Page:Memoirs of Henry Villard, volume 1.djvu/154

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spectors who had made original discoveries and come to Cherry Creek to obtain supplies and implements for developing them. But several times also I started out with exploring parties without any definite destination. I likewise revisited established mining-camps, like Gregory's, at intervals. In this way the range of my observations extended from Long's Peak to Pike's Peak on the eastern as well as on the western slope of the mountains. I crossed and recrossed the main crest of the mountains repeatedly. I visited those beautiful, all but circular valleys, consisting of mountain meadows dotted with pines singly and in groups, traversed by rushing mountain-streams and surrounded by snow-capped mountains, known as the South, Middle, and North Parks. These trips, while involving sometimes great hardships, never failed to be enjoyable from beginning to end. I think of them even now with rekindled enthusiasm. The contact with primitive nature in its sublimest forms had something inspiring. We travelled every day just as long and as far as we liked. We took ample time for everything for admiring natural wonders, for enjoying the scenery, for fishing and hunting, and for prospecting. The streams were full of trout and the valleys of elk and deer. We frequently met great herds of elk. We always slept on the ground—and such restful sleep we had, from ten to twelve hours every night! I could name half a dozen flourishing Colorado towns on the sites of which I camped before they were even “taken up.” We did our cooking by turns, and rich feasts we had on trout and game. Altogether, I was always sorry when my journalistic duties compelled me to return to Cherry Creek to work up new material into my regular reports.

Yet, in Denver and Auraria, life was also growing from day to day more active, varied, and interesting. They both made astonishing strides. A number of portable saw-mills had arrived, and were furnishing an ample supply of building-material. Hardware for buildings and ready-made windows and doors were also landed by the wagon-