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had no difficulty in fording it, though, without due caution, animals are liable to get entangled in quicksands. The grass on the plains west of the Arkansas was more abundant and of a better quality than that on the side we had just left; there was also much grama grass and cactus. The water of the Timpas, which was found in holes only, was cool, but slightly brackish. The night was bright and starry, and illuminated during part of the evening by a beautiful aurora borealis. Day's travel, 30 miles; distance from Westport, 580 miles.

June 2. Left the Timpas at early dawn, and discerned at a distance of fifteen miles several high buttes, bearing due west, in a line with the southern end of the Sierra Mojada; towards these we now directed our course. The country was gradually rolling towards the buttes, and covered with abundant bunch grass; the prickly pear, or cactus, which grows in clusters close to the ground, was at times very distressing to our mules; their constant efforts to avoid treading on this annoying plant gave them an uneasy, jerking gait, very harassing to their riders during a long day's march. Upon reaching the summit of the buttes, a magnificent and extensive panorama was opened to our view. The horizon was bounded on the north by Pike's Peak, northwest and west by the Sierra Mojada, Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and Spanish Peaks; to the south and east extended the prairie, lost in the hazy distance. On the gently undulating plains, reaching to the foot of the mountains, could be traced the courses of the Arkansas and Sage Creek by their lines of timber. The Apispah, an affluent of the Arkansas, issuing from the Sierra Mojada, was concealed from sight by a range of intervening buttes, while the object of our search, the Huerfano, flowed at our feet, distant about three miles, its course easy to be distinguished from the point where it issued from the mountains to its junction with the Arkansas, except at short intervals, where it passed through cañons in the plain. Pike's Peak, whose head was capped with eternal snows, was a prominent object in the landscape, soaring high above all neighboring summits.

Descending the buttes to the Huerfano, we encamped on it about five miles above its mouth. A bold and rapid stream, its waters were turbid, but sweet and cool; the river-bottom was broad, and thickly wooded with willows and cottonwoods,

[graphic]

Pl. II.

1

G.H. Heap del.

SPANISH

PEAKS.

Huerfano Butte.

1

interlaced with the wild rose and grape-vine, and carpeted with soft grass—a sylvan paradise. This stream was about twentyfive yards in breadth, and five feet deep close to the bank. Bands of antelope and deer dotted the plain, one of which served us for supper, brought down by the unerring rifle of Dick, the Delaware.

This camp was to us a scene of real enjoyment; a long and tedious march, over plains of unvarying sameness, was over, and we were now on the eve of entering upon a new and unexplored country, which promised to the admirers of nature a rich and ever-varying treat. The hunters of the party also looked forward with impatience to reaching the mountains, where game

of every description was said to abound, and where it would not be necessary to exercise the great patience and perseverance, without which it is difficult to approach deer and antelope on the plains; the Delaware possessed both these requisites in perfection, and gave us daily proofs of his skill. We noticed, whilst travelling along the same route with emigrants, that although game was at times comparatively scarce near the road, it was not owing to the number they destroyed, but rather to the constant fusillade which they kept up on everything living, from a buffalo to a goffer, and from a grouse to a blackbird.

In the afternoon, we continued up the Huerfano about a mile, and crossed over to the left bank; the ford was good and but three feet deep. Fine grama grass grew on the upper plain on each side of the river, and an abundance of rich grass on the bottom land. A large growth of cottonwoods line the banks of this stream for twelve miles above its mouth, though higher up it is not so heavily timbered. It is hemmed in at intervals by picturesque bluffs of sandstone.

The following are the bearings of the mouth of the Huerfano; Pike's Peak, northwest; northern Spanish Peak, south-southwest; southern Spanish Peak, south by west. General course of the river, from southwest to northeast. Day's journey, 28 miles; total, 608 miles.

CHAPTER II.

ROUTE FROM HUERFANO RIVER TO COOCHATOPE PASS.

June 3. Our camp the preceding night was a mile below the lower end of the cañon through which the Huerfano forces a passage; this chasm is about ten miles in length, and the ground on each side is much cut up by deep and rocky ravines running into it. I rode up to its entrance to sketch; the scenery was wild and beautiful; wild turkeys flew away at my approach, and the startled deer rose from their beds in the grass at the bottom of the cañon, making their escape up a ravine to the plain. A line of bluffs runs parallel to the Huerfano on the west from two to five miles distant, and wagons should travel at their base to avoid the broken ground nearer the stream; a thick growth of dwarf pines and cedars covers their summits. The wagon trail from the Greenhorn and Hardscrabble settlements on the upper Arkansas approaches the Huerfano below this cañon, leaves it there, and returns to it above.

After a ride of twenty-four miles up the left bank we encamped to noon on a gully where we found water in rocky hollows; the pasturage was excellent, as in fact it had been since reaching the Huerfano, for we had not seen better since leaving Council Grove. The scenery, as we approached the country between the Spanish Peaks and the Sierra Mojada, was picturesque and beautiful; mountains towered high above us, the summits of some covered with snow, while the dense forests of dark pines which clothed their sides, contrasted well with the light green of the meadows near their base. All day, heavy clouds had been gathering on the mountain-tops, portending a storm; at noon it broke, covering them with snow, and soon after swept over the plains. Here it rained in torrents, accompanied by a westerly wind, which blew with such fury as to

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