Tales of Lonely Trails

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Harper & Brothers, 1922 - Southwest, New - 394 pages
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The famous Western novelist describes his experiences exploring the Tonto Basin in Arizona and California's Death Valley.

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Page i - ... black and mystic at night, transparent and rosy in the sunrise, at sunset a flaming curve limned against the heavens. When the race of man had passed it would, perhaps, stand there still. It was not for many eyes to see. The tourist, the leisurely traveler, the comfortloving motorist would never behold it. Only by toil, sweat, endurance and pain could any man ever look at Nonnezoshe. It seemed well to realize that the great things of life had to be earned.
Page 168 - I said nothing. While Moze licked his bloody leg and Don lay with his fine head on my knees, Jones began to skin old Sultan. Once more the strange, infinite silence enfolded the canyon. The far-off golden walls glistened in the sun; farther down, the purple clefts smoked. The many-hued peaks and mesas, aloof from each other, rose out of the depths. It was a grand and gloomy scene of ruin where every glistening descent of rock was but a page of earth's history. It brought to my mind a faint appreciation...
Page 129 - Here I fired my revolver. The echo boomed out like the report of heavy artillery, but no answering shot rewarded me. There was no alternative save to wander along the canyon and through the cedars until I found my companions. This I began to do, disgusted with my awkwardness in losing them. Turning Foxie westward, I had scarcely gotten under way when Don came trotting toward me,
Page viii - ... a disenchantment of contrast with what the mind had conceived. But this thing was glorious. It absolutely silenced me. My body and brain, weary and dull from the toil of travel, received a singular and revivifying freshness. I had a strange mystic perception that this rosy-hued tremendous arch of stone was a goal I had failed to reach in some former life, but had now found. Here was a rainbow magnified even beyond dreams, a thing not transparent and ethereal, but solidified, a work of ages, sweeping...
Page i - There was a spirit in the canon, and whether or not it was what the Navajo embodied in the great Nonnezoshe, or the life of the present, or the death of the ages, or the nature so magnificently manifested in those silent, dreaming, waiting walls — the truth for Shefford was that this spirit was God. Life was eternal. Man's immortality lay in himself. Love of a woman was hope — happiness. Brotherhood — that mystic and grand "Bi Nai!
Page viii - We were to camp all night under the bridge. Just before we reached it Nas ta Bega halted with one of his singular motions. He was saying his prayer to this great stone god. Then he began to climb straight up the steep slope. Wetherill told me the Indian would not pass under the arch. When we got to the bridge and unsaddled and unpacked the lame mustangs twilight had fallen.
Page ix - I wanted to ponder on what had formed it — to reflect upon its meaning as to age and force of nature. Yet it seemed that all I could do was to see. White stars hung along the dark curved line. The rim of the arch appeared to shine. The moon was up there somewhere. The far side of the canyon was now a blank black wall. Over its towering rim showed a pale glow. It brightened. The shades in the canyon lightened, then a white disk of moon peeped over the dark line. The bridge turned to silver. It was...
Page 392 - ... I realized that I had come to love? the silence, the loneliness, the serenity, even the tragedy, of this valley of shadows. Death Valley was one place that could never be popular with men. It had been set apart for the hardy diggers for earth's treasure, and for the wanderers of the waste lands — men who go forth to seek and to find and to face their souls. Perhaps most of them found death. But there was a death in life. Desert travelers learned the secret that men lived too much in the world...
Page 75 - I wanted to see a wild lion's eyes at close range. They were exquisitely beautiful, their physical properties as wonderful as their expression. Great half globes of tawny amber, streaked with delicate wavy lines of black, surrounding pupils of intense purple fire. Pictures shone and faded in the amber light — the shaggy tipped plateau, the dark pines and smoky canyons, the great dotted downward slopes, the yellow cliffs and crags. Deep in those live pupils, changing, quickening with a thousand...

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