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David M.Steele


Threading the Royal Gorge
Courtesy, the Denver and Rio Grande System

Going Abroad

Studies of Places and People in
The Far West


David M. Steele

Rector of the Church of St. Luke and The Epiphany,

Go far; too far you cannot. For, the farther,
The more experience finds you. And go sparing.
One meal a week will serve you and one suit
Through all your travels. For you'll find it certain
That, the poorer and more lowly you appear,
The more things you will see through."

Beaumont & Fletcher.
The Woman's Prize, Act IV, Sc. 5.


G. P. Putnam's Sons

New York and London

Zbe fmlcfcerbocfeer press




1917 I

Copyright, 1917



XTbe fmfcberbocfeer prees, Hew Bork


HESE studies of places and peoples
have grown out of transcontinental
trips, thrice made both ways across
that place — the length and breadth
of the United States — inhabited now by one people.
They were written on three summer outings in that
number of years past. Their purpose has been to
acquaint the denizens of Eastern districts with
their neighbors, far removed but close allied, their
fellow-citizens of the Far West.

The while these chapters were in course of com-
position, I have traveled twenty thousand miles.
To ride on railway trains six thousand miles and
more on each of three six -weeks' vacation journeys
may seem a queer method of resting; but that must
be set down to inherent queerness and allowed to
pass at that. So also must other peculiarities in
choice of theme and mode of treatment. In


truth, it has been play to do this work — though
work it was ; for the chapters were written first as
weekly articles for the Religious Page of the
Philadelphia Press. This may seem the only point
they have in contact with religion; but that
again is the author's affair and the publisher's

If either the book were less pious or this preface
more polite, I would dedicate the volume to my
congregation. As it is, I am going to give it to
them instead. It is prepared as a Christmas
present to parishioners. It is for sale only to
others. In all grave formality — although without
daring to ask their permission — I dedicate it to a
wholly different group of friends: to one special
coterie who go to church less and need it more than
any rogues I know; to the staff of that news-
paper office where they first were published.

I inscribe it, therefore, to that rare fraternity.
I dedicate it to editors, compositors, typesetters,
proof-readers, staff-men, space-men, press-men,
correspondents and cartoonists, cub-reporters and
copy-boys. They may not want to read it; they
have had to do that already. They will not need
to buy it ; they have earned it in the course of their


day's work. They may not even like the ' ' dedica-
tion. " But I like it. And the reason is that I
like them.

D. M. S.

Philadelphia, Pa.,
Christmas, 1916.



Going Abroad Overland i
Following the Setting Sun . . .11

The City of the Holy Faith ... 23

Grand Canyon, the Titan of Chasms . 34

A Sunday at Lake Tahoe ... 45

The City without a Soul ... 54

The Mountain Cast into the Sea . . 63
In the Land of the Dakotas . . .71

Canadian Jasper National Park . . 78

Hectic Revels in a Far-off Land . . 85

A Week in Glacier National Park . . 92

Six Days by Stage in the Yellowstone . 102

The Cody Road into Yellowstone Park . 112




Estes National Rocky Mountain Park . 125

Through the Royal Gorge of Colorado . 137

The Ancient El Camino Real . .152

Camp Life in Yosemite Valley . . 161

Study of Some Types of Tourists . .173

The Westward Course of Empire ". . 182

Men who Matched their Mountains . 190



Threading the Royal Gorge

Courtesy, the Denver and Rio Grande System.

Map of the United States ... 14

Copyright by Rand-McNally Co.

The Old City of Santa Fe . . .30
The Grand Canyon . . . .38

The Apache Trail of Arizona ... 52

Courtesy, Southern Pacific Railway Co.

Reno. Courthouse and Riverside Hotel 58
Lucin Cutoff over Great Salt Lake . 66

Courtesy, Southern Pacific Railway Co.

Mt. Robson from Grand Trunk Pacific . 80

Courtesy, Grand Trunk Pacific Co.

Pioneer Railroading in Northwestern
Canada ....... 86

Courtesy, Grand Trunk Pacific Co.

McDermott Lake from Many-Glacier

Hotel ....... 96

Courtesy of the Burlington Route.

In Yellowstone National Park . . 106



In Shoshone Canyon on the Cody Road . 118

Courtesy of the Burlington Route.

Mountain-Surrounded Village of Estes

Park ....... 130

Courtesy of the Burlington Route.

Old Mission of San Juan Capistrano . 156
The Floor of the Yosemite Valley . 166

Automobile Road on the Desert . .178
Map. Unfolding of Territorial Divisions 184

Copyright by Rand-McNally Co.

Map of the Location of National Parks At End

Courtesy, Department of the Interior.

Going Abroad Overland

Going Abroad Overland


Going Abroad Overland

|ETWEEN two certain long journeys,
the one across the ocean and the
other across the continent, there
^//'my*j?Z''£M are such points of similarity as
warrant this phrase for a title in this descriptive
narrative. For one thing, the distance is about the
same. It is three thousand miles, roughly speak-
ing, from the Atlantic seaboard to the coast of
England ; it is just about that far from New York
to San Francisco. And the time consumed in
travel is about the same. The fastest steamers
make the one trip in five days and a fraction; it
takes the fast express trains just about that long
to make the other.

The choice of routes presented also is identical.
There is a northern and a southern and a middle


one. The first passes far up through the wheat
and forest belts and comes out on the bleak Nor-
way-like coast of Oregon, or farther, at Vancouver
or Prince Rupert ; the second, as far south, to reach
the sunny, soft Italian clime of Southern California;
the third, the middle course, across the prairies,
plains, and mountains, to the coast at San

In certain minor points also the two trips are
alike, points none the less striking. For example,
one may have his choice of first-class, second-class,
or steerage comforts (or discomforts) in the Pull-
man, tourist, or day coaches. As he keeps on west,
for five days, in one straight course, as he would
east on the other, he must change his watch from
Eastern time to Central, then to Mountain, then
Pacific — five hours' change— else he will find him-
self as far off one way as he would the other way in

There are sights and sounds, too, that remind
him of the sea. A worn-out freight car on a side
track is a derelict; tramps riding on the bumpers
are true stowaways; the mystery of signals, sema-
phores, and colored lights is equal to that of St.
Elmo's fire; while here and there a yard with a dis-


abled engine, wrecked freight cars, loads of scrap
iron, and great heaps of rubbish, look like wreckage
on a storm-tossed shore. And when one gets far
out, there are those limitless expanses of prairie,
with no boundary save the great curve of the
ocean-flat horizon, and those ranges of great moun-
tains where the grades go up and down at times so
steeply that the train in taking them seems to
pitch and, rounding curves, to roll until, if one be
imaginative enough, he can get car-sick and think
that he is sea-sick — which will make the parallel

It was ten o'clock that July morning when I
climbed aboard that westbound Fast Express and
dropped my suit-case by seat Number 7. The car
was half full and it would be fuller; for the train
was the road's favorite. All about the car there
was an air of most mysterious politeness; for the
passengers, while all restrained and deferential
toward each other, were solicitous and curious;
we were strangers now but we would be together
for five days and must perforce become acquainted.

Inside the car, the porter was ubiquitous, the
newsboy omnipresent, and the passengers engaged
with both. Outside, friends who must stay behind


called in good-byes through open windows, bag-
gage men rushed trucks of tardy trunks toward the
forward car, while up ahead the engineer was
stroking his impatient iron steed. Apart from all,
cool and collected, stood the stern blue-clad con-
ductor with one hand holding his watch, the other
raised to give the signal for departing. At length
the long stentorian "all aboard" was sounded and
with warning bell and hiss of steam escaping, the
engine strained toward its task. Slowly at first
it threads its way through the maze of tracks in the
yard, as though undecided which one of a score of
pairs to choose ; but, when it has made up its mind,
its pace increases gradually until that well recog-
nized sound of the galloping wheels on the cross -
ties and rails proclaims that it has struck its
normal gait and — we are off.

One who goes traveling nowadays is surprised at
many things, but chiefest of all at the number of
people who keep him company. This may be due
to many things. It is due mainly, however, to
one thing — that is, our modern changed conception
of this as a means of education. It used to be
said of a person : "He is well educated ; he speaks so
and so many languages. " Now it is said of a man :


"What an intelligent man he is. Why, he has
traveled. ..." And this estimate is accurate ; for
there are things one cannot learn in any other way.

Of these one is geography. There is a certain
sense of location, a familiarity with things as they
are; a feeling of identity and reality which can
never come in any other way save from the seeing
of them. And, just as charity begins at home, so
should the application of this principle. It is
perfect folly for any civilized American ever to
cross the ocean in search of landscape beauty or of
nature's wonders until he has first seen what his
own land has to offer. Americans by the thousand
annually cross the Atlantic, to climb the Alps, to
scale the Matterhorn, to view the beauties of the
Rhine and Rhone, to bask in the sunshine of Italy,
and to indulge in the delights of rural England,
France, and Germany, seemingly unaware that
their own country contains attractions of mountain
and forest, river and lake, sunshine and pure
scenic beauty as far surpassing those across the
sea as our own mighty continent surpasses tiny

And to see that country, to gain any conception
of its size, of the abundance of its resources, the


grandeur of its scenery and the virility and versa-
tility of its people, there is no other way so effec-
tual as to ride those five or six days in one journey
across its whole length and look out upon it and its
people from a car window.

The special route we took lay first across the
Keystone State then the great State of Ohio, along
the shores of the Great Lakes, through cities also
great, across the vari-colored garden farms of
Illinois, the Corn Belt of the Middle States, and
the great prairie ranches farther on, across the Mis-
sissippi, true "Father of Waters"; over the Rocky
Mountains, real "Alps of America"; across the
Alkali Desert, and up, and then over, the Sierra
Nevadas. The course was sometimes in a line for
miles as straight as the flight of an arrow, then
again round mountain curves so sharp the engine
seen through the car window at our elbow seemed
to have rebelled and started back; yet always in
the end it pressed on westward. Here for miles
our course would lie along the bases of great cliffs
and canons and through narrow mountain passes
where one could scarcely see daylight above, and
there along the brinks of precipices which measure
their depths not in mere feet and inches, but in


fractions or in multiples of miles. Pressing onward
thus, we followed the course of the setting sun,
which after each day's contest won the race and
set far on ahead to leave us in the dark. Night
after night the train continued on into this dark-
ness as though still impelled by the momentum of
its hard day's run until again it was challenged by
the rising sun another morning, to begin the race
all over and to continue it another day.

Not among the least important of the things one
learns and the new impressions he receives on such
a journey is a new and great respect for the railroad
itself; both for a railroad as an institution and for
railroading as an occupation. On a long journey
such as this one, after seeing any great railroad in
all its length and any such system in all its won-
drous workings, one decides that more wonderful
even, if possible, than the country these roads
traverse is the human genius which in sixty years
has shortened the journey across it from half a
dozen months to half a dozen days instead, and
the still greater genius which, coupled with faith-
fulness and fidelity, have made that rate of speed
commensurate with safety.

But most surprising of all and worthy of con-


sideration by itself, is the luxury of modern railway
travel. The very practice of vestibuling cars has
given a sense of luxury in that it gives a sense of
security; it closes snugly in one's comforts and
closes out discomforts of ill wind and weather.
Indeed it is this very art of keeping clean which,
under a disguise, is the art of not becoming fatigued.
And not only is this luxury a modern fact; it is,
in large measure, a national trait. As one rides
through the far West and Southwest, the contrast
between the appointments of the palace car inside
of which he rides and the poverty and dirt of the
Mexican "Greaser" outside, furnishes a striking
illustration of the difference between the Anglo-
Saxon-American and the Spanish-Latin-American
types of civilization. These fast through trains
are really swift-moving hotels. Think of electric
lights, hot and cold running water, easy chairs,
a writing desk, a library, a bathroom, a barber
shop, a dining-room, and spacious sleeping com-
partments, all whirling through the landscape at
the rate of fifty miles an hour!

More interesting even than the railroad itself,
more so than the country through which it has
passed — or than the people aboard of its trains


even — are the increasingly novel sights that may
be seen each day from the car windows as the train
runs farther and still farther west. Some of these
are small things ; some are great and bold and strik-
ing. All are interesting because never seen before.
It is the seeing of them that gives one a sense of
their reality, increases his vocabulary, and gives an
actual content to words he has heard used all his
life. Hereafter, in his mind, these words will
connote real things. We saw a trail, a ranch, a
range, a corral, a cyclone-cellar, a "bunch" of
cattle and a "band" of sheep; we saw a "shack,"
an irrigation "ditch," real prairies, and real moun-
tains. And we looked at each one with a new sur-
prise and viewed them each one wonderingly.

We saw for the first time some great sights also;
lurid burning straw piles at night as we passed
through the harvest fields; titanic chasms, sky-
high peaks, giant redwoods, and a thousand things
all on a scale the very sight of the size of which
should make the men who live habitually in sight
of them big men — as indeed it does. Here and
there we saw that remnant and reminder of an
earlier day, a lonely "prairie schooner," toiling
westward. We saw old men stop work in fields


and look at it. They may have thought back on
the hundred days they once spent, fifty years ago,
in coming west by that method themselves.
They could retrace that path now in half as many
hours. But they have never done it. And they
never will. They came to stay — and they have

Thus on and on for five full days we traveled.
On the morning of the sixth, by one of those sudden
reversals and contrasts for which the country here
is famous, we dropped down of a sudden from the
winter region heights of the snow-clad mountains
into the very heart of summer verdure, where the
grass is always green and flowers bloom all the
year. As we crossed the bay on the ferry-boat
and came up to the dock at San Francisco I looked
at the clock overhead and noticed what to my
mind was the last and withal most surprising fea-
ture of the journey — that which would not happen
in any other country in the world, nor with any
human venture undertaken by other than Ameri-
cans: we had traveled three thousand miles with
safety and comfort and were arriving at our desti-
nation on the very second of the very minute of
the hour the schedule read.


Folio-wing the Setting Sun

AM writing this from California.
I am one of many travelers; for
more tourists are crossing the con-
tinent this summer than any other
ever heretofore. Some of these are seeing America
first, and quite as many of them last, the Exposi-
tion at San Francisco drawing the former, the
European war, which has precluded foreign travel,
driving the latter. All will return the better for
their going, better because broader in their vision,
bigger because of the enormity of sights they
look upon, wiser in their understanding of the land
they have traversed, and with a sympathy they
have not had before for fellow-members of their

I have come myself, almost without stop, from
the Broad Street Station to the Railway Portal
in Los Angeles, from the City of Brotherly Love
to the City of the Angels. And it has been liter-



ally an ascent from earth to heaven. Almost
continuously one's moods succeed each other in
a heightening crescendo as he passes from each
strange scene to a yet more novel prospect and
finds hope fulfilled that each new day will lead
him through a district richer and more varied in
sights never seen before. Daily, upon an average,
one turns one's watch back and that often, roughly
speaking, the scene shifts as there succeed each
other regions agricultural and arid, historic or
romantic, scenic or pictorial. At least this is
certainly true on the far southwestern route I

This Santa Fe line taps the most fertile farming
sections of the United States. It has opened up
regions rich beyond belief in mineral wealth. It
goes through the heart also of romantic America,
the Land of the Conquistadores and Padres, of
the Pathfinders, Traders, and Pioneers. There is
some of the most remarkable scenery in the world
on this passage and there are enchantingly inter-
esting special sights to see along the way. There
are literally a hundred places to stop over for a
day deserving a description of a thousand words
apiece. Stops might be made with advantage


wherever the sun goes down offering a Thousand
and One better than Arabian Nights' Entertain-

But this is a study rather in broad generalities.
I can reconstruct as from a dream the league upon
league long changing kaleidoscopic pictures pass-
ing hour by hour outside the broad car windows.
We swept through, from Chicago, the wide agricul-
tural districts of Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas, the
Rocky Mountain lands of Colorado, the pictur-
esque Indian haunts of New Mexico, the geological
marvels of Arizona, and the old Missions of Cali-
fornia, on to San Diego for that matter, where the
sun shines every day, where flowers bloom every
season, and where grass is green the whole year

We left acres by the million of waving corn and
wheat and found these giving place to other areas
apparently earthwide suited to cattle and horse
and sheep raising, these to alfalfa and sugar beet
culture, as many to grazing as farming of both
kinds, and as many in all to the plants of the desert.
As we watched them, fences appeared to vanish,
forests wholly to evaporate, and land to come on in
which there is not on an average so much as one


stone to a county. Sunflowers gave way to sage-
brush and later this to cactus and mesquite,
while barnyard fowls were chased by prairie hens
and farmers' pet canines by prairie dogs and these
last in turn by jack rabbits, reversing all the laws
of evolution as we looked off backward from the
flying platform of the observation car.

Out across the long flat prairies, drab barns with
no roofs succeeded red barns with brown roofs as
these in turn had replaced the prosperity proclaim-
ing new white painted buildings of the Middle
West with their ubiquitous red roofs above the
green which both so suitably surmounted. Then,
when we were certain we should never see again a
human habitation, there began adobe houses in the
desert, culminating in huge patios with pergolas.
Across state boundaries, windmills and straw piles
gave place to water tanks and snowbreaks, while
long lines of telegraph poles ran away off to the
far horizon as though demons of the air were after
them. In the places where once were but poverty,
danger, and death, there are now the vast projects
of land reclamation, conservation of forests, and
asylums new found for — best of all — quick, sure
restoration of health. There are square miles by


the hundred, yes by the thousand, still awaiting
the rain that will never fall, still in need of the
proverbial water and good society; but, even in
these, irrigation has made gardens out of portions
as broad as some eastern States.

We began to see Swastika emblems at the bounds
of Colorado, signal that we would soon enter the
land of the Navajo and Chimayo, the Zuni, Hopi,
and Laguni, with their arts and crafts and handi-
work of blankets, baskets, beads, and bracelets,
wickerwork and earthenware; while the Indians
had scarce become familiar figures before they were
crowded off the stage of station platforms by dark
Mexicans and these in turn by Japs and China-
men. Lo, the poor Indian ! Sometimes he is low,
but sometimes nowadays quite the reverse. We
saw them in all stages, from the grimy, vermin-
ridden tobacco beggars, squatting by the depot, to
the dapper Carlisle-graduate hotel clerk, even
owner of the same, and to his brothers who have
sold their oil rights and ride into town in their own
autos — to the movies.

But the chiefest features of enchantment
through a long strength of this veritable El Dorado
are the physical features and natural phenomena


thereof. This breeziness begins with the plains
portion of Colorado, with its rarer air and clearer
sunlight, where we first caught sight of Pike's Peak
fifty miles away. Across this high, broad uplift,
with its rising mounds and rocky hillocks, on far
through New Mexico and Arizona, it is no exagger-
ation when the advertisement folder proclaims "A
mile or more in the sky for most of the way."
Alternating come far glimpses of snow-capped
serrated ranges through the clear, pellucid air and
near-at-hand marvels that call for cameras to
supersede field glasses. There are the romantic
Spanish Peaks and here the tragic near-at-hand
Enchanted Mesas. Off a few miles is the Petrified
Forest, and farther stretch hundreds of miles of
the weird Painted Desert, of which the colors are
nowise exaggerated in the figments laid on pictures
of them from the artist's palette. Thousands of
acres are covered with agatized fossil remains of
gigantic prehistoric trees about Adamena, while
Flagstaff is point of departure for many places by
automobile and pack horses, where Cliff-dwellers
have left, in pueblo and in kiva, writings graven
on stone walls and implements of household usage
and Aztec ruins and hieroglyphs that astonish


archaeologists. From here on a great volcanic
uplift begins that brings you over a gigantic table-
land to the Grand Canyon — earth's greatest scenic

Things are not all of this kind, however, and no
chance obtains for monotony. The altitude of
Arizona alone varies from 100 feet to 13,000 feet
above sea level, so that within its own borders
there is every zone save the most humid tropics.
There are steep and high red-colored cliffs and mesa
fronts, then fields as fertile as a new-found Eden.

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Online LibraryDavid McConnell SteeleGoing abroad overland; studies of places and people in the far West → online text (page 1 of 10)