Synopses & Reviews
In 1872, Isabella Bird, daughter of a clergyman, set off alone to the Antipodes 'in search of health' and found she had embarked on a life of adventurous travel. In 1873, wearing Hawaiian riding dress, she rode her horse through the American Wild West, a terrain only newly opened to pioneer settlement. The letters that make up this volume were first published in 1879. They tell of magnificent, unspoiled landscapes and abundant wildlife, of encounters with rattlesnakes, wolves, pumas and grizzly bears, and her reactions to the volatile passions of the miners and pioneer settlers. A classic account of a truly astounding journey.
"This book is a jewel case of keen perception, social analysis, and masterful description for this era." Chicago Tribune
"Delightful letters by an English spinster who recorded a considerable portion of the real West." Saturday Review
"In its simple and disarming style, it is a great piece of reporting on a rugged frontier." San Francisco Chronicle
In the autumn of 1873, Isabella Bird embarked by rail from San Francisco's east bay, bound for the Colorado Rockies. A challenging journey, it drove Bird to the utmost physical effort and initiated her lifelong career in what today is called adventure travel. More than one hundred twenty years after their first publication, Isabella Bird's letters to her sister continue to thrill readers with their account of the then-untamed and largely unknown American mountain wilderness.
Women were scarce enough in the West of the late nineteenth century, and a middle-ages English lady traveling alone, by horseback, was a real phenomenon. It was during the autumn and early winter of 1873 that Isabella Bird made this extended tour of the Rocky Mountain area of Colorado, when she was on her way back to England from the Sandwich Islands. What she called "no region for tourists and women" is today a popular resort, through some of the back trails retain their inaccessibility and wild aspect.