A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains - Isabella L. Bird
This evocative and lively travelogue by Isabella L. Bird lifts the veil of the culture of Colorado and the Rocky Mountains as it was in the 1870s.
We find in this classic travel book an authentic and eloquent portrayal of the beautiful peaks and breath-taking landscapes of rural North America. Braving the craggy landscape on horseback and on foot, the author manages to conquer some of the area's most awe-inspiring ranges, while also observing life in several settlements and towns around the state of Colorado.
The sheer toughness of the author shines through each of her letters. Her descriptions do not flinch from accuracy, as she notes the sub-zero temperatures, fierce drafts of wind, and other perils of the untamed landscape. Most notably of all however is Isabella Bird's steely determination and doggedness in confronting, and surmounting, the Rocky Mountains.
Only a few decades prior to Isabella L. Bird's arrival in the Rockies, it was an uncharted wilderness, settled only by the Native American populations and explored only by fur trappers. Even in the 1870s, nearly all of the locale remained untouched; nature, in all its glory, offered travellers a myriad of beautiful sights. For her part, the author was drawn to the locale due to her health; the brisk mountain airs were said to invigorate the lungs and spirit.
Throughout her life, the author wrote many accounts of her travels. Her descriptions are frank yet poetic, grand yet down-to-Earth - despite the hardships, Bird rarely lapsed into complaining. Instead we receive an impression not merely of awe-inspiring and exotic locales, but of the fierce and capable personality of the journeys' narrator.