1881: Virginia City – Bozeman

August 1881

The next day the journey already continues at four in the morning. Due to the steep path we have to leave the carriage and walk for one hour up a high hill. Then the carriage takes us through narrow valleys to the Meadow Creek, which is running through a wide and fertile valley. At 8 o’clock we arrive at the Meadow Creek Station where we have an excellent breakfast, whose price of one dollar shows it, too. We are in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, the peaks of the highest mountains we see, are covered with snow. The valleys which we are driving through now, along the Meadow Creek, the Madison and the Gallatin River, seem to be very fertile. Gorgeous looking, well-fed cattle, like I had never seen before, are to be seen on the grazing-land.

The journey soon takes us by several gold panning claims which seemed to be exploited. One can tell that we are in the area of Montana which is rich in ore. At lunch we arrive at the Madison River, which is about as wide as the River Mosel, running along wide meadows. We soon cross the river and arrive in Elk Creek at 4 o’clock, where one traveler leaves us. Here we turn out of the wide Madison Valley. It goes on over several hills, towards a different valley, which we arrive at in Gallatin-Bridge in the evening. The three rivers Gallatin, Madison and the Jefferson in the West unite in Gallatin and converge to form the Missouri River, the longest river in North America, which in St. Louis feeds an incredible amount of water to the Mississippi River.

After the car change there, we continued our journey towards our destination on an open wagon, loaded with boxes and luggage. From time to time, we see, in considerable distance, several geysers illuminated by bright moonshine: we are close to Yellowstone National Park with its odd natural-phenomena. The geysers are hot springs whose eruptions are 40 to 60 meters high and happen in partially regular, and partially un-regular periods of time. The mild moonlit night encourages me to sing. After humming only quietly, I realize that my seat-neighbor, who is sitting on the same box as me, knows the German student-songs as well. Soon, many folk- and student songs which are full-throatily sung by two Germans, sound through the quiet summer night. My brother in singing is a Californian of good education, born to German parents somewhere abroad, raised in Germany and apparently working as German Consul or Consular officer.

Finally, at 10 ½ in the evening, we arrive in Bozeman, the final destination of my journey. From New York until here I had covered a distance of about 3200 miles or 5150 kilometers, while the distance from the English harbor Southampton to New York is only 3100 miles.

translated by Julia Stehlau-Jacobs

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