A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading) [NOOK Book]

Overview


Like the glorious afterglow so often described in A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains (1879), Isabella Bird's impassioned travelogue continues to delight us as it recounts escapades of blizzards, grizzly bears, and a desperado known as "Mountain Jim." A symbiotic weave of adventure and sentiment, the book recounts the story of an English woman's solo journey from California to Colorado. Whether you're interested in nature, the history of the Rocky Mountain region, travel writing, Christianity, or women's ...
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A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading)

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Overview


Like the glorious afterglow so often described in A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains (1879), Isabella Bird's impassioned travelogue continues to delight us as it recounts escapades of blizzards, grizzly bears, and a desperado known as "Mountain Jim." A symbiotic weave of adventure and sentiment, the book recounts the story of an English woman's solo journey from California to Colorado. Whether you're interested in nature, the history of the Rocky Mountain region, travel writing, Christianity, or women's studies, Bird's simple yet provocative letters will entertain your imagination.
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Product Details

Meet the Author


Born in Yorkshire, England, on October 15, 1831, Isabella Lucy Bird could have been described as a rambunctious little girl if it were not for the illness that often confined her to bed. She began traveling in her early twenties as a remedy to her back pain. The letters she sent home to her younger sister, Henrietta, became the source for her travel writings. The first woman to be elected to the Royal Geographical Society, Bird died in Edinburgh, Scotland, on October 7, 1904, with the final observation that she was "going home."
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Table of Contents

Letter I.
Lake Tahoe
Morning in San Francisco
Dust
A Pacific mail train
Digger Indians
Cape Horn
A mountain hotel
A pioneer
A Truckee livery stable
A mountain stream
Finding a bear
Tahoe
Letter II.
A lady's "get-up"
Grizzly bears
The "Gem of the Sierras"
A tragic tale
A carnival of colour
Letter III.
A Temple of Morpheus
Utah
A "God-forgotten" town
A distressed couple
Dog villages
A temperance colony
A Colorado inn
The bug pest
Fort Collins
Letter IV.
A plague of flies
A melancholy charioteer
The Foot Hills
A mountain boarding-house
A dull life
"Being agreeable"
Climate of Colorado
Soroche and snakes
Letter V.
A dateless day
"Those hands of yours"
A Puritan
Persevering shiftlessness
The house-mother
Family worship
A grim Sunday
A "thick-skulled Englishman"
A morning call
Another atmosphere
The Great Lone Land
"Ill found"
A log camp
Bad footing for horses
Accidents
Disappointment
Letter VI.
A bronco mare
An accident
Wonderland
A sad story
The children of the Territories
Hard greed
Halcyon hours
Smartness
Old-fashioned prejudices
The Chicago colony
Good luck
Three notes of admiration
A good horse
The St. Vrain
The Rocky Mountains at last
"Mountain Jim"
A death hug
Estes Park
Letter VII.
Personality of Long's Peak
"Mountain Jim"
Lake of the Lilies
A silent forest
The camping ground
"Ring"
A lady's bower
Dawn and sunrise
A glorious view
Links of diamonds
The ascent of the Peak
The "Dog's Life"
Suffering from thirst
The descent
The bivouac
Letter VIII.
Estes Park
Big game
"Parks" in Colorado
Magnificent scenery
Flowers and pines
An awful road
Our log cabin
Griffith Evans
A miniature world
Our topics
A night alarm
A skunk
Morning glories
Daily routine
The panic
"Wait for the waggon"
A musical evening
Letter IX.
"Please ma'ams"
A desperado
A cattle hunt
The muster
A mad cow
A snow-storm
Snowed up
Birdie
The Plains
A prairie schooner
Denver
A find
Plum Creek
"Being agreeable"
Snowbound
The grey mare
Letter X.
A white world
Bad travelling
A millionaire's home
Pleasant Park
Perry's Park
Stock-raising
A cattle ring
The Arkansas Divide
Birdie's sagacity
Luxury
Monument Park
Deference to prejudice
A death scene
The Manitou
A loose shoe
The Ute Pass
Bergen's Park
A settler's home
Hayden's Divide
Sharp criticism
Speaking the truth
Letter XI.
Tarryall Creek
The Red Range
Excelsior
Unfortunate pedlars Snow and heat
A bison calf
Deep drifts
South Park
The Great Divide
Comanche Bill
Difficulties
Hall's Gulch
A Lord Dundreary
Ridiculous fears
Letter XII.
Deer Valley
Lynch law
Vigilance Committees
The Silver Spruce
Taste and abstinence
The Whisky Fiend
Smartness
Turkey Creek Canyon
The Indian Problem
Public rascality
Friendly meetings
The way to the Golden City
A rising settlement
Clear Creek Canyon
Staging
Swearing
A mountain town
Letter XIII.
The blight of mining
Green Lake
Golden City
Benighted
Vertigo
Boulder Canyon
Financial straits
A hard ride
The last cent
A bachelor's home
"Mountain Jim"
A surprise
A night arrival
Making the best of it
Scanty fare
Letter XIV.
A dismal ride
A desperado's tale
"Lost! Lost! Lost!"
Winter glories
Solitude
Hard times
Intense cold
A pack of wolves
The beaver dams
Ghastly scenes
Venison steaks
Our evenings
Letter XV.
A whisky slave
The pleasures of monotony
The mountain lion
"Another mouth to feed"
A tiresome boy
An outcast
Thanksgiving Day
The new-comer
A literary humbug
Milking a dry cow
Trout-fishing
A snow-storm
A desperado's den
Letter XVI.
A harmonious home
Intense cold
A purple sun
A grim jest
A perilous ride
Frozen eyelids
Longmount
The pathless prairie
Hardships of emigrant life
A trapper's advice
The Little Thompson
Evans and "Jim"
Letter XVII.
Woman's Mission
The last morning
Crossing the St. Vrain
Miller
The St. Vrain again
Crossing the prairie
"Jim's" dream
"Keeping strangers"
The inn kitchen
A reputed child-eater
Notoriety
A quiet dance
"Jim's" resolve
The frost-fall
An unfortunate introduction
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Introduction

INTRODUCTION

Like the glorious afterglow so often described in A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains, Isabella Bird’s impassioned travelogue continues to delight us long after its initial publication in 1879. This series of letters written to her younger sister in Victorian Scotland relishes with detail the pristine landscape of the wild West with its “strictly North American beauty.” A symbiotic weave of adventure and sentiment, the book recounts the story of a woman’s solo journey from California to Colorado. Today, Lake Tahoe and Estes Park are luxurious tourist destinations, but in the late nineteenth century Bird said it was “no region for tourists and women.” The English clergyman’s daughter rigorously travels for days on end without seeing a single person, triumphs over blizzards, encounters snakes and grizzly bears, becomes enraptured by a desperado known as “Mountain Jim,” and leaves behind an eminent legacy. It’s no wonder, the Spectator said, “There never was anybody who had adventures as well as Miss Bird.” Whether you’re interested in nature, the history of the Rocky Mountain region, travel writing, Christianity, women’s studies, or familial relations, Bird’s simple yet provocative letters will entertain your imagination.

The motivation for Isabella Lucy Bird’s life of travel can be found in her roots. Born in Yorkshire, England, on October 15, 1831, Bird could have been described as a rambunctious little girl if it were not for the illness that often confined her to bed. She began traveling in her early twenties when a doctor recommended it as a remedy to her back pain. The letters she sent home to her younger sister, Henrietta, became the source for A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains and other travel writings. Born to Edward Bird, an Anglican pastor of the Church of England, and Dora Lawson, herself a preacher’s daughter, Isabella wrote with a spiritual appreciation for the lands she visited, from Australia to China. Bird lived a life of continual travel and as a result was the first woman to be elected to the Royal Geographical Society. She settled down only for a short time when at fifty years old she married her longtime friend Dr. John Bishop. Bird died in Edinburgh, Scotland, on October 7, 1904, with the final observation that she was “going home.”

Bird never let her physical ailments slow her down. As a child she played just as rough as her cousins when they gathered at her Grandfather Bird’s Taplow House in the summers. Her mind-over-matter attitude was apparently inherited from her father, Edward Bird, whom biographer Pat Barr describes as, "an impulsive, passionate, uncompromising man, his rather frail physique stretched to breaking-point by the demands of his highly-strung temperament." In spite of suffering from back pain at an early age, Isabella and her father would go horseback riding around his parish. This tendency to persevere in physical exercise continued when doctors instructed her to travel to better her health. Bird had a tumor in her spine removed when she was eighteen years old, but her back pain continued. Ironically, Bird’s health improved when she traveled, even though travel was neither as convenient nor comfortable as it is today.

Critics, therefore, have conjectured that Bird’s sickness may have been psychosomatic. Bird traveled much of the time in demanding conditions. In A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains, she describes long days on horseback and treacherous winter conditions, but never complained of health problems. However, research indicates that whenever she returned home Bird would fall ill. The Edinburgh Medical Journal described her as, “The invalid at home, and the Samson abroad.” Bird herself confessed she felt sluggish when at home but that “When I am traveling I don’t feel it, but that is why I can never stay anywhere.” It is possible that, as a woman, Bird simply felt stifled in the oppressive cultural environment of the United Kingdom. Without the opportunity to keep physically busy and experience new adventures, her mind may have focused on the sometimes-negative circumstance of being a woman in Victorian society. While feminism outside of Europe may not have necessarily been more advanced, Bird gained autonomy when she traveled on her own, away from her family and the expectations of those around her. It was to a certain degree necessary for women to be bold initiators in America because the country was younger. Colorado itself was progressive: Having entered the Union in 1876, by 1893 it was the second state to give women the right to vote.

Bird may not have been an outspoken advocate for women’s rights, but her actions clearly indicate her belief that women were capable of taking care of themselves. Traveling on her own to remote parts of the world, where ecological and political conditions were potentially dangerous, Bird exhibited everything from independence and courage to adaptability and street smarts. In East Asia, for example, she escaped a xenophobic Chinese mob that tried to stone her. Although women travelers in the Victorian era had to contend with harsher gender inequality than modern women, little has changed in that women today still face a number of the same issues when they travel independently. Recent books such as Thalia Zepatos’ Journey of One’s Own: Uncommon Advice for the Independent Woman Traveler (1996) and Marybeth Bond’s Gutsy Women: More Travel Tips and Wisdom for the Road (2001) demonstrate what are most frequently considered gender-specific concerns of traveling: sexual harassment, women’s health, safety, as well as how to avoid being ripped off. In A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains even a man considered to be of dodgy character himself warns Bird to “get a revolver,” which indicates that women travelers were not any safer in the nineteenth century than they are in the twenty-first century.

Being an independent traveler was not the only thing that set Bird apart from most women. Bird did not view her femininity in terms of the ability to please a man and produce offspring. While some may argue that her self-reliance stems from the luxury of coming from a family with enough money to support her so that she did not have to marry, as many women of her time period did, it is important to remember that there were, and still are, social stigmas surrounding women who do not start a family. In A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains we encounter Mr. Nugent, better known as Rocky Mountain Jim, who Bird says, “is one of the famous scouts of the Plains, and is the original of some daring portraits in fiction concerning Indian frontier warfare.” Although most critical research suggests mutual admiration between the two, Bird does not obsessively pine over Mountain Jim in the travelogue and instead leaves Colorado without looking back. After returning from one of her trips, and perhaps falling ill again, Bird met Dr. John Bishop in Edinburgh. The two became good friends, but Bird, claiming that there was “no room for a third” in her relationship with her sister, rejected the doctor’s advances. It was only after he had proposed three times and her sister had passed away that Bird married Bishop on March 8, 1881. By the time they married, she was fifty years old and well past childbearing years. When Bishop died five years later, Bird, naturally, returned to her travels.

Still, Bird was a product of her time. After the Times reported that she wore men’s clothes, she wrote a note to the second edition of A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains that defended her “Hawaiian riding dress,” which she claimed not to iron but to bleach, as being “a thoroughly serviceable and feminine costume for mountaineering and other rough travelling in any part of the world.” More telling, Bird wrote passionately about her experience cooking for the men she lived with during a blizzard. Presumably, the men were capable of hunting and cooking when they were on their own in the woods; but with Bird’s arrival the weight of the cooking responsibility fell on her. With detail she described her frustration of cooking for the men with the little resources provided, and she sounds particularly annoyed by the youngest, who although offered no service to the group ravenously ate all their food and tried to coax Bird into making more. At one point, Bird went to the extreme of saying, “I felt like a servant.”

Whether she was climbing mountains or baking cakes, Bird wrote ardently about her experiences in America. She frequently sent home detailed letters describing her adventures, and it was because her friends wanted to know more about her intrepid lifestyle that Bird began publishing these letters. The most frequent recipient of these letters appears to have been her younger sister, Henrietta, whom she referred affectionately to as “Hennie.” According to Bird, Hennie was “the inspiration of all my literary work, my best public, my home and fireside, my most intimate and congenial friend." Despite the sisters’ close bond, they lived apart from each other even when Bird was not traveling. The Bird family had moved to Edinburgh after Edward died, and when their mother died Hennie moved to an island off of Scotland. The letters Bird sent home to her sister were originally published in Leisure Hour in 1878 before becoming the basis for A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains. When the book came out it was met with positive reviews. The San Francisco Chronicle called the book, “a great piece of reporting,” while the Chicago Tribune said, “The book is a jewel case of keen perception, social analysis, and masterful description for this era.” In fact, despite writing many subsequent books about her travels to more exotic locales than the United States, A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains has remained Bird’s most popular work.

Fellow Victorian traveler Mary Kingsley has often overshadowed Bird’s literary stardom, though. While Kingsley’s Travels in West Africa certainly is a valuable opponent for the crown of Victorian travelogues, it was not written until 1897, almost two decades after Bird had paved the path for women travelers with A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains. Perhaps a more worthy rival would be Bird’s predecessor Harriet Martineau, a prominent writer of the 1830s. Like Bird, Martineau started out as a religious writer and overcame a physical disability – deafness – to travel to America. However, Martineau never achieved Bird’s level of esteem in the States because of her harsh criticism of the American way of life. Another important figure in the history of women’s travel writing is Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, who was assailed by popular literary icons Alexander Pope and Horace Walpole in the mid-1700s but who today is recognized as one of the preeminent women of her day. While travel writing has been popular since the days of Herodotus’ Histories (5th century BC) and presumably gained in stature as travel became more accessible, it was by no means the norm for women to travel independently of their families. Bird, therefore was a pioneer, having begun traveling on her own in her early twenties and subsequently traveling under rigorous and dangerous circumstances to remote regions throughout the world.

Although Bird would go on to write almost ten books that were based on her letter writing, the first book she wrote, The Englishwoman in America, was initiated by her father. Edward was curious about the religious temper in North America and encouraged his daughter to travel to Canada and the United States to give a first-hand sociological account. Edward and Isabella had originally planned to collaborate on the project, but Edward passed away leaving Isabella to write the book on her own. Fortunately, Isabella had good family ties and with the help of the wealthy publisher John Murray III she published the book in 1856. It was met with praise and sold well both in Europe and America. Always charitable, Bird reportedly used the proceeds to buy boats for poor fishermen.

In fact, Bird’s Christian upbringing played heavily into her lifework. Her father had a very strict interpretation of the Bible, which apparently did not sit well with the Church of England. After her father lost his position at Tattenhall, Bird, at around eleven years old, became a Sunday School teacher at her father’s new parish in Birmingham, England. The family had to move again when Bird was in her teens because of Edward’s conflicts with this parish. While Bird herself did not envision herself as a preacher, like her father, or a missionary, like some of her relatives, she did believe strongly in performing works of charity. In one letter to her sister she wrote, "If my back gets well enough I seriously think that a servant's place would be the best thing.” Indeed Bird did live according to the Bible’s instructions to serve others, reportedly setting up hospitals in Asia. She furthermore used her literary talents to write religious tracks.

A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains, while not overtly religious, criticizes the idolatry of money over God in the West and indicates the spirituality with which Bird viewed her surroundings. In one beautiful passage, she hikes to the canyons in search of solitude and ponders the words of The Imitation of Christ.  She says, “To be alone in the Park from the afternoon till the last glory of the afterglow has faded, with no books but a Bible and Prayer-book, is truly delightful. No worthier temple for a ‘Te Deum’ or ‘Gloria in Excelsis’ could be found than this ‘temple not made with hands.’” She uses an almost Psalm-like phraseology to describe the mountains, and one cannot help but recall Psalm 50:11, “I know every Bird in the mountains,” (capitalization mine) when thinking of Isabella Bird. Similar to Native-American writing, Bird’s work is imbued with an appreciation for the beauty of God’s creation.

Her love for the outdoors of course connects her not only to the land but furthermore to her horse. By the time she reached adulthood, Bird was renown for her equestrian skills. Even before A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains was published in book form her reputation was growing: “They asked me if I were the English lady written of in the Denver News, and for once I was glad that my fame had preceded me, as it seemed to secure me against being quietly ‘put out of the way.’” This is not to say, however, that her travels on horseback were not without incident. After she is bucked off a half-broken bronco mare, Bird describes her flesh as being “crushed into jelly,” but goes on to say she does not want anyone “making a fuss” over her.

By the third printing of the book in 1880, however, the Manifest Destiny so prevalent in America had visibly changed the landscape of the West that Bird had visited just seven years earlier. She writes in the note to the third edition that with the establishment of permanent housing where there was once natural woods “the footprints of elk and bighorn may be searched for in vain on the dewy grass of Estes Park.” The desecration of America’s landscape and animals – the near-extinction of the buffalo is a popular example of the extreme influence settlers had on the West – had a profound impact on environmental laws and the setting aside of national lands in the early twentieth century. In less than a hundred years from the publication of A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains, the landscape of literature would vastly change from that of the great outdoors to that of a postmodern city. The sorrowfulness of modern technology’s destruction of nature is eloquently described by Beat-poet Allen Ginsberg, who like Bird spent time writing in San Francisco and Denver, when in his 1955 poem Sunflower Sutra he asks a sunflower that is dying against a smoggy sunset, “when did you forget you were a flower?” Bird’s work therefore acts as an important reminder of the untamed West of America’s youth.

Back in the 1800s when she was writing to her sister, Bird probably never imagined the popularity she still has with the masses today. A women’s clothing line for The Territory Ahead Stores (TTA) have even been inspired by Bird, and Bruce Willard, president and founder of TTA catalog company, refers to her as Mark Twain’s alter ego. (Twain wrote a travelogue about the West called Roughing It in 1872.) Furthermore, she has a strong presence on the Internet, with websites devoted to her work and personality. Her writings have been converted even into eBook platforms, making it easy for travelers to read her work en-route. As part of their Book Groups on the Road trip to Colorado, BookWomen Center for Feminist Reading initiated discussions about A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains. Importantly, women aren’t just admiring Bird from afar – they’re blazing their own paths. The women’s travel-writing industry has grown increasingly, with such books as Bad Girl’s Guide to the Open Road (Cameron Tuttle; 1999) and Sand in My Bra and Other Misadventures: Funny Women Write from the Road (Ed. Jennifer Leo; 2003). Furthermore, in 2003, a report by New York University indicated that in America women were estimated to make up 40 percent of business travelers. It’s without a doubt that Isabella Bird impacted woman’s place in the world at large.

Stephanie Nikolopoulos is an editor at Barnes & Noble Books. Her writing has appeared in newspapers and magazines throughout the United States.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 48 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(18)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(9)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 48 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2004

    What a wonderful experience!

    I loved this book. I was taking a trip to Lake Tahoe and happened upon this. The first chapters tell how she came to Truckee and went to see Lake Tahoe. Then she moved on to the Rockies. What an experience to travel alone, as a women, in the 1870's in such a rural and un-explored place. It made me want to go there, though my experience will be vastly different. It took her days and days to get up to Long's Peak in Colorado, whereas now it's a short trip on an interstate. She wrote about spending the winter with some miner's at the base of Long's Peak. You must understand, the writing style of that time was somewhat archaic by today's standards, but it was still very enjoyable indeed....

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The Unflappable Ms. Bird

    Why did this truly remarkable woman ride 800 miles in 1873 through the Rocky Mountains in the dead of winter alone? She like many in England suffering from a damp climate came for the "camp cure" of the thin dry air of Colorado. But, beyond that she was mesmerized by the sublimity and ethereal beauty of the place. She stayed with families leading hard lives of subsistence, living in un-chinked log cabins where snow settled on her bed over the night. She lent a hand in all endeavors; herding cattle, baking bread, washing dishes and clothes. Observations made to her sister in a series of letters are telling. A hard working lack luster lifestyle spiced with tales of adventure from hunters, trappers around the fire in the evening become her routine. A desperado named Mountain Jim became her guide and companion on many of her rides through country she describes with the passion of the devout. In her lifetime Ms. Bird traveled extensively writing letters from the Sandwich Islands, China, India and other exotic realms before she passed at 73. I truly admire this plucky lady's zest for life and true Brit grit.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A rare view of early Colorado life from a most unlikely perspective

    Ms Bird took could have stayed in England, burdened by some sort of sickness and most likely died a lonely, unhappy British subject. Instead she got out of the sickbed and travelled the world. After more than twenty years of roaming the world she happened onto North America. San Francisco, to be exact, and this is where this story starts. She makes her way to Truckee and takes a horseback tour you can actually see via her ability to paint pictures with words. From there she travels over the Rocky Mountains to the plains just east of the Front Range. The meat of this story takes place along the Front Range from Estes Park south to South Park and the frontier town of Colorado Springs. Her best companion is her well-loved Indian bronco, Birdie. A tough and smart little horse that got her through adventures most of us today would never consider. She engages we readers with her word painting that leave you breathless. The trip up Long's Peak in what is now a prominent feature of the Rocky Mountain National Park is a piece of descriptive literature readers will remember. I found myself not wanting the story to end. I did not want Ms Bird to leave the Rockies and most of all, I did not want her to leave that faithful little Birdie. I am glad I found this book. I am glad I found Ms Bird and if you enjoy well written literature this will be a page turner you won't want to end either.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2005

    What a life, what a woman.

    Excellent reading. Bird captures a vivid slice of life (circa 1873) among a diverse community of settlers throughout the Rocky Moutains. She's a refined young British woman who matter of factly documents her experiences via letters to her sister. The descriptions of her 'ordinary' days are incomprehesible to men and women alive today. Even better, her use of the English language is exquisite - it's worth reading the book just to savor this.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 28, 2012

    The tireless and graceful Isabella Bird, one of my British heroes

    Unlike many epistolary novels, "A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains" never once becomes dull, overly familiar, or self-indulgent. Isabella L. Bird recounts her travels across America, paricularly across the Colorado Rockies, with a deft, witty hand. She exposes phony cowboys and uppity housewives alike; never cruelly, just cleverly, with an educated observer's eye. For anyone who loves history, and the history of interesting Brits traveling alone in America, this book is a must read. I could go and on about her resilience and dedication to writing letters home (despite failing winter light, frozen ink and blizzards cutting off the mail), but I'll just say, if you want to learn about the mining and mountain towns of early Colorado territory, and enjoy one of the most interesting ladies of the 19th century, look no further.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2011

    A Bad Copy!

    Don't download this to your Nook! It's a poorly transcribed copy of the 1886 original. Numerous word errors to the point of it not making sense. Now I know why it was free.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 6, 2011

    Okay.......

    I found the beginning very distracting. I couldnt get past the first few pages. I dont recommend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2011

    Very Disappointing!

    I bought this book because it was selected by my book club. It has so many typos in it that it is quite difficult to read. You constantly have to reread sentences to make sure you have figured out the meaning. Good luck - maybe it will be corrected by the time you wish to read it!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 24, 2011

    GREAT perspective for history fans!

    HI to all - ILBird's book is one of those marvellous looks at the places we live in, know, and love; during a long-past time and in a long-gone condition we'll never get to see. It ranks with Brewer's 'Up and Down California...' for vivid description of life in those times. If you've ever been to a place which preserves a slice of life in the pioneering times of our country, here is a fascinating sense of what that life was really like.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 12, 2011

    So engrossing!

    I learned so much about the 1800's American West while enjoying a great story. I was inspired by the author's determination and humility.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2014

    Drug on tediously.

    Tiresome

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2014

    could not read

    Quit trying at page 12, of which ten were chapters, etc

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2013

    A True Adventure

    Isabella is a woman ahead of her time. What an adventure! Fascinating reading written by a fascinating woman.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2013

    unparraled in scope and descriptive wording

    Reveals much of a woman's inner strength perservance and survival in an unearthly cold frontier environment

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2013

    Excellent book

    I lovedthis book. It was welled thought out and well prosuced. Also i loved the details Birdie incorperated in this well published nonfiction book. So this is all i am going to say because i dont want to give out any detail out. And just saying no one likes a spoil alerter. Well i just hope you enjoyed this book better than i did.
    Marta Bayan

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  • Posted May 17, 2013

    The main character in this story traveled some of the most beaut

    The main character in this story traveled some of the most beautiful trails in the mountains. She tried to use some of the words the way they spoke them back then making it hard to read. I did not get the excitement that I thought I should. Also I found it to be a very slow read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2013

    Ok

    It was a great and very detailed book. It was detailed when she wrote about Lake Thoa. The only problem is i bought the sample and then bought the whole book it had the same about of pages of the sample.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2013

    Worst

    No way

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  • Posted January 25, 2013

    Isabella Bird's indomitable spirit and fortitude in realizing he

    Isabella Bird's indomitable spirit and fortitude in realizing her dream of visiting Estes Park astonish me. Though life was hard and comforts few, it was also safer in many ways, as shown in her relationship with the desperado she meets on finally entering Estes Park . I can't imagine bearing the cold, ice, snow, etc. 
    Bird's descriptions of sunrises and vistas tell me she studied art, knew pigments, and appreciated all she experienced.
    Bird did not fit in with Victorian England's restrictions on women, so traveled to Japan, Hawaii, New Zealand, and acquired many useful skills. That she remained long after the weather turned, after all other women had moved to the plains, is remarkable. Her 800 miles of travel on unmarked trails, on a sturdy horse she named after herself, to Colorado Springs, makes a suspenseful story. 
    I was just in Colorado, in January, and the climate is so different. There's only 50% of the normal snowpack, and none at all on the plains; temperatures have been abnormally high. And there's smog above Denver.

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  • Posted February 6, 2012

    distracting formatting

    tbis would have been much more interesting to me if the formatting had not been horrendous. multiple errors and spelling problems, not attributed to the author, I'm sure. BN could have done a better job with this.

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