Travel Letters: Victoria Hotel, Alamosa, Colorado (1886)

DEAR WILLIAM, — This is the first letter of the great journey, written in the midst of the tumult of Raymond tourists and cowboys, who fill the office of this beautiful hotel, while we are waiting for our dinner. We are on the crest of the continent, a good six thousand feet above the sea, with Pike’s Peak and a host of other snow-peaked giants of the Rocky Mountains in full view, and the queerest shanty-town to stay in that you ever saw. But what a day it is ! Such atmosphere, sunshine, and great outlooks in every direction ! To-day we have been up to the Toltec Gorge, riding through endless plains of sage grass, with queer little prairie dogs sitting, each of them, on the edge of his hole to see us pass. The Gorge is very fine and picturesque, not up to Switzer-land, but with a bigger feeling about it, and altogether mighty good to look at.

. . . A very pleasant journey brought me to Chicago Saturday night in the director’s car, with the Baker party, who were pleasant people. Sunday I heard Professor Swing in the morning, Osborn in the after-noon, and a man whose name I have forgotten in the evening. I wonder how things went at Trinity ?

Then came the ride to Kansas City, crossing the big Mississippi at Rock Island and Davenport. Then there was the very beautiful ride across Kansas, and here we are in Colorado, with New Mexico close by. All has gone well. The excursion plan works nicely. The company is pleasant. The days are long and idle. There is a great deal to see, and impressions crowd fast and thick. On the whole it is a good success so far, and better things are promising ahead. It is not Europe, but it is big America, and one is feeling its bigness more and more every day.

We must be all in the best condition for Andover by and by. I am looking forward to that. Affectionately, P.