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On the Frontier:

An Extensive View

We gaze in the direction of the river's course. The view is boundless. The whole country slopes gradually away in a bird's-eye panorama of mountain-chains and intervening valleys; the mountains lessening, and the valleys widening, as they succeed each other in endless rotation. Through the centre of the picture flows the stately river itself; its flanking heights receding farther and farther from its banks ; its " bottoms " widening and enlarging into plains, it winds its way along in many a glistening coil, like some gigantic, endless, silvery anaconda gliding into immensity. Our gaze follows its course until at last mountains and valleys " bottoms " and river, are merged together in one misty gray, and then blend with the blue of heaven. The horizon is too far off for man's unaided vision to detect its line.

The actual extent of the view, the distance to where a straight line firom our eyes to the horizon would touch the earth, I have no means of estimating. I have been told by persons upon whose statements I habitually relied, that smoke from the funnel of the steamer which occasionally brings supplies to Fort Mojave from the Gulf of California, has been seen here, while she was yet sixty miles off. A hard statement to credit, but the air is wonderfully clear in this excessively dry climate, and I have no doubt that the line of horizon is much farther off than that. I know, on approaching the Rocky Mountains from the east, crossing the so-called Great American Plain, the summits of those mountains first appear above your horizon, looking like the tops of thunder-clouds, when you are yet at a distance of a hundred and eighty miles from the base of the range, while, from such base, those summits are forty to fifty miles still further back. I can vouch for this, since I have seen them from there often, and that too with sufficient clearness to recognise and point out, by name, to accompanying strangers the well-known peaks; and I am certain of the distance, having myself measured it. And now I have brought you from fair California to the Colorado. We have travelled together a rough and rugged road, but not beset with danger, for an old hand has led the party, and a gallant escort protected it. Had it been otherwise, we might have left our bones to bleach, as many an honest miner, many a venturesome "tenderfoot," good man and true, has done. There are more graves and more charred ruins on the route than attention has been drnwn to. Why should we have made ourselves sad ?

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