Yellowstone Park Romance: Day 8

February 08, 2015 Posted by: Jessica Gerdes, Librarian

This beautiful view of Jupiter Terrace is a scan from a lantern slide in the museum collection, YELL 15837.

This beautiful view of Jupiter Terrace is a scan from a lantern slide in the museum collection, YELL 15837.



Dear Elsie:—

Having reached the destination of my fifth day’s journey in Yellowstone, I will endeavor to continue my custom of describing, briefly, my daily journey, that you may see thru my eye and hear thru my ear—not that I hope to satisfy your travel-hunger, but that you may receive, at least, a faint idea of the Park ere you visit it yourself. 

I have just learned that Mr. RuDell’s “college friend” is a “dashing young widow”—and I ween that accounts for her winsomeness.  Elsewise, why is it a fact that a widow is the chosen queen of all romance of actuality?  It seems that a widow can “pizen” her husband or separate thru the divorce courts, and then instantly, at one bound, leap to the top of the list of greater matrimony eligible.  No insinuation on the “college friend” widow; I am speaking in general.




This beautiful forest road has led us in the early hours of the day’s journey past “The Wedded Trees” by the road-side.  Two tall trees—the larger representing the man; the smaller, the woman, are united by an ingrowing limb about fifteen feet from the ground.  The union is most smooth and perfect, and interestingly unique.  I suppose “The Wedded Trees” were very suggestive to “the gentleman hobo” and the widow who passed the point of interest in the stage just in front of ours.

She seems to already have him as securely as the two trees have each other; and, of course, I wish them luck.

Farther along we passed the Virginia Cascade on the left—a silver stream dropping down a gentle stone slope many feet to the deep, rugged valley, and thence following between great, high banks dotted with queerly shaped formations of stone and distantly bordered by the beautiful green of pine.  During the whole Park trip, I have seen thousands of the less fa-




mous little animals—squirrels, and chipmunks—darting amid rocks, running across the road, standing upon logs and leaping amid the pines.  En route, farther along to the left, we passed the twin lakes—the first one being the prettiest, truest blue I have ever seen.  About 100 yards away we came to the other twin—rightly named because of size-sameness, but the latter being, instead of blue, a true green.

Near the road-side, to the right, we passed “Roaring Mountain”—a mountain-side covered with small geysers, steaming and spitting, rumbling, growling and roaring.  I have noticed many private tents near the road-side—and these citizens are called “sage-brushers.”

I half long to become a “sage-brusher” myself, to live the whole season in Yellowstone, where all the privileges of the Park are just as free to the humble as to the great.

Over the beautiful arch at Gardiner, the north entrance, a welcome is extended to every citizen, in these good words: “Yellowstone Na-




tional Park, created by Act of Congress, March 1, 1872, For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People.”

I, as one, feel very grateful for the free privileges of this National Playground of the country, which I love, and of which I am a part.  I am glad that notwithstanding arguments to the contrary, women can be as patriotic as men.

Farther along, to the left of the road, we passed the “Beaver Dams”—actually built by these most cunning of all animal artisans—built of brush, mud, saplings and other material, and the workmanship of which puts that of man to shame.  They have their home far beneath the river-bed of the dam—and so winding, numerous and deceitful are the undertrails to their dens, that man finds it difficult to locate their abode.  They seemed to use the dam of their workmanship as the play-house as well as entrance to their mysterious home.  How they have cut and felled the trees—placing them as if by human skill—is both a puzzle and a proof of their genius.




We lunched here at the “Swan Lake Camp,” and left about 1:30, en route to Mammoth Hot Springs at which point of interest we remained till three o’clock in the afternoon.  Then we started back to the “Swan Lake Camp,” where I am spending my last night in the Park.

The drive to Mammoth Hot Springs is a delightful one—winding for a while along Glen Creek, passing Rustic Falls, thru the Golden Gate, then thru the Silver Gate, in view of splendid snow-clad mountains to the distant left, with Bunsen Peak to the right, and then thru a great hill-side of thousands of huge stones of various shapes and sizes—called the “Hoodoos” viewing a herd of buffalo to the right far down in the valley, and then out of the stage to walk over the great formation of many colors, viewing the Mammoth Hot Springs, the two special ones being massive boiling pools of beautiful water, one spotted with colors of sky-blue, deep blue, pale green, yellow, brown and red and having a depth of about 14 feet.  The




Other spring or pool, not many feet away, appeared to be filled with one color of solid blue, boiling hot—and a formation at the bottom representing beautiful rolling clouds of soft blue.  The “Jupiter Terrace” and other note-worthy points of interest, too difficult to describe, and the several buildings (almost a little town) help to make the stop at Mammoth Hot Springs a delightful one.

We returned to the “Swan Lake Camp” at five o’clock this afternoon—it being the destination of my fifth day’s journey in this unique land of beauty and wonders.

My new friend—the Mr. RuDell, and the widow and “sticking close together,” and I suppose I shall not have the opportunity of even bidding him a long farewell.

Elsie, you can sympathize with me, but not every woman can.  While I do not hope for it, yet I greatly desire to talk with him just once more ere we part forever.  I dislike to have so pleasant an acquaintanceship broken so abrupt-




ly.  It were better we had not met, for when expectations wither like flowers, and hope dies after “the withering,” life ceases to be a song of joy.

As my visit is nearing an end, you may expect to see me in the not distant future.




In a lead up to that most romantic day of the year, February 14th, we will be continuing William Popham’s 1911 book, “Yellowstone Park Romance.” If you do not see any new posts, you may need to refresh your browser page. Images are taken from the Yellowstone Park Museum. They may not have been taken in 1911 but we hope that they help to illustrate the author’s wonderfully descriptive prose.Please note that many of the practices the author writes about (including feeding the animals or tramping near certain features) are no longer allowed today.

 Return to Day 7

Proceed to Day 9

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Last updated: November 30, 2015

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