This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Taking a week's vacation the first of Sept., I was only too glad to spend it among those romantic hills and valleys of the Rocky Mountains, where one's mind never tires of admiring the endless variety of forms which nature presents in those hills. "We take the train from Denver and pass through a level tract of farming country for about fifteen miles, when we enter the Platte Canon, where mountains of rocks rise two and three hundred feet on either side of us, and in most instances covered to their summit with vegetation of every conceivable shape, including many pretty flowers. So much so that one is strangely tempted to get out but for a moment to collect a few specimens - but no, we have not that moment at our own disposal. So on we go, thinking sometimes we would be demolished against the huge rocks ahead of us; still we pass everything safely. Dome Rock, about twenty or thirty miles up the canon, is a curious spectacle, strongly resembling the dome on the custom house in Baltimore, save much larger. We are getting up now pretty well in the mountain and pass through some very pretty little valleys, whose green turf is spotted throughout with campers' tents, who are enjoying the pure mountain air at their ease, away from the bustle and turmoil of life.
Leaving them to their pleasure, we pass on till we reach and enter the famous Mule Shoe Bend, which measures from point to point seven hundred feet, and is about three miles around. After turning the bend we begin a very steep ascent, rising to the celebrated Kenosha Summit, which experienced travelers have pronounced the greatest piece of engineering they ever beheld. Passing on a few miles farther, we enter one of the most beautiful spots it has ever been my pleasure to witness - the South Park. The railroad passes nearly through the center of the park which spreads out on either side of it several miles. The park is mostly level, till Bearing the mountains, when it begins to rise and lower till it reaches the mountain, when it makes a steep ascent to the snow-capped peaks; and seeing it as we did that bright sunny day, it was a sight not soon to be forgotten. We pass on, meditating on how beautiful nature has formed everything, and wondering what improvements man could make on mother nature in this beautiful spot, till our reverie is abruptly closed by the porter's announcement of Red Hill, the terminus of the S. P. R. R., thirty-five miles from Leadville, where we take the stage to finish our journey, and from the rough road, together with nearly being suffocated with dust, we are not in much humor to note anything we are passing.
We reach the top of the range and Mosquito Pass at dusk. There is a foggy mist overspreading the mountains, and the air is very chilly, while the driver is refreshing his horses, or mules rather, we stop for a moment to take a look down that almost perpendicular descent of rock of all conceivable shapes to the yawning abyss below, some three or four hundred feet. We turn from it with a sigh of relief, being satisfied with what we saw in one day, in the Rocky Mountains-, and entering our stage, it being now dark, we know nothing more till we are landed in Leadville, long after comfortable hours, and also must I land, - for want of paper, and possibly your patience.