Self-Portrait

I must pack my short life full of interesting events and creative activity. Philosophy and aesthetic contemplation are not enough. I intend to do everything possible to broaden my experiences and allow myself to reach the fullest development. Then, and before physical deterioration obtrudes, I shall go on some last wilderness trip, to a place I have known and loved. I shall not return. 

~ Everett Ruess, letter dated May 2, 1931

Cimarron National Grassland, Kansas

(Much more on Everett coming up in next Sunday’s post…)

View from the Saddle

It is difficult to make this anything of a letter. I have been riding for a whole week, seeing wonders and greatly enjoying the singular adventurousness and novelty of my tour, but ten hours or more daily spent in the saddle in this rarefied, intoxicating air, disposes one to sleep rather than to write in the evening, and is far from conducive to mental brilliancy. The observing faculties are developed, and the reflective lie dormant.

~ Isabella Bird, letter dated October 28, 1873

Larimer County, Colorado

~

Nearly 150 years have passed since Isabella Bird explored the Colorado Territory on horseback. Having traveled much of the same ground myself in recent years, I’m happy to say that a great deal of the area’s wild beauty is still with us.

Isabella’s letters about her adventures are collected in the book A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains.

(Posts about my library are archived through this link: ridingwithcarl.wordpress.com/tag/library.)

Coming & Going

One of the many joys of spending time on the Great Plains is the opportunity to observe the sky on a grand scale. I find it fascinating to see weather events forming while still many miles away, and to witness the often dramatic interplay of clouds, colors, darkness and light—always changing, never the same show twice. On this day, we watched as a spring shower approached rapidly from the northwest…

32 minutes later—a look at the cell’s backside as it passed to the southeast…

And two minutes after that…

As I’ve said before, standing on the prairie makes you feel tiny.

Weld County, Colorado

(These prints and many others may be purchased at gallery.ridingwithcarl.com.)