A few days have passed between letters. Isabella is now in Great Platte Canyon.
She warns her sister that the letters will be very dull from here on out. By the time Isabella rides all day, eats supper, looks after Birdie, hears about routes and weather, and collects the “pastoral, agricultural, mining, and hunting gossip of the neighborhood,” there isn’t much time left for writing. Somehow, she has managed to pack quite a bit of intriguing content into this very long letter.*
Before she left Longmount, she met a man who had been a Confederate colonel. She did not care for him. “[He] made a most unfavorable impression upon me, and it was a great annoyance to me when he presented himself on horse-back to guide me ‘over the most intricate part of the journey.’ Solitude is infinitely preferable to uncongeniality,** and is bliss when compared with repulsiveness, so I was thoroughly glad when I got rid of my escort and set out upon the prairie alone."***
She was told to steer south and stay on the beaten track for her ride to Denver, which is “very little settled, and with trails going in all directions.” It was an easy, if dull, ride. There were herds of cattle, then herds of horses, and rolling waves of tall, brown grass.
“Occasionally, I met a horsemen with a rifle lying across his saddle, or a wagon of the ordinary sort, but oftener I saw a wagon with a white tilt, of the kind known as the ‘Prairie Schooner,’ laboring across the grass, or a train of them, accompanied by herds, mules, and horsemen, bearing emigrants and their household goods in dreary exodus from the Western States to the much-vaunted prairies of Colorado.”
* I’ll be breaking it up because reading all of it on social media would be headache-inducing.
** truer words have never been written.
*** she does not explain exactly how she got rid of him, unfortunately. I want to know her ways.