Edmund Frederick Erk.

A merry crusade to the Golden Gate : under the banners of Allegheny Commandery, No. 35, Knights Templar, Allegheny, Pa. : a complete story of the Twenty-ninth Triennial Conclave, Grand Encampment, Knights Templar, U.S.A. ... and a tour of ten thousand miles through the wonderland of the West online

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Online LibraryEdmund Frederick ErkA merry crusade to the Golden Gate : under the banners of Allegheny Commandery, No. 35, Knights Templar, Allegheny, Pa. : a complete story of the Twenty-ninth Triennial Conclave, Grand Encampment, Knights Templar, U.S.A. ... and a tour of ten thousand miles through the wonderland of the West → online text (page 6 of 38)
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chiefly of glass to facilitate observation. The seats are so equipped
as to remain level regardless of the grades. The engine pushes the
car in ascending, and precedes it in descending; thus insuring com-
plete control over the coach, which, because of not being coupled
to the locomotive, can be operated independently.

There was scarcely room in the one car for our entire party,
but rather than be separated, several of the "boys" sat upon the floor
of the front platform, and bracing their feet against the railing,
lighted their pipes, and enjoyed an unobstructed view of the sur-

We started upon our tour of elevation about nine o'clock in
the morning. Cold type could never do justice in properly describ-
ing the magnificent scenic beauty of the nine miles of road in
ascending Pike's Peak. The constantly changing panorama, the va-
ried tints and colors, which cannot be imitated upon canvas by the
most skillful masters, form a picture for the mind which can only
be drawn through the eye.

Engelmann's Canyon, formed by the sides of Manitou and
Hiawatha Mountains, is the starting point of this novel railway.
Rushing swiftly through the canyon, and flowing beside us, then
appearing far below over massive boulders and forming innumerable
cascades, is Ruxton Creek ; a sparkling mountain stream whose source
lies in the snow that crowns the mountain top.

Passing into the canyon to the left, we came upon Shady Springs,
hidden under the slope of the mountain upon which rest Gog and
Magog. To the right is the "Lone Fisherman," who patiently
fishes from the top of the northern wall of the canyon. As we en-
ter the Grand Pass, we catch a glimpse of Echo Falls, named after
Echo Rocks, above whose high walls resound the dashing waters of
the canyons, clearly and distinctly. Just beyond, we can observe
National Creek tunnel, an arched waterway formed by fallen boulders.
"Hanging Rock" and Frog Rock" are passed before we enter "Ar-


I Cog Road on Pike's Peak. 2-8-14 Pike's Peak from Colorado Springs. 3-6 Ascending Pike's Peak. 4 Above
the Half-way House, Pike's Peak. 5 Primrose. 7 Around the Corner. 9 Spring Opening of Pike's Peak Cog-wheel
Road. 10 White Poppy. n Mariposo Lilly. 12 Half-way House. 13 Windy Point, Pike's Peak. 15 Pike's
Peak from Pilot Knob. 16 Phantom Curve. 17 Vista of Pike's Peak. 18 Cog Road Station, Manitou. 19 Cog
Road Locomotive. 20 The Trail. 21 Past Timber Line.


tists' Glen," from where a good view of "Cameron's Cone" (10,695
feet) and the Garden of the Gods may be had.

Curious shaped rocks stand out in bold relief from the moun-
tain sides. They have been christened with names appropriate to
their conformation. The "Plum Pudding," "Turtle," and "Punch,"
are some that we passed in our ride until we came within vision of
Minnehaha Falls.

At this point, about two miles from the starting place, the steep
mountain slopes begin to rise to their greatest magnitudes. Man
becomes dwarfed in the sublimity of the scene. The specks that
indicate villages below, the rivers in the valleys which look like
slender threads, the overhanging clouds which seem so near, and the
massive, majestic, arrogant monuments of stone which spring up
on every side, leave the spectator in full realization of his own in-
significance and a fuller appreciation of the marvels of nature than
he has ever before enjoyed. ,

A few hundred feet further and one again stands face to face
with civilization in the form of a group of Swiss cottages occupied
by pleasure seekers. "Lizzard Rock," "Pinnacle Rock," "The Devil's
Slide," "Woodland Park," "Elk's Head," and the "Flueride Gold
Mine," are passed as we suddenly come upon the Half-Way House,
a comfortable little hotel situated in a beautiful grove at the foot of
"Grand View Rock," three and one-half miles from Manitou. This
is a popular stopping place for parties ascending the peak, and to
rest, to observe, and to wonder.

As we again proceeded, we passed through the ragged walls of
"Hell's Gate" and entered the verdant Ruxton and Aspen Parks,
over which stand Bald and Sheep Mountains. Then for little more
than two miles we traveled over a comparatively level stretch, get-
ting an excellent view of "Grand Old Mountain." Here our locomo-
tive makes a short stop to replenish its supply of water, for the
longest and steepest incline on the road is just ahead. The grade
is straight up the side of the mountain at an angle similar to that
formed by a ladder placed against the side of a house. It is so sharp
that one dare not look at it long in realization that it is to be as-

As we ascend, the mountains to the east seem to sink until they
appear as mere foot-hills and the valleys and rocks beneath become
more extended in view. From the well-named "Inspiration Point,"
we see far below a glacial lake of 110 acres ; and glacial rocks
marked by the action of ice in ages past; Mt. Baldy; Mt. Garfield;
Bear Creek Canyon and the Southern Mountains.

After passing "Timber Line," which has an elevation of 11,578
feet, we cross a great field of broken rock, spotted here and there


with soil enough to bear moss and various Alpine plants, and where,
in certain seasons, there grow a profusion of small flowers which
one would hardly expect to find at so high an altitude.

At this point a lady, a stranger, passed through the car with
a small basket on her arm, offering flowers for sale. The bouquets
had a rare fragrance, especially when they were moist. She called
them "wild forget-me-nots" and claimed to have plucked them from
the mountain side amid snow and rocks. She was pleasant and
talkative, relating an interesting story. In answer to a question put
by Sir Burry, who seemed deeply interested, the stranger declared
that she was married.

As we reached Windy Point we caught the first glimpse of the
far west, as it rolls itself out from the Rocky Mountains to the
shores of the Pacific. With renewed effort, the little engine plowed
its way up still sharper inclines until, a short time later, we reached
the very summit of Pike's Peak, and triumphantly took our stand
upon the very head of the majestic monster.

The whole world seemed before us ! Villages, towns, cities, hills,
valleys, rivers, lakes, and even mountains and clouds found place
in the picture which was spread out before us. Rare, indeed, would
be the art that could picture to the soul the unapproachable magni-
tude of the view, unaided by the sense of sight. A mighty panorama
of 60,000 square miles was accessible to the human eye.

To the east, the buffalo plains are ribbed with streams and dot-
ted with flowering fields, while villages and cities mark their bor-
ders. Colorado Springs, Manitou and the Garden of the Gods lie at
our feet like diminutive checker-boards spread out among fields of
flowers and foliage.

To the south lie Seven Lakes; the Raton Mountain range of
New Mexico; the famous Spanish Peaks, and the cities of Pueblo,
Florence, Canon City and Altman (the highest mining camp in
Colorado), and in the far distance, the fertile Arkansas Valley winds
itself among the hills. Cripple Creek and Bull Hill appear but a
stone's throw, while the many mine settlements and web of rail-
ways are plainly and clearly seen.

To the west is the Sangre de Christo range protruding its glisten-
ing crests above the clouds and spreading out its sheet of perpetual
snow. Buffalo, Ouray, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Holy Cross and
Elbert Peaks proudly raise their heads at a distance varying from
60 to 150 miles away. To the north are visible the abyss ; Gray's
and Long's peaks the farthest north of any we saw in the Conti-
nental Divide; and Denver, Castle Rock and Manitou Park.

As the wayfarer takes his stand on the crest of Pike's Peak and
beholds the handiwork of the Master before him, a respect born of


reverence saturates the soul. Word nor picture has never, and can
never, convey to the human mind such full appreciation of the system-
atic provisions of nature to the dwellers of the earth, as are made
known to him who stands upon the sublime heights of Pike's Peak,
and sees and realizes the handiwork of God which man has worked
into his own benefaction. Cold type or words fail to carry such
impressing influences as the Creator's own achievement through na-
ture, as it lies like the open pages of history, at the very feet of the
pilgrim on the heights of Pike's Peak.

As we stood upon the very apex of this mountain emperor, we
beheld a vast portion of this little world in unique circumstantiality
of detail saw it as the bird sees it and all reduced to the smallest
scale, but as sharply worked out and finished as a steel engraving.
The numerous toy cities with their tiny spires projecting, appeared
as the playthings of children who had abandoned them for a day.
The forest tracts were diminished and softened by distance as cush-
ions of moss, while the rivers shone and glistened under the sun's
rays until they appeared as strings of pearl. The smaller bodies of
water relieved the general conformation with the beauty of a blue
teardrop which had fallen and lodged in some slight depression
among the moss-beds. The diminutive trains were seen gliding
along between cities, seemingly taking a mighty time to travel the
distance, for magnificent distances appeared as but yards, and it
looked as though one might span what was 100 miles with the out-
stretched arms.

The world beneath us was stretched out like an enormous "re-
lief map" with hills, valleys, forests and streams pictured in their
miniature and natural color. This was the picture we saw stretched
out before us. Distance softened it; the sun glorified it; strong
contrasts heightened the effect, and over and above it all, a drowsing
air of repose spiritualized it and likened it unto a beautiful estray
from the other and more mysterious worlds we visit in dreams.

The cares and responsibilities of this life make it the privilege
of but a few of the great human family to know the sensation of
looking from a mountain top over thousands of miles of the earth's
domains. To those who can enjoy this feast of vision, it inscribes
an indelible recollection upon the mind, and the magnificence ot the
spectacle leaves a lasting impression that will never fade from mem-
ory. In the ages gone, and those to come, the revelations from the
heights of Pike's Peak, will remain among one of the sacred prrvileges
of man, and of those that may come and go, none will ever carry
away a more gracious appreciation than did the pilgrims of our party.

One might suppose that to be carried literally out of the world
to the heights of Pike's Peak would be foregoing, for a time, all the


conventionalities of the earth. But this is not true. American en-
terprise will not be thwarted, and by turning about from the grand-
eurs that lie beneath, one finds conventionalities upon the peik that
become unconventional because of their peculiar surroundings. On
the top of the peak is a postofnce the highest in the world. Here
members of our party hastily jotted a few lines to relatives and
friends that they might experience the sensation of receiving a
message from the clouds, and note the post-mark of "Summit, Pike's
Peak, August 23, 1904."

On the mountain top there is a telegraph station, which also
has the distinction of being the "highest in the world." We patron-
ized the operator in sending greetings home.

The "Summit House" is like an oasis on a barren desert. Built
of ragged rock cleaved from the very peak itself, it offers within
the comfortable glow of a huge stove, while hot coffee and bulky
doughnuts touch the heart of the wayfarer through his stomach.

Terrific winds sweep the summit, and although thermometers
registered 90 degrees at Manitou before we started, it was very cold
on the peak. "Vic" had previously cautioned us to take an ample
supply of wraps and overcoats before ascending, and we found this
advice of value. The barometer on the summit stands about 17 inches
while water boils at 184 degrees Fahrenheit. These grossly abnormal
conditions cast a strange, faint and weak sensation over the pilgrims
for a time; although there were very few who actually felt ill. The
ladies were particularly brave in facing the new elements.

An amusing and most unusual pastime for an August day was a
snowball warfare among the pilgrims on the summit of the peak,
after leaving Manitou under a boiling sun several hours before.
Through the mantle of snow on the mountain top, protruded a sea
of ragged rocks covering the whole summit as if created by a series
of blasts. As we stood on the summit in bold defiance of the raging
winds, we became enveloped from time to time, by the shifting fleecy
clouds. Standing as near to the sun as mortal dare tread in this
country, we were at once in close communion with the swiftly but
silently shifting clouds, which at times veiled the view in transitory
mist and then wafted high above and sped ever onward.

Protruding into these very clouds, rises the United States Sig-
nal Station from the very apex of the peak. This is, of course, the
highest observatory in the country; and the roof, which is platformed
and protected by railings, affords a wonderful view-point. Regard-
less of the terrific winds, the pilgrims would not be denied the privi-
lege of surveying mother earth from this pinnacle.

It would even be difficult for imagination to concede that any-
thing mortal could add dignity or impressiveness to Pike's Peak,


1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-14 Summit of Pike's Peak, altitude 14, 147 feet. 9 Columbine. ic
Triangle Cryptic Rite Masons, Summit of Pike's Peak. 13 Mamma's Baby.

Yucca, ri Anemone. 12


but none can gainsay the dramatic and romantic effect of the sil-
houette of Sir Oscar Schulze as he stood in bold contrast to the fleecy
clouds behind him, when he took his position on the top of the
signal station. Oscar, who had been at once a father and brother
to the pilgrims, in all that the terms imply, is a man of soldierly
bearing. Clad in a heavy military ulster with flowing cape, he as-
cended to the top of the signal station with several pilgrims. As
he gazed upon the endless view stretched out before him, he point-
ed in dramatic fashion to some object of interest in the valley, with
the attitude of a general noting some military movement on the
battle field. As his cape and ulster-clad soldierly figure stood out
in bold relief against the clouds and skies, it appeared as if Na-
poleon had risen again, and forgetful of St. Helena, was once more
a leader of men, in supreme authority.

Even as we gazed, we unfurled our banner, the Stars and Stripes,
to the breeze with a rousing cheer that was born from patriotic hearts.
The indifference shown the nation's flag on terra firma is lost when
one enters strange and unusual places, and we paid homage to our
colors with uplifted voices while the thrill of true American patriot-
ism shook our physical frames like aspens in the wind, and inspired
our souls with loyal love for our country.

We found special pride as we stood upon the summit of the
mount, in the fact that the first party who ever ascended Pike's Peak
were Pittsburghers. In 1819, Major S. H. Long was sent by Secre-
tary of War, John C. Calhoun, in charge of an "expedition from Pitts-
burgh to the Rocky Mountains." On July 13th, of that year, the
party encamped near the present site of Colorado Springs, from
which place Dr. Edwin James, with three unknown men and a
volunteer named Harris, started to ascend. The summit was reached
on the evening of July 14th. The first woman to stand on the sum-
mit, was Mrs. James H. Holmes, who reached the top on August
5th, 1858. The Peak derives its name from General Zebulon Pike,
who discovered the noble mountain while leading an exploration
expedition in November 1806.

When the time for our departure arrived, we cast a last long-
ing glance over the horizon, in full realization of the fact that we
had witnessed the grandest scenic panorama visible from any ac-
cessible point. With a parting look, the picture was indelibly in-
scribed upon our minds with an appreciation that the years cannot
wipe out.

We entered the car with complete freedom from the fears we
had entertained upon the ascent. As the train started down the
sharp incline there was havoc among the party. Many uncon-
sciously threw their weight to the rear in an effort to retain equi-


librium. This, of course, was of little avail. Memories of sliding
down banisters in childhood, were vividly brought back to mind,
but the physique could not accommodate itself to these conditions
so well as in the early days.

Occasionally, a few acres of almost level road afforded us a few
moments of comfortable breathing, but in a moment we would turn
a corner and see a long steep line of rail stretching down below us,
and the comfort was at an end. The locomotive knew no fear, and
never paused or slackened its speed upon approaching these sharp
descents, but kept calmly and relentlessly to its task, made a sud-
den bow, and went smoothly gliding downstairs.

It was wildly exhilarating to slide along the edge of the precipices
and look straight down into the far-reaching valleys. There was
much curiosity to learn how the train would stop at the station
upon the steep incline. We were anxious to learn the method em-
ployed. The solution lacked every element of mysteriousness. The
train simply stopped. That was all there was to it. Then it moved
on in the even tenor of its way, and went sliding down again.

Here and there we caught a glimpse of the "trail" in our descent.
Upon it we saw men on horseback, burroback and afoot. There is
an incentive and charm in going up, ever up, toward the goal. Those
on foot are armed with a stout staff taking their time, and choosing
their own fanciful route. There can be no more profitable recrea-
tion than the glorification of conquering Pike's Peak, and few pleas-
ures can be compared with that of the tourist who stands upon the
top of the mountain monarch.

A<n unusual incident which the passenger enjoys in the descent
from the peak, is an optical delusion. Trees, houses, shrubbery
and every standing object seem to have fallen into oblique position.
All appear to be standing awry, so much so, that the cottages ap-
pear to be on the verge of complete collapse.

Gradually we acquired absolute confidence in the locomotive
and relaxed our physical efforts to hold it back. The "boys" on the
platform lighted their pipes again with every assurance of security,
and again lapsed into the jubilant and care-begone spirit which marked
our pilgrimage from start to finish. As we descended gradually
but surely, the whole world seemed to flit by with us upon the in-
spection stand, inspecting the world on the wing. There was not
a breeze or gust of dust to interfere with our vision. We drank in
the moving picture with uninterrupted thought even Sir Gilchrist
forgot for a time the "girl he left behind."

During one of the stops a lady boarded the train and cried out
the announcement that she had the "Pike's Peak Daily News" for
sale. This is a paper published on the summit, and calls itself the


"most elevated" publication on earth. It gives evidence of the lofty
strides of journalism. It contained in brief, the following:

Pike's Peak Dally

Altitude, 14.147 feet.

The most "elevated" publication on Earth.

O'jntains daily the names of every arrival on
the Summit. The official newspaper of the
M. A P. P. Railroad.

C. E. TSCHUDI, Publisher
Postoflice Address : Maniton, Colorado.

VOLUME 8. i : NUMBER 285


The following distinguished ladies and gentle-
men registered on top of sight-seeing old
Pike's Peak today, via th* picturesque hod
soenic Cog Wheel Eouto:

Foronoou arrivals on the Summit :

This is a special of Commandery No. 35, K. T..
Allegheny City, Pa., en route to the coast, tray"
ling in their own special Pullmans, with com"
niissary and all the conveniences and luxuries
of life. The jolliest and most representative
crowd of Americans that has ascended the Peak
iu a thousand years. Here they are:
Hiss Gustie L Hilleric 1

With a relentless puff puff puff the engine continues its de-
scent, grasping the cogs to retard its flight. "Jack" was of the opin-
ion that the tracks had been recently oiled, and that they would
serve as an excellent lightning rod to the summit of Pike's Peak.
Before reaching Manitou we crossed a bridge whose framework
stretched over a gorge and shot across the dizzy air like a stray
spider-web strand. One has little difficulty in enumerating his sins
while the train creeps down this bridge, and repentance is general.
Even the young lady who dropped a snowball down the back of
the writer's neck plead guilty and asked for mercy.

Upon arriving at our destination, we sought the Iron Springs
Hotel where we indulged with a vim in a satisfying luncheon while
we rehearsed our experiences of the morning. In the midst of a
general conversation, some one was heard to remark to Sir John
Bader: "John, you act as though you were starving!"


"Act!" he repeated in tones of astonishment. "Don't you know
the difference between acting and the real thing?" It was the genuine
article of appetite in large consignments, with all of us.

After luncheon we strolled about the hotel grounds viewing the
flowers, shrubbery, and an enchanting bit of landscape gardening.
The guests of the hotel soon became acquainted with our party,
after first taking a few shots at us with their cameras. Finally, as
a compromise, we gathered in a group upon the lawn, and had a
picture taken "collectively." Previously we had been "taken " as
individuals, walking, talking, standing, running, and in all manner
of unconventional poses. One might believe that the amateur photog-
raphers considered us some rare specie of the mountain tribes.

The hotel proprietor was most agreeable. He invited several
of the Sir Knights into the secret confines of his private apart-
ments where he proved himself an attentive host.

Tallyhos and carriages were in waiting and soon we were ready
for a drive through the "Garden of the Gods." The guests of the
hostelry gathered on the lawn and veranda and waved their handker-
chiefs and cheered us until we had driven out of sight.

As we rattled along cheerily, the ladies viewed the beautiful sur-
rounding country from beneath their parasols, which only partially
shielded them from the blazing sun. The driver beguiled the way
with amusing and instructive conversation until we arrived at the
gateway of the "Garden of the Gods." It consists of two enormous
masses of red sandstone, 330 feet high. Between them was a small-
er rock which divides the passageway in two. The rock to the
right resembles a huge camel in kneeling position.

Behind the rock, a magnificent panorama unfolds itself, while
immediately through the "Gate," Pike's Peak is seen rising in majes-
tic grandeur. Much of the charm of the scene is due to the numerous
contrasts of color. We passed through the "Gateway," and entered
the valley of wonders.

In a strange, wierd solitude, nature has perpetuated peculiar
freaks of sculpture and feats of architecture. Quaint and grotesque
suggestions of living forms (some of which have received appro-
priate designations) rose from out of the rocks about us. Perhaps
the giants of old had used the garden for their playground, and left
their toys behind when the angels came and christened it the "Garden
of the Gods."

In our tour of inspection, we arrive before the famous "Balanced
Rock." It stands upon the summit of a ridge some 50 feet above the
surrounding country. The rock itself is about 70 feet high and
weighs, approximately, 500 tons. This gigantic mass of rock is
cunningly balanced, though slightly tilted upon a mere point, and


i Gateway, Garden of the Gods (Pike's Peak seen through the Gate). 2 The Three Graces. 3 Cathedral
Spires. 4 Bear and Seal (Rock formation). 5 Rainbow Falls. 6. Major Dome (200 feet high). 7
Manitou, Col. 8 Balanced Rock. 9 Garden of the Gods.

Online LibraryEdmund Frederick ErkA merry crusade to the Golden Gate : under the banners of Allegheny Commandery, No. 35, Knights Templar, Allegheny, Pa. : a complete story of the Twenty-ninth Triennial Conclave, Grand Encampment, Knights Templar, U.S.A. ... and a tour of ten thousand miles through the wonderland of the West → online text (page 6 of 38)