Returned from the far south, and in camp. In camp at the timber line on Tchastel's side, awaiting the nightfall, and through the long afternoon gazing out over a wealth of scenery not in word power to paint. To the north "Goose Nest" mountain, its crater ever full of fleecy snow, rears itself aloft eleven thousand feet. Down yonder in that gemlike valley is the lovely town of Sissons; down, to our traveler, albeit on a plane seven thousand feet above the ocean. Night. But not in a tent door. No, on muleback, he and a companion are toiling upwards. There is no moon, no wind, no sound, save a few strange noises arising from the nether regions. No moon, yet plenty of light, since the snow seems self luminous, so that objects appear against it in sharp silhouette. How black the bleak rocks and ledges! And those glimmerings of light afar in the night, what are they? Lamps; lamps miles away, thousands of feet lower, yet in seeming not so far off. It is cold; oh, so frightfully cold, numbing the mind! And still-as the grave. No sounds now arise to the ear; 'tis too high for aught save silence. So cold; and yet midday sun heats reflect from the snows as from a mirror, and then the temperature if fearful to feel, yet the snow melts not. Here is a hot, sulphur spring, one-thousand feet below the apex. Warm your chilled hands in the hot mud, wipe them quickly, lest they freeze, and climb on. Your eyes, could you see them, congested as they are in the rarefied atmosphere, the color of liver, would horrify you. Your breathing pains you; your heartbeats sound like the thuds of a piledriver; your throat is afire from thirst. No matter; here is the top! Two o'clock a. m. in July, 188-. As yet no light, but faint dawn. But ere long the soul is awestricken by a weird glow in the cut, which lights nothing. The beholders
are filled with a strange disquiet; see the waxing light, and--in a fearful wonder, almost terror---see the great sun, scarce heralded by the aerial rarity, spring from. beneath the horizon. Yet all below is in "the darkest hour before the dawn." No ridges, no hills appear, no valleys, nothing but "night's deep darkness." We seem to have lost the world, and, for the nonce, are free of time! The planet is swallowed up, leaving the mountain top's half acre sole visible spot of all the Universe, save only the fearful splendor of Helios. Understand now, for you may, the sensations of Campbell's "last man." The world all gone, and self and comrade alone on a small spot in midair, whereon the almost rayless sun casts cold beams of strange, weird brightness. Look north. Afar in the night axe four cones of light, Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, Mt. Tacoma, and St. Helen's tall torch, all peers of our Ieka. As the Day King soars higher lesser peaks appear, then long black ridges, ranges of vast extent, begin near by, only to lose themselves in distant darkness.
Now the void of night vanishes, hills stand forth, silvery spots and streaks appear as the dawn lights lakes and rivers, and at last, no fog obscuring, in the distant west, seventy miles away, is seen a great gray plain, the Pacific's broad expanse. To the south, interrupted streaks of silver show where flow Pitt and Sacramento rivers, while over two hundred miles away behold an indentation of California's central coast, marking the Golden Gate, and San Francisco's world-famed bay.