel. Fur-bearing seals inhabit the waters along the coast. Salmon abound in the rivers.
It is one of the secrets of the rebellion that the large sum paid to Russia for Alaska was to compensate her for the presence of her warships in our harbor during the early days of the Civil War, thus helping to prevent English interference.
Fort Wrangel is delightfully located on the green slopes of the mountains. It was once a Russian military post and takes its name from the Russian governor of Alaska, Baron Wrangel.
Here are some fine totem poles. Totemism is a species of heraldry. Their whales, frogs, crows, and wolves are no more difficult to understand than the dragons, griffins, and fleur-de-lis of European heraldry. The totem pole of the Alaskan Indian is his crest, his monument. The totem is his clan name, his god. He is a crow, a raven, an eagle, a bear, a whale, or a wolf. It is the old story of Beauty and the Beast. The beautiful raven maiden may live happily with her bear husband.
Every Indian claims kinship with three totems. The clan totem is the animal from which the clan descended. There is a totem common to all the women of the clan. The men of the clan have a totem and each individual when he or she arrives at manhood or womanhood chooses a totem sacred to him or herself. This totem is his guardian angel and protects him from danger and harm. The Alaskan Indian believes the eagle to be the American man’s totem and the lion and the unicorn the two totems of the Englishman.
The civilized races of antiquity all passed through the totem period. Our Indians all had their totems as their names indicate, Blackfeet, Crow and Sioux. Totems are common to all savage races, but the Alaskan Indian is the only North American who erects a monument to his totem.
While the totem protects the Indian the Indian is in duty bound to protect his totem. He may neither kill nor eat his own totem, but he may with impunity kill the god of another. If you kill his totem he will be grieved and sorrowfully ask, “Why you kill him, my brother?”
These people were evolutionists long before Darwin. There are no monkeys, however, among the totems of the Alaskan Indians.
When an Indian marries he takes his wife’s name, the name of her clan totem. The children, too, belong to the mother’s totem, and, of course, take her name. The wife is the head of the family, managing it and transacting all the business.
These Indians and all the Indians of southern Alaska are Tlingits. Tlingit means people. There are many traditions among them of a supernatural origin; one to the effect that the crow in whom dwelt the Great Spirit lived on the Nass River, where he turned two blades of grass into a man and a woman. This was the first pair from whom sprang all Tlingits. They have tales of a migration from the southeast, the Mars River country. Their propitiation of evil spirits, their shamanism and their belief in the transmigration of souls, all point to Asiatic origin, yet there is no tradition among them of any such origin. Once, many thousands of snows ago, a Tlingit stole the sun and hid it, then nearly all the people died, but the crow found it and placed it in the sky again. After this the tribe increased.
The Tlingit idea of justice is something of a novelty. The code, however, is short; an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth, is always strictly demanded. A Tlingit once shot at a decoy duck, but he made the owner pay for the shot used. A young Indian stole a rifle and accidentally killed himself with it. His relatives made the owner pay for the dead thief. If a patient dies under a doctor’s care he pays for him.
Before the advent of the white man shamanism held sway. When a Tlingit fell ill he sent for his medicine man, who by incantations cured him, or failing that, accused some one of bewitching his patient. The wizard or witch was tortured and put to death, after which the sick Indian recovered or died, as the case might be.
Captain E. C. Merriman, of the U. S. Navy, destroyed the power of the shaman by rescuing the accused and punishing the shaman.
The shaman spends the greater part of his life in the forest, fasting and receiving inspiration from his totemic spirits. A concoction of dried frogs’ legs and sea water give him power to perceive a man’s soul—the Tlingit woman had no soul then—escaping from his body and to catch it and restore it to the man.
The Tlingits practiced cremation, but the body of a shaman was never cremated, it would not burn. It was always buried in a little box-like tomb. The body was wrapped in blankets and placed in a sitting posture, surrounded by the masks, wands, rattles, and all the paraphernalia of the office of a shaman, ready for use in the heaven to which he had gone.
The missionaries have destroyed faith in the shaman and broken up the practice of cremation.
CHIEF SHAKE’S HOUSE, FORT WRANGEL.
At Fort Wrangel we called on the chief. He has the tallest and the most handsomely carved pole in the Indian village.
There are three kinds of totem poles. The family totem pole, which is erected in front of the home. On it are carved figures representing the totems of the family, the wife’s totem always surmounting the pole and the husband’s next below. Then appear totems of other members of the family.
The death totem pole is erected at the grave. On it are engraved the totems of the dead man’s ancestors, as well as his own. The third class of poles are erected to commemorate some remarkable event in history of the tribe or of the man. These poles may be seen up and down the coast from Vancouver to Yakutat.
“And they painted on the grave-posts
Of the graves yet unforgotten,
Each his ancestral totem,
Each the symbol of his household,
Figures of the bear, the reindeer,
Of the turtle, crane and beaver.”
The fine flower of the native races of the coast are the Haidas. They are taller and fairer, with more regular features than any of the Columbian coast tribes. They are aliens to the Tlingits, differing from them mentally and physically, in speech and customs. The Tlingits call them “people of the sea.” They were the Norsemen of the Pacific shores; the coppery Erics and Harolds, who sailed the blue waters of the Pacific, sweeping the coast, attacking native villages, Hudson Bay Company posts, and the settlements of the whites. The harbor at Seattle was a place of rendezvous.
The origin of this daring race is a mystery. They hold many traditions in common with the Aztec and Zunis of Mexico. Marchand identifies them with those whom Cortes drove out of Mexico. Many of their images are similar to silver relics found in the ruins of Guatemala.
These people bear a resemblance to the Japanese. They have Japanese words in their language; they sit always at their work and cut towards them in using tools, which are much like those in use by the Japanese to-day. They have also many modern Apache words in their speech, while their picture writing is similar and in many cases the same as that of the Zunis.
Their own legend of their origin runs in this wise: During a great flood when every living thing on the earth perished, a few people floated to the tops of the mountains in canoes, which they anchored with heavy stones. The water rose so high, however, that they at last were drowned.
The only living thing to survive the flood was a raven. When the waters had subsided he flew down to the coast, where the waves dashing on the rocks sent forth a noise as of thunder. Presently he heard the cry of babies; directly a huge shell came rolling in on the sandy beach. The raven opened it and out came a strange people. In thankfulness for their deliverance they have made the raven their clan totem.
These people make baskets and mats to-day exactly like those made by the natives of the Islands of Polynesia, while their carving, in which they excel all other tribes of the North, resembles the sculpture of ancient Egypt.
Totem poles originated with these people and spread from them to other tribes with whom they came in contact. They practiced cremation and their death totem poles are always hollow, making a receptacle for the ashes of the dead.
The earliest explorers found these people living in houses built of heavy, hewn logs, and planks hewn out and neatly mortised. The houses were covered with a hip roof, supported by heavy rafters and thatched with an odd sort of shingle, clipped or hewn out of the logs. On the plank floors were mats made from a rush which grows on the islands.
The old Hydahs were a warlike people, who were ever waging battle with the fierce Chilkats.
ENTERING WRANGEL NARROWS.
Wrangel narrows is one of the finest scenic passages along the coast of Alaska. The magnificent range of snow-covered mountain peaks, the green-clad slopes on the shore and the Stickine delta compose as noble a landscape as one will see anywhere in the world. The sunset and sunrise lights in the narrows and on the snowy, cloud-wreathed mountains are marvelous pictures of beauty, beyond the power of pen or brush to portray.
At low tide broad bands of russet hued algae border the sea-washed shores. Giant kelp break loose from their moorings and go floating about, their yellow fronds and orange heads contrasting strangely with the intense green of the water. The Indians say these kelp are the queues of shipwrecked Chinamen. Many eagles build their nests in the trees, while myriads of seagulls skim the water.
The scenery of the Stickine river is equally grand. Three hundred glaciers drain their waters into this river.
The tourist meets the first tide water glacier in the Bay of Le Conte. The Stickine Indians called it Hutli, Thunder Bay. Here, they say, dwells Hutli, the Thunder Bird. To their imaginative mind the cracking of the ice and the noise of the falling icebergs, is the cry of Hutli, and the roar of the falling water the flapping of his huge wings.
In Lapland the guardian spirit of the mountains is known as Haltios.
DOUGLAS ISLAND, LOOKING TOWARD JUNEAU.
Juneau is located at the foot of Mt. Juneau, which is more than three thousand feet high. It is snow-capped and delicious water comes pouring down the mountain sides. Juneau is a newly built town and is the largest on the coast. It has a population of thirty-five hundred. Just below the town is a village of Taku Indians. Back of the village are the grave houses. Here we find totem poles and Indian offerings to the spirits. Steamers bring to this wharf fruits and vegetables. Radishes, lettuce and onions, also rhubarb, look tempting in the gardens. Juneau is the home of many miners and prospectors. The chief mining interest in this vicinity is the Treadwell mines, located on Douglas island, just across Gastineau channel from Juneau. The ore runs from two dollars and twenty cents to four dollars per ton only, but the water power coming from the mountains makes the working of the mines cheap, so that the company is enabled to pay large dividends. Hundreds of sacks of gold, nearly free from rock, lay day and night on the wharves, waiting for the steamers to carry it away to the stamping mill. On the wharf at Treadwell lay twenty thousand dollars.
The mill spoken of is the largest in the world. It runs eight hundred and eighty stamps day and night. There is enough ore in sight to run the mill twenty-four hours a day for thirty years. The mountains are being literally blasted down and carted away. The Indians work in the mines, but they cannot compete with their Anglo Saxon brothers, they earning only about half as much. They will not trust the white man over night, hence are paid at the close of each day.
The Indians wear citizens’ clothes and carry watches. Many of them sport canes when walking about the streets. The women and girls do the family washing on the rocks in the mountain streams. One little black-eyed, brown-faced witch who said her name was Troke Lewis, was washing handkerchiefs on a big rock over which the water poured. She paused to talk to us, a cake of soap held high in one hand, while with the other she held her handkerchiefs down in the cold water on the rock.
Just around the cliff, back of Juneau, lies the beautiful Silver Bow cañon.
SILVER BOW CAÑON, JUNEAU.
By permission of F. Laroche, Photographer, Seattle, Washington.
There are plenty of fine fish in the bay. Salmon, trout and eels abound. The writer caught a trout weighing ten pounds and an eel weighing one pound.
Skagway is located on the Lynn canal at the foot of Mt. Dewey, which rises sheer fifty-five hundred feet above the sea. The climate is very mild, the thermometer never being known to register over six below zero. A veritable Ganymede sends down a vast supply of the most delicious water. Skagway is the coming city of Alaska. It will be to Alaska what Chicago is to the Middle Western States, what St. Paul and Minneapolis are to the Northwest and what Seattle is to the North Pacific coast. Streets are being laid out and other improvements are going on. Log cabins covered with tar paper are being replaced by more substantial buildings. People are coming here to stay and the representative inhabitants of this youthful town are men and women of refinement and culture from the Eastern and Middle States.
At Skagway all sorts of vegetables are growing in the gardens, lettuce, radishes, onions, potatoes, cabbage and tomatoes.
We spent the Fourth of July in this place. Congressman Warner invited us to join him and the senatorial party for the day. We went to the summit of the Selkirk mountains, to the head of the Yukon River on the White Pass and Yukon railway, after which the party was entertained in Skagway.
OLD RUSSIAN COURT HOUSE, JUNEAU.
Observation cars were especially prepared for the party. These consisted of flat cars around which run a railing. The seats were reversable and ran lengthwise of the cars. Thus you might view the wall of granite along which you were passing or reverse the seat and behold the wonderful things to be seen in the pass below, where the march of Civilization has left her trail, cabins, mining camps, amidst snow and flowering mosses, tin cans, cracker boxes; and last but not least, horses and mules just as good as when they lay down to their last sleep in these wilds.
The run to the summit was made in two hours. Over the same route men and pack mules plod along three weeks. Only in places is there much vegetation on these granite mountains. Toward the summit blackberries are in bloom. They are perfect plants only two inches high, each plant sending out two or three branches loaded with bloom. Dwarf pines and tufts of grass grow in the crevices of the rocks and on the sides of the mountains, where a little soil has found lodgment.
The White Pass and Yukon railway, which was opened in February, now runs trains over the summit to Lake Bennett. Work is being pushed rapidly forward to the final destination, Ft. Selkirk, Northwest Territory. The distance from Skagway to the summit is sixteen miles. The road was blasted out of solid granite all the way and is a wonderful feat of engineering skill.
There are the usual curves and loops, but these are not sufficient to overcome the steep grade which rises two hundred feet to the mile. The road rises thirty-two hundred feet in the sixteen miles. At one place the train was run up into a ravine on a Y. The engine was uncoupled and coming in behind us pushed the coaches up to the summit.
The ice bridges all through the mountains are in good repair, the turbulent streams flowing under them with a dash and a roar of the Selkirk’s own.
All along the way to the summit is visible on the opposite side of the pass, the foot trail of the Indians. This narrow path lies along the sheer cliffs, dropping suddenly into deep ravines, then almost straight up the precipitous side of the mountain.
An enterprising company has built a wagon road to the summit, but a nervous person had best run his carriage on more level ground. This road stands on end in many places. It runs along level enough for a foot or two then takes a header into a ravine, presently it winds over a frail bridge which the spuming torrent below threatens every minute to wreck.
STREET IN JUNEAU.
The wagon relegated the trail to oblivion. Then came the railroad and travel and commerce deserted the wagon road. Here they lie, the foot trail on one side, the wagon way on the other, and just above the road way, the railway. Three path ways: that of the untaught, unskilled Indian, that of the enterprising pioneer and that of the modern engineer, traverse this play ground of the Titans.
At the summit of the mountains Old Glory waves beside the British flag. Several British red-coated police are on duty at this point. They live in one-room frame houses covered with sail cloth.
The Yukon river rises at this point and flows four thousand miles into Behring Sea. Just now the head is a bank of snow from which we made snowballs.
The railroad will shortly be completed to Lake Bennett. From that point, with the exception of White Horse rapids, is a clear, unimpeded water route to Dawson City, in the heart of the Klondike.
From the Dawson City Midnight Sun we learn that this metropolis of the Northwest Territory is quite a busy place.
Hundreds are leaving for the Cape Nome country by every steamer, and many are making the trip in open boats.
A disastrous fire occurred on the hill back of Dawson on Wednesday last, when about forty cabins were destroyed by the blaze. In many cases the entire contents were destroyed, while some few were enabled to save their outfits. The fire caught from a small bonfire down near the Klondike, and in the first ravine up that stream. It ran up the hill to the trail, and then burning down towards the ferry, also destroyed half the homes on the lower side of the trail. The loss is estimated to reach about five thousand dollars, and fell on a class who could ill afford the loss, some being left absolutely destitute.
Scows and boats through from Lake Bennett began arriving in great numbers the last of the week, and are continuing to do so.
Trunks and bandboxes are taking the place of dunnage bags heretofore brought into the country. Every steamer is unloading cords of them.
Men who during the winter were spending hundreds of dollars over the gambling tables are now looking for a chance to work their passage out.
The suspicious actions of two strangers over on Gold Run has caused gold sacks to be guarded more carefully.
Two men while poling a boat up the river, were overturned near the mouth of the Klondike, losing a valuable kit of tools. The men were picked up by a boat pushed off from the river bank.
GREEK CHURCH, JUNEAU.
The grand opera house, built by Charles Meddows, is to be the finest building in Dawson. It is three stories high. The auditorium has a seating capacity of two thousand and a double row of boxes, forty-two in number.
From present indication Dawson will celebrate the Fourth of July as it was never before celebrated. Citizens of Canada are as eager supporters of this movement as are those of the States. There was a public mass meeting held in June at the A. C. warehouse, when there was about five hundred people present, and an executive committee appointed. Since then the different committees have been appointed and are meeting even better support from all quarters than expected.
The foreman of the Gold Hill mine saved from his washup a thousand dollars’ worth of handsome nuggets. Over these he kept a jealous eye continually until last Friday. Between seven and eight o’clock that evening he went to a neighboring cabin to bid good-by to Sam Miller, who was preparing to return to the States. During his temporary absence some sneak thief entered the cabin and cutting open a valise secured the sack of nuggets, but in his haste overlooked fifteen hundred dollars in dust lying near by.
We learn that a responsible firm is organizing a properly conducted express company, which will be prepared to carry parcels, gold dust, and attend to commissions. Thus a long felt want will be supplied in connection with Dawson’s dealing with outside points.
The foreman of the Eldorado is doing the finest piece of mining yet seen in the Klondike. A passer by would think that his large force of men was laying off a baseball ground, so level is the entire five hundred-foot claim being stripped for summer sluicing.
Cards are out announcing the marriage of two of Dawson’s most prominent young people.
A beautiful baby girl born over on Bonanza claim the other day is considered the most valuable nugget on the claim.
INDIAN CHIEF’S HOUSE, JUNEAU.
Patrick O’Flynn, a prisoner serving a six months’ sentence, escaped Thursday and has gone, nobody knows where. He, with other prisoners, was carrying water from the Yukon when he bolted among the tents along the river bank, mingled with the crowd and was lost sight of. One hundred dollars reward was promptly offered for information leading to his capture.
The Yukon has been steadily rising for the past week, and the high water mark is not yet reached. Water is backed up in the Klondike, overflowing the island.
This little city came near having a Johnstown flood last winter. An eye witness thus describes how the ice went out at Dawson. The river had been frozen all winter. When a few warm spring days came, the melting ice and snow in the mountains sent down immense volumes of water the strain of which the ice could not long withstand. All day the people stood helplessly about discussing the situation. A flood seemed inevitable; the greater part of the city was in danger of being swept away; until three o’clock in the afternoon the situation was unchanged, the ice gave no evidence of going.
Suddenly and almost simultaneously all along the city front the ice was seen to commence moving. A steamboat whistled and the cry went up, “The ice is moving,” and thousands of spectators rushed to the river bank just in time to see it go. The dancing masses of huge pieces of ice weighing tons upon tons, reared high in the air and tumbling over each other as they fell, presented a most beautiful spectacle. At ten o’clock it jammed and raised the water about three feet, doing no damage except smashing the wheel of the steamer Nellie Irving. In ten minutes the jam broke and the next morning the river, which the day before was frozen solid across, was entirely free except for blocks of floating ice from above.
Last year ice jammed and, backing the water up, flooded the town, doing much damage.
SUMMIT OF THE SELKIRK RANGE, AT HEAD OF YUKON RIVER. OLD GLORY WAVES BESIDE THE BRITISH FLAG.
The United States Geological Survey has gathered a volume of information on the subject of the gold fields of Alaska. The object of the expedition was to discover the source from which the gold of the Yukon placer mines was derived. A belt of auriferous rocks, five hundred miles long and from fifty to one hundred wide, runs from the British Territory across the American line at Forty Mile Creek. It is the opinion of the Geological Survey that the gold deposits of Alaska will rival those of South Africa.
Returning to Skagway the gentlemen of our party were entertained at a banquet given by the members of the Chamber of Commerce, in their building.
The ladies were invited by Mrs. Bracket to her lovely home where a delightful luncheon was served. The leading ladies of Skagway were met at the home of our charming hostess to bid us welcome to their enterprising little city.
An employe of the engineering department of the White Pass and Yukon Railroad is at the Portland hotel. He came in from Cariboo Crossing to celebrate the Fourth, and recuperate from a hard trip up the Watson river and along the foothills of the mountains to the Fifty Mile river below White Horse Rapids. Most of the country through which the party traveled is entirely new to map makers and no signs of trails, mess debris, chopping or other evidences of a previous visitation could be found. As a consequence a number of streams and lakes were discovered. Of the latter some are quite large and are teeming with large lake trout. The latter were caught in large numbers by throwing a common pickerel trotting hook, attached to a line, out into the lake and hauling it ashore. It was seldom that a cast failed to land a fish. Artificial flies had no attraction for them. In appearance these fish look very much like the mountain trout of Puget Sound, but are much lighter in color. The topographer of the party says they are identical with the trout found in the Adirondack lake regions.
The head chainman killed a huge brown bear, which, after being shot, made a furious charge upon him and was only laid low when but a few feet away from his slayer.
The lower lands of this country are almost entirely devoid of rock. The soil is an ashy sand patched with powdered limestone stretching over the country in white patches like alkali lakes. On the Forty Mile river declivity the country is cut up with huge pot-holes. Many of these contain lakes of the purest water, that gleam in the sunlight in green, azure and dark blue according to their depths and shades. A curious peculiarity of these lakes lies in the fact that their outlets and inlets are subterranean. They receive their supply from the bottoms of lakes above and their overflow percolates through their lower banks to lakes below.
The country swarms with ducks, snipe and other water fowl. It is now the breeding season and ducks followed by broods of ducklings may be seen along the edge of every sheet of water. Much fresh sign of bear, moose, mountain sheep and cariboo were seen throughout the country, but the noise attendant upon the progress of the party along the line of their journey, gave all the big game a good opportunity to get out of sight.
The open coulées and plateaus of this country are waving with luxuriant bunch-grass, rye-grass and redtop, but the mosquitoes are in such untold numbers and so violent in their attacks that the pack horses of the party were too worried to receive much benefit in grazing. In places are woodlands of large spruce and tall lodge-pole pines, but most of the timber is scrubby and fit only for fuel.
No indications of mineral could be seen.
The night before the Fourth a large flag was planted on top of Mt. Dewey. The town was decorated with bunting and flags. Well dressed people thronged the streets. An oration was delivered from the grand stand and foot and horse races lent zest to the sports.
The town has two fire companies. These exhibited their hose-carts and ran a race, making an exhibition of their skill in handling the hose. Water is plenty, as it comes down the mountain side in a vast volume from a lake near the summit of Mt. Dewey and is piped over the town.
THE SKAGWAY ENCHANTRESS.
While the town looks and is new there was nothing to distinguish the celebration of the national holiday from the same day in the States.
We are now above the line of night. It is as light as day all night. No light is needed as one can read at any time of night without it. The sun scarcely sets in the west until it rises in the east. At Summit lake, which is at the top of the mountains, there is no night at all, it being in latitude sixty north and longitude one hundred and sixty west.
The display of the aurora borealis each night is a scene never to be forgotten. Night after night the whole northern sky is aflame with a light akin to sunlight tempered by moonlight and enriched by the splendor of the rainbow’s glorious hues. The Tlingit Indians believe the aurora to be the ghost-dance of dead warriors who live on the plains of the sky.
The Skagway enchantress is a figure in stone high up on the mountain side resembling a woman. Her flowing garments resemble those of a stylish Parisian gown. The Indians formerly crossed the mountains at this point, Chilkat Pass, but this witch long ago enchanted the trail, so that it meant death to follow it. The Indians now turn aside here and follow the White Pass.
High above the enchantress’s head a bear, whose head is plainly visible, stands guard over her.
If you look long enough on a moonlight night you can see the Enchantress move, but she cannot leave the mountain. She cannot come down, yet Chilkat Pass remains enchanted.
SKAGWAY, SHOWING WHITE PASS.
The sun shone bright and warm, but a cold wave swept over the glacier. It was the beautiful Muir glacier.
We left the steamer in a little boat and were rowed to the shore, landing on the sandy beach. High on the sand lay an Indian canoe, a dug-out. Near by a party of Indians wrapped in their scarlet blankets squatted on the sand. They had come to meet the steamer and sell their toys, baskets and slippers.
A little black eyed boy had a half dozen young seagulls, in a basket, great awkward squabs. Their coats were a dirty fuzzy down like that of a gosling, sprinkled over with black dots. Their big hungry mouths and frowsy coats gave no hint of the beautiful birds they would be when they grew up.
When I paused to look at the birds their owner regarded me with interest as he sat with the basket hugged to his breast. Then the young merchant held one up for my inspection, with the remark, “hees nice bird.”
“Yes,” said I, “hees very nice.” I had no thought of buying a seagull. What would I do with it? Then I remembered a little invalid boy whom I thought might be pleased with a pet seagull.
“How much you give?” inquired my little Indian boy.
“How much will you take?”
So, I paid down my two bits and picked up my baby seagull. Then my little merchant spoke up, “Him want basket?”
“Yes,” I said, “I think that I want a basket.”
The basket was paid for and my enterprising little Indian tucked the baby gull in with a wisp of sea weed and handed him to me with the remark, “Him all right now.”
How that gull did squawk when he found himself all alone in a big basket. What cared he that I had purchased for him the prettiest basket on the beach? He wanted his brothers. When we arrived on the deck of the steamer I hurried my gull down to the steward and gained admission for him to the cook’s department, where he was cared for the remainder of the voyage.
MUIR GLACIER (SECTION OF).
It is something of a novelty to be seated at the base of a glacier in July. From the Chilkoot to the source of the Yukon river is only thirty-five miles, but the intervening mountain chain is several thousand feet high and bears numerous glaciers on its seaward side. Forty miles west of Lynn canal and separated from it by a low range of mountains is Glacier bay, and at the head of one of its inlets is the far-famed Muir glacier. It is one of the many fields of ice which stellates from a center fifteen miles back of the Muir front and covers the valley of the mountains between the Pacific and the headwaters of the Yukon river. Nine glaciers now discharge icebergs into the bay. All of these glaciers have receded from one to four miles in the past twenty years. Kate Field says, “In Switzerland a glacier is a vast bed of dirty air-holed ice that has fastened itself like a cold porous plaster to the Alps. In Alaska a glacier is a wonderful torrent that seems to have been frozen when about to plunge into the sea.” There they lay, almost free from debris, clear and gleaming in the cold sunshine of Alaska. The most beautiful of them all is the Muir glacier. It is named in honor of John Muir, who visited Alaska in company with Mr. Young, the Presbyterian missionary, in 1879, and discovered it. This glacier extends straight across the fiord, presenting at tide water a perpendicular wall two hundred to four hundred feet above and seven hundred and fifty feet below the surface, making a solid wall of ice a thousand feet high and three miles wide.
I cannot do better than to give Prof. Muir’s own description of this wonderful mer de glace: “The front and brow of the glacier were dashed and sculptured into a maze of yawning chasms, ravines, cañons, crevasses, and a bewildering chaos of architectural forms, beautiful beyond description, and so bewildering in their beauty as to almost make the spectator believe he is reveling in a dream. There were great clusters of glistening spires, gables, obelisks, monoliths, and castles, standing out boldly against the sky, with bastion and mural surmounted by fretted cornice and every interstice and chasm reflecting a sheen of scintillating light and deep blue shadow, making a combination of color, dazzling, startling and enchanting.”
This is nature’s iceberg factory. The “calving” of a berg is a wonderful sight and one never to be forgotten. Avalanches and great blocks of crumbling ice are continually falling with a crash and roar into the sea, while spray dashes high and great waves roll along the wall of the glacier, washing the blocks of floating ice upon the sandy beach on either side of the great ice-wall. The great buttresses on either side as they rise from the sea are solid white, veined and streaked with mud and rocks, but farther in near the middle of the wall the color changes to turquoise and sapphire blues, blended with the changeable greens of the sea.
The upper strata of a glacier moves faster than the lower and is constantly being pushed forward, producing a perpendicular and at times projecting front. A piece of the projecting front breaks off and falls with a heavy splash into the water, then up it comes almost white. Now a piece breaks from the lower and older strata and comes up a dazzling green. Again a deafening roar as of artillery and a huge piece of ice splits off from top to bottom of the sea wall and goes plunging and raving like a great lion to the bottom of the sea, then up it comes slowly, a berg of dazzling rainbow hues. Such a one, as big as all the business houses in a village, floated toward the beach and the outgoing tide left it stranded there. We ate a piece of it, ice thousands of years old, and drank water from a cup or pocket in its side.
The beach is strewn with rock, pebbles and bowlders carved by the icy hand of the glacier. Along the beach near the glacier, just above high tide, in the rocks and sand grow lagoon grass, laurel and beautiful clarkias. These brilliant purple flowers are named for Prof. Clarke, who first studied and classified them. They are sweet scented and belong to the evening primrose family.
The Tlingit Indians believe that mountains were once living creatures and that the glaciers are their children. These parents hold them in their arms, dip their feet into the sea, then cover them with snow in the winter and scatter rocks and sand over them in summer. These Indians dread the cold and always speak the name Sith, the ice god, in a whisper. They have no fear of a hades such as ours. To them hell is a place of everlasting cold. The chill of the ice god’s breath is death. He freezes rivers into glaciers and when angry heaves down the bergs and crushes canoes. When summer comes the ice spirit sleeps, but the Indians speak in whispers and never touch the icebergs with their canoe paddles for fear of awaking him.
Once upon a time glaciers plowed over Illinois. Manitoba and Hudson Bay were then great snow and ice fields, down from which swept the glaciers over the United States south to the Ohio river. Great rocks and bowlders were carried along and deposited here and there on the broad prairies. Many of these rocks and bowlders may still be seen in central Illinois, still bearing the marks of the glacial slide.
An odd old character in our neighborhood used to tell us children that those big flattened bowlders were left there for the good people to stand on when the world should be burned up. “Would they get hot?” we asked. “Oh, how could they when they had lain years in the heart of a glacier?” To all of our questions as to how he knew he always turned a deaf ear.
Our sailors rowed out and with ropes captured an iceberg which they said would weigh five tons and with rope and tackle hauled it aboard and put it down in the hold. Then they captured a second one not quite so large and after it was safely stored away we weighed anchor and steamed out of the beautiful bay, afloat with icebergs, many of them being larger above water than our ship. But one disappointment met me, not a polar bear was in sight.
A nunatak is an area of fertile land surrounded by ice. One of the finest on the Alaskan coast is Blossom island. It is quite a large tract of rich land covered with forest and brilliant flowers.
When Mr. Young (before mentioned) was missionary to the Hoonah Indians they appealed to him to pray to God to keep the glaciers from cutting down the trees on the bays putting into Cross sound. They said their medicine man had advised them to offer as a sacrifice two of their slaves to the ice god, but this they had done without any effect. They were greatly disappointed when Mr. Young told them that he could do nothing to prevent the glaciers destroying their forests.
GREEK CHURCH, KILLISNOO.
Passing Cross strait we go down Chatham strait. Our next stop is Killisnoo, a small fishing hamlet on Admiralty island. The largest cod liver oil factory in the world is located here. The Northwest Trading Company established a fishing post here in 1880. Chatham strait is full of cod. The fish are artificially dried. The natives receive two cents apiece for a five-pound fish. Many fish are packed in salt. Our steamer took on many hundred pounds of dried and packed fish. Cod liver oil is made in the factory. Each barrel of fish when pressed yields three quarts of oil valued at twenty-five cents to thirty-five cents per gallon. The refuse of fifty barrels of fish when dried and powdered yields one ton of guano worth thirty dollars. This is shipped to the fruit ranches of California and the sugar plantations of the Hawaiian islands. Great vats of oil stand in rows under the shed of the factory.
There is a little fish here called the candle fish. It is almost all oil. For a light the natives impale this fish on a stick and light the fish. It burns with a sizzle and sputter but makes a good light.
This is a beautiful island. The gardens are now at their best. Everything grows luxuriantly. Fine strawberries, currants and gooseberries are grown. Beds of royal purple and golden pansies in dewy splendor adorn the yards and gardens, great broad faced beauties measuring from two to two and a half inches across.
Here we met our first Alaskan mosquito. He is about the size of our glow flies. His bite is something to remember. It leaves a miniature snow capped mountain on your face.
The Indians say that once upon a time, many thousand of snows ago, he was a giant spider, but a wicked manitou tossed him into the fire one day where he shriveled up to his present size. The bad manitou thought him dead but when the fire burned low he escaped and flew away with a live coal in his mouth which he carries to this day. Since he could not be revenged on the manitou he takes his vengeance out on man.
Arachne, fair mortal, at Minerva’s fateful touch shrank and shriveled into a spider.
The student of Indian myths will be impressed before he carries his researches very far, with the likeness of many of these legends to the mythologies of the old world.
These Indians, the Kootznahoos, claim to have come from over the seas. They deny any relation with the Tlingits. They were the first Indians to distill hoochinoo, which carries more fight and warwhoop to the drop than any other liquor known. It is made from a mash of yeast and molasses, thickened with a little flour. They were great fighters and murdered the traders as soon as the Russians left. In 1869 Commander Mead shelled the village and took Kitchnatti prisoner. He was taken to Mare Island, California, and confined for a year. The tribe now numbers only five hundred souls. They are a peaceable people and follow fishing for a livelihood. Many of them are employed in the fish factory on the island. Kitchnatti is still the recognized chief, and is very proud of his position. He meets all the steamers coming in and is delighted to meet the officers of the vessels, all of whom are kind to him. He is quite vain in his dress, wearing a silk hat, long coat, black pantaloons and slippers. He also sports a cane, which is a sheathed sword. He claims descent from ancestry as old as “yonder granite mountain” which stands across the strait. His state dress consists of a crown made of goat horns and a tunic made of red felt trimmed with fur. Over his door he has posted his escutcheon, which some one has translated for him into English. It reads, “By the governor’s permission and the company’s commission I am made the Grand Tyhee of this entire illabee.”
On a green slope stands a Greek church, established by the Russian government. The priest lives in a tiny cottage next door.
At the wharf a dozen little Indian boys, dressed in sweaters and overalls, displayed much energy and skill in helping to unload the freight which was landed at this point. The first officer gave them fifty cents apiece when the work was completed and away they went to spend it, American boy like, at the candy store.
One of the most interesting things that I saw in the village was a little papoose taking his bath in a big dishpan on the front veranda. He did not like it at all and kicked and screamed but his mother without a word proceeded with the bathing.
Just off Killisnoo the steamer anchored several hours to give the passengers an opportunity to try deep-sea fishing. Some fine halibut were brought aboard. Then we weighed anchor and steamed toward the old town of Sitka. This ancient capital of the Romanoffs is the seat of the territorial government of Alaska. A strong effort is being made by the mining interest of Juneau to move it to that point.
SITKA.—SOLDIERS’ BARRACKS, OLD RUSSIAN WAREHOUSE AND GREEK CHURCH ON THE RIGHT, INDIAN VILLAGE ON THE LEFT, RUSSIAN BLOCKHOUSES BEYOND AND MISSION SCHOOLS IN THE DISTANCE.
By permission of F. Laroche, Photographer, Seattle, Washington.
Sitka is beautifully located at the foot of the mountains and commands a fine view seaward. The streets are not regularly laid out. Everyone appears to have chosen the site that pleased him best, regardless of his neighbors. Many of the buildings are old. At every turn one is made aware of Russian architecture. Several blocks from the wharf and directly in the middle of the street stands the Russian orthodox church of St. Michaels. The interior is richly decorated. Many rich paintings adorn the walls. A handsome brass chandelier hangs from the ceiling. Massive brass candlesticks stand on either side of the door. The interior is finished in white and gold, and the inner sanctuary where women may not enter is separated from the church proper by fine bronze doors.
The Sitka Mission and Industrial School was established by the Presbyterian board in 1878. There are now enrolled sixty-four boys and forty-six girls. School continues nine months of the year. The boys and girls occupy separate buildings. The forenoon the pupils spend in the school rooms and the afternoons the girls spend in the sewing room and the boys in the shops. The superintendent called a bright boy about twelve years of age and asked him if he could show me about the grounds and through the workshops while he conducted a larger party in a different direction. “Yes sir,” and with a touch of his cap to me, led the way to the carpenter shop. Two young men busy at work at a long bench touched their caps and a “Good afternoon, madam,” greeted me. “Yes madam, I am a carpenter,” proudly replied one of the young men to my question. He was about eighteen years old, while his companion was only sixteen. In this shop the pupils make tables, chairs and all sorts of furniture. I was next conducted to the tin shop, where besides pots and pans, stoves are made out of sheet iron and scraps of any old thing that is left over. All of the stoves in the school buildings are made in this way. My young Indian guide next conducted me to the shoe shop.
INDIAN AVENUE, SITKA.
The schools are having vacation now, so the shops are not running a full number of pupils. The conductor and two pupils were at work, the former on fine shoes and the latter on heavy Klondike boots. Each boy has his own cobbler’s bench and a full set of tools. A third boy was sauntering about the room making himself familiar with his surroundings. The conductor of the shop told me that this lad had chosen the shoe maker’s trade and was to begin work on the following morning.
The boys all greeted me with a smile of welcome when I entered and bade me good-by when I departed. My guide said that the paint shop was closed, but he explained to me the object of the shop and the work done there. When I asked him if he had chosen his trade he politely explained that he had only been in the school a year and that he had not decided what he would like. The pupils enter for five years, the parents or guardian signing a contract to that effect. My guide conducted me to the gate, where I thanked him for his kindness. He gracefully touched his cap and said: “Good-by madam, I was glad to show you about.”
All of the dormitories, play rooms and school rooms are models of neatness. In the girls’ building the bread was just being taken out of the bake oven. Thirty loaves was the day’s baking. The boys make the bread and put it to rise. The girls mould it out and bake it. The Indians are very proud of the school and come of their own accord seeking admission for their children. This school is making these Indians self-supporting and consequently prosperous. One sees many bright faces among them and the younger people are happy and contented, with nothing in their dress or manner to distinguish them from young white Americans of the same age. In an old blockhouse located on a rocky prominence overlooking the sea some of the boys of the school spend the evening hours in band practice. They played until eleven o’clock on the parade ground without a light, reading their music by twilight. The selections were choice and well rendered. They played “Star Spangled Banner” as an opening piece. Sitka is rightfully proud of her Indian band. The Indian is given his chance in this land of the midnight sun and he is making the most of his opportunities.
BLOCKHOUSE ON BANK OF INDIAN RIVER, SITKA, ALASKA.
Opposite the Mission on the bank of the Indian River is a large square rock called the Blarney-stone, which dowers the kisser with a magic tongue, but never a four leafed shamrock in all the merry dell with which to weave a magic spell.
The Sitkans, like all native races have a mythical legend as to their origin.
Two brothers, twins, lived in paradise. One of them ate a sea cucumber. It was the one forbidden fruit. The paradise became a wilderness. The brothers were starving when a band of roving Stickines came that way one day and pitying them left them wives to care for them.
From one of these pairs sprang all the Kaksatti, the Crow clan. From the other descended all the Kokwantons, the Wolf clan.
The legends of these Indians as well as all other tribes in this country, contain a full account of the landing of Columbus. The news was carried overland from post to post and tribe to tribe by runners. The history of the tribe at Sitka runs back five hundred years. Beyond that period they have no record and frankly say that they have no authentic account of their origin.
Their stature, their industry, their faith in the shaman, their belief in transmigration of souls, all point to Asiatic origin. Their word for water is agua, much like the Latin aqua.
The Mission and Training schools have transformed these savages, whose ancestors murdered the intrepid Muscovites, into frontier fishermen, boatmen and loggers.
An Indian never willingly consents to have his photograph taken, because, when you have a picture of him, he firmly believes that you have power over his soul. The educated Indian, however, is fearless of the camera.
The Kletwantans and the Klukwahuttes, two branches of the Frog clan, are at variance over the erection of a totem pole and have gone into court to settle the matter. The Klukwahuttes are the true aristocrats of Indian society in Sitka. The Kletwantons are the wealthy members of the real Indian four hundred, but having made their money in fish and oil, are considered upstarts by their more aristocratic brothers. The Kletwantons decided to build a new home for the chief and to set up an elaborately carved and decorated totem pole. The eyes of the frog which was to surmount this wonderful pole were to be twenty-dollar gold pieces. A grand potlatch was to be held when the pole was ready to set up. All of the Indians up and down the coast, from Juneau, Killisnoo, Skagway, Ft. Wrangel and Bella Bella, were invited, but the aristocratic Klukwahuttes were left out. Did they sit down and quietly ignore this insult? No indeed. They told their wealthy brothers in true American style what they thought of such conduct, and the matter would, no doubt, have been dropped here had not the wealthy fish oil makers denied that the Klukwahuttes belonged to the Frog clan at all. Upon this things grew so warm that the missionary appealed to the district attorney to aid him in making the Indians keep the peace. Then the disgusted Klukwahuttes went to him asking for an injunction to keep the pretended Frogs from holding the potlatch and setting up the pole. He replied to them that he would take the case upon them paying him a retainer of five hundred dollars, feeling sure that would end the matter, well knowing that they could not raise the money. Petitioned again he reduced his fee to two hundred and fifty dollars, feeling quite sure that they could not raise even that amount. But he reckoned without his host. In less than two hours the leading men of the Klukwahuttes filed into his office, carrying goat skin bags and pouches filled with money and counted out the two hundred and fifty dollars in small coins, no coin being larger than a fifty-cent piece. The attorney was obliged to keep his word and take the case. The injunction was issued restraining the oil makers from building the house and setting up the totem pole. The potlatch, however, was held.
When the Juneau Indians arrived in their canoes off the shore the chief stood up and chanted their traditions to prove that they belonged to the Frog clan and were rightfully invited. When he had finished the leaders of the Klukwahuttes, who were standing on the beach, recited their traditions to prove that they and not the Kletwantans were the true Frogs. The Klukwahuttes, however, made no disturbance during the feast. Later the Kletwantans employed a young Boston lawyer who was stopping at Sitka and sued the Klukwahuttes for damages. Not wishing to be outdone by the aristocratic Klukwahuttes, they at once paid their lawyer a retainer of two hundred and fifty dollars. There the case rests. The lawyers are trying to settle it out of court.
On an eminence which commands a fine view of the harbor and the town, stood the Baranhoff castle, which was burned a few years ago. It did not in the least resemble a castle. The picture makes it look like an old country inn. The ruins are still visible and the two flights of steps leading to it still exist. Around this historic ground cluster the scenes and incidents of the past century. The castle, like the island on which it stood, took its name from the Russian governor, Baranhoff, who in the early part of the century ruled the people with an iron hand, beginning with the knout and ending with the ax.
Not one of the intrepid Muscovites who landed here in 1741 were left to tell the tale of their capture and execution by the native Sitkans. In 1800 another party arrived and placed themselves under the protection of the Archangel Gabriel instead of trusting to the power of gunpowder and stockades. They too were massacred and their homes destroyed by fire. Baranhoff was at once sent out by the Russian government. He erected the castle and stockade, withdrew the town from the protection of Gabriel and placed it under the protection of the Archangel Michael.
This old castle was once the home of nobility and the scene of grand festivities. Here princes and princesses of the blood royal ate their caviare, quaffed their vodka and measured a minuet. It was in this old castle that Lady Franklin spent three weeks twenty-five years ago when in search of her husband, Sir John. It was here that W. H. Seward spent several days when on a trip to Alaska after its purchase from Russia, through the sagacity of himself and Charles Sumner. At one of the windows sat the beautiful Princess Maksoutoff weeping bitter tears as the Russian flag was lowered for the last time. On the 18th of October, 1867, three United States warships lay at anchor in the bay. They were the Ossipee, Resaca and Jamestown, commanded by Captains Emmons, Bradford and McDougal. Each vessel was dressed in the national colors, while the Russian soldiers, citizens and Indians assembled upon the open space at the foot of the castle carrying aloft the eagle of the czar of all the Russias. At a given signal the American navy fired a salute in honor of the Russian flag, which was lowered from the staff on the castle. After a national salute from the Russian garrison in honor of our flag, the stars and stripes were hoisted to the top of the old flag staff.
The Russian parade ground has been converted into a base ball ground, where Indian and white teams contest for honors.
The native races of Alaska are slowly dying out. The bright light of civilization is always the death doom of savagism.
RAPIDS, INDIAN RIVER, SITKA.
The most beautiful natural park in the world lies just above Sitka, on the banks of the Indian River, which rises in the valley between the mountains and winding down, empties into the sea.
Here are the greenest of pines, cedars and firs. The grasses and mosses are the brilliant green of the tropics. A neat suspension foot bridge swings clear of the water from buttress to buttress. The shallow, murmuring, sparkling water bathes the brown roots of shrubs and trees. Great cedars lie prostrate, covered with short green moss. Giant firs are draped with a delicate sea green moss, which hangs in festoons and pendants from branch, limb and trunk. The pine tops sigh softly the music of the seas.
Sunny banks are yellow with the familiar cinquefoil, the blossoms of which are five or six times as large as they are at home. In open glades the ground is white with cornells, and tiny dogwood shrubs growing from two to five inches high. The wild purple geranium brightens sunny glades, while the mountain spiraea, the most beautiful of all spiraeas, bends and sways in the breeze.
Thickets of salmon berry and wonderful mazes of strange ferns meet one at every turn. One of the handsomest bushes in the park is the magnificent Devil’s Club. There are great thickets of them twenty feet high casting an enticing but dangerous shade. The dainty green leaves, as large as dinner plates, rear their heads aloft, umbrella-like. The stems, limbs, and trunk are covered with thousands of tiny poisonous prickles, which work deep into the flesh, making ugly sores.
Down on the beach are the graves of Lisiansky’s men, who were killed by ambuscaded Indians while taking water for their ship, in 1804.
Friday evening we weighed anchor and steamed out of the harbor. The beautiful bay, with its beautiful islands, slowly receded from view and we bade farewell to the historic old town of Sitka.
Hamerton, in his charming work on Landscape, says: “There are, I believe, four new experiences for which no description ever adequately prepares us, the first sight of the sea, the first journey in the desert, the sight of flowing molten lava, and a walk on a great glacier. We feel in each case that the strange thing is pure nature, as much nature as a familiar English moor, yet so extraordinary that we might be in another planet.”
I would add a fifth, sunset at sea. Earth holds nothing more fair, nothing more beautiful than sunshine.
A little while ago the sky was blue, flaked with fleecy white clouds, the snows on the coast range lay sparkling like diamonds in the sun, the forest lay dark and green on the mountainside, the sea gray and blue by turns; but now a change comes over nature’s moods, the clouds glow, the snows take on brilliant hues, the dark old forest grows darker, the sea shimmers and sparkles, a flaming molten mass.
The imperial sunset throws its red flame afar, ’till the land, the sea, the mountains, the sky, the very air it incarnadines in one grand flame of scarlet. Long, long will the beholder remember that glorious sunset at Sitka.
A friend of the writer who owns mines at Cook’s Inlet thus describes his voyage north along the coast to Unalaska:
We were now aboard the Excelsior. About noon the next day we put out to sea and saw no more island passages such as we had seen while aboard the Queen.
Our first stop was at Yakutat, an Indian village on the Yakutat Bay. This bay is only an indentation of the coast, curving inward for about twenty miles. The whole force of the Pacific sweeps into it. Landing is both difficult and dangerous. In the bay are always many icebergs from the glaciers at its head.
Great excitement prevailed here in 1880 when gold was discovered in the black sand beaches. The rotary hand amalgamators were used and as much as forty dollars per day to the man was often realized. The miners, however, had reckoned without their host; the Yakutat chief, who suddenly developed financial ability worthy of his white brother, exacted licenses and royalties from the miners.
This black sand mine was not yet exhausted when a tidal wave heaped the coast with fish. These decayed in the hot sun and the oil soaked down into the sand. The mercury would not work and the miners moved to a new beach, but again a tidal wave ruined the mines by washing all the black sand out to sea. Yakutat was then deserted by the miners. The Indian women of this village are the finest basket weavers in Alaska.
Soon after leaving Yakutat we sighted Mt. St. Elias and the Malispania glacier. The Indians call it Bolshoi Shopka—great one. This snow-clad mountain, nearly four miles high, beautiful as Valaskjalf, the silver roofed mansion of Odin, is a most magnificent sight. Such grandeur, such solidity, such poetry of color,—the white peak kisses the blue heaven,—such solitude. Like the golden few of earth’s great ones, it stands alone, isolated by its very greatness.
The Malispania glacier which flows down from a great névé field in the mountains, is said to be the largest glacier in the world. It is nearly one hundred miles long and thirty-five miles wide where it pours into the sea, and rises four hundred and fifty feet above tide water.
Orca, on the shore of Prince William’s Sound, lies snuggled up under the rugged cliffs, which rise sheer thousands of feet high. From the woods beyond a noisy river goes leaping down the rocks to the sea, where its power is chained to run the machinery of a cannery. That other Orca was a powerful sea dragon, especially fond of a seal diet, but this Orca preys only on the salmon.
Our next stop was at Valdes, where two years ago two thousand miners started for Copper River, to prospect for gold, but they were doomed to disappointment, as yet no gold has been discovered on this river. Many and sad are the tales of hardships endured by these miners. Some worked their way up the Copper River and down Tanana River to the Yukon, but by far the greater number returned to Valdes destitute. Many of the miners lost their lives on the Valdes’ glacier. In going to Copper River they had to travel eighteen miles across this treacherous glacier. Nine men lost their lives here last winter.
WHERE WHALES AND PORPOISES POKE THEIR NOSES UP THROUGH THE BRINE.
At Valdes is located a government expedition under the command of Captain Ambercrombie. The object of this expedition is to study the topography of the country and to make surveys. The government is doing much to aid stranded miners to reach Seattle. For thirty days’ work they are paid five dollars and given a free passage to that city.
Prince William Sound is a fine body of water. It is almost surrounded by land. Abrupt mountains rise seemingly out of the sea. It is deeply indented by fiords and inlets running back from ten to twenty-five miles. On the south it is protected by mountainous islands. In coming out of this sound we passed around Mummy Point, into the ocean. Presently we came to the Seal Rocks. They were alive with seals. When the engineer blew the whistle they went plunging into the sea, making a great splash. Whales and porpoises bob their noses up through the brine—descendants, no doubt, of that gallant crew of Tyrrhenian mariners changed by angry Bacchus to dolphins in that dusky old time when the gods held sway over nature’s forces.
From here to Cook’s Inlet we had rough sailing. Neptune was out on a lark. We realized fully that he was king of the sea and that we were his timid subjects.
The crowning glory of Alaska’s natural attractions is Cook’s Inlet. Sheltered by a great mountain wall on the west, its shores enjoy delightful summer weather. Only the pen of a Milton or the matchless brush of a Turner could paint this fair empire of earth, sea and air. Glacier after glacier, frozen to the cold breast of the mountains, lay glistening in the sunshine. The finest waterfalls in Alaska leap from rugged cliffs and go singing to the sea.
A grand panorama of snowy peaks, smoking volcanoes, forested slopes, grassy glades bright with flowers and fertile valleys, lend enchantment to this wild Arcadia of the North. Goethe truly says: “Him whom the gods true art would teach, they send out into the mighty world.”
Moose graze in the open glades, mountain goat and sheep leap from cliff to rock and away. Extensive level plateaus line both shores of the inlet, which will make fine grazing country some day in the near future. The grass grows luxuriantly and in many places reaches a height of six feet. We traveled up the inlet seventy miles to a branch of the inlet known as the Turnagain Arm, which is from five to eight miles wide and enclosed by high mountains. These mountains are covered with timber at the base. Tall grass covers the mountain side to the height of three thousand feet, sweet grass for all the flocks of some future Pan.
We landed at Sunrise, which is the largest city on the inlet. It has a population of one hundred and fifty, mostly miners. Hope, twelve miles away, has a population of seventy-five miners. Fine vegetables grow here. A storekeeper has a small garden. His potatoes are as fine as any grown in the states, some weighing one and one-half pounds. He has cabbages weighing seven pounds, and turnips weighing eleven pounds. Beets, peas and other vegetables are as fine as grown anywhere. People who have lived here during the winters say that the temperature rarely falls twenty degrees below zero, and that the winters are dry and without blizzards.
Moose, mountain goat and wild sheep furnish the towns and camps with meat, which is usually bought from the Indians, who are good hunters, but very superstitious. They are afraid of a giant who, Odin like, rides from mountain to mountain on the wind, killing every Indian whom he finds traveling alone. White men don’t count, so if you wish to employ a guide to accompany you on a hunting expedition you must also employ a brother Indian to protect him, or he “no go.”
Farther south along the coast a black dwarf haunts the mountains, making life miserable for lone Indians. His arrows, like the magical spear of Odin, never miss their mark.
In the mountains north and west of the inlet a giant floats his birch canoe on the wind, from peak to peak, seeking lone Indians, whom he slays with the canoe paddles. This wonderful canoe, like that good ship of Frey, always gets a fair wind, no matter for what port its oarsman is bound.
This portion of the inlet, Turnagain Arm, is a treacherous bit of water. The highest tides rise fifty feet. Then there is the bore, which runs up just as the tide comes in, rising eighteen to twenty feet perpendicularly.
No boat can live in it. The tide usually comes in three great waves, one right after the other. The water is thick with mud, ground up by the glaciers at the head of the Arm and brought down by the streams.
There will be some good placer mines in Cook’s Inlet when the country is properly opened, but it has hardly been prospected as yet, owing to the difficulty in sinking shafts to bed rock on account of the water coming in so rapidly. It is necessary to go through bed rock to the glacier channels below for the main deposits of gold.
By timbering the shafts the water may be kept out. The soil and gravel taken out of a shaft which has just been sunk averages only twenty-five cents per cubic yard, but the owners intend to go through the rock to the channels below, where they expect to strike a rich vein, make their fortunes and return to civilization.
There is usually a light freeze about the middle of September, after which the weather is fine until the last of November.
The king of volcanoes in this region is Iliamna. Steam and smoke issue from two craters at the summit of the snow-clad mountain. During an eruption this giant shakes the earth to its very center.
This wonderful estuary was discovered by Captain Cook, on the natal day of Princess Elizabeth, May 21, 1778. He took possession in the name of her majesty, and buried his records in a bottle at Possession Point. Vancouver searched for these records in vain.
Tramways, stone piers and decaying buildings speak in unmistakable language of busy scenes during Russian occupation.
Five hundred miles west of Sitka, on the shore of Kadiak, one of the emerald isles of the Alaskan coast, is St. Paul, the first capital of Alaska, and the center of the fur trade established by Shelikoff and Baranhoff.
The natives say that many summers ago the Kadiak Islands were separated from the mainland by a very narrow channel. One day a big otter attempting to swim through was caught fast. He struggled until he widened the Shelikoff Strait, when he swam triumphantly through. A bad Indian and his dog sent adrift on a big stone turned into the largest Kadiak, on the shore of which St. Paul is located. The Kadiakers are descended from the daughter of a great chief of the north, who, with her husband and dogs, was banished from her father’s lodge.
The forest on these islands consists of a few scattered groves. The grass, shrubs and mosses bathed in a perpetual fog are so brilliantly green as to dazzle the eye.
The dug-out canoe disappears here and boats of sea lion and walrus skins stretched over frames of drift wood lightly skim the blue waters of the cold sea.
As we steam along through sunshine and fog, past glaciers, mountains and fiords, “so wide the loneliness, so lucid the air,” we are reminded that the Ancient Mariner sailed the blue Pacific. Now the sun drops into the sea, lighting it up with a luminous glow. With a tremor and a sparkle the purple waves glimmer red, now shadow to a violet hue, and now to a crimson blue.
“Tries one, tries all, and will not stay
But flits from opal hue to hue.”
The volcanoes of Alaska! What a grand, what a wonderful panorama, as if you had rubbed Aladdin’s lamp. Expectation stood in awe when this giant upheaval was in progress. Enwrapped always in the mellow haze of white smoke and blue atmosphere, the cold clouds kissing their white brows, these sentinels old, like Wordsworth mountain, “look familiar with forgotten years.”
The prince of them all, Shishaldin, rises nine thousand feet, trailing his white robes in the blue sea.
The seventy islands of the Aleutian chain lie along the coast for thousands of miles. These islands are treeless, but green with Arctic grasses and mosses.
At Unalaska the Russians have a nicely built church. These Greek churches have no pews, the congregation standing and kneeling during the service. The priest in charge of this church speaks no English. These churches all pay an annual tribute to the patriarch in Moscow. This is all un-American. The Mary Lee Home, a Methodist mission, has a small school here.
The Aleuts, a kind, gentle people, suffered much at the hands of their Russian masters in the past. The Aleuts living in sod huts are the Crofters of America.
The fine flower of the fauna of Alaska is found in the valley of the Koyukuk River. Here tusks and bones of mastodons are found imbedded in the sand banks and gravel bars.
Since the discovery of gold in Alaska the Indians have saved many lives. Born and reared amidst these wild surroundings, where winter white and hoary stands ever at the gate of the North, wagging his shaggy beard, they have partaken of the very nature of their own rugged mountains. The long Arctic nights and the intense cold have given these people hearts of steel and muscles of iron.
Are you ill? Are you starving? No mountain is too high, no snow too deep, but one of these heroes will climb the one or plunge undauntedly through the other to bring you succor.
In the chilly Arctic sea there lies a mysterious island, the home of the ice goblin, who kicked it loose from, no one knows where, so the legend runs, and towed it to its present location.
Its mountains are the highest, its gorges the deepest, and its fields and fiords the grandest in the world.
It was a most magnificent island before the goblin stole it and dragged it away into the great ice fields of the North. It was clothed in rich verdure. Birds sang, flowers bloomed, and gay butterflies hovered over them.
This was not at all to the goblin’s taste, so he threw a sheet of ice over mountain, field and fiord. In his ice castle on the summit of the loftiest peak reigns the great ice goblin, sending out storms over sea and land, and pouring ice, snow and glaciers down over the island to his heart’s content.
In the Arctic region a dark cloud called the “loom of the water” overhangs where ever there is clear water.
The Arctic sea! The land of the midnight sun! What a fascinating subject! What an inexhaustible field for those three happy brothers, the poet, the painter and the scientist! The land of jötums, penguins and ice packs. The land where night kisses morning. The realm of bright-haired Aurora and sable-robed Niobe.
Returning along the self same route the mind never tires nor the eye wearies of the matchless scenery. Like a moving panorama, grand, austere, majestic, sublime. Here reigns Vidar, the god of silence.
Magnificent fiords indent the coast. The dark mountains rise to a vast height, their snow crowned peaks standing out clear and sharp against the blue sky.
Glaciers like huge giants clasp the mountains in their frosty arms, while their tears course down the mountain’s weather-beaten cheek.
Here and there a fleecy white cloud envelopes the summit of a mountain. A silvery thread comes creeping out over the rocks, loses itself in the pine forest on the slopes, emerges and with a boundless sweep plunges into the ocean.
All this wild scenery from base to peak stands mirrored in the sea-green water of the fiord.
FAREWELL TO SKAGWAY
At Skagway quite a number of miners came on board, bound for home. One hears from them many sad tales of the Klondike. One man aboard is dying of consumption and scurvy, contracted in the mining region. A purse is being made up to enable him to reach his home in Toronto, Canada. He hopes to live to see his wife and child. An impromptu entertainment in the salon netted one hundred and fifty dollars for the sick miner.
Another tale not quite so pathetic is that of Mike McCarty, of San Francisco. He bought a claim and paid all the money he possessed for it. When he went to have the lease recorded he was told that it was not legal, that the property was not his, but still belonged to the Queen. “Damn the Quane,” said Mike, “I bought it and paid me money for it. The Quane has nothing to do with it at all.” Then he was informed that some one had sold the claim to him under false pretense and besides losing it he would get three months’ imprisonment for insulting the Queen. “Faith and how could I insult the Quane when I niver see her?” queried Mike. “All right,” said the magistrate, “you go up for three months and the claim still belongs to the Queen.” “Damn the Quane,” said Mike, as he was taken away to his cell. Mr. McCarty is on his way home, a ragged, penniless, but a wiser man.
These miners are bringing down a great deal of gold. One man who has made sixty-five thousand dollars in mining is taking two children to Seattle to be educated.
One lady has her bustle stuffed with paper money, another her dress skirt interlined with five and ten dollar bills.
Gold may be converted into paper money in Dawson City at the rate of fifteen dollars per ounce. Its actual value runs from sixteen to eighteen dollars per ounce.
Living is quite high at Dawson, owing to the long distance over which freight must be carried. Coal oil sells at seven dollars for a five-gallon can, bread at fifty cents a loaf, beefsteak at two dollars a pound, candles at one dollar each. This is an item in household expenses, as during the winter months it is twilight only from eleven o’clock in the morning to two o’clock in the afternoon. Candles are used for lights in the mines.
There is plenty of gold in Alaska, but one must go equipped to withstand the winters and prepared to work his claim properly. Mining in Colorado and California is not mining in the Klondike. For various reasons mining in the Klondike is much more expensive than in either of the other places. The British mounted police are very vigilant, so that miners lose but little by thieving.
We arrived at Juneau at eleven o’clock at night. The sun having just set it was still daylight. Nearly the entire population was at the wharf, eager to learn the news of the outside world. We repaired to the opera house, where we attended an impromptu political meeting. The mayor presided and Judge Delany, judge of Alaska under Cleveland, set forth in a forcible manner the needs of Alaska. The speaker said that this rapidly growing child seemed to be somewhat neglected by legislators, mainly because Congress does not know her needs. “First of all,” said he, “we want the boundary line settled. We want every foot of land called for in our treaty with Russia in 1867. Until the discovery of gold in the Klondike England had never questioned her treaty made with Russia in 1825. But when gold is discovered up comes England and plants her flags on our territory. Our government sent out troops and forced them back to the original line. Now let Congress settle it once for all. It interferes with business and until this question is settled we don’t know where we are ‘at.’ Next we want better school facilities. In Juneau we have two hundred and forty children of school age and room for only forty. This state of things exists all over Alaska. If Congress will give us half as much attention as is bestowed on the seal we promise to ask no more. We want some sort of government. We have no government and are not represented in Congress. Next we want more judges and more courts, instead of one judge and one district as now. We think that Alaska should be divided into three districts.”
Congressmen Warner, Dazill, Payne and Hull replied in short speeches and the meeting adjourned just at dawn, one o’clock. The opera house is lighted with electric lights and heated with a furnace. It has a parquet, dress circle and boxes, and is a model from an architectural point of view. The acoustic properties of the hall are beyond criticism.
STEAMER QUEEN LEAVING JUNEAU.
Leaving Juneau to carry on the struggle of leading Alaska to statehood, we board our good ship, the Queen, weigh anchor, and sail away.
The upper deck is the salon, the reception hall, the library. Here we leave our steamer rugs and chairs. Here we come for a better view of the mountains and the sea. Here we meet our friends. Here we may take a book and, snugly ensconced, pass a quiet hour. Many of us, however, found it difficult to read a single line or to enjoy our rugs and chairs for long at a time, for just as your companion has tucked you all snugly in, exclamations of surprise and delight from some other part of the vessel lures you away, as the ship turns her prow this way and that, now steaming straight ahead, as if she meant to knock that mountain from its seat, and now quickly changing her course, giving us a magnificent view down a fiord.
Everyone is reading, “David Harum,” and their comments are quite as interesting as the book itself.
Sweet Sixteen—“O, I do just love John and Mary, but that stupid old David is so tiresome.”
A critic—“Literature, indeed. Where’s the plot? You couldn’t find it with a telescope.”
A judge—“Served his good-for-nothing brother just right.”
Pious looking old gentleman—“Good man, David, but he lacked religion.”
Business man—“Too soft hearted; ought to have kicked that idiot Timson out long before he did.”
An old farmer lays down the book and laughs until the tears roll down his weather-beaten cheeks. “Now, there’s a man as is a man. Knows all about farmin’ and tradin’ horses, he, he; traded horses myself, he, he, he; best book ever read, he, he, he.”
The first interesting sight to greet us on our way south was a group of small rocky islands, where more than a hundred eagles were fishing. Out they would fly by twos and threes, seize a fish in their talons, return to the rocks and proceed to eat him.
From Dixon’s Entrance to Milbank Sound lie the Alps of America, a double panorama of unbroken beauty two hundred miles in length. Green slopes reflected in greener waters. The shores rise perpendicularly from a thousand to fifteen hundred feet, above which snow-clad mountains rise as high again. Tall trees climb and cling to these rocky walls like vines and cascades come gliding out from snowbanks and go hurrying and singing to the sea, some like delicate silver threads winding down, others dashing mountain torrents.
ALPS OF AMERICA.
Late in the evening a mist Jötun rose out of the sea and enveloped us, and the ship lay at anchor for several hours. The next morning the sun shone clear and bright. The clouds lay on the water like a veil of rare old lace flecked with pearls, diamonds and sapphires, caught up here and there by unseen hands and wreathed about the mountains’ snowy brows.
Scene after scene of wild beauty greets the eye at every turn of the vessel’s prow. Wild deer and fawn come down to the water’s edge and stand gazing at our ship. We ran into a school of whales disporting in the water and scattered them right and left. Flock after flock of wild ducks skim the water, to light in yonder cove. Flock after flock, battalion after battalion of wild geese swing along overhead, led by an old commodore, giving his commands with military precision, “Honk, honk,” until the very air quivers with their joyous shouts and greetings. The cormorant is your true diver. Down he goes, a ripple, and the water is smooth again. While you are lost in speculation as to where he will reappear up he comes in some placid spot away beyond. If you guess that he will come up at your right he is sure to appear much further to your left. If you guess that he will remain under water two minutes he is likely to remain five. In fact he never does the thing you expect of him at all, but like Thoreau’s loon on Walden pond, he’ll lead you a merry chase if you board your canoe and attempt to follow him.
WASHINGTON AND OREGON
Seattle is now full of people on their way to Alaska, principally tourists, as the miners are now all coming down to rest or visit with relatives and to make preparations to return to the Klondike for the winter. Now that the Yukon and White Pass railroad is completed over the mountains to Lake Bennett the trip thus far is made in about four hours which formerly required four weeks over a rough, rocky mountain trail. Freight rates are much cheaper than when the Indians carried the freight over at twenty-five cents per pound. Living will be cheaper in the Klondike and more mines will be worked. Success or failure waits on the mining industry as well as every other, and the man who would succeed in the field must study the business thoroughly.
From a scientific point of view Alaska is certainly a wonderful country. From the point of development and commerce it gives promise of becoming an important State. The possibilities in the way of development of its mineral resources and fisheries are incalculable.
Seattle is deeply interested in the boundary question. This city conducts the bulk of the northwest trade to Alaska and were England given a port at Lynn canal, Seattle would feel it keenly, as would Washington and other Western States. Congressman Warner says we have nothing to concede to Great Britain in the way of territory. That we stand on the right of possession acquired by the Russian purchase. England is anxious indeed to lay hands on the Porcupine mining district, which is considered as rich as the Klondike.
Traveling south from Seattle, we enter the grazing and fruit-growing district. Cattle graze on the hill-sides while the fruit farms occupy a more level tract. The fine cherries, known as the Rocky Mountain variety, are ripe now. There are three varieties; the sweet, the sour and the blood-red, seen in our market. The currant farms are of equal interest. The currants too are ripe. Boys and girls are employed as pickers. They enjoy the work and consider it great sport. The luscious fruit is placed in baskets and carried to the manager, who measures it and sets down the amount opposite the picker’s name. The fruit is much larger and juicier than in the Eastern States.
Portland is the center of the hop belt. A hop field is quite as interesting, from a financial point of view, as a field of broom-corn. If the crop is a success it pays and pays well, but if a failure from blight or worm, it is likely to bankrupt the owner. So you see that a hop ranch is an interesting speculation. The fields themselves are beautiful, indeed. The varied shades of green, from the darker hues of the older leaves to the delicate sea green of the new tendrils as they wreathe themselves about the tall poles, or twine about the wires which in many fields run from pole to pole, forming a beautiful green canopy from end to end of the large fields. Not the least interesting part of the hop ranches are the store and dry-houses. The hops are dried by hot air process, and are then baled and ready for shipment. King Revelry holds high carnival in the hop districts when the hops are ripe. Everyone looks forward to this harvest with the greatest of pleasure. The invalid, because he would be healed by the wonderful medicinal qualities of the hops; the well because he would have an outing and be earning good wages at the same time; the boys and girls, because it is their annual festival of frolic and fun; a time of camp-fires, ghost stories and witch tales. The real old-fashioned kind that chills your blood and makes you afraid of the dark and to go to bed lest the goblins get you “ef you don’t watch out.” The pickers camp in the fields and along the road sides. The hops are picked and placed in trays. Each picker may have a tray to himself or an entire family may use one tray. When the trays are full they are carried to the warehouse where they are weighed.
Plank roads abound in Washington. One-half of the road is laid down in a plank walk, which is used when the roads are muddy, so that when the roads dry they are ready to travel without that wearing-down process which is so trying to the nerves of both man and beast.
Oregon is the most important state in the Union from an Indian’s point of view, for it was here that the first man was created. It is needless to say that he was a red man, and his Garden of Eden was at the foot of the Cascade mountains. That was long before the bad Manitou created the white man.
Portland is a larger city than Seattle. There is more wealth here too. This city is the outlet for the immense crops of wheat raised in southern Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The fine peaches, plums, cherries, currants and apples grown here find their way to eastern markets. Wood is so plentiful and cheap here that every man has his wood-pile. (The little coal used on the Pacific coast comes from Australia.) The enterprising wood sawyer rigs a small steam saw mill on a wagon, drives up to your door and without removing the mill from the wagon saws your wood while you wait.
An interesting feature of river life in Portland is the houseboat, moored to the shore. Sometimes they are floated miles down the river to the fishing grounds. Most of them are neat one-story cottages and nicely painted. Nearly always there is a tiny veranda where flowers in pots are blooming.
An aged couple lives in a tiny houseboat, painted white, which is moored apart from the others. A veranda runs across the front of the boat and there are shelves on either side of the door. They have a fine collection of geraniums and just now the entire front of their water home is aglow with the blooms. Misfortune overtook these people and they adopted this mode of life because of its cheapness. Another boat was moored under the lea of the steep bank. Up the side of the bank a path led to the top, where the children have built a small pen from twigs and sticks. Inside the pen are five fat ducks, a pair of bantams and a pig.
Portland is the third wealthiest city for its size in the world. Frankfort on the Main takes first rank and Hartford, Conn., second. The climate is delightful. In summer the average temperature is eighty, with always a cool breeze blowing from the sea or the snow-capped mountains.
The trip up the Columbia river to the dalles is a continuous panorama of beautiful scenes. On each side along the densely wooded shores are low green islands. Here and there barren rocks fifty to one hundred feet high stand, sentinel like, while over their rugged sides pour waterfalls. Ruskin says that “mountains are the beginning and the end of all natural scenery.” This wonderful river inspired Bryant’s “Where rolls the Oregon,” Oregon being the former name of this river—the Indian name.
GOVERNMENT LOCKS ON THE COLUMBIA RIVER.
James Brice paid a tribute of admiration to the superb extinct volcanos, bearing snow fields and glaciers which rise out of the vast and somber forest on the banks of the Columbia river and the shores of Puget Sound. The Oregon chain of mountains from Shasta to Mount Tacoma is a line of extinct volcanos. A peculiar basaltic formation three hundred feet high stands at the gateway to the white capped Cascades of the Columbia river. Here a Lorelei might sit enthroned and lure to death with her entrancing music, sailors and fishermen. The Cascades are so dangerous that the government has built locks at this point, through which every boat passes on its way up or down the river. The Indian legend as to the origin of the upheaval in the bed of the river now called the Cascades runs in this wise: Years ago when the earth was young, Mount Hood was the home of the Storm Spirit and Mt. Adams of the Fire Spirit. Across the vale that spread between them stretched a mighty bridge of stone joining peak to peak. On this altar “the bridge of the gods,” the Indian laid his offering of fish and dressed skins for Nanne the goddess of summer. These two spirits, Storm and Fire, both loving the fair goddess, grew jealous of each other and fell to fighting. A perfect gale of fire, lightning, splintered trees and rocks swept the bridge, but the brave goddess courageously kept her place on this strange altar. In the deep shadows of the rocks, a warrior who had loved her long but hopelessly, kept watch. The storm waxed stronger, the altar trembled, the earth to its very center shook. The young chief sprang forward and caught Nanne in his arms, a crash and the beautiful goddess and the brave warrior were buried under the debris forever. The Columbia now goes whirling, tossing and dashing over that old altar and hurrying on to the sea. The Spirits of Storm and Fire still linger in their old haunts but never again will they see the fair Nanne. The Indian invariably mixes a grain of truth with much that is wild, weird and strange. It was Umatilla, chief of the Indians at the Cascades who brought about peace between the white man and his red brother. He had lost all of his children by the plague except his youngest son, Black Eagle, his father called him, Benjamin the white man called him. Black Eagle was still a lad when an eastern man built a little schoolhouse by the river and began teaching the Indians. A warm friendship sprang up between teacher and pupil. One sad day Black Eagle fell ill with the plague. Old Umatilla received the news that his son could not live, with all the stoicism of his race, but he went away alone into the wood, returning at the dawn of day. When he returned Black Eagle was dying.
RAPIDS, COLUMBIA RIVER.
Slowly the pale lids closed over the sunken eyes, a breath and the brave lad had trusted his soul to the white man’s God.
The broken-hearted old chief sat the long night through by the corpse of his son. When morning came he called the tribe together and told them he wished to follow his last child to the grave, but he wanted them to promise him that they would cease to war with the white man and seek his friendship. At first many of the warriors refused, but Umatilla had been a good chief, and always had given them fine presents at the potlatches. Consulting among themselves they finally consented. When the grave was ready, the braves laid the body of Black Eagle to rest. Then said the old chief: “My heart is in the grave with my son. Be always kind to the white man as you have promised me, and bury us together. One last look into the grave of him I loved and Umatilla too shall die.” The next instant the gentle, kind hearted old chief dropped to the ground dead. Peace to his ashes. They buried him as he had requested and a little later sought the teacher’s friendship, asking him to guide them. That year saw the end of the trouble between the Indians and the white race at the Dalles.
The old chief still lives in the history of his country. Umatilla is a familiar name in Dalles City. The principal hotel bears the name of Umatilla.
On either side of the river farm houses, orchards and wheat fields dot the landscape.
Salmon fishing is the great industry on the river. The wheels along both sides of the river have been having a hard time of it this season from the drift wood, the high water and the big sturgeon, which sometimes get into the wheels. A big sturgeon got into a wheel belonging to the Dodon Company and slipped into the bucket, but was too large to be thrown out. It was carried around and around until it was cut to pieces, badly damaging the wheel. Now the law expressly states, as this is the close season for sturgeon, that when caught they must be thrown back in the water. “But what is the use,” inquires the Daily News, “if they are dead?”
FARM ON THE BANK OF THE COLUMBIA RIVER, BELOW THE DALLES, OREGON.
A visit to a salmon cannery is full of interest. As the open season for salmon is from April first to August first, the buildings though large are mere sheds. The work is all done by Chinamen. The fish are tossed onto the wharf, where they are seized by the men, who carry them in and throw them on to long tables, chop off their heads, dress them and hold them, one fish at a time, under a stream of pure mountain water, which pours through a faucet over the long sink. Next they are thrown onto another table, where other Chinamen cut them up ready for the cans, all in much less time than it takes to tell about it. The tin is shipped in the sheet to the canneries and the cans are made on the ground.
Astoria, the Venus of America, is headquarters for the salmon fishing on the Columbia River. Joaquin Miller described it as a town which “clings helplessly to a humid hill side, that seems to want to glide into the great bay-like river.” Much of it has long ago glided into the river. Usually the salmon canneries are built on the shores, but down here and on toward the sea, where the river is some seven miles wide, they are built on piles in mid stream. Nets are used quite as much as wheels in salmon fishing. Sometimes a hungry seal gets into the nets, eating an entire “catch,” and playing havoc with the net. Up toward the Dalles on the Washington side of the river, are three springs. These springs have long been considered by the Indians a veritable fountain of youth. Long before the coming of the white man they carried their sick and aged to these springs, across the “Bridge of the Gods.” Just above Dalles City lies the dalles which obstruct navigation for twelve miles. Beyond this point the river is navigable two hundred miles. Here, too, legends play an important part.
When the volcanoes of the northwest were blazing forth their storm of fire, ashes and lava, a tribe known as the Fire Fiends walked the earth and held high revelry in this wild country. When Mount Rainier had ceased to burn the Devil called the leaders of the tribe together one day and proposed that they follow nature’s mood and live more peaceably, and that they quit killing and eating each other. A howl met this proposal. The Devil deemed it wise just at this moment to move on, so off he set, a thousand Fire Fiends after him. Now his majesty could easily whip a score of Fiends, but he was no match for a thousand. He lashed his wondrous tail about and broke a great chasm in the ground. Many of the Fiends fell in, but the greater part leaped the rent and came on. A second time the ponderous tail came down with such force that a large ravine was cracked out of the rocks, the earth breaking away into an inland sea. The flood engulfed the Fiends to a man. The bed of the sea is now a prairie and the three strokes of the Devil’s tail are plainly visible in the bed of the Columbia at the dalles.
Just across the river from Dalles City on a high bluff, stands a four story building, the tower in the center running two stories higher. The building stands out there alone, a monument to the enterprise of one American. He called it a shoe factory, but no machinery was ever put in position. After the pseudo shoe factory was completed false fronts of other buildings were set up and the rugged bluffs laid out in streets. An imaginary bridge spanned the broad river. Electric lights, also imaginary, light up this imaginary city. The pictures which this genius drew of his town showed street cars running on the principal streets and a busy throng of people passing to and fro. As to the shoe factory, it was turning out thousands of imaginary shoes every day. Now this rogue, when all was ready, carried the maps and cuts of his town to the east, where he sold the factory and any number of lots at a high figure, making a fortune out of his paper town.
From Dalles City across the country to Prineville in the Bunch Grass country, a distance of a hundred miles, the country is principally basalt, massive and columnar, presenting many interesting geological features. Deep gorges separate the rolling hills which are covered with a soil that produces bunch grass in abundance. This same ground produces fine wheat and rye. This is a good sheep country and wool is one of the principal products.
Crater Lake is haunted by witches and wizards. Ghosts, with seven leagued boots, hold high revelry on its shores on moonlight nights, catching any living thing that comes their way and tossing it into the deep waters of the lake, where the water devils drag it under.
SCENE ON AN OREGON FARM IN THE WILLAMETTE VALLEY.
We spent two delightful days on an Oregon farm near Hubbard, thirty miles south of Portland.
We drove from Hubbard in the morning to Puddin river. The bridge was being repaired, so we walked across, our man carrying our traps. We had just passed Whisky hill when we met our friend Mr. Kauffman and his daughter, driving down the road. We were warmly welcomed and after an exchange of greetings we drove back with them to their home, where we partook of such a dinner as only true hospitality can offer.
Mr. Kauffman owns three hundred acres of fine farming land. There is no better land anywhere on the Pacific coast than in this beautiful valley of the Willamette river. Beautiful flowers and shrubs of all sorts in fine contrast to the green lawn surround the house, which is painted white, as Ruskin says all houses should be when set among green trees. Near by is a spring of pure mountain water. In the woods pasture beyond the spring pheasants fly up and away at your approach. Tall ferns nod and sway in the wind, while giant firs beautiful enough for the home of a hamadryad lend an enticing shade at noontime.
If any part of an Oregon farm can be more interesting than another it is the orchard, where apple, peach, plum, pear and cherry trees vie with each other in producing perfect fruit. Grapes, too, reach perfection in this delightful climate. One vine in Mr. Kauffman’s vineyard measures eighteen inches in circumference. The dryhouse where the prunes are dried for market is situated on the south side of the orchard. No little care and skill is required to dry this fruit properly.
Wednesday morning we reluctantly bade good-by to our kind hostess and departed with Mr. Kauffman for Woodburn, where we took the train for Portland. The drive of ten miles took us through a fine farming district. Here farms may be seen in all stages of advancement from the “slashing” process, which is the first step in making a farm in this wooded country, to the perfect field of wheat, rye, barley or hops.
Arriving at Woodburn we lunched at a tidy little restaurant. The train came all too soon and we regretfully bade our host farewell.
The memory of that delightful visit will linger with us as long as life shall last.
ROADWAY IN OREGON.
There are few regions in the West to-day where game is as abundant as in times past. Yet there are a few spots where sport of the old time sort may be had, and the lake district of Southern Oregon is one of these. Here, deer and bear abound as in days of yore, while grouse, squirrel, mallard duck and partridge are most plentiful.
Fort Klamath lake is a beautiful sheet of water, sixty miles long by thirty wide. Among the tules in the marshes the mallard is at home, while grouse and nut brown partridge by the thousands glide through the grass. Fish lake speaks for itself, while the very name, Lake of the Woods, carries with it an enticing invitation to partake of its hospitality and royal sport.
Travel is an educator. It gives one a broader view of life and one soon comes to realize that this great world swinging in space is a vast field where millions and millions of souls are traveling each his own road, all doing different things, all good, all interesting.
In our journeyings we have met many interesting people, but none more interesting than Miss McFarland, whom we met on our voyage up the Columbia river. Miss McFarland was the first American child born in Juneau, Alaska.
Her only playmates were Indian children. She speaks the language like a native and was for years her father’s interpreter in his mission work. She has lived the greater part of her life on the Hoonah islands. The Hoonah Indians are the wealthiest Indians in America. Having all become Christians they removed the last totem pole two years ago.
Reminiscences of Miss McFarland’s childhood days among the Indians of Alaska would make interesting reading.
The old people as well as the children attend the mission schools. One day an old chief came in asking to be taught to read. He came quite regularly until the close of the school for the summer vacation. The opening of the school in the autumn saw the old man in his place, but his eyes had failed. He could not see to read and was in despair. Being advised to consult an optician he did so and triumphantly returned with a pair of “white man’s eyes.”
Upon one occasion Miss McFarland’s mother gave a Christmas dinner to the old people of her mission. It is a custom of the Indians to carry away from the feast all of the food which has not been eaten. One old man had forgotten his basket, but what matter, Indian ingenuity came to his aid. Stepping outside the door he removed his coat and taking off his dress shirt triumphantly presented it as a substitute in which to carry home his share of the good things of the feast.
These Indians believe that earthquakes are caused by an old man who shakes the earth. Compare this with Norse Mythology. When the gods had made the unfortunate Loke fast with strong cords, a serpent was suspended over him in such a manner that the venom fell into his face causing him to writhe and twist so violently that the whole earth shook.
When Miss McFarland left her home in Hoonah last fall to attend Mill’s college every Indian child in the neighborhood came to say good-by. They brought all sorts of presents and with many tears bade her a long farewell. “Edna go away?” “Ah! Oh! Me so sorry.” “Edna no more come back?” “We no more happy now Edna gone,” “No more happy, Oh! Oh!” “Edna no more come back.” “Oh, good-by, Edna, good-by.”
Every Christmas brings Miss McFarland many tokens of affection from her former playmates. Pin cushions, beaded slippers, baskets, rugs, beaded portemonnaies. Always something made with their own hands.
Miss McFarland’s name, through that of her parents, is indissolubly connected with Indian advancement in Alaska.
One meets curious people, too, in traveling. In the parlor at the hotel one evening a party of tourists were discussing the point of extending their trip to Alaska. The yeas and nays were about equal when up spoke a flashily dressed little woman, “Well,” said she, “what is there to see when you get there?” That woman belongs to the class with some of our fellow passengers, both men and women who sat wrapped in furs and rugs from breakfast to luncheon and from luncheon to dinner reading “A Woman’s Revenge,” “Blind Love,” and “Maude Percy’s Secret,” perfectly oblivious to the grandest scenery on the American Continent, scenery which every year numbers of foreigners cross continents and seas to behold.
One of our fellow travelers is a German physician who is spending the summer on the coast. He is deeply interested in the woman question in America. He is quite sure that American women have too much liberty. “Why,” said he, “they manage everything. They rule the home, the children and their husbands, too. Why, madam, it is outrageous. Now surely the man ought to be the head of the house and manage the children and the wife too, she belongs to him, doesn’t she?”
“Not in America,” we replied, “the men are too busy, and besides they enjoy having their homes managed for them. Then, too, the women are too independent.”
“That is just what I say, madam, they have too much liberty, they are too independent. They go everywhere they like, do everything they like and ask no man nothings at all.”
My German friend evidently thinks that unless this wholesale independence of women is checked our country will go to destruction. The war with Spain does not compare with it. I am wondering yet if our critic’s wife is one of those independent American women.
Just below Portland on the banks of the Willamette river and connected with Portland by an electric street railway stands the first capital of Oregon, Oregon City, the stronghold of the Hudson Bay Company, which aided England in so nearly wrenching that vast territory from the United States.
This quaint old town is rapidly taking on the marks of age. The warehouse of that mighty fur company stands at the wharf, weather beaten and silent. No busy throng of trappers, traders and Indians awaken its echoes with barter and jest. No fur loaded canoe glides down the river. No camp fire smoke curls up over the dark pine tops.
The Indian with his blanket, the trapper with his snares and the trader with his wares have all disappeared before the march of a newer civilization. The camp fire has given place to the chimney; the blanket to the overcoat; the trader to the merchant and the game preserves to fields of waving grain.
The lonely old warehouse looks down in dignified silence on the busy scenes of a city full of American push and go.
All the forenoon the drowsy porter sat on his stool at the door of the sleeper, ever and anon peering down the aisle or scanning the features of the passengers.
What could be the cause of his anxiety? Was he a detective in disguise? Had some one been robbed the night before? Had some one forgotten to pay for services rendered? Had that handsome man run away with the beautiful fair haired woman at his side? Visions of the meeting with an irate father at the next station dawned on the horizon.
The train whirled on and still the porter kept up his vigilance.
It was nearly noon when I stepped across to my own section and picked up my shoes. The sleepy porter was wide awake now. His face was a study. For one brief moment I was sure that he was a detective and that he thought he had caught the rogue for whom he was looking.
“Them your shoes, Madam?” said he approaching me.
“Why, Madam, I’ve been waitin’ here all mornin’ for the owner to come and get ’em.”
Ah, now I understood. He was responsible for the shoes and he thought that they belonged to a man. Fifty cents passed into the faithful black hands and my porter disappeared with just a hint of a smile on his face.
OFF FOR CALIFORNIA
We left Portland on the night train for San Francisco. I took my gull, the Captain we called him, into the sleeper with me. He was asleep when I placed his basket under my berth, but about midnight he awoke and squawked frightfully.
I rang for the porter but before he arrived the Captain had awakened nearly every one in the car. Angry voices were heard inquiring what that “screeching, screaming thing,” was.
An old gentleman thrust his red night capped head out of his berth next to mine and angrily demanded of me where that nasty beast came from. When I politely told him he said he wished that I had had the good sense to leave it there. Then he said something that sounded dreadfully like swear words, but being such an old gentleman I’ve no doubt that my ears deceived me.
At any rate it was something about sea gulls in general and my own in particular. His red flannel cap disappeared and presently I heard him snoring away up in G. Now my poor gull only squawked on low C. After that the Captain traveled in the baggage car with the trunks and packages.
Traveling south from Portland one passes farms and orchards until the foot of the Sierra Nevada range is reached. Most of the farms are well improved. Many of the orchards are bearing, while others are young.
Here and there in the mountains are cattle ranches. These mountains are not barren, rugged rocks like the Selkirks of Alaska. Here there is plenty of pasture to the very summit of the mountains.
Wolf Creek valley is one vast hay field. Up we go until the far-famed Rogue River valley is reached. This noble valley lying in the heart of the Sierras reminds one of the great Mohawk valley of New York.
Ashland is the center of this prosperous district. The Southern State Normal School is located here.
The seventh annual assembly of the Southern Oregon Chautauqua will convene in Ashland in July. This assembly is always well attended. Farmers bring their families and camp on the grounds. The program contains the names of musicians prominent on the coast. Among the lecturers are the names of men and women prominent in their special fields. Frank Beard, the noted chalk talk lecturer, will be present. So you see that the wild and woolly west is not here, but has moved on to the Philippines.
When the passenger train stops at the station of Ashland a score of young fruit venders swarm on the platform, crying plums, cherries, peaches and raspberries at fifteen cents a box. When the train-bell rings fruit suddenly falls to ten cents and when the conductor cries “All aboard” fruit takes a downward plunge to five cents a box, but the fruit is all so delicious that you do not feel in the least cheated in having paid the first price. “Look here, you young rascal,” said a newspaper man, who travels over the road frequently to one of the young fruit dealers, “I bought raspberries of you yesterday at five cents a box.” “O no you didn’t, mister, never sold raspberries at five cents a box in my life sir, pon honor.” In less than three minutes this young westerner was crying “Nice ripe raspberries here, five cents a box.” “Why,” said I, “I thought you told the gentleman that you never sold berries at five cents a box.” “No, Madam, I didn’t, pon honor,” and the little rogue really looked innocent.
CLIMBING THE SHASTA RANGE.
Leaving Ashland with three big engines we climb steadily up four thousand one hundred and thirty feet to the summit of the range.
The Rogue River valley spreads out below us in a grand panorama of wheat, oats, barley fields and orchards. Down the southern slope the commercial interest centers in large saw-mills and cattle ranches.
Off to the east lie the lava beds where Gen. Canby and his companions were so treacherously assassinated by the Modoc Indians under the leadership of Captain Jack and Scar Faced Charley.
Crossing the Klatmath River valley the dwelling place in early days of the Klatmath Indians, the engines make merry music as they puff, puff, puff in a sort of Rhunic rhyme to the whir of the wheels as they groan and climb three thousand nine hundred feet to the summit of the Shasta range. There is something wonderfully fascinating about mountain climbing. Whether by rail over a route laid out by a skilled engineer; on the back of a donkey over a trail just wide enough for the feet of the little beast, or staff in hand you go slowly up over rocks and bowlders, or around them, clinging to trees and shrubs for support. The very fact that the train may without a moment’s notice plunge through a trestle or go plowing its way down the mountain side; the donkey lose his head and take a false step; the shrub break or a bowlder come tearing down the rock-ribbed mountain and crush your life out, thrills the blood and holds the mind enthralled as a bird is held enchanted by the charm of the pitiless snake.
Throughout the mountains mistletoe, that mystic plant of the Druids, hangs from the limbs and trunks of tall trees.
It was with an arrow made from mistletoe that Hoder slew the fair Baldur.
All day long snow-covered Mt. Shasta has been in sight and toward evening we pass near it on the southern side of the range and stop at the Shasta Soda Springs. The principal spring is natural soda water. This is the fashionable summer resort of San Francisco people, who come here to get warm, the climate of that city being so disagreeable during July and August that people are glad to leave town for the more genial air of the mountains.
THE HIGHEST TRESTLE IN THE WORLD, NEAR MUIR’S PEAK, SHASTA RANGE.
It certainly is odd to have people living in the heart of a great city ask you during these two months if it is hot out in the country. “Out in the country” means forty or fifty miles out, where there is plenty of heat and sunshine. At Shasta Springs, however, the weather is cooler. The climate is delightful, the water refreshing and the strawberries beyond compare. Boteler, known as a lover of strawberries, once said of his favorite fruit: “Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did.”
Just beyond the springs stand the wonderful Castle Crags. Hidden in the very depths of these lofty Crags lies a beautiful lake. This strange old castle of solid granite, its towers and minarets casting long shadows in the moonlight for centuries, is not without its historic interest, though feudal baron nor chatelaine dainty ever ruled over it. Joaquin Miller, in the “Battle of Castle Crag,” tells the tale of its border history.
Not far away at the base of Battle Rock a bloody battle was once fought between a few whites and the Shasta Indians on one side and the Modoc Indians on the other.
By permission of F. Laroche, Photographer, Seattle, Washington.
The Indians of California say that Mt. Shasta was the first part of the earth created. Surely it is grand enough and beautiful enough to lay claim to this pre-eminence. When the waters receded the earth became green with vegetation and joyous with the song of birds, the Great Manitou hollowed out Mt. Shasta for a wigwam. The smoke of his lodge fires (Shasta is an extinct volcano) was often seen pouring from the cone before the white man came.
Kmukamtchiksh is the evil spirit of the world. He punishes the wicked by turning them into rocks on the mountain side or putting them down into the fires of Shasta.
Many thousands of snows ago a terrible storm swept Mt. Shasta. Fearing that his wigwam would be turned over, the Great Spirit sent his youngest and fairest daughter to the crater at the top of the mountain to speak to the storm and command it to cease lest it blow the mountain away. She was told to make haste and not to put her head out lest the Wind catch her in his powerful arms and carry her away.
The beautiful daughter hastened to the summit of the peak, but never having seen the ocean when it was lashed into a fury by the storm wind, she thought to take just one peep, a fatal peep it proved. The Wind caught her by her long red hair and dragged her down the mountain side to the timber below.
At this time the grizzly bears held in fee all the surrounding country, even down to the sea. In those magic days of long ago they walked erect, talked like men and carried clubs with which to slay their enemies.
At the time of the great storm a family of grizzlies was living in the edge of the forest just below the snow line. When the father grizzly returned one day from hunting he saw a strange little creature sitting under a fir tree shivering with cold. The snow gleamed and glowed where her beautiful hair trailed over it. He took her to his wife who was very wise in the lore of the mountains. She knew who the strange child was but she said nothing about it to old father grizzly, but kept the little creature and reared her with her own children.
When the oldest grizzly son had quite grown up his mother proposed to him that he marry her foster daughter who had now grown to be a beautiful woman.
Many deer were slain by the old father grizzly and his sons for the marriage feast. All the grizzly families throughout the mountains were bidden to the feast.
When the guests had eaten of the deer and drank of the wine distilled from bear berries and elder berries in moonlight at the foot of Mt. Shasta, when the feast was over, they all united and built for their princess a magnificent wigwam near that of her father. This is “Little Mt. Shasta.”
The children of this strange pair were a new race,—the first Indians.
Now, all this time the great spirit was ignorant of the fate of his beloved daughter, but when the old mother grizzly came to die she felt that she could not lie peacefully in her grave until she had restored the princess to her father.
Inviting all the grizzlies in the forest to be present at the lodge of the princess, she sent her oldest grandson wrapt in a great white cloud to the summit of Mt. Shasta to tell the Great Spirit where his daughter lived.
Now when the great Manitou heard this he was so happy he ran down the mountain side so fast that the snow melted away under his feet. To this day you can see his footprints in the lava among the rocks on the side of the mountain.
The grizzlies by thousands met him and standing with clubs at “attention” greeted him as he passed to the lodge of his daughter.
But when he saw the strange children and learned that this was a new race he was angry and looked so savagely at the old mother grizzly that she died instantly. The grizzlies now set up a dreadful wail, but he ordered them to keep quiet and to get down on their hands and knees and remain so until he should return. He never returned, and to this day the poor doomed grizzlies go on all fours.
A wonderful feat of jugglery, but a greater was that of the Olympian goddess who changed the beautiful maiden Callisto into a bear, which Jupiter set in the heavens, and where she is to be seen every night, beside her son the Little Bear.
The angry Manitou turned his strange grandchildren out of doors, fastened the door and carried his daughter away to his own wigwam.
The Indians to this day believe that a bear can talk if you will only sit still and listen to him. The Indians will not harm a bear. Now for the meaning of those queer little piles of stones one sees so frequently in the Shasta mountains. If an Indian is killed by a bear he is burned on the spot where he fell. Every Indian who passes that way will fling a stone at the fated place to dispel the charm that hangs over it.
“All that wide and savage water-shed of the Sacramento tributaries to the south and west of Mt. Shasta affords good bear hunting at almost any season of the year—if you care to take the risks. But he is a velvet-footed fellow, and often when and where you expect peace you will find a grizzly. Quite often when and where you think that you are alone, just when you begin to be certain that there is not a single grizzly bear in the mountains, when you begin to breathe the musky perfume of Mother Nature as she shapes out the twilight stars in her hair, and you start homeward, there stands your long lost bear in your path! And your bear stands up! And your hair stands up! And you wish you had not lost him! And you wish you had not found him! And you start for home! And you go the other way glad, glad to the heart if he does not come tearing after you.”
Downward from Mt. Shasta flows the Sacramento river. For thirty miles it goes tumbling over bowlders and granite ledges on its way to the sea. In mid-summer the Sacramento cañon is a paradise of umbrageous beauty, a region of forest and groves, of leafy shrubs, delicate ferns, mosses and beautiful flowers, of roaring, tumbling rivers, shining lakelets and dancing trout streams.
Up in the mountains the dewberries are ripe. They are about the size of currants, but farther down the slope they are larger. Blackberries are also plentiful, also the black raspberry, called by the Indians succotash.
The coniferous forests of the Sierra Nevada range are the most beautiful in the world. Here, where the granite domes which are so striking a feature of the Sierras, we find the most beautiful little meadows lying on the tops of the dividing ridges or on their sloping sides. These meadows are all aglow with wild flowers, rank columbines, stately larkspur, daisies and the lovely lupines, beds of blue and white violets, many strange grasses and beautiful sedges, and the glory of them all, the lily.
The magnificent sunset of the mountains, the afterglow resting on their summits, the many clouds of various hues, borrowing the tints of the rainbow,
“That glory mellower than a mist
Of pearl dissolved with amethyst,”
resting on the snowy peaks, lend an enchantment to the scene that might entice the elf king Oberon himself and all his crew of Pixies and Imps back to earth.
Doubtless God might have created a more magnificent range of mountains than the Sierras, but doubtless God never did.
“If thou art worn and hard beset
With sorrows thou wouldst forget,
Go to the woods and hills.”
“There ain’t nothing like fresh air and the smell of the woods. There’s always a smell from trees dead, or living, and the air is better where the woods be.”
The Pacific slope has a wonderful flora which has been but little studied. Here wonderful ferns and laurels grow the whole year round. With few exceptions all the plants are new and strange. One of the most beautiful trees on the coast is the madrona, graceful and stately, its red trunk contrasting oddly with its green foliage. The dandelion is here but puts on such airs and graces that unless you are quite familiar with him you would never take him for the common weed he is at home. He grows several in a cluster on a delicate stem twelve to fifteen inches long. He is the pale yellow of California gold. His white head when he goes to seed is more frowsy than with us, and the seeds are a little different in shape, but he wings himself over onto people’s lawns with the agility and grace of his Illinois brother.
There are many points of interest in San Francisco and not the least of these is China Town, which has a population of thirty thousand people. A Chinese school is a place of interest. The boys (girls are not sent to school in China Town) stand at long tables running across the room. The pupils all study aloud. Besides their books each pupil is provided with a small camel’s hair brush and a pot of ink with which he writes out his lessons in the characters of his native language. The paper used is very red, while the ink is very black. This is a priest’s school and these little almond-eyed Orientals in their quaint caps and gowns are all studying for the priesthood. They laugh and whisper too, when the teacher’s attention is engaged elsewhere, just like American children. One boy painted a Chinese character on another’s face, then they all laughed and the first boy wiped it angrily off. The teacher had not seen it, so no one was punished. The teacher, a fine looking man in the native dress of his country, with a few strokes of his brush painted for us on red paper an advertisement of his school. Teacher and pupils bowed a good morning as we departed.
STREET SCENE IN CHINATOWN, SAN FRANCISCO.
At the Christian Mission the Chinese minister, a man of much intelligence, greeted us cordially, asking where we were from. He knew where Chicago was and something about it. He was sorry that the services were over and asked us to come again next Sunday at ten o’clock.
The tea house, which is the club room, is the finest oriental club house in America. The beautiful tables and chairs are all inlaid with marble and pearl.
The Joss House, which is the temple, is magnificently adorned and decorated. A cup of tea, which of course evaporates, is kept setting in front of the god, but his worshipers believe he drinks it. Lamps and incense are kept burning all the time to keep the evil spirits away. The worshipers come and go at all hours. No regular services are held except at New Years and on feast days. Upon request, however, the priest will accompany an individual to the temple and conduct services for him.
The home of an aristocratic Chinaman is full of interest to an American. In the home in which we visited everything except the chairs came from China, and these looked oddly out of place against the background of rich oriental draperies, and the quaint costumes of our hostess and her daughter. Our hostess was a large woman, but she proudly displayed her tiny feet, the mark of true aristocracy. She hobbled bravely about on these feet only four inches long and did the honors of her house.
When in exchange for the compliment of seeing these aristocratic feet I quite as proudly thrust out my American ones encased in No. 6 broad-soled mountain climbers, the dear lady bowed and smiled, but made no comment. The six-year-old daughter of the house was suffering the tortures of having her feet bound. When the Chinese become Christians they abandon this practice.
In an opium den an old smoker showed us how he smoked the fateful drug. He first took a large lump of opium on a long needle and holding it in the flame of a candle, burnt the poison out of it, then thrust it into the cup of his long pipe, the tiny opening of which he held near the lighted candle, sucking the blue smoke into his lungs and exhaling it through his nostrils.
In the drug store the druggist was putting up a prescription for a sick Chinaman who was standing near. He took down four different bottles and took some roots out of each. Telling the man to make a tea of them he tied them up and handed them over the counter and received his pay. There were lizards and toads there also to be made into medicine.
In the jewelry store four goldsmiths were at work making rings, bracelets and earrings, all by hand.
In the market all sorts of fish and birds were offered for sale. A big fat pig roasted whole looked tempting indeed. Beans, which had been kept damp until they had sprouted, the sprouts an inch to two inches long were ready to be made into a tempting salad. There were baskets of green watermelons the size of an orange.
This being Sunday the streets were thronged with Chinese in native holiday dress, who sauntered leisurely along or gathered in groups chatting away in their native tongue. Their long queues tied with black ribbon hung down the back or were tucked into the side pocket of the tunic. Here and there an Oriental who had imbibed some of the American energy hurried along dressed in the somber business suit of the American, his closely cropped hair, mustache and American shoes making a strange contrast to the groups on the corner.
There is no Sunday in the calendar of these almond-eyed Orientals,—the stores, markets and opium dens were all open.
Presently the weird music of the Salvation Army broke on our ears. Down the street came the Chinese Salvation band, dressed in American costume, the leader carrying the American flag.
When the first Chinese came to California the Indians were very curious about them. A dispute arose among them as to what country the strangers might hail from, and whether or not they were Indians.
The Indians, wise as the Puritans of old, would apply the water test. If the accused swam they were witches, if they drowned they were innocent.
One day a party of Indians met a party of Chinamen approaching a little stream.
The strangers approached the bridge and started across. The Indians too filed across and meeting the Chinamen in mid-stream pushed two of them into the angry, spuming current below. The test was conclusive. They could not swim. They were not Indians.
In the fire department are exhibited two queer old engines. One was purchased in New York in 1849 and brought around the Horn. The other is a hand engine a little more modern in make. These engines are carefully guarded and never taken out except on rare occasions.
Down toward the wharf there stands a quaint old building, the material for which was brought around Cape Horn in 1850. This was San Francisco’s first hotel.
In the wild days of the early history of this little adobe city, nestled among the dunes and sand hills, Mount Diablo looked down on weird scenes on the plaza in front of this old hotel. Here the famous vigilance committee meted out justice to rogue and outlaw alike.
In the early history of California the eighth day of July, 1846, stands out conspicuously. On that day the Brooklyn dropped her anchor off the island of Yerba Buena, the “good herb,” and flung the Stars and Stripes to the breeze. At noon Captain Montgomery unfurled the American flag on the plaza.
In that good ship came a party of pseudo Mormons, under the leadership of “Bishop” Brannan, the valiant leader of the Vigilance Society. This colony of Latter Day saints brought stout hearts, keen wits, strong arms, pluck, plenty of money and a printing press. Later they quarreled with their bishop and went to law with him and thus gave up their scheme of Mormon colonization and made sport of Brigham Young himself in their tents on the beach.
But they gave to San Francisco her first newspaper pledged to eschew all sectarian dogmas; her first prayer meeting and her first trial by jury. A wonderfully progressive people, those Mormons of the sand dunes.
Washington Bartlett, the first alcalde of Yerba Buena, changed the name to San Francisco.
The name of John C. Fremont stands for California as does that of Dr. Marcus Whitman for Oregon.
We called on the astrologer. When our horoscopes were cast and our future told us, we bade adieu to China Town.
The Golden Gate park is a perfect bower of beauty, a fine piece of landscape gardening.
MUSEUM IN GOLDEN GATE PARK, SAN FRANCISCO.
In the center of the park stands the Hall of Art, a handsome building of Egyptian architecture. From the display in the relic department one easily reads the history of early days in California.
In the department of statuary the loveliest figure was one in the beautiful carrara marble of Merope who was cast out of heaven because she fell in love with a mortal.
A plaster cast of the head of David after the colossal statue by Michael Angelo set in place in Florence in 1504, attracted much attention.
Michael Angelo had his troubles like other mortals. When his David was placed in position the mayor of Florence objected to the nose of the statue, saying it was too large. Angelo, perceiving that his critic’s position gave him a poor light on the figure, took a handful of marble dust, a hammer and a chisel and climbing to the head of the statue gave the nose a few taps, at the same time letting fall the dust. The mayor without changing position declared the nose perfect.
The Second Oregon had come home: Early in the morning the commanders were instructed to get their men ready to march to the barracks. Ten minutes later the regiment was on the wharf, the men wearing the blue shirts, brown trousers and leggins which they wore when charging through the jungles and over the rice fields in the Philippines. The mascot detachment was not so easily landed.
“Here, Walker, take this monkey,” shouted a corporal.
“Grab that goat quick, he is going overboard.”
“Lend me a hand here, you privates; let’s get this menagerie ashore,” commanded the officer of the day.
Order reigned about two seconds when “Monkey overboard” turned order into chaos. Twenty men rushed to the edge of the wharf and strenuous efforts were made to save the life of the little brown fellow who had toppled off the gang plank. Ropes were carried from every corner of the wharf, but the efforts of the men were unavailing and the monkey lost his life. The other monkeys, the parrots, the dogs and the goat were safely landed. The goat chews tobacco and eats it too.
The Oregon band struck up “Home Sweet Home” in quick time and the march to the Presidio began.
For an hour or more a man near me had been talking in a pessimistic way about the war. He said this Philippine scuffle didn’t amount to much anyway. What did we want with their old islands, anyhow? We ought to return them. It was a violation of the constitution to keep them.
Ten minutes later he was saying, “I can’t stand it,” as platoon after platoon went by with decimated ranks. One platoon had left nearly every man in the Philippines.
There were others who “couldn’t stand it.” “Home Sweet Home” sounded like a mockery. Up the street trudged these boys in blue, travel stained and weary, bearing the flag with holes in it, holes made by the death-winged bullets of the Filipinos. How gaunt and sick they looked. War had not been play with them. Not many cheers were heard. There were more “God bless you boys” than “Hurrahs.”
Other bands may play better, other bands may play louder, but none ever played more effectively than the Oregon.
Three big flags flung their folds to the ocean breeze as the regiment marched up the street. One of them was a dazzle of blue and gold and one bright and new, but one was the real Old Glory, torn by shot and shell, raveled and frayed by the Philippine winds. It was the battle stained, tattered emblem of our country’s honor that received the heartiest cheers and warmest welcome. This was the flag that brought the mist before the eyes and brought to the mind Decatur’s noble toast. “Our country. In her intercourse with foreign countries may she always be right; but right or wrong, our country.”
On stretchers borne by the ambulance corps came the sick and wounded. A great contrast, these war-worn soldiers, to the spick and span Sixth Cavalry which escorted them.
Right royally did the Queen of the Golden Gate welcome home Oregon’s noble sons.
Passing the Examiner building nearly a million firecrackers which decorated the building, hanging in great loops and festoons, were set off. In the midst of this noise some one threw out a big bouquet of American Beauty roses. A soldier caught them and sniffed their fragrance. “They’re American Beauties, boys,” he said and passed them on. Up and down the line went those roses, each man burying his face in them for a moment, then passing them on to his brother. When they had passed the rear line they were handed to the next platoon, and so they went on down that battle-scarred line.
The little Filipino boy, Manuel Robels, who accompanied the boys home, caught nearly every eye as he trudged along, a sawed-off Mauser rifle over one shoulder and an American flag over the other. Flowers were showered on him too.
Out at Van Ness street General Shafter sat on horseback with his staff, to review the troops.
Just beyond the place of review a company of wee tots with military hats and lath guns stood at the edge of the side-walk and presented arms. All that gallant regiment, from the colonel to the little Filipino boy, returned the salute of those patriotic tots.
Thus the noble Second regiment of the Oregon Volunteers marched out to the Presidio and to Fame’s eternal camping ground.
The Presidio, now the United States barracks, was established by the Spaniards in 1776. Little dreamed they that out of this camp would come one hundred years later a conquering host.
The camp is delightfully located on the bay north of the city. The grounds include a thousand acres. The officers’ quarters are neat, cosy cottages. The long porches and verandas of the barracks are covered with vines and roses. Rows upon rows of flowers such as only grow in this moist climate decorate the walks on either side.
CALIFORNIA FARMS AND VINEYARDS
What temperament is to a man, that climate is to a country. The climate of California is one of the most delightful in the world.
California possesses the wealth of two zones. The ocean current gives it a temperate climate and the mountain ranges intercepting and reflecting the sun’s rays give California a climate distinctly her own.
Fine fruit farms surround San Francisco for fifty miles. Irrigation, combined with a genial climate, produces the delicious fruit for which California is justly famed. In the vineyards the vines are pruned low, from two to four feet high. The Leland Stanford vineyard is one of the finest on the coast, the low pruned vines with their dark green leaves and rich purple fruit making a fine contrast to the red brown soil.
California produces more wine to the acre than any other country in the world. The best American wines come from Sonoma county, the Asti of America, where a thousand foothills are planted in choice wine grapes, and where nature supplies all the moisture necessary to perfectly ripen the fruit.
The vines are planted eight feet apart, intersected by wide avenues, down which the wagons pass in gathering up the boxes into which the pickers have tossed the ripe grapes—only well ripened grapes make good wine. Many of these roadways are lined on either side with olives, palms and other semi-tropical plants.
The pickers are mostly Swiss and Italian, men of practical experience in their own countries. They work in groups and keep up a running fire of jest and fun; ever and anon a happy heart breaks out in native song.
Pitchers of rude crockery are scattered about filled with wine for the workers.
From San Diego to Dutch Harbor wine flows freely, but yet there is no drunkenness to speak of.
EARLY MORNING, YOSEMITE VALLEY.
The interest in a vineyard centers in the winery and the wine cellars. The grapes are first picked from the stems, then thrown into the great crushers, the juice flowing away through flumes to the fermenting vats. Asti boasts the largest wine-tank in the world. It is dug out of the soft stone which abounds in this country and lined with a thick layer of cement.
No less interesting is the cool, fragrant wine cellar. Here immense casks made of red wood stand upright, holding some of them, thirty gallons of wine.
When California was wild, the entire state was one sweet bee garden. Wherever a bee might fly, within the confines of this virgin wilderness, from forest to plain, from mountain to valley, from leafy glen to piny slope, chalices laden with golden nectar greeted him.
Those halcyon days of our humble brown friend are past. The plow and the sheep have played havoc with those once beautiful gardens. Now the lonely bee who would his trade pursue must fly far afield.
Traveling east and south from San Francisco, the fruit ranches are soon left behind and we enter the wheat district. Here we find no irrigation ditches. Every farm has a wind-mill, which pumps water for the stock and also for the orchard and garden. The yield of wheat is low, averaging only about twenty-five bushels to the acre.
This wheat is not used in the United States, being of a lower grade than Minnesota and Dakota wheat. It is shipped to the eastern markets, China, Japan and the Philippines.
We traveled one hundred and fifty miles through this district during the harvest. The combined harvester and thresher, drawn by forty mules, cuts a wide swath, threshes the grain at once, sacks it and dumps it on the ground ready for shipment. The wheat ripens during the dry season and so thoroughly that it can be threshed immediately after cutting. As the farmer has no fear of rain at this time of the year, he lets the sacks lie in the field until he is ready to sell.
The islands of the San Joaquin river are wonderfully fertile and many of them are under cultivation. The uncultivated islands produce every year a dense growth of bulrushes. Efforts have been made to utilize these in various ways.
Leaving the San Joaquin valley and its vast wheat fields we take the stage at Berenda and head direct for the snow-capped Sierras. Gold mines now claim attention and we stop at Grub Gulch. “The diggins” here are not very rich and we journey on over the low foot hills to King’s Gulch, where a rich quartz lode is being profitably worked by electricity.
The drowse of a July noontide is in the air. Rattlesnakes wriggle through the short, dry grass. The Indians say that for every man a rattlesnake kills he gains a rattle. Most minds become panic stricken at the sight of a rattlesnake. Not so poor Lo, he slays his enemy and counts his rattles.
Three hundred miles southeast of San Francisco in the Sierra Nevada mountains lies the beautiful valley of Ahwahne, where Diana herself might deign to follow the chase, for noble game roam these Arcadian wilds, where giant sugar pines and silver firs lend beauty to the landscape.
Higher up and nearer the heart of the mountains lies another lovely vale called the Indian’s Wawona, where dwelt Naiads, Fauns and all their kindred tribe,
“Upon a time, before the fairy broods
Drove Nymph and Satyr from the prosperous woods,
Before King Oberon’s bright diadem,
Scepter and mantle clasp’d with dewy gem.
Frighted away the Dryads and the Fauns
From rushes green and brakes and cowslipped lawns.”
Here Jove himself treads not and forbears to hurl a thunderbolt.
A bird’s flight beyond this playground of the fairies, deep in the shady wood of the great sugar pines of Mariposa county are the giant Sequoias, “the big trees.” The Indians called them Waw Nonas, Big Trees.
Five thousand years ago they struck their tiny roots deep into the soil of the mountains. Before Columbus was born they tossed their giant branches against the mountain storms. They have seen the passing of the Indian and the coming of the white man.
OLDEST LOG CABIN IN THE SEQUOIA GROVE, MARIPOSA COUNTY CALIFORNIA. OLD COLUMBIA IN THE FOREGROUND.
In the æons of past centuries there were about thirty species of this genus scattered over the earth. In Asia fossilized specimens of cones, foliage and wood have been found. To-day there are but two living specimens of these trees on earth, the Sequoia gigantea and the Sequoia sempervirens, or redwood. The former are to be found only in the Sierras, while the latter grows only on the Coast range, and all in California. The largest tree in the Sequoia grove in Mariposa county measures one hundred and eighty feet in circumference and three hundred and sixteen feet in height.
This, the largest tree in the world, has been named Columbia.
The YoSemite, the most wonderful of all valleys, lies hidden deep in the heart of the Sierras. It detracts something from the romance of the musical Spanish when one learns that YoSemite is only Spanish for grizzly bear. The first white men to enter the valley were looking for bear, not scenery.
This wonderful valley, this marvelous gorge, “touched by a light that hath no name, a glory never sung,” is a puzzle to geologists. It is a granite-walled chasm in the very heart of the mountains. The solid rock walls have split in half, one-half dropping out of sight, leaving only this beautiful valley to tell the tale.
Down the dark, frowning walls, which rise sheer from three to five thousand feet, plunge numerous waterfalls which leap two thousand feet at a bound. Through the valley flows the Merced river. Its water, clear as crystal, is full of that most delicious of all fish, mountain trout. A more pellucid stream does not flow on this continent. Up in the mountain the Merced river is a wild, roaring torrent, but through the valley it flows placidly over its white pebble bed, bathing the brown roots of the trees that fringe its banks. The trout float lazily along, leaping up to catch the insects that fly over the water, or sleeping in quiet pools and shady nooks along the bank. Here the cook drops his line out of the kitchen window and hooks trout for our breakfast.
The air is fragrant with the odor of many blossoms. The murmur of YoSemite falls lulls one to sleep as it goes leaping down five thousand feet over the granite wall to the pool below, clashing with spray the flowers that bloom on its banks.
YoSemite is truly a valley with little suggestion of the cañon about it. The Half Dome towering high above almost conceals the trench of the river, and the gorge of Tenaya creek. Several thousand broad acres spread out in a level tract on its long narrow bottom.
HALF DOME AND MERCED RIVER.
El Capitan is the monarch of the world of rocks. A solid mass of granite, towering skyward three-fifths of a mile, barren except for one lone tree, an alligator pine, one hundred and twenty-seven feet high, growing on a narrow ledge, in a niche a thousand feet above its base. Its rugged face, one and one-half miles across, kissed to a soft creamy whiteness by the suns of summer and the snows of winter. That is El Capitan, the wonder of the world. The Indians call it Tutockahnulah, in honor of their greatest chief.
Scarred and hoary, the Three Brothers stand like severe hierophants, looking down into this mysterious vale.
That marvel of lakes, Mirror lake, called by the Indians Sleeping Water, adds beauty to this wonderful valley, so placid, so clear the water that the rocky wall and every tree and shrub on its banks lie on the bosom of the water as if reflected in a mirror.
“Aloft on sky and mountain wall are God’s great pictures hung.”
The legend of the lovely falls called Bridal Veil runs in this wise:
Centuries ago there lived in this valley one Tutockahnulah and his tribe. One day while out hunting, he met the spirit of the valley, Tisayac. From that moment he knew no peace. He neglected his people and spent his time in dreaming of lovely Tisayac. She was fair, her skin was white and the sun had kissed her hair to a golden brown. Her eyes reflected heaven’s own blue. Her silvery speech like a bird’s song led him to her, but when he opened his eyes she vanished into the clouds.
The beautiful YoSemite valley being neglected by Tutockahnulah, became a desert and a waste. When Tisayac returned she wept at the sight of her beloved valley. On the dome of a mighty rock she knelt and prayed the Good Manitou to restore the valley. In answer to her prayer the Great Spirit spread the floor of the valley with green and smiting the mountains broke a channel for the melting ice and snow. The waters went leaping down and formed a lake. The birds again sang and the flowers bloomed. The people returned and gave the name Tisayac to the great rock where she had knelt.
MERCED RIVER, YOSEMITE VALLEY.
When the chief came home and learned that Tisayac had returned to the valley his love grew stronger day by day. One morning he climbed to the crest of a rock that towers three thousand feet above the valley and carved his likeness on it that his memory might live forever among his people. There is to this day a face on this rock, but whether carved there by the hand of man or by nature in some of her wild moods, remains a mystery.
Resting at the foot of the Bridal Veil Falls, one evening Tutockahnulah saw a rainbow arching around the form of Tisayac. She beckoned him to follow her. With a wild cry he sprang into the water and disappeared with Tisayac. Two rainbows now instead of one tremble over the falling water.
At the upper end of the valley stands a giant monolith two hundred feet in height, called by the Indians, Hummoo, the Lost Arrow.
Many thousands of snows ago before the foot of white man had trod these romantic wilds there dwelt in this valley the Ahwahnes, the fairest of whose daughters was Teeheeneh. Her hair, black as the raven’s wing, unlike that of her sisters, fell in ripples below her slender waist. Her sun-kissed cheeks and teeth like pearls added beauty to a form graceful as that of a young gazelle.
Kossookah, the bravest and handsomest warrior of his tribe, came a wooing the beautiful princess, wooed and won her.
All that delightful summer time these two, favored of the gods, rambled over the mountains.
The wild torrents sang of the love of Kossookah, the brave, for Teeneeneh, the beautiful. The river murmured it; the lonely mountains echoed the refrain; the very leaves of the trees whispered it; the plumy children of the air gossiped about it, while each sun of the starry sky repeated the story.
Time sped on golden wings, the mountains took on autumn tints, winter was approaching. Every member of the tribe lent a hand to assist in building a wigwam for the fair princess and her knight.
The nuptials were to be celebrated with many ceremonies and a great feast. Teeheeneh assisted by her companions would grind the acorns into flour for the wedding cakes and gather nuts, herbs and autumn leaves with which to garnish and decorate the tables; while Kossookah with the chosen hunters of his tribe would scale the cliffs or climb the walls of the cañon to the mountain fastness in search of game.
The primitive home is completed. Kossookah and his braves depart. At set of sun he will repair to the head of the YoSemite falls and report the success of the hunt to Teeheeneh who would climb the rocks to the foot of the falls to receive it.
The messenger was to be an arrow to which Kossookah would attach feathers of the grouse. From his strong bow he would speed it far out that Teeheeneh might see it, watch for its falling, recover it and read the message.
The day was propitious. Seldom did an arrow miss its mark. Evening came and the hunters had more game than they could carry down in one trip.
Long ago in another clime Plautus said, “whom the gods love die young.”
Kossookah, proud of his success, repaired to the edge of the cliff beyond the falls, prepared the arrow, set it against the string of buffalo hide, stepped forward, when the cliff began to tremble and went down, carrying the brave Kossookah with it.
Long and lovingly did Teeheeneh wait for the signal. Night wrapped the mountains in gloom, but still Teeheeneh waited and wondered. Could Kossookah be dead? Had the chase led him so far away that he could not return in time to keep his word to Teeheeneh? He might even now be coming down the Indian cañon.
This new thought lent hope, and hope wings to the flying feet of Teeheeneh. From rock to rock, from ledge to ledge she sped with tireless feet, escaping many perils she reached the foot of the cliff.
Finding no trace of Kossookah she paced the sands all the long weary night, hoping against hope that every hour would bring some tidings of her beloved.
The pain at her heart increased with the hours, as she sang in the low soft voice of her race a passionate love song. The gray dawn found her still pacing the sands.
Now, like a deer she springs over the rocks and up the steep ascent to the spot from whence the signal arrow was to wing its way to her feet.
Ah, there were tracks in the sand, his tracks, but her call was answered only by the echo of her own sad voice. A new fracture marked a recent cleavage in the rocks. Could it be, Oh, Great Spirit could it be that her beloved had gone down with the rocks and perished. Her heart was almost stilled with agonizing fear. She faltered a moment only. Gathering courage she leaned over the edge of the cliff. There, stilled in death, lay the form of Kossookah, in a hollow at the base of the monolith.
The shock had cleared her mind. Hastily and with steady hands now she builds a signal fire on the rocky cliff. The fire by its intensity interpreted in the light of Indian signal fires, calls for aid in distress. Slowly the hours drag by. At last help arrives. Young saplings of tamarack are lashed together, end to end, with thongs of deer skin. When all is ready Teeheeneh springs forward and begs that no hands save hers shall touch her beloved dead. Slowly strong hands lower her to the side of the prostrate form of Kossookah.
Kissing the pale lips of the dead warrior Teeheeneh unbinds the deer thongs from about her own body. Silently and deftly she winds them about the prostrate form of Kossookah. At a signal from Teeheeneh the lifeless body is drawn up. Again the improvised rope is lowered. Teeheeneh nervously clutches the pole, puts her foot in the rawhide loop and waves her hand as a signal to be drawn up.
Long and silently she gazes into the once love lit eyes of her dead hero. Her slight body sways and trembles like a reed swept by the wintry wind. Still silent, she sinks quivering on the bosom of her beloved. Gently they raise her, but her heart had broken and her soul taken its flight.
The fateful arrow was never found. The Indians say that it was spirited away by Teeheeneh and Kossookah and kept by them as a memento of their plighted troth and the close of their life on earth.
On gossamer floats, their souls were carried, by unseen hands over the mountains to the Elysian Plains beyond, where there are no pitfalls and no broken hearts.
Hummoo, the Lost Arrow, still stands, a monument to the brave Kossookah.
See, “In The Heart of the Sierras,” by J. M. Hutchings. Mr. Hutchings lived twenty-five years in the YoSemite Valley and knows this, the most beautiful, wild, and romantic spot on the American Continent, in all its varying moods of summer calm and wintry storm, and writes of it with a loving and sympathetic touch.
BRIDAL VEIL FALLS AND THE THREE BROTHERS (SOLID ROCK).
Of all the beautiful places in the world for a schoolhouse, surely “The Valley” is the most beautiful. One rarely hears YoSemite on the coast. It is always with a lingering caress in the voice, “The Valley.” A dainty little white schoolhouse stands in a grove on the border of a glade. Here school is in session six months of every summer. The valley is only seven miles long and one and a half miles in width at its widest point.
There are usually only five or six children of school age in the valley, but in the spring and summer people come into the valley to spend the summer. Many camp while others live at the hotel and in cottages. In many instances their children have left their home school before its close, and in order to make their grades for the ensuing year, attend “The Valley School.”
Here the student of botany may find dainty asters, tiny wild peas, larkspur, monkey flowers, great ferns, the leaves two or three feet long; wild poppies, delicate sunflowers, purple gilias and broad faced primroses. Fiery castillèjas lend color to gray rocks and shady nooks.
Stately pines, silver firs and graceful tamaracks stand massy, tall and dark, make a landscape Mercury himself might pause to behold, no matter how urgent his errand.
The Manzanita trees are now loaded with fruit. Manzanita is Spanish for little apple. The fruit of the tree is a perfect apple about the size of a gooseberry. Leather wood, a strange shrub naked as to leaves but abloom with bright yellow blossoms grows up in the mountains.
For the student of zoology there are the bears which have their dens in the rocks a short distance from the school. Wild deer and lion roam the mountains, while trout disport themselves in the Merced river near by.
The student of astronomy may see the sun rise five times every morning, and the White Fire Maiden, by mortals called the moon, lights up YoSemite falls and the north wall of the valley long before she appears in the blue sea above.
The student in trigonometry will easily find a summer’s work, the geologist a life-time study, while the anthropologist will be interested in the few Indians who inhabit the valley.
The valley is not without its early history when white man and Indian fought for supremacy.
MIRROR LAKE, SLEEPING WATER.
One of the brightest pupils in the primary class is a little Indian girl. This daughter of the red man reads well and is very proud of her accomplishment. She learned the multiplication table before the other members of her class, but does not apply it so readily.
“Tempus Fugit,” we bid farewell to YoSemite, lovely vale, and take the trail over the mountains. The hour was morning’s prime.
Up we go three thousand feet, mules, guides and tourists, over a narrow trail that runs along the rocky ledge of the gorge. The purple atmosphere hangs like a veil over the wild cañon down which sweeps the Merced river, dashing and sparkling over rocks, tumbling over precipices or placidly flowing over its smooth rock bed.
Far above a red flame swept and we caught the odor of Calypso’s fire of cedar wood. The rising smoke mingled with the blue haze above, while the fire swept on, leaving only the blackened, charred remains of the once green forest to tell the tale.
Naiads danced in the sunny water and once methought I heard the soft, low strains of a flute played by a faun in the cool shadows of the trees which overhang the river’s brink.
Not a faun did we see, however, but we met a fool, forsooth, a motley, merry fool. This fool had a silken scarf draped about his foolish head to ward off the warm glances of Old Sol as he peered down the gorge to see what the fool was about. He tripped lightly along, did this merry fool, slipping past the sturdy little mules and their riders on the trail so narrow that one foot of the rider hung over the gorge below, so narrow in many places that one misstep of the faithful little beast meant death to himself and his rider. Past the forty tourists went this untiring fool, frightening the animals and alarming their riders with his strange headdress.
Where were the guides? Right there saying things about the fool, quieting the animals and calming the fears of their riders.
When this remarkably agile fool had reached the head of the caravan, down he would drop in the shade of a tree, his feet dangling in the dust of the trail, his Turkish headdress fluttering in the breeze, again causing the weary climbers to pause. Not every animal paused to look at the fool, the older ones were wiser.
YOSEMITE FALLS, SHOWING FLOOR OF THE VALLEY.
The blue sky, the odor of the pines and the falling, gurgling, murmuring water lent an enchantment to the air, which made us forget the fool, but for a moment only. Here he came again. Untiringly he followed us to the summit of the mountains, eight thousand feet above the sea, where the soft ambient soothes like a benediction, and the soul uplifts in prayer.
As these high altitudes make many people ill we were advised to carry with us a bit of the joyful. Arrived at the summit a dainty flask slipped from the folds of a lady’s gown and fell to the earth with a thud. One of the guides picked it up and gravely presented it to the owner with the remark, “Madam, you have lost something valuable.”
As we stood looking down through the blue mist into the YoSemite below us—a landscape that would have delighted the heart and eye of a Homer—a quaint old lady who had braved the trail that she might view the valley from glacial point, exclaimed:
“It’s lovely, ain’t it? Heaven don’t need to be no purtier and I don’t reckon it is, do you? Purty name, too, but I never kin remember whether it’s Yo-se-mite or Yu-summit.”
A personally conducted party arrived just ahead of us. Mr. Personally, as we dubbed the conductor, was a gentleman, so he informed us, of many qualities. His voice was loud and commanding, he was exceedingly voluble, and from the manner in which he hurried his party about I should say that he was a man of much energy.
He came flying into the ladies’ private boudoir regardless of the confusion of shirt waists, ties, collars and riding habits that were flying through the air, commanding the ladies of his party to hasten to the dining-room for luncheon.
That repast served, Mr. Personally Conductor ordered up the stages which were in waiting to take us down the mountains on the other side. After ordering everyone else to stand back he ordered his party to “climb in,” which they meekly did.
We sat under a clump of silver firs thoroughly enjoying the scene and calm in the consciousness that as the transportation company had carried us to the top of the mountains it was in duty bound to carry us down, either by stage coach, mule back or by rope and tackle, over the rocky ledge and drop us three thousand feet to the valley below.
SUNRISE IN YOSEMITE VALLEY.
Two coaches were filled with “personally conducted” when the third drove up to the veranda. Mr. Personally not being in sight the driver requested us to take seats in the coach, as it was growing late and time we were off.
A brilliant man of our party, a New York lawyer, had just taken a seat by the driver, when that remarkable conductor appeared and sprang into the seat between them, pushing at Mr. Lawyer and calling lustily for Dr. Bluker, who was a member of his party. The doctor responded and grabbed our lawyer friend by the leg, attempting to pull him down.
Mr. Lawyer turned to Mr. Personally, saying, “I don’t know who you are sir, but—”
“I am a gentleman, sir,” hastily replied the conductor.
“Ah,” exclaimed the lawyer at this astonishing bit of news, “I am always glad to meet a gentleman,” and at his wife’s solicitation bowed gracefully, relinquishing the seat to Dr. Bluker, a college president who for the moment might have been taken for Sitting Bull, chief of the Sioux.
Ah, good people,
“A chiel’s amang you taking notes,
And, faith, he’ll prent it.”
The descent lay through groves of pine and cedar, beds of beautiful flowers, grassy glades, mountain brooks, tiny lakes, springs of ice cold water, and acres and acres of azaleas.
In the center of a green glade lay a big brown bowlder surrounded by flowers. Just under the side of this bowlder was a spring of ice cold water.
Just as the sun was sliding down the western horizon beyond the snow-capped peaks we arrived again in Wawona valley, where the evening was spent in telling stories and relating adventures.
“When in London recently,” said our lawyer friend, “Chauncey Depew told this story:
“At a hotel where he was dining the waitress said to a young man, ‘We have blackberry pie, peach pie, plum pie, strawberry pie and custard pie.’
“‘Bring me some plum pie and some peach pie, yes, and I’ll take some blackberry pie.’ As the waitress turned to fill the order the young man called her back, ‘You may bring me some strawberry pie, too.’
“‘What’s the matter with the custard pie?’ inquired she.
“The next morning Mr. Depew met a young Englishman on the street, who complimented him on his speech, saying that he really liked it very, very much, you know, but he would like to ask him one question, ‘What was the matter with the custard pie?’”
When the laugh had subsided a young lady in a pink shirt waist leaned forward in her chair, and looking earnestly at the lawyer, softly inquired, “Well, what was?”
In the laugh which followed, the Englishman’s stupidity was lost sight of in astonishment at that of the American girl.
“Excuse me,” said a well dressed lady to me one morning at the hotel in Wawona, “I am a little hazy on my geography, but what I want to know is this—if I go to Denver will I be in Colorado?”
After a week’s fishing, dreaming and resting in this beautiful valley, we returned to the coast.
All up and down the Pacific coast as well as the islands of the sea are wonderful floating gardens. These gardens are composed of kelp, which attached to the bottom and to the rocks, grows from fifty to one hundred feet long, throwing out broad leaves and balloon-like air bulbs which support them. A perfect forest of broad green leaves rise upward, presenting a sharp contrast to the blue water in which they grow. Gracefully turning with every movement of the water they are among the most strikingly beautiful objects of salt sea. When near the shore these huge plants assume an upright position and become floating gardens in very truth, through which vessels plow with much difficulty.
The entrance to the bay at Santa Barbara is a perfect maze of floating sea-weed. The leaves are covered with patches of color, representing parasitic animals, or plants, greens, reds, purples and yellows, a perfect maze of color.
Delicate sea anemones looking exactly like their namesakes on land. The slightest noise causes them to close up, withdrawing their tentacles, and presently blooming out again.
Here are tiny plant-like animals growing in shrub-like forms. Wonderful jellyfish, too, fill the ocean at night with a phosphorescent light.
In place of birds and insects in a sea garden we find shell animals, crabs and fishes clinging to the leaves. Along comes a big octopus throwing out his eight sucker-lined arms in search of food. Disturbed, he throws out an inky fluid, and while you are searching the black hole for him, he slips away. Yonder comes a nautilus holding his shell high over his head, crawling lazily along. Black-hued echini, bristling with pins and needles which, waving to and fro, ward off their enemies. Fish of all sorts and sizes inhabit the sea garden. The beautiful gold and silver fishes gliding in and out remind one of the birds flitting from tree to tree. In comes a big fish, the king of the bass, and the “small fry” scatter right and left. At night these strange gardens are aglow with phosphorescent lights.
Los Angeles has been having a succession of earthquakes.
The houses in San Francisco as well as other coast towns are built to withstand earthquake shocks. On this account very few brick are used. An earthquake hotel is advertised. In this city, too, one may eat Pasteurized ice-cream without fear of the deadly ptomain.
An orange, as every one knows, is a difficult fruit to eat gracefully, but I’ve learned how to do it in this land of the citron. A gentleman assured me that the only proper place to eat an orange was in the bathtub.
Up and down the length of this coast I’ve not been able to get a decent lemonade. Very few places serve that drink at all. Drinks there are plenty, but no lemonade. Now I know what those warnings mean which hang up in every stateroom on the steamers: “Passengers strictly prohibited from getting into bed with their boots on.”
California is rich in stories of her early days. Just east of San Francisco lies a narrow valley bordering on the bay of San Pablo. The first white man to enter this valley was one Miguel and his wife, who named it El Hambre (Hunger) valley.
Miguel built an adobe hut and planted a garden. Later he started to San Francisco, for supplies. Madam Miguel remained at home to tend the garden. Miguel would return in three weeks and all would be well.
Time passed slowly to the lonely woman. When the three weeks had passed Emilia packed a burro and started out on the trail which her husband had taken. At night she tethered the burro and rolled in her blanket slept by the roadside. Dawn saw her on the trail. The third day her burro neighed and was answered by a donkey which proved to be that of Miguel. Hurrying on she found her husband lying on the roadside, dead. She remained there until the sun set, then covered him with a blanket and returned home.
Later some traders wandering through the valley found her skeleton in the garden. The adobe still stands in the now new town of Martinez.
Dick Brown, miner of Misery Hill, was a sort of recluse, who never made any friends among the miners of the Eldorado of the west.
One day while out prospecting, a landslide carried him down the valley and buried him beneath it. His body was recovered and buried, but his ghost walked nightly at the foot of the old shaft.
A lazy, seemingly good-for-nothing sort of a fellow, Wilson by name, began work in Brown’s mine. It was a good mine and paid Wilson well until some one else began working it. Every morning there was evidence that some one had been at work during the night.
One night Wilson loaded his rifle and waited for his nightly intruder. Hearing a noise he started to follow it up.
What was that on yonder tree, which glowed with a phosphorescent light? Wilson crept nearer. There, tacked on a big tree, was a notice, “D. B. his mine. Hands off.”
A moment later the notice was gone. As he passed on he heard the water flowing through the sluice and the sound of a pick in the gravel. There stood Dick Brown. Wilson raised his rifle and fired. A yell, and the ghost of Dick Brown came flying after him as he ran down the hill.
The next morning a pick and shovel were found by the roadside bearing the initials “D. B.” cut on the handle of each. Wilson deserted the claim, but the sluice on Misery Hill ran on for many years.
HERE AND THERE ON THE COAST.
Leaving San Francisco, a sail of twenty-five miles brings us to the grimly fortified island of Alcatraz, the watch dog of the Golden Gate.
Forty miles inland lies the beautiful Napa Valley. Farm houses and villages dot the landscape. Orchards, vineyards and fields of waving grain heighten the natural beauty of this Rasselas Valley, rich in groves of oak trees from which depend festoons of mistletoe, meadows and running brooks.
At the head of this valley stands Mount St. Helena, once a center of volcanic action. Wasnossensky, the Russian naturalist ascended to its summit in 1841, and named it in honor of his empress, leaving on the summit a copper plate bearing the name of himself and his companion.
The Russians, with a view to commercial and political aggrandisement, did a great deal of exploring in California in the early days of her history.
By stage we travel through the Napa Valley to the geyser fields. On either hand are groves of redwood trees, cousins of the Giant Sequoias. In the springtime the odor of the buckeye fills the delicious morning air, just now the handsome eschscholtzias, commonly called the California poppy, brighten the meadows. Here and there lichen stained rocks lend a deeper tone to the landscape.
Through this valley of strange wild beauty we arrive at the Devil’s Cañon. The nomenclature of this weird place is something audacious and one wishes that he might change it. Here the hero of the cañon has his kitchen, his soup bowl, his punch bowl, and his ink pot. In this spring you might dip your pen and write tales of magic that would rival those of India.
Here, one dreary night, a lonely discouraged miner who had lost his way, sat in meditation, when presently a strangely clad figure approached him. The dark face wore a sinister expression, black eyes sparkled under villainous brows.
“Ha, ha, ha,” laughed the stranger when he discovered the miner.
“What would’st thou? Riches? Sign here and they are thine, or thou may’st toss me into yon caldron.”
Flinging aside the long black cloak that enveloped his figure he stood forth, his scarlet robes gleaming a fiery red in the black night.
“Sign here,” and dipping his fire tipped pen into the ink pot he thrust it into the hand of the astonished miner, presenting a scroll of parchment for the signature.
“Ha, ha, ha,” came in tones diabolical, as the fortune hunter seized the pen in his eager grasp. Knowing better how to wield the pick than the pen he seized the scroll and—made the sign of the cross.
His Satanic Majesty gave an unearthly yell, seized the pen and scroll, and disappeared leaving his ink-pot behind.
The prevailing rocks are metamorphic, sandstone, silicious slates and serpentine. The stratification dips sharply to the bed of Pluton Creek.
There are no spouting geysers here, only bubbling springs, but springs of beauty and interest. Here lies one, its waters a creamy white, and yonder another whose waters are deeply tinged with sulphur, while those of its neighbor are as black as the contents of that bottle the undaunted Luther flung at the head of his Satanic Majesty on that memorable day.
The waters of these springs boil over and mingle as they flow away. Steam jets hiss and sputter continually. Of the many strange springs, pools and caverns, the Witch’s Caldron is perhaps the most remarkable. A very pit of Acheron, this huge cavern in the solid rock, seventy feet in diameter, is filled to an unknown depth with a thick inky fluid, that boils and surges incessantly. The waters of these springs, rich in sulphur, iron, lime and magnesia are said to rival in medicinal qualities those of all the famous German Spas.
The geysers are due to both chemical and volcanic action; to water percolating down through the fissures of the rocks until it comes in contact with the heated mass of hot lava; and to water percolating through the mineral deposits.
Suffice it to say that you have not seen California until you have seen the Napa Valley, and taken the trail to Mount St. Helena and the geyser fields.
The very air of this delightful country is rife with bear stories. Stories in which the bear quite as often as the hunter comes off victor.
A cowboy, newly arrived in California, went out on a bear hunt. He went alone. He wanted to kill a grizzly.
He soon found his bear and lassoed him, but Bruin, contrary to his usual custom of showing fight, took a header down a cañon, horse and rider in full pursuit.
Upon nearing the foot of the ravine the bear fell down. The horse fell down and the man tumbled down on top of the grizzly which so frightened him that when the three untangled themselves he set off up the cañon, and the man let him go. Glad, glad to the heart that he was gone.
Assyria had her winged bull, Lucerne has her lion, and California has her grizzly.
The grizzly stands for California, and only awaits some future Thorwaldsen to perpetuate him on the walls of his own rock-ribbed cañon.
The Indians of California were possessed of many strange superstitions when the Franciscan Fathers established missions among them.
The Fathers called it “devil worship,” but to the simple childlike mind of these primitive people it was a sort of hero worship, and the wild child worshiped on despite the Fathers.
The worship of a god known as Kooksuy was one to which the Indians held with great tenacity. The monks had forbidden the worship of this deity, so Kooksuy had to be worshiped in secret.
A lonely, unfrequented place in the mountains was chosen, and a stone altar was raised to Kooksuy. This consisted of a pile of flat stones five or six feet in height.
It was the duty of every worshipper to toss something onto the altar as an act of homage. This act was called “poorish.”
A Kooksuy altar was a curious affair. The foundation of stone was frequently hidden under a mass of beads, feathers and shells. Even garments and food found their way to the throne of this strange deity. Thus the altar continued to rise for no Indian would dare touch a “poorish” offering.
The priests destroyed the altars and punished the worshipers, but that did not destroy their faith in their god.
At the missions every Indian retired when the evening bell rang. When the good alcalde made his rounds they had counted their beads and shut their eyes. Ten minutes later half a dozen dusky forms might be seen creeping stealthily along in the shadows of the buildings. Arriving at the chosen spot a big fire was built around which the faithful Indians danced calling on their god in a series of weird whistles.
Kooksuy never failed to appear in the midst of the fire in the form of a huge white dragon, but with the destruction of his altars, the neglect of his worshipers and fear of the white man Kooksuy appeared less frequently and finally his visits ceased entirely.
According to the Indians the Great Manitou threw up the Sierra Nevada range with his own hands. Then he broke away the hills at the foot of the lake and the waters drained into the sea through the Golden Gate.
The clouds rested on the water and the setting sun lit up the Golden Gate with the glory of the sea as we steamed across the bay and bade adieu to the land of Pomona and her citron groves.
WALLA WALLA VALLEY
Walla Walla is so named from its abundant supply of water. Many little streams run over the surface and many more under ground. This valley is noted for the richness of its soil, which is decomposed lava, and its wonderful climate. This delightful climate is shorn of its harshness by the magical breath of the Chinook wind.
The principal crop here is wheat. A Walla Walla ranchman never thinks of planting anything else. The soil is so easy of cultivation that all he needs to do is to plow the ground, sow the wheat and go fishing until it is ready to harvest. Wheat brings him wealth and prosperity.
Every year one-half of a ranch is allowed to lie fallow, but an Illinois farmer would rotate crops instead. The fallow fields, however, are kept perfectly clean and free from weeds.
During the rainy season the soil, which is rich in potash and phosphoric acid, stores up moisture sufficient to mature the wheat. Only three pecks of wheat are sown to the acre, as the grain stools very much.
The average farm contains six hundred acres, but there are many ranches of from a thousand to fifteen hundred acres.
For cutting the grain the old-fashioned header is used, also the ordinary reaper and binder, but the combined harvester and thresher is the king of reapers. It is drawn by from twenty-five to thirty mules, cuts the grain, threshes it, sacks it, and dumps it on the ground ready for shipment.
Wheat averages from twenty to thirty bushels to the acre. Some years the average is much higher. In 1898 wheat went sixty bushels to the acre.
The price of land runs from thirty dollars to sixty dollars per acre. Comfortable homes and green orchards dot the landscape. The orchards, however, must be irrigated. The Blue mountains supply plenty of water for this purpose.
At the experiment stations established throughout the semi-arid regions of the west, investigation of the excessive alkali in the soil is being carried on.
In many regions of California and Utah large tracts of irrigated land are practically non-productive because of the presence of an excess of alkali. Investigation has proven that this is due to excessive irrigation. When water is applied to the soil it brings to the surface when it rises, the salts.
In seeking a remedy for this evil the experiment stations have demonstrated that in most instances crops do not require nearly so much water as is usually applied to them. Working along practical lines in the solution of this, to the West, great problem, the stations hope eventually to show just what quantity of water a given crop in a given locality requires.
The establishment of this truth will save much land now under ditch and extend the area of irrigation by demonstrating that more land can be supplied with water from the available supply.
In Montana, Idaho, Washington and the semi-arid districts of other states experiments are being carried on in the line of forage plants. In these states success has been quite satisfactory with the cow pea, which is usually planted with oats. Red clover flourishes as well here as in the East.
Success in farming depends upon a thorough knowledge of soil, climate and rainfall. The farmers are coming to depend upon the experiment stations for much of this knowledge.
Agriculture was early practiced in this valley, the Walla Walla region proper being part of the old Oregon country. The Hudson Bay Company established posts at the junction of the Walla Walla and Columbia rivers, at Fort Vancouver on the Columbia river and at Fort Colville in the Colville valley, north of the present city of Spokane. With these people agriculture and the fur trade went hand in hand. In 1828 seven hundred bushels of wheat were raised at Fort Vancouver and in 1829 seventy acres were under cultivation at Fort Colville.
Just as a Bede Bible and a “quart of seed wheat” saved the British Isles to Christianity; so “the Book” and another “quart of seed wheat” carried in by the Reverend Spalding, saved Oregon to the United States, notwithstanding the Russian Bear, the British Lion and the bull of Alexander the VI. in which he delivered over all North America to Spain.
“Good old times those were when kings thrust their hands into the New World, as children do theirs into a grab bag at a fair, and drew out a river four thousand miles long, or an ocean, or a tract of wild land ten or fifteen times the size of England.”
The king of Spain sold Louisiana to France for money to buy his daughter a wedding present and for one brief while France had hopes of planting her lilies in the Walla Walla Valley. France, however, had met her Waterloo in America, on the Plains of Abraham.
Then came England denying the validity of the old Franco-Spanish title under which we claimed the Oregon country, but the same policy that lost to Great Britain her thirteen colonies, lost to her this princely domain.
American and English settlements contrasted strangely. The one emigrant came with his traps and snares, the other with his plow and quart of seed wheat. The one came for the fortune which he might carry out of the country, the other to make a home for himself and his children. So, the English trapper with his snares and the Indian with his pogamoggan retreated before the advance of American civilization.
In 1836 Mrs. Whitman, wife of Dr. Whitman, wrote from Fort Vancouver that the Hudson Bay Co. had that year four thousand bushels of wheat, four thousand bushels of peas and fifteen hundred bushels of oats and barley, besides many root vegetables, also poultry, cattle, hogs and sheep.
The metropolis of the valley is Walla Walla. It is a well-built town having a population of several thousand. Many of the stores and business blocks are of brick. Its streets are wide. In the suburbs is a military post, also a college established by the Congregational church in honor of Dr. Marcus Whitman, the well known missionary who was massacred at his mission near Walla Walla in 1847. So died the brave, patriotic Whitman.
In 1813 England, basing her claims on Drake’s discoveries, captured Astoria and for years kept her hands on the Oregon country, to be thwarted at last by one brave American.
The story of Marcus Whitman’s life should be enshrined in the heart of every school-boy in America.
From the busy thriving city of Spokane, the center of the agriculture empire of the Pacific Coast, to Missoula along the headwaters of the Columbia is a most interesting journey. High above, the grim Cascades rear their shaggy heads. Magnificent pines lift their crested heads skyward. The Columbia, “rock-ribbed and mighty,” sweeps on, now placidly, now whirling and eddying, tossing its waters up in foamy spray, now breaking into white cascades, beautiful as Schauffhausen on the noble Rhine. The rugged rocks along the shore are hidden by festoons of grape and wild honeysuckle vines, while the bright salmon berry adds a touch of color.
Here is a bit of western fiction, a study in evolution that would interest a Haeckel. These berries falling into the water float away into brown pools and shady nooks and there change into the red fish known as salmon.
The gentleman who told me this wonderful tale of magic assured me that it was true, and that the Fish Commission had made a report of it. Like the tale of the banshee, however, he had never seen it but he knew people who had.
Scientific errors should be corrected, so I will give you the facts about the salmon trout. It was that mischievous god Loke, who to escape the vengeance of Thor hid himself in a cave, but when he heard the thundering voice of that noble god,
“He changed himself into a salmon trout
And leaped in a fright in the Glommen.”
Slippery as a salmon is a common adage in Norseland.
The most beautiful spot in this region is Lake Pend d’Oreille. The scenery of this lovely lake rivals that of Lake George. Its blue waters bathe the brown feet of rugged mountains.
It is early morning on Lake Pend d’Oreille; the mountain breeze, the gentle swish of the water as it laps the shore, the white, graceful-moving sail-boat all entice you for a day’s fishing. Tired of this sport you sail over and rest under the wonderful Blue Slide. The mountain bordering on the lake at this point has crumbled away, sending down its bowlders into the lake. From the boat you look up a smooth incline plane two thousand feet, above which rises the precipice itself another thousand feet. The slide is covered with a pale blue clay, while the precipice itself is a mixture of granite and clay tinged with iron. Large pines grow on the very edge of the precipice.
The junction of Clear Water and the Snake rivers in Idaho is a place of historic interest. We are now in the country traversed by Lewis and Clarke.
The history of the great Northwest is wonderfully fascinating. The history of no part of this great territory is more tragic than that of Montana. Her savage tribes, her cosmopolitan population called into existence by her fur trade and mining industry, all combined to produce in Montana a peculiar phase of civilization, but she has beaten dirks and bowie knives into plowshares and now follows the gentle arts of peace. A magnificent mountain range, lovely valley, beautiful river and a delicate, graceful flower—Bitter Root. Bitter Root is the state flower of Montana and lends its name to the river, mountains and valley of its native heath, growing most luxuriantly in Bitter Root valley.
This valley is one of the most beautiful as well as the most productive in the state. Lying at the eastern foot of the Bitter Root Mountains it is shielded from the cold, west winds. The climate is fine while the soil in most places is rich and deep. Timothy and clover grow luxuriantly. Baled hay brings from seven to ten dollars per ton at the railroad station. Dairy farming and poultry raising are profitable industries. Butter sells at forty cents per pound in the winter and twenty cents in the summer. Eggs bring the same price. Butte, Helena and other mining centers supply the market for Bitter Root Valley.
Bitter Root orchards are immune from disease. The leas ophis has appeared but as yet has done no injury. Bitter Root Mountains were the stronghold of the Nez Perce Indians.
ENTERING HELL GATE CAÑON.
Hell Gate cañon is one of the most picturesque in the Rocky Mountains. It is wild and beautiful. Its fir-clad slopes rise thousands of feet high. A lion steals stealthily along, noiselessly as Fear herself, owl answers owl from the tall trees, and soft shadows lend enchantment to the light of the pale moon that hurries you along like Porphyro’s poor guide on the eve of St. Agnes, with agues in your brain.
Deer Lodge lies in a beautiful valley, sun-browned now, with just a hint of autumn’s grays and purples.
John Bozeman was a noted frontiersman in the early days of Montana. His name is perpetuated by Bozeman’s pass, Bozeman’s creek and Bozeman city, all in Gallatan valley. This valley, once the bloody battle-ground of the Blackfeet, the Bannacks, the Crows and the Nez Perce Indians is now one of the widest known and best cultivated in the state.
Helena, the capital of Montana, is a thriving, prosperous city. Through the Gate of the Mountains we enter a little valley called Paradise. Like a beautiful dream this lovely valley lies in the cold bosom of the rugged mountains; which, looming high above, shield it from the wintry blast.
LIBERTY CAP AND OLD FORT YELLOWSTONE.
Mighty cañons, rock-ribbed, gloomy and dark, have been gouged out of the very hearts of the cold, gray mountains that pierce the blue of heaven. But this sun-lit vale, too fair for the abode of man, lies just as nature left it, blue canopied, the cool green grass and murmuring Yellow Stone.
The Devil in a merry mood one day, coasted down the mountain at Cinnebar, scorching blood red a wide, smooth slide that would delight the daring heart of a tobogganist.
The artist may paint you a bit of sky, a little water, a few trees, and mayhap a bluebird or a merry brown thrush, but can he paint the gently moving restless air or the storm that sweeps down the mountainside, the murmur, the ripple, the roar of the river, the whir of the bluebird’s wing as it rises to flight, or the thrush’s song?
It is beyond the power of brush or pen to paint the wilderness, the beauty, the weirdness, the awful grandeur of this land of Malebolge, sulphurous pits and boiling lakes, a fit dwelling place for Minos, infernal judge; the elusive beauty of a playing geyser, the iridescent sparkle of the water as it leaps the rocky precipice and pours down the mountain’s great throat, or the diabolical scene of the famous Mud Geyser where,—
“Bellowing there groaned
A noise, as of a sea in tempest torn
By warring wings. The stormy blast of hell
With restless fury drives the spirits on,
Whirled round and dashed amain with sore annoy.
When arriving before the ruinous sweep,
There shrieks are heard, there lamentations, moans.”
With horrible groanings the thick sulphurous mass is driven against the sides of the deep crater.
“Wherefore delay in such a mournful place?
We came within the fosses deep, that moat
This region comfortless, the walls appeared
As they were framed in iron, we had made
Wide circuit ere we reached the place where loud
The mariner (guide) vehement cried
‘Go forth, the entrance is here.’”
HOTEL MAMMOTH, HOT SPRINGS, YELLOWSTONE PARK.
We had circled the Mammoth Hot Springs, down a way by a ladder we entered the Devil’s kitchen. This is a defunct geyser. The way was dark and the air hot as the heat penetrated the walls from the Hot Springs. The water of these springs is rich in minerals, copper, iron and sulphur. As the water boils over and evaporates it leaves deposits on the rims fretting them with a delicate frost work of varied and beautiful hues. Cream and salmon deepening into rich shades of red, brown, green and yellow.
The Cleopatra Spring is one of the most beautiful. Located on a mound forty feet high and covering an area of three-quarters of an acre, the deep blue water, the sparkling white basin with its pale yellow frost-fretted rim rivals the touch of the artist’s brush.
Just below the springs the broad level tract in front of the United States barracks covers a treacherous burnt-out area. We were standing on a veranda of the hotel observing the maneuvers when one of the cavalry horses broke through the thin crust. His rider recovered him and they were off before the treacherous ground gave way. A rope was brought and the soldiers lowered one of their comrades, who dropped thirty-five feet before he struck a landing place. Investigation showed the entire platte to be dangerously honeycombed.
Through the Golden Gate we enter Kingman’s Pass. The stupendous walls of golden yellow rock rise sheer hundreds of feet high on either side.
Just as we turned a point in the road such “Ohs” and “Ahs” as the Rustic Falls of the Gardener River burst on our sight. The river falls sixty feet into a series of shallow basins of moss covered rock. To the sides of the basin cling wavering ferns and delicate spray-kissed flowers.
The most wonderful mountain in the world stands on the shore of Beaver Lake. A glass mountain of pure jet black glass, rising skyward in basalt like columns from one hundred to two hundred and fifty feet. The black glass streaked here and there with red and yellow glistens in the sunshine as peak and pinnacle catch, imprison and reflect the sun’s rays.
Large blocks have become detached from time to time forming a glass slide into the lake. Obsidian is a species of lava. Pliny says this glass was first found in Ethiopia, but the only glass mountain in the world stands on the shore of Beaver Lake. The Indians used this glass for arrow heads and in making sharp-edged tools.
The swampy, lily-padded margin of Beaver Lake is haunted by wild geese. This lake is the beaver’s own. These industrious little animals constructed it by damming up Green Creek for a distance of two miles. Some thirty dams sweep in graceful curves from side to side each having a fall from two to six feet.
OLD FAITHFUL GEYSER, YELLOWSTONE PARK, JUST BEFORE AN ERUPTION.
The geyser basins are places of unusual interest and beauty. No scene in the park is lovelier than these areas of bubbling pools, boiling lakes and steaming geysers, at sunrise, when the columns of white steam, tinged to a roseate hue by the rising sun, ascending against the background of dark green pines. Presently,—
“There came o’er the perturbed waves
Loud-crashing, terrible, a sound that made
Either shore tremble, as if a wind
Impetuous, from conflicting vapors sprung,
That ’gainst some forest driving with all his might,
Plucks off the branches, beats them down, and hurls
Afar; then, onward passing proudly sweeps
His whirlwind rage, while beasts and shepherds fly.”
Thus warned we moved away just as Old Faithful shot his boiling waters skyward.
“Ask thou no more
Now ’gin rueful wailings to be heard.
The gloomy region shook so terribly
That yet with clammy dews chill my brow.
The sad earth gave a blast.”
And steam and water shot up a column two hundred feet high. The Giant Geyser was playing.
“We the circle crossed
To the next steep, arriving at a well
That boiling pours itself down a foss
Sluiced from its source.”
This well is the formidable Excelsior Geyser which pours its waters into the Fire Hole River.
The Paint Pots are springs which boil incessantly their pasty clay, which boiling over hardens, building up a rim around the pot. In one group of seventeen pots are as many different colors.
The center pot is a pearl gray, while grouped about it are smaller pots of various shades of pink, gray, chocolate, yellow, red, lavender, emerald and sapphire blues and white, mortar thousands of years old that would make the heart of a plasterer glad. Here is a plaster which when hardened, whether by sun or fire, never cracks.
Of a somewhat different character are the chocolate jugs on the banks of the Fire Hole River. These springs are rich in iron. The sediment hardens as the water pours out, building up gradually a brown jug-like cone.
The Blue Mud Pot is quite as interesting as the Paint Pots. Its circular basin is twenty feet in diameter. The mud is about the consistency of thick plaster. This mud pot presents a beautiful picture as the puffs of mud burst with a thud-like noise giving off perfect little rings which recede to the sides of the crater. This spring is strongly impregnated with alum. In this vicinity is a spring of pure alum water and several of sulphate of copper.
These springs are clear and deep, having beautiful basins, the rims of which are lined with incrustations of brilliant colors.
In a gloomy wood we came to the Devil’s frying pan, a shallow, hot, boiling spring which sputters, sizzles and hisses equal to any old-time, three legged skillet, sending out sulphurous odors that would delight the nostrils of Lucifer himself.
Hell’s half acre is quite as interesting as its name. Here in times gone by Excelsior Geyser shook the earth.
One lovely morning we mounted to our seats in the stage coach, the driver cracked his whip over the heads of the leaders, six creamy white horses pricked up their ears, sprang forward at a gallop and we were off to the Continental Divide.
We had just crossed a glade where deer were grazing when a hail storm, a mountain hail storm, overtook us. In five minutes the ground was white, the hail laying two inches deep, and such hail, an Illinois hail storm is tame in comparison.
The horses plunged forward, the hail was left behind, and we paused on the Great Divide. Down from this watershed the waters flow east and west.
The lovely Lake Shoshone comes into view and presently we are standing on its shore looking down through its blue waters. The elevation of this lake is greater than that of its royal neighbor, the Yellowstone.
CAMPING ON THE SHORE OF LAKE YELLOWSTONE.
This most lovely of all American lakes, the Yellow Stone, is perched high in the very heart of the mountains, its blue waters lapping the base of cold, snow-capped peaks, rivals in beauty the far famed Lake Maggiore.
On these beautiful shores fair Nausicaa with her golden ball might have deigned to tread the mazes of the ball-dance.
The elevation of this lake is marvelous for its size. Drop Mount Washington, the highest peak in the White Mountains, into the center of it and the summit would be swept by a current half a mile deep.
This lake affords royal sport. Here are the most beautiful fish in the world, the rainbow trout.
Through a pine-clad gorge flanked by high bluffs the impetuous Yellowstone River makes its way until it leaps the great falls and plunges down three hundred and fifty feet to the cañon below.
On the sides of the spray-washed walls grow mosses and algæ of every hue of green, ochre, orange, brown, scarlet, saffron and red. On rugged peaks are brown eagles’ nests.
The Grand Cañon of the Yellowstone, would you describe this marvelous gorge, language is inadequate, words are poor.
Would you paint it, on your palette place all colors yet produced by the ingenuity of man. Mix them with rainbow drops. The pale faced moon will lend a shade, the stars another and the sun still another as he drops blood-red down through the mists of the sea. Stir and mix with matchless skill until you have of colors half a hundred and shades as many more. Now boldly dash the stupendous walls, castles, pinnacles, turrets, columns, and minarets where already they are gleaming a bright vermilion as they from Vulcan’s fiery furnace issued long ago.
When you have these colors fixed let Phaethon drive down the gorge in his chariot of fire leaving behind the gleam and the glow of it.
PAINT POTS ON SHORE OF YELLOWSTONE LAKE.
Here, the Sioux chiefs, crouching by their camp fires muttered their griefs and their woes. Here Rain in the Face cried out in revenge, revenge on the White chief with the Yellow Hair.
Yonder lay Sitting Bull with his three thousand warriors hidden in cleft and cave. Into the fateful snare dashed the White chief with his pitiful three hundred men. Like a mountain torrent Sitting Bull and his braves swept down upon that gallant band, and but one was left to tell the story of the Little Big Horn, but one to tell of the gallant stand of Custer and his brave men.
Only two survived of all that noble band, one, Curly, the half-breed scout, and the other, “Comanche,” the horse of Captain Keogh. Comanche was found several miles from the battle field with seven wounds. He recovered and the secretary of war detailed a soldier as his attendant.
Here, too, the Crow took revenge when driven back by the white man. Here they peopled the boiling, hissing springs and the steaming geysers with evil spirits, while beyond the mountains lay the Happy Hunting Ground.
A small remnant of this band gathered at the head of the Grand Cañon and there resolved with Spartan courage to die rather than be removed to a distant land there to die of homesickness and longing for the blue sky and the breath of the sweet air of their beloved mountains.
They built a raft and set it afloat at the foot of the Upper Falls feeling the peace and security that the mountains give, but they were rudely awakened one morning by the sharp crack of the white man’s rifle, the soldiers were upon them. Hastily boarding their raft they pushed it out into mid-stream. The strong current gathered the craft tossing it and pitching it onward on its foamy crest. The soldiers gaze in wonder, forgetting to fire. On, on, faster whirls that frail craft while above the wild roar of the water floats the death song.
Beyond, yawns a chasm three hundred and fifty feet deep, the death chant is lost amidst the roar of the mighty torrent. The hardened soldier shudders as that lone adventurous craft, freighted with the remnant of a powerful people, is gathered in the arms of that mighty torrent, hurled over the brink and dashed to pieces on the cruel rocks below, where the Maid of the Mist washed white each red man’s soul.
GRAND CAÑON OF THE YELLOWSTONE.
On June twenty-seventh last, word was telegraphed over the country that a new geyser had burst forth from an old crater about fifty feet from the famous Fountain Geyser. The eruption played from two hundred to two hundred and fifty feet high.
Tired, stage tired, we were snug in comforts and blankets and sound asleep one night in August at the Fountain hotel, when about twelve o’clock gongs sounded, bells rang and porters went running about pounding on the doors and crying, what seemed to our sleepy imagination, “Fire,” but presently we heard distinctly the words, the new geyser is playing. “The new geyser is playing,” went echoing down the corridors.
In ten minutes every tourist was out, in all sorts of costumes from blanket to full dress, either shivering on the long veranda or hurrying down to the basin to see the new geyser play, and right royally he did it, too.
Upward into the black night shot a stupendous column of water three hundred feet high. The porters were the first to arrive and playing their red calcium lights on the wonderful body of falling water gave us a display of fire and water that must be seen to be appreciated. The now flaming vermilion column rose steadily upward, seemingly through the red glare three hundred feet, the delicate, rose colored steam rising much higher, swayed in the breeze, now falling, now lifting, now floating away into the black night a rosy cloud.
The hotel cat hurried to the scene of action but lost his bearings and stood fascinated by the magic scene, the hot spray falling about him until some one picked him up and carried him out of danger.
In the reception hall of this hotel an old fashioned fireplace filled with glowing pine logs sent out showers of welcoming sparks. A big green back log sang again the anthem of the wild storm-swept mountain forest, while outside the rain came down in torrents.
The most wonderful features of the Rocky Mountains lie within the confines of Yellowstone Park. The world’s oldest rocks, granite, gneisse and basalt are found here. Later dynamic action held sway and the region became the center of mountain building on a grand scale. Rocky beds tossed up and down. Next came the reign of Vulcan. Fire held sway. Volcanic materials overflowed the region. Next came the ice age, when glaciers plowed down the mountain sides. Just now the hydrothermal agents are most active.
GIBBON RIVER FALLS.
After miles of mountain climbing and five hundred more of staging in the heart of the Rockies, through groves of pine firs, spruce and cedar, along streams and lakes bordered by aspen, willow and wild flowers, through glades and glens, ravines and gorges, one begins to get some idea of the vastness, ruggedness and grandeur of the mountains and the delicacy of the climate. One begins to understand how in average summer temperature of sixty degrees pinks, geraniums, orchids, mosses, roses and lilies, alternately bathed in sunshine and snow, bloom on, reaching a perfection beyond that of our prairie flowers.
The mountain thistles are beautiful beyond compare. The delicate purple blossoms are borne on slender stems, the dainty green leaves touched with white, drooping gracefully, give the plant more the appearance of an orchid than of the common weed it is.
Over in Hayden valley roam fifty head of buffalo, all that is left of that royal band, the fine for killing one of which is five hundred dollars. Deer and elk roam ravine and mountain side, sleek, fat fellows that make you glad that they are under Uncle Sam’s protection. We passed a group of deer in a wooded ravine, their smooth coats shining like satin in the sunshine as they gazed at us out of pathetic brown eyes that had something of the human in them.
“I couldn’t kill one of them innocent creatures if the law permitted me,” said the driver, who was an old mountaineer and loved the things of the mountains.
Now and then one sees a mountain lion. The less noble game abound also, the fox, martin, beaver, woodchuck and gopher. Ground squirrels run about the hotels and camps in search of food. Under our window one evening three of these little animals were having a tug of war over a bread crust. The crust at last divided, one lost his hold and the other two ran away with the spoil.
The gray squirrels are very numerous, showing little fear of the passer-by as they run along playing tag or race up and down the trunks of great trees.
The Rocky Mountain quail differs from our own in being larger and having a crest on its head.
Both Black and Cinnamon bear haunt the vicinities of the hotels and camps in search of food. A big black fellow was pointed out to us one morning who had stolen a ham from one of the camps the night before. The ham had disappeared and there stood Bruin waiting for a chance to steal another. One of the men walked up to him and gave him a slice of bacon, which he took from his hands. When he had eaten it he looked inquiringly about for more. This time the meat was hung up in a tree. Bruin sniffed the odor, located the bacon, climbed the tree, knocked the meat down and came down and ate it. Then he sat down on his haunches, folding his paws and looking up at his new-found friend as if asking for more.
MICKY AND ANNIE ROONEY.
At the Fountain hotel are two cubs, Micky and Anna Rooney. They are very fond of sugar. When offered any food they stand up and reach out their paws for it or they will take it out of your hand.
Micky is a happy rollicking fellow, but Anna is more sedate, quick of temper and free in the use of her paws when angry. When offended she climbs to the top of her pole and sitting down on the board nailed there refuses to come down for anything less than a lump of sugar.
As these bears are still mere babies they are fed milk from a bottle. They stand up, clasp the bottle in their paws and proceed to drink the milk through a hole in the cork.
One evening something was wrong with Micky’s bottle. While the attendant was fixing it Micky dropped on his haunches, folded his paws across his chest, holding his head first on one side then on the other, looking very wise the while. The attendant being somewhat slow, Micky dropped to the ground but never once took his eyes off that bottle. While Micky was waiting for his supper Anna had finished hers and was thrusting her paws into the pockets of the attendant in search of candy and sugar.
At another hotel was a Bruin and her two babies. When these youngsters refused to enter the bath tub provided for them the mother would coax them to the edge of the tub, push them in, hold them down and give them a good scrub.
The National Park should be extended one hundred miles farther south to the Black-Hole country. The park game descends to the Black-Hole during the winter where the hunters lay in wait for it. In this way park buffalo were nearly exterminated.
Of the natural wonders of the world our country possesses namely: Niagara, Yellowstone Park, Yosemite, Grand Cañon of the Colorado, and the Glacial Coast of Alaska. The Mammoth Cave might take sixth rank, but leaving it out we will not go to Europe, but to the Himalayas for one and to the Andes for the other.
The petrified forests are equally as interesting as the geysers. Southwest of Pleasant Valley is a small grove of petrified trees. Near Hell-roaring Creek is a massive promontory, composed of conglomerates, and numerous beds of sandstones and shales. Throughout these strata are numerous silicified remains of trees. Many of the trees are standing upright just as they grew.
On the northern side of Amethyst Mountain is another section of strata nearly two thousand feet high. The ground here is strewn with trunks and limbs of trees which have been petrified into a clear white agate. In one place rows of tree trunks stand out on the ledge like the columns of an old ruin. Farther down the mountain side are prostrate trunks fifty feet long. The strata in which these trunks are found is composed of coarse conglomerates, greenish sandstone and indurated clay.
These strata contain many vegetable and animal remains. Branches, roots, snakes, fishes, toads and fruits. Among these petrified objects one finds the most beautiful crystallizations of all shades of red from the delicate rose to a deep crimson. As to the trees the woody structure is in many cases well preserved.
Just beyond the eastern boundary of the park lies the Hoodoo region of the Shoshone Mountains. Here, in the very heart of the old Rockies the banshee, ghosts and goblins of all the region round about hold high jinks.
The scenery is wild and rough. The Goblin Mountain itself is over ten thousand feet high and a mile long. The storms of ages have carved the conglomerate breccia and volcanic rocks into the most strange, weird and fantastic shapes.
The vivid imagination of the Indian sees in these gigantic forms, beasts, birds and reptiles. Here a couchant tiger and there the huge figure of a Thunder Bird. Yonder a hungry bear sits on his haunches waiting for a passing Indian. In the moonlight strange spectral shapes seem to pass in and out these weird labyrinths. The rocks are all shades and colors. Mysterious sounds in the air above add interest to the most weird scene in the Rockies, a fit setting for the witch scene in Macbeth.
In yonder dark cavern the huge cauldron might boil and bubble as the fire lights up the faces of the sinister three who stir the grewsome mess, while around yon black bowlder stealthily steals guilty Macbeth.
Which of the grand scenes do I treasure the most? I do not know. I cannot tell. Each in turn holds, fascinates, and enthralls the mind. Each becomes in the language of Keats:
“An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven’s brink.”