Knocking Round the Rockies

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Harper & Brothers, 1882 - Colorado - 220 pages
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Ernest Ingersoll first came to the West in 1874 as a member of Ferdinand V. Hayden's Geological Survey of the Territories. His lively recollections of the two summers he spent with survey teams in the Rocky Mountain West are narrated in Knocking Round the Rockies. It is at once a guidebook to the geography, nature, history, and culture of the Rocky Mountains and a practical primer of how-to-do-it information for "future wanderers". His party left Denver through the Berthoud Pass to Hot Sulphur Springs and Grand Lake, traveled south to Leadville, the San Juans, and the Los Pinos Agency of the Ute tribe, and ended with the climactic discovery of the ruins at Mesa Verde.

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Page 156 - Let us wander where we will, the universe is built round about us, and we are central still. If we look into the heavens they are concave, and if we were to look into a gulf as bottomless, it would be concave also. The sky is curved downward to the earth in the horizon, because we stand on the plain.
Page 50 - O man of wild habits, Partridges and rabbits, Who hast no cares Only to set snares, Who liv'st all alone, Close to the bone, And where life is sweetest Constantly eatest.
Page 51 - The day is done, and the darkness Falls from the wings of Night, As a feather is wafted downward From an eagle in his flight. I see the lights of the village Gleam through the rain and the mist, And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me, That my soul cannot resist: A feeling of sadness and longing, That is not akin to pain, And resembles sorrow only As the mist resembles...
Page 53 - ... forests of spruce, and occasionally flying a little way above the trees. It is quite tame, coming about mining camps to pick up whatever is htrowu out in the way of food, and evincing much of the curiosity that is characteristic of the family. In winter, its supply of food is very precarious, and it is often reduced to mere skin and bones ; at such times it will frequently weigh no more than a plump Snow-bird or Sparrow, and undoubtedly starves to death sometimes. During the latter part of autumn,...
Page 36 - ... waited and watched. Finally the chorus became as loud as before, and I caught sight of one of the singers only about ten yards away, head and shoulders out of his hole, doubtless commenting to his neighbor in no complimentary way upon the strange intruder. Slowly lifting my pistol, I pulled the trigger. I was sure he had not seen me, yet a chip of rock flying from where he had stood was my only satisfaction; he had dodged again. I had seen enough, however, to know that the noisy colony was a...
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Page 36 - ... and fired, but the little fellow dodged the bullet and was gone. Echoes rattled about among the rocks, wandered up and down the canon, and hammered away at half a dozen stone walls before ceasing entirely ; but when they had died away, not another sound was to be heard. Every little rascal had hid. So I sat down and waited. In about five minutes a tiny, timid squeak broke the stillness, then a second a trifle louder, then one away under my feet in some subterranean passage. Hardly daring to breathe,...
Page 35 - ... sharp squeaking seemed to multiply and to come from a dozen different quarters. By this time I had crawled down the rough face of the cliff, and had reached the heaps of fallen rock. There I caught a glimpse of a little head with two black eyes, like a prairie-dog's, peering out of a crevice, and I was just in time to see him open his small jaws and say "skink!"- — about as a rusty hinge would pronounce it.
Page 36 - ... wholly at or above timber-line, burrowing among the fallen and decomposing rocks which crown the summits of all the mountains. Not every peak, by any means, harbors conies; on the contrary, they are rather uncommon, and are so difficult to shoot that their skins are rare in museums, and their ways are little known to naturalists. During the middle of the day they are asleep and quiet; but in the evening and all night when the moon shines they leave their rocky retreats and forage in the neighboring...

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