A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains

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Overview

Isabella Bird, an Englishwoman whose extensive travels and writings earned her the first female membership of the Royal Geographic Society, visited the Rocky Mountains alone during the autumn of 1873. A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains, gives a fascinating description of life in the untamed Colorado Territory at a time when it was only notionally under the control of the American authorities, having been brutally seized from the Indians.Her intrepid journeys through remote areas are relayed in the form of ...
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A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading)

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Overview

Isabella Bird, an Englishwoman whose extensive travels and writings earned her the first female membership of the Royal Geographic Society, visited the Rocky Mountains alone during the autumn of 1873. A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains, gives a fascinating description of life in the untamed Colorado Territory at a time when it was only notionally under the control of the American authorities, having been brutally seized from the Indians.Her intrepid journeys through remote areas are relayed in the form of fluent, achingly beautiful, highly spirited letters written to her sister. They tell of magnificent unspoiled landscapes, of small remote townships, of her encounters with rattlesnakes, wolves, pumas and grizzly bears and her reactions to the volatile pioneer settlers as they came to terms with their isolation, poverty and difficulties as immigrants in the wake of the Civil War. These letters, first published in 1879, were enormously popular in Bird's own lifetime and remain as wonderfully vivid and powerful as ever.Stanfords Travel Classics feature some of the finest historical travel writing in the English language, with authors hailing from both sides of the Atlantic.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781906780081
  • Publisher: John Beaufoy Publishing
  • Publication date: 10/1/2009
  • Series: Stanfords Travel Classics
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 529,251
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Isabella Bird was a nineteenth century English explorer,writer,and natural historian whose extensive travels and writings earned her the first female membership of the Royal Geographical Society.In 1879 she visited Malaya, Singapore, Indo-China and Hong Kong, writing 23 letters home to her sister Hennie in Scotland, and naming the collection The Golden Chersonese, the ancient Greek name for the Malay Peninsula.
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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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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....

    6 out of 6 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.

    5 out of 5 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.

    5 out of 5 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.

    4 out of 4 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.

    3 out of 3 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.

    3 out of 5 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!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2014

    could not read

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

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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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.

    1 out of 1 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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  • 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 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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