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The crest of the continent: A record of a…
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The crest of the continent: A record of a summer's ramble in the…

by Ernest Ingersoll

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The Crest of the Continent : A Summer's Ramble in the Rocky Mountains and Beyond
Probably nothing in this artificial world is more deceptive than absolute candor. Hence, though the ensuing text may lack nothing in straightforwardness of assertion, and seem impossible to misunderstand, it may be worth while to say distinctly, here at the start, that it is all true. We actually did make such an excursion, in such cars, and with such equipments, as I have described; and we would like to do it again.

It was wild and rough in many respects. Re-arranging the trip, luxuries might be added, and certain inconveniences avoided; but I doubt whether, in so doing, we should greatly increase the pleasure or the profit.

“No man should desire a soft life,” wrote King Ælfred the Great. Roughing it, within reasonable grounds, is the marrow of this sort of recreation. What a pungent and wholesome savor to the healthy taste there is in the very phrase! The zest with which one goes about an expedition of any kind in the Rocky Mountains is phenomenal in itself; I despair of making it credited or comprehended by inexperienced lowlanders. We are told that the joys of Paradise will not only actually be greater than earthly pleasures, but that they will be further magnified by our increased spiritual sensitiveness to the “good times” of heaven. Well, in the same way, the senses are so quickened by the clear, vivifying climate of the western uplands in summer, that an experience is tenfold more pleasurable there than it could become in the Mississippi valley. I elsewhere have had something to say about this exhilaration of body and soul in the high Rockies, which you will perhaps pardon me for repeating briefly, for it was written honestly, long ago, and outside of the present connection.

“At sunrise breakfast is over, the mules and everybody else have been good-natured and you feel the glory of mere existence as you vault into the saddle and break into a gallop. Not that this or that particular day is so different from other pleasant mornings, but all that we call the weather is constituted in the most perfect proportions. The air is ‘nimble and sweet,’ and you ride gayly across meadows, through sunny woods of pine and aspen, and between granite knolls that are piled up in the most noble and romantic proportions.... ( )
  amzmchaichun | Jul 20, 2013 |
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