Page:Memoirs of Henry Villard, volume 1.djvu/138

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islands appeared to right and left, while inverted mountain chains inspired us with awe. The illusive effects were truly wonderful.

Towards noon on the sixth day from Leavenworth, I noticed afar off to the southwest what seemed to be at first a cloud in a clear sky. I soon recognized it as a mountain peak, and judged, from the direction, that it could be no other than that named after Pike, the explorer. So it was, the great landmark thus showing itself in the rare atmosphere at a distance of not less than one hundred and fifty miles. I felt quite exalted by the sight. Within a few hours, another peak became visible to the northwest, which I took to be the twin of the other, named after Pike's associate Long. Before dark, many more summits directly to the west loomed up, indicating the outlines of the main chain of the Rocky Mountains.

An extraordinary incident occurred at the last night-station. The man in charge related to us that five days before, while hunting antelopes, he had suddenly discovered, a few miles from the station, five bodies of white men, four of them with broken skulls and otherwise mutilated. On closer examination, he found that there was still life in the uninjured one. He hurried back to the station for a wagon and fetched him into camp. It was evident that want of food and drink had brought the survivor, who was a very skeleton, to the point of death. Careful nursing revived him so far that he was able to relate how he got into his sad plight. He and twenty others, all from Northern Illinois, had left Kansas City six weeks before for Pike's Peak. They had, like so many others, foolishly concluded, on the recommendations of some reckless newspapers, to follow the example of the Mormon emigrants to Utah in crossing the Plains with small carts moved by hand. Thus equipped, they travelled up the Kansas River, and got along rapidly and without mishap to the point, two hundred miles west of Fort Riley, where the road ended. Thence they undertook to cut across the country for Cherry