V THE RUDE HAND OF MAN:
The Ludlow Reconnaissance of 1875 (continued)
St. Paul, 1876
The region included within the limits of the Yellowstone Park is, for its area, the most interesting in the world. It is situated at the very heart of the continent, where the hidden pulses can, as it were, be seen and felt to beat, and the closely written geological pages constitute a book which, being interpreted, will expose many of the mysterious operations of nature. My own interest in this land of wonder is so keen as to lead me again to hope that it will be protected from the vandalism from which it has already suffered, and that the suggestion of an accurate topographical and geological survey, to complete the work so well inaugurated by Professor Hayden, may be made the subject of favorable consideration and recommendation by the Chief of Engineers.
The trail led us on up the valley, past two ranches, from which supplies were obtained, to within a few miles of Gardiner's River. At this point it leaves the valley of the Yellowstone, and, over a hilly route, passes across the angle between the two streams, until, at the farther side of a level, well-grassed piece of prairie, it reaches the valley in which the Mammoth Hot Springs are situated. The rain had descended heavily all the afternoon and continued into the night.
August 14  The day opened wet but cleared in a few hours. A thorough examination was made of the springs, which well repaid it.
They have been already described with great particularity and minuteness in the reports of Dr. Hayden and Captain Jones, and a few words of description from me will suffice.
This remark is not to be confined to the locality of the springs, but must be understood as applying, and in a still greater degree, to the whole park, of which I shall not even attempt a full description, but content myself with recording only a few of the more prominent and enduring impressions received in our hurried visit.
Pressed for time, with other work to do, our constant idea was one of eager haste, and we passed rapidly from place to place, thoroughly enjoying every hour, but always with some new wonder in advance, to divert our attention and to draw us on.
The park scenery, as a whole, is too grand, its scope too immense, its details too varied and minute, to admit of adequate description, save by some great writer, who, with mind and pen equally trained, could seize upon the salient points, and, with just discrimination, throw into proper relief the varied features of mingled grandeur, wonder, and beauty.
The Mammoth Hot Springs are the first point of interest in the park, the northern boundary of which was crossed yesterday some miles back. They occupy a small valley, discharging eastward into that of Gardiner's River, and which the spring deposits have partly filled. Our camp was pleasantly situated in the valley below the springs, among trees growing out of these deposits, in which occasional pits and holes 15 to 20 feet in depth existed. Above the camp rose the extinct spring, called, from the shape of the mausoleum which it had itself constructed, the "Liberty Cap, or "Giant's Thumb," and beyond this again a succession of terraces, rising to a height of some 200 feet, dazzling white in the sun, indicated the presence of the active springs, which indeed had all along been evident enough from the vast clouds of vapor constantly arising. The terraces exhibited great variety and beauty of form, much enhanced by the quivering and sheeny effect of the thin descending sheets of water.
The material is a carbonate of lime, deposited by the cooling of the waters, of a nearly pure white, and while wet of a moderate hardness. Upon drying, the deposit becomes soft and friable, and a hunting knife could be easily plunged into it to the hilt. The main springs occupy the upper portion of the terrace, and spread out into large limpid pools of a superb blue tint, boiling violently in places and emitting clouds of steam. Overflowing the pools, the waters escape down the face of the terraces, and in cooling gradually part with the carbonate held in solution, making constant additions to the ornamentations of the surfaces, and constructing scalloped pools and "bath-tubs" of every form and temperature.
The whole vicinity of the springs returns a hollow echo to the tread, highly suggestive of the pit-falls beneath. The party, however, overran the neighborhood, at first with tentative step, and afterward with all confidence, no accident occurring. Remains of extinct springs abound above and below the active ones, while still others in full flow exist near the river's edge.
The grass in the valley of the springs is poor, but on the small prairie above is excellent. Wood and cold water are sufficiently abundant and convenient.
There are two "ranches" near the springs, which do duty as "hotels," and are available for the use of travelers.
August 15 Wagons can be taken as far as the springs without much difficulty; the road having been made entirely practicable, though of an occasionally undesirable steepness. At the springs, however, wheels must be abandoned, and everything carried upon pack-animals.
The odometer-cart was left behind, both on account of the difficulty of getting it along and the danger of rendering it unfit for use on the return trip to Carroll. The mean solar chronometer was left with it, in charge of the "hotel"-keeper, and the sidereal was rolled in a bundle of bedding, and intrusted to the somewhat uncertain fortunes of the packs. All other reductions had been made at Ellis, and camp was broken at 8:15 a.m.; the "butfit" consisting, besides the party and the engineer soldiers, of three packers, a farrier, and a cook, in all twenty-two persons and thirty-three animals, of which eleven were pack-mules carrying about two hundred pounds.
The trail (a bridle-path only) leads up the valley of Gardiner's River (which is of considerable depth, and slopes steeply down to the water's edge) across the West Fork, and then the East, gradually climbing the eastern side of the valley to a plateau, whence on the right of the trail descend the waters of the river, and form a very pretty fall. The slopes of the river-valley are composed of loose basaltic debris, making a toilsome path, deeply gashed in places by washings from the foot of the great basaltic wall which towers above it on the east. Although not insecure, the ascent to the plateau is unnecessarily difficult, and a little labor expended upon it would serve to improve it greatly.
The falls are some 20 feet in width, and make three plunges, estimated at about 45, 55, and 30 feet each; in all a descent of 130 feet.
Leaving the river, the trail follows up in an easterly direction the shallow valley of a small brook called Black Tail Deer Creek, which traverses an open hilly prairie, and affords an excellent and easily traveled road. Reaching the head of the creek, the trail bore to the right, through a dry canyon place to the edge of the valley of Meadow Brook, where, turning sharply to the left, it descends along a steep high slope, out of which the narrow trail is cut, to a fine open meadow, well grassed and watered, where camp was made, 13 miles from the springs. Several of the party rode on, a mile and a half farther, to the Yellowstone River. It was found to be a foaming torrent, some 60 feet in width, with steep, rocky banks. The water, a rich green in hue, was broken into pools and eddies by obstructing bowlders, and a strong odor of sulphur pervaded the air. Spanning the stream is a rough bridge some 80 feet in length, resting upon cribs at either extremity, and affording a passage to the east bank, where, at a short distance from the "bridge," is the "ranch" of Jack Baronet.
Two or three miles below the "bridge," the two forks of the Yellowstone unite, and, to the traveler approaching it, the locality is marked by a large, flat-topped butte, with steep escarpments, which stands in the angle, and from its shape is a noticeable object, contrasting with the pointed hills and peaks which surround it. The West Fork drains the lake, and the East, a mountainous district not yet thoroughly examined.
Rain fell again during the afternoon and night, and our experience of the weather in the park seemed to be similar to that of Captain Jones, as recorded in his report. On one day only of the two weeks passed in the park did we fail to have rain or shower, and night observations were in consequence greatly interfered with.
August 16 Camp was broken at 8:30. The herd had wandered during the night, and a couple of hours were lost in getting them in and ready for the road. The pack-mules had been employed on similar duty just before, and heavily laden. The construction or adjustment of the army pack-saddle is doubtless capable of great improvement; at any rate, the backs and shoulders of the animals were in very bad condition, and one of them was found to be so unfit for a load that it was necessary to leave him at the bridge.
While in the park, as there was no grain for the animals, they were allowed free range at night, and the grazing is so plentiful and nutritious that the majority of them held their own, although the work was occasionally severe. There need be little or no apprehension from Indians, and guards were not posted after leaving the Mammoth Springs.
The trail from Meadow Brook leads up the left bank of the Yellowstone, winding among some low hills, and at 41/2 miles from camp makes a precipitous plunge into the valley of Tower Creek, crossing which it ascends the opposite bank by a more gradual incline. The stream is a strong rapid brook, 12 or 15 feet in width, and a foot or two in depth, with a stony bed, the waters fed from the snow-fields of the mountains. A short distance below the crossing are the falls, which leap down 150 feet into a narrow, dark canyon some 480 feet in depth. Basaltic tufa cones and columns in the vicinity of the fall have suggested the name, and all the surroundings are picturesque in the highest degree. The finest view of the falls can be gained from a projecting spur on the south bank just below them, whence both the canyon and the creek-valley above can be seen. The stream discharges into the Yellowstone River near by, and at its mouth very fine fishing rewards the visitor.
There seem to be two varieties of trout here, the bulky ones of the Yellowstone, with bright-yellow bellies and stripings of red, and a smaller kind more silvery in appearance, and exhibiting much greater activity and game qualities. These latter seemed to come generally from the creek. The mouth of the creek may be called the lower end of the Grand Canyon, which extends up the river some 16 miles to the foot of the Great Falls.
Leaving the creek, the trail, alternately rising and falling, and curving to the right and left, gains the foot of a long, somewhat rolling ascent, which finally attains the western shoulder of Mount Washburn. The flanks of this incline fall steeply on both sides displaying to the west an ocean of deep-green pine, surrounded by ragged, bare pinnacles, and to the east breaking into the foot-hills of Washburn. This incline is approximately located on Raynolds's map, and called the Elephant's Back, which name has on some later maps been transferred to a minor elevation near the Yellowstone Lake. The name is appropriate and descriptive, and, having been given by the first topographer of the region, should be allowed to have its original application.
Over this the trail by a gradual ascent reaches a high point on Mount Washburn, passing between banks of snow, which had remained unmelted by the summer's sun. Here, leaving the trail, the party ascended to the summit of the mountain. The climb was made in less than an hour, and can almost be accomplished on horseback, so rounded is the mountain-top, although consideration for the saddle-horses would suggest making it on foot. In passing some stunted pines near the trail, it was observed that there were no branches or twigs on the northwest side of the tree, and that those which sprung from the northeast and southwest sides were twisted back and trailed away to the southeast. The explanation of this was not long in doubt. Reaching the summit, the whole panorama of the park sprung into view: the lake, with deeply sinuous shores and silver surface, interspersed with islands, with the Yellowstone River crooking away from it toward us, was set, as it were, in a vast expanse of green, rising and falling in huge billows, above which here and there jets of steam arose like spray; the encircling peaks, ragged and snow-clad, almost too numerous to count; Mount Humphreys, 30 or 40 miles southeast, Sheridan and Hancock the same distance to the south, and beyond and above them, 90 miles away, looking almost mysterious from their distance and vast height, the Tetons, of a pale purple hue, with their piercing summits glittering like icebergs. Only to the southeast, looking toward the great Idaho Desert, did a space appear which showed no prominent peaks. We had scarcely time to more than glance at this superb landscape, while resting and eating lunch with the aid of a hatful of snow from a neighboring bank, when a ferocious squall of hail, rain, and snow burst upon us from the northwest, and swept us like dust from the bald summit of the mountain. We were instantly compelled to seek shelter on the lee side, where, cowering and half-frozen, we awaited the passing of the storm. Motion, however, was absolutely essential to warmth; so, without again trusting the untender mercies of the mountain, over which the wind still blew keen and cold, we plunged into a deep ravine leading steeply down its western flank, and regained the trail at the foot. The storm had wet the rich black mold, and made the path slippery and difficult through the densest timber of spruce and pine, where hardly sufficient cutting had been done to afford the narrowest of passage-ways. The projecting branches flapped back their freight of raindrops into our faces and clothing, and many of the broken twigs bore trophies snatched from the packs.
There were several sharp pitches into and out of the valleys of small brooks, which could easily be avoided. At present, the trail is unnecessarily hilly and fatiguing, although delightful on account of the fine forest and the great number and variety of the flowers. The grass is everywhere luxuriant and sweet, the brooks are frequent, and flow in all directions, and camp could be made at almost any point. The trail, however, might be greatly improved by means of a little well-directed labor and the exercise of better judgment in selecting it. The work of a pack or saddle animal is vastly increased by unnecessary ascents and descents, which both their conformation and the position of the load render arduous, and the easiest road is one of even grade, though it be thrice the length of the more direct one.
Ascending to a low divide between two mountains, the valley of Cascade Creek was reached and followed to camp. The last three or four miles were over a meadow which in many places was wet and very boggy. The hail here had fallen in considerable quantity, and whitened all the ground; the sky was dark, and the air raw and wintry. Camp was made on the east bank of the creek, where it leaves the meadow and stone. A roaring camp-fire soon restored the warmth and cheerfulness of the party, which had been somewhat impaired by the shivering weather. We were only about a mile from the falls, and after everything had quieted down to silence their deep roar became vaguely audible. The evening was again cloudy and rainy. Distance traveled during the day estimated at eighteen miles.
August 17 Lay over in camp to visit the falls. The night had been cold, and by 8 a.m. the hail of yesterday had not disappeared. Waiting an hour longer for the sun to dry the heavy grass, we took on foot the trail which led us to the brink of the river-valley, half-way between the upper and the lower fall, which are half a mile apart. Reserving the lower fall, whose deep thunder we could now plainly hear, we descended toward the upper, and, after a short scramble over loose trachytic blocks, climbed out upon a point which, projecting into the canyon below the fall, furnished a fine view of it almost en face. The river makes a sharp bend to the eastward just above the fall, which in consequence fronts nearly at right angles to the general direction. From the sharp and narrow pinnacle on which we stood, or rather to which we clung, the cataract, some 150 feet distant, was exposed in its full height and beauty. It is a slanting one, having a base of perhaps one-half its altitude, which, as measured by a cord brought for the purpose and marked in 10-foot lengths, is 110 feet. The water leaps down its rocky slope between black, shining walls of trachyte, and its pure green is broken into foam and spray from the very summit. From the foot the currents of air drove the clouds of vapor up the steep sides of the canyon, which were clothed in vegetation of the freshest and most brilliant hue, while a double rainbow illumined the surface of the stream below. The picture was certainly a beautiful one, and we hung over it in delight for an hour, which, with the thunder of the lower fall still fresh in recollection, was all the time we could afford. Half an hour of rough climbing over bowlders and loose trachytic blocks, across Cascade Creek, and down the side of the main valley, brought us to a small plateau at the very crest of the main fall, and almost at the water's edge, where the eye could plunge into the vast chasm below the fall, known as the Grand Canyon. I had not time to think of it then, but was afterward not a little amused to remember that we passed on the way one of the men, who, seated on the bank, was pensively watching for a trout to seize his grasshopper. He had evidently wearied of too much bacon and scenery, and proposed a change at least of diet.
The view of the Grand Canyon from the point where we stood is perhaps the finest piece of scenery in the world. I can conceive of no combination of pictorial splendors which could unite more potently the two requisites of majesty and beauty.
Close at hand, the river, narrowed in its bed to a width of some 70 feet and with a depth of 4 or 5 feet, through the pure deep green of which the hardly wavering outlines of the brown bowlders beneath are distinctly visible, springs to the crest with an intensity of motion that makes its clear depths fairly seem to quiver. Just before making the plunge, the stream is again contracted, and the waters are thrown in from both sides toward the center, so that two bold rounded prominences or buttresses, as it were, are formed where green and white commingle. Lying prostrate, and looking down into the depth, with the cold breath of the canyon fanning the face, one can see that these ribs continue downward, the whole mass of the fall gradually breaking into spray against the air, until lost in the vast cloud of vapor that hides its lowest third, and out of which comes up a mighty roar that shakes the hills and communicates a strange vibration to the nerves. From far below this cloud emerges a narrow, green ribbon, winding and twisting, in which the river is hardly recognizable, so dwarfed is it, and creeping with so oily and sluggish a current, as though its fall had stunned it. On either hand, the walls of the canyon curve back from the plunging torrent, and rise weltering with moisture to the level of the fall, again ascending 500 or 600 feet to the pine-fringed margin of the canyon; pinnacles and towers projecting far into the space between, and seeming to overhang their bases.
These details are comparatively easy to give, but how to find words which shall suggest the marvelous picture as a whole! The sun had come out after a brief shower, and, shining nearly from the meridian straight into the canyon, flooded it with light, and illuminated it with a wealth and luxuriance of color almost supernatural.
The walls appeared to glow with a cold, inward radiance of their own, and gave back tints of orange, pink, yellow, red, white, and brown, of vividness and massiveness hopeless to describe, and which would overtax the powers of the greatest artist to portray. The lower slopes, wet with spray, were decorated with the rich hue of vegetation, while through the midst the river, of still more brilliant green, far below pursued its tortuous course, and the eye followed it down through this ocean of color until 2 or 3 miles away a curve in the canyon hid it from view and formed its own appropriate background.
The height of the fall, as ascertained by attaching a heavy weight to the measured cord, and lowering it down, is 310 feet. The first attempt to get the height was made from the little plateau by the side of the crest, but the spray soon hid the weight from view, and the water so tore at it that it was impossible to tell when the bottom had been reached. A point was found, however, to the left and in advance of the crest and some 80 feet above it, from which the weight fell nearly vertically, and, by aid of the colored tags which marked the intervals of the cord, could be followed with the eye until it reached the brink of the stream below. From this same point, a sort of perch upon the very border of the precipice, can be had a most comprehensive view at once of fall and canyon.
After making the measurement, we ascended the side of the canyon, and climbed out to one of the projecting pinnacles, half a mile farther down stream, whence a full view of the fall was obtained. It was remarkable to note how small a portion of the view was actually filled by the fall itself. Tremendous as it is it seems but a minor incident in the picture constructed on the huge scale of the canyon.
From the projecting point, the width of the chasm across the top was estimated from the range of a carefully sighted rifle at 700 yards. This, however, is greater than the average width, the canyon just below narrowing considerably and gaining at the same time in depth, which is about 300 yards. . . .
The descent to the bottom of the canyon from the east side is comparatively easy. From the west side it has also been accomplished, but it is toilsome and not unattended with danger, and the time necessary to descend and return would be considerable. Among other improvements that suggest themselves to the visitor as proper to be made in the future is the construction of facilities for making this descent, such as rude but strong ladders, which could readily be placed in position where their aid would obviate all danger and decrease fatigue. One of the party made an attempt to get down, but lost time in looking for the most favorable place, and, the afternoon waning, he was compelled to abandon the undertaking.
August 18 The morning opened cold and foggy. Camp was broken at 8. Took the trail which crosses Cascade Creek near the river by a steep pitch, and after a short ride over hilly ground and through timber reached comparatively open ground on the bank of the river, which was there 100 to 200 yards wide, and peaceful enough, flowing with smooth, gentle current, between low, grassy banks. The pack-train meanwhile had taken a trail somewhat farther to the westward, which avoided the steep descent into Cascade Creek and made an easier crossing of it. The two trails united at a small creek discharging into the river, crossed it, and through dense timber climbed around the shoulder of a mountain to again descend into the broad open valley of Alum Creek. This is a shallow, sluggish stream of tepid, undrinkable water, some 30 feet in width and an inch or two deep, with a general northeast course to the Yellowstone. Off to the right, across an open prairie, appeared the Sulphur Springs, or Soda Mountain, as it has been called, which we visited. Some 40 or 50 acres are covered with extinct and active springs and their deposits. Pure sulphur in considerable quantity is distributed over the surface. Several springs were boiling violently, one of them to a height of 3 or 4 feet, and emitted large volumes of steam. Pursuing the course again toward the river, over a hilly prairie, and crossing one or two creeks and arms of the river, and a broad meadow, the borders of which were springy and boggy, the trail led to the edge of some timber, soon after entering which the Mud Geysers were found. We passed on to a small pine grove, favorably situated for camp near the river and 12 miles distant from Cascade Creek. Leaving the horses, we returned on foot to examine the geysers. The main one is a bubbling pool of muddy, hot water some 50 or 60 feet across, with a sloping shore 4 or 5 feet high, and numerous small vents and springs within the perimeter. The water is thick with gray, unwholesome-looking mud, and exhales a foetid odor.
Another geyser, much more impressive in appearance, which however has not been seen to spout, at least of late years, has a crater some 50 feet in diameter and 25 feet deep, narrowing at the bottom to a mud pool of the consistence of boiling mush, about 15 feet across. From the northwest side of this a perpetual boiling takes place, with a threatening roar and huge clouds of steam. If the mud apparently splashed upon the trees in the vicinity would serve as an indication, when an explosion does take place the display must be a very fine one. The "Devil's Workshop" is a small steam spring issuing from a little cavern apparently 15 or 20 feet in depth horizontally, but constantly obscured by a great volume of vapor. Hollow, bubbling noises continually issue from it, which simulate, by aid of the cavern, the metrical clang and clash of great pieces of machinery, turning and splashing, accompanied by a recurring hiss of escaping steam. About 4 p.m. pistol-shots from the Mud Geyser summoned us to witness an explosion. The water had risen gradually until the small springs were submerged and the basin enlarged to its full dimensions. Near the center the geyser was boiling and bubbling actively, and soon spurted to a height of 5 or 6 feet, falling and rising again, and after about three minutes of excitement subsided, the water lowered, being gradually swallowed down the several orifices, and the discharge was over. The geyser has a period of about 4-1/2 hours, and several of the subsequent eruptions were witnessed. None exceeded 10 or 15 feet in height. The force is evidently weakening, as indeed the large number of dead and dying thermal springs seen in other localities additionally testify. This geyser has been known in previous years to spout 50 and 75 feet. There is still, however, a wonderful amount of force at work, and in a marvelous variety of forms.
The fish taken from the river near camp were in appearance large and fine, weighing two pounds and upward; but out of the large number caught, all, with one exception, were affected by the worm mentioned by previous visitors and described by Professor [Joseph] Leidy [of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences]. The appearance and health of the trout do not seem to be noticeably injured by them, but the presence of the worm in the flesh can almost invariably be detected from a slight protuberance or rounding-out on the sides. Laying this open, the worm is found, white, the size of a knitting-needle, and twisted in the flesh. We made no experiments to determine the flavor of these fish, although many of the men ate them heartily and pronounced them perfectly good. It is certainly most unfortunate that these fine fish should be so spoiled for the table. They abound in the lake and river, and, affording the finest sport, would be an immense attraction could they be used for food.
August 19 Without moving camp, we rode 7 or 8 miles to a "ranch" in a grove on the west shore of the lake. From the Mud Geyser, the trail led through alternate forest and river side, with an occasional marsh, the landscape generally quiet and pastoral. Ascending upon a high prairie point, the lake lay before us, a beautiful sheet of water, with deeply indented shores, and the wooded mountains closing it in on all sides. We chartered a small center-board cat-rigged sail-boat, cleverly constructed by the owner of pine cut out of the forest with a whip-saw, and crossed to the east shore. The water appeared filled with a round greenish seed, probably of some aquatic plant, and little windrows of the same seed lay upon the beach, thrown up by the waves. Some trout were taken with a spoon on the way over, all wormy, and a squall or two gave variety to the sail and tested the weatherly qualities of the boat.
We passed the mouth of Pelican Creek, in the valley of which large numbers of thermal springs have been found, and landed near Steamboat Point, 7 miles from the starting-point. Two or three steam-vents were seen, and one of them on the farther side of the point has suggested the name. From a small aperture, colorless superheated steam escapes with a hiss and roar that indicates an excessive tension, and imitating precisely the blowing-off from a full boiler. Multitudes of grasshoppers, unwittingly encountering the steam, had met instant death.
From the projecting point, some 12 feet above the water, the finest flyfishing was found. An arc of nearly 180° could be covered with the fly in from 6 to 10 feet of water, out into the lake as far as the skill of the fisherman would admit. The fish, though sometimes gorged with grasshoppers, would rise eagerly to the fly, and weighed from 1-1/2 to 4 pounds and upward. The largest measured 20 inches in length. None of them could be eaten.
August 20 The trail to the Great Geyser Basin breaks away from the vicinity of the Mud Geyser to the west and north over an open sagebrush prairie, gradually becoming more hilly, crosses Alum Creek near its head, and, following up a small coule with flowing water at 6 miles from camp, climbs a hill and enters a heavy forest richly grassed. The ascent through this forest to the summit of the divide between the Yellowstone and Madison Basins is very gentle from the east. Two or three groups of sulphur springs were passed on the way. The descent from the divide into Madison Valley is precipitous, winding down a drop of a thousand feet through fallen and burned timber, and over a rocky, bare, and stony soil destitute of grass. Reaching the border of the valley of the East Fork of Madison River, the trail winds along the meadow and two or three alkaline brooks, in which the animals mired badly, and follows down the bank of the East Fork, which was forded two or three times. The stream is 10 to 20 feet wide and 2 or 3 feet deep; a clear, swift current and gravelly bottom, the water tepid and alkaline from the numerous hot springs which discharge into it. Camp was made in a grove of pine, after having traversed a pass between two hills which project into the Lower Geyser Basin. A small rill furnished a sufficient supply of good water, but the grazing was inferior. Several hot springs had been passed before reaching camp, and to the south the geysers appeared covering a large area. The distance traveled during the day was about twenty-six miles.
The upper valley of the Madison, including those of the forks, is quite barren and unattractive, owing probably to the action of the chemical hot springs which abound everywhere. The bordering hills are stony and bare, and at the time of our visit were covered with dead and burned timber. The landscape in consequence is uninviting, the grass poor, and good camping-places, such as can be made at almost any point in the Yellowstone Basin, are not to be found.
August 21 The morning was devoted to the examination of the springs and geysers of the Lower Basin, which are very numerous, and cover a large extent of ground, the principal ones being about half a mile to the southward and eastward of camp. Minute descriptions of them have been published, and a detailed account is here unnecessary. Some are boiling, others spouting springs, the latter generally intermittent. On a high mound built by the geyser, we found a large pool about 25 by 15 feet, which was known to play, and the discharge of which we awaited. The water, of a deep azure hue and a surpassing clearness, was rising gradually but constantly to the level of its scalloped and ornamented rim, constantly becoming hotter, with bubbles of steam escaping more and more rapidly. Ebullition began near the middle, and the geyser finally commenced to spout, throwing the water about in all directions and to heights varying from 10 to 50 feet. The display continued for over an hour, and we left it playing, but with gradually diminishing force. Meanwhile other small geysers in the vicinity played from time to time, all apparently independent of each other. The pools of all these, exhibiting every variety of form and ornamentation, possessed in common the beautiful azure tint and clearness of the water, contrasting finely with the light-gray hue of the silica deposited by them. The margins of all were incrusted with this in various forms of bead, coral, and sponge work, and wherever the geyser-water flowed silicious shale was deposited.
Passing over a low ridge, a few hundred yards to the southeast, we came upon the "Paint Pots." This singular phenomenon consists of a "pool" some 60 by 40 feet, with a raised margin of dry and cracked mud, within which numerous mud-puffs slowly rose and fell, some through the partially liquid mass, which again closed over them, others possessing a small crater of their own, to which additions were constantly making from the bursting of the sluggish bubbles. The pool displayed various colors, white, yellow, and red predominating, but shading into each other very beautifully through all the intermediate and combined tints. The clay was soft and smooth to the touch, with scarcely a trace of grit, and near where the bubbles emerged from below exceedingly hot.
Leaving these, and passing by many other springs and small geysers, we went down to the Fire Hole River, crossed it, and pushed on up the west bank toward the Upper Basin, wherein are situated the Grand Geysers. After some 2 or 3 miles of travel over fallen timber and through marsh and bog, we came upon some immense springs and pools, boiling violently and discharging a great amount of water into the river. These exhibited many hues of red, yellow, and green, from the presence of iron and vegetable growths; the pure geyser blue appearing where the spring was deepest and clearest. From the pools, we continued, passing many curious springs and small geysers, and then, crossing to the east bank, pushed rapidly on through a sort of canyon on the river, until at about 7 miles from camp, in the Lower Basin, we reached the lower end of the Upper, and were at once hurried across to the west bank again to examine the "Grotto," which began to play as we arrived. This geyser does not spout to any great height, 20 or 25 feet being the limit, but is beautiful and interesting from the shape of its crater, which some 12 or 14 feet in height, is curved and convoluted into massive arches and exceedingly graceful forms. It played whenever we were by to see it, and evidently continues in operation for considerable periods, from the dimensions of the crater it has built. These craters are all constructed, by the geysers themselves, of the grayish-white silica, or geyserite, deposited by the cooling of the water; the process being very gradual and slow. The water in all is of the same pure clear blue, without a trace of any impurity. The taste, when cool, is the flat, insipid one of distilled water.
Close by the "Grotto" stands the picturesque crater of the "Giant," or "Broken Horn," a geyser of the first class. From the aperture of this, large volumes of steam were escaping, and the water was boiling violently 8 or 10 feet below the surface, occasionally rising in huge spurts and splashing over, symptoms which led us to watch it unavailingly for an hour in hope of a discharge.
Meanwhile the pack-train had been making its way along the regular trail up the east bank, and, reaching the upper Basin, camp was established in the center of the basin on the west bank of Fire Hole River, in a small group of trees, with a fairly good marsh in front for the cattle. We found the waters of the river cool and palatable, and sufficient wood for camping purposes at hand. At short range from camp, and in full view of it, were the first-class geysers named "Old Faithful," the "Bee Hive," the "Giantess," the "Grand," and the "Castle;" while the "Giant" and the "Grotto" were but a short distance farther down stream. Beside these, the "Pyramid" and "Punch Bowl," near the "Giant," could be easily seen. Almost as we reached the camp, "Old Faithful," which stands at the head of the valley overlooking it, and which has earned its name from the regularity of its discharges, gave us his first display. The time was noted and the second discharge awaited. An hour after, we walked over to the elevation which marked his crater, 400 yards from camp. In a few minutes, after some preliminary spurts and splashes, the geyser, emitting a deep roar which shook the ground, shot up a clear, straight shaft of water, which, with two or three rapid impulses, gained an altitude of over 100 feet; clouds of steam towering far above and drifting with the wind. For full five minutes, the superb column maintained its height, and then, with some unavailing efforts to check its fall, sank down, and was swallowed up in the crater. An examination of this followed. An immense quantity of water had been ejected, which, after bathing the crater and refilling the adjacent pools, flowed down the slopes and discharged by various channels into the river. The crater of "Faithful" is one of the most beautiful of all. The lips are molded and rounded into many artistic forms, headed and pearled with opal, while closely adjoining are little terraced pools of the clearest azure-hued water, with scalloped and highly ornamented borders. The wetted margins and floors of these pools were tinted with the most delicate shades of white, cream, brown, and gray, so soft and velvety it seemed as though a touch would soil them. The material, however, is the constant silica, of which also are composed the pretty pebbles which furnish an additional charm to the pools.
The only blemish on this artistic handiwork had been occasioned by the rude hand of man. The ornamental work about the crater and pools had been broken and defaced in the most prominent places by visitors, and the pebbles were inscribed in pencil with the names of great numbers of the most unimportant persons. Such practices should be stopped at once. The geysers are more than worthy of preservation. It is not only that they constitute a superb spectacle in themselves; they are likewise unique, both in performance and design. Nature, abandoning for the time all thoughts of utility, seems to have been amusing herself in this far-off and long-hidden corner of the world by devoting some of her grandest and most mysterious powers to the production of forms of majesty and beauty such as man may not hope to rival.
The geysers, in the slow process of centuries probably, have built up miracles of art, of an enduring though brittle material, that can be ruined in five minutes by a vandal armed wish an ax, and nearly all the craters show signs of the hopeless and unrestrained barbarity of many of their visitors. It cannot fail to fill the mind with indignation to see the utter ruthlessness of these sacrilegious invaders of nature's sanctuary. To procure a specimen of perhaps a pound weight, a hundred pounds have been shattered and destroyed, and always in those places where the most cunning art has been displayed, and the ruin produced is correspondingly great. Upon our arrival in the basin, we found several persons already encamped, and a whisky-trader snugly ensconced beneath his 'paulin, spread in the shelter of a thick pine. The visitors prowled about with shovel and ax, chopping and hacking and prying up great pieces of the most ornamental work they could find; women and men alike joining in the barbarous pastime.
With regard to the play of the geysers, our visit was well-timed. Just at twilight, the "Bee Hive," 400 feet distant, on the opposite bank of the river, gave an exhibition of its power. The crater is a small, conical, gray mound of silica, severely simple and unpretentious in appearance, with an aperture of some 18 inches, from which steam gently escapes. Near by is a small vent, which is the herald and precursor of its greater neighbor.
Before the "Bee Hive" plays, this vent commences to emit steam loudly, with occasional splashes of water. Soon the geyser begins to boil and steam, the water occasionally surging over. Suddenly comes a burst of 15 or 20 feet, and then almost instantly the slender shaft rises to a height of nearly 200 feet. So great is the impetus, and so slender the column, that the water, in its swift ascent, is nearly all dissolved into fine spray, which drifts off with the clouds of steam before the wind, to fall like rain. The play lasted about three minutes, and ceased as suddenly as it had commenced.
An hour and five minutes after his previous display, "Faithful" again reared his magnificent column, and during the night, whenever the roar was heard, we looked out from our tents at the grand sight, rendered more beautiful by moonlight. The intervals were exactly 65 minutes in every case.
August 22 We were aroused at an early hour by the report that the "Bee Hive" was again about to play. This proved a false alarm, but sufficed to draw us across the river, which was some 25 feet wide and 1-1/2 to 2 feet in depth, and while on the opposite bank we examined the huge pool of the "Giantess," which was known not to have played for some weeks, for symptoms of agitation. We found it full to the brim with beautifully clear water, of a deep blue, boiling gently, and giving out clouds of steam. It stands upon a hill of silica, 420 feet from the "Bee Hive" and 300 yards from camp.
While waiting for breakfast, attention was called to the Grand Geyser, half a mile below camp, on the east bank, which had begun to send out great volumes of steam. Hastily mounting the nearest horses, we hurried down to it. The Grand Geyser is double, the two orifices 15 or 20 feet apart. The down-stream one has a handsome crater, while the other has only an ornamental pool, several feet lower. It is from the pool, however, that the discharge takes place. Rising with rapidly succeeding impulses, the column rushed to a height of some 80 feet, sustained itself for a few seconds, fell, rose again, and receded to its basin. In a minute or two it again shot to the same height, again faltered, rose, and subsided. Still a third effort was made and exhausted, and the waters receded until the empty basin was exposed to view, and could be examined with impunity. Meanwhile the neighboring geyser was splashing its waters in all directions, and discharging clouds of steam, while a steam-vent close at hand kept up a most outrageous roar. Though not so lofty a play as some observed by previous visitors, the exhibition was very fine; the swiftly successive pulses of water and steam breaking into beads and spray at intervals up the full height of the column, accompanied by vast clouds of vapor, and the mighty roar, combined to make an imposing and beautiful spectacle.
The surroundings of the "Grand" are the most ornate of all, and exhibit greater variety and beauty than any other.
The "Turban," which stands at the northern edge of the "pool," serves to distinguish the geyser. It is of singular form, highly ornamented, and I experienced almost a pang in becoming conscious of an apprehension that I should meet it again somewhere on exhibition. Some visitor, a little more enterprising than his predecessors, will be sure to detach it and carry it off. Shovel and ax had been busy with the geyser, and large quantities had been removed.
While returning to camp, the "Castle," on the west bank, was observed to be in agitation and giving out vast quantities of steam. A discharge soon took place, to a height of 10 or 15 feet only; but from the commanding position of the geyser and its handsome appearance, possessing, as it does, a high mound, richly decorated, and several apertures through which it plays at once, the sight is very fine. Several times during the morning it repeated its performance, rarely exceeding, however, 20 or 25 feet. After breakfast we returned to the "Giantess," which was evidently becoming more excited, and, while awaiting its discharge, examined the surroundings more closely.
The basin is some 25 by 16 feet and 25 or 30 feet in depth, with scalloped margin; 70 feet north of this stands a handsome boiling spring, which has built itself a sarcophagus 2-1/2 or 3 feet in height, like a huge bath-tub, with richly ornamental borders. This operates in sympathy with the "Giantess;" is excited, and boils violently with her; and we afterward found it empty and desolate, upon the dissipation of her power.
About 11 o'clock, this, the greatest geyser, gave its first spout, and we continued watching its subsequent action until nearly 3 p.m. The water was expelled by a succession of violent splashes to a height of 15 to 50 feet, but without at first reaching a great altitude. With occasional lulls, the performance went on, the water sometimes being thrown 100 feet in the air. Large stones and stumps were cast into the basin and hurled instantly to a height of 200 feet, the high wind which prevailed at the time preventing the water and steam from attaining a similar elevation. The water fell occasionally, leaving the basin empty; and by standing on the windward side we could look down into it and see the large triangular-shaped vent at the bottom, whence issued the transparent steam. Again and again the geyser renewed its strength, sending out vast volumes of steam with a deafening roar that shook the whole valley, and occasionally snatching hold of a new reservoir of water and instantly ejecting it; each fresh access of wrath or travail being heralded by deep, mighty thuds, as though some vast machinery were at work beneath. The exhibition of enormous power wasted in these prolonged spasms of blind rage was both fascinating and terrible, and the imagination, powerfully stimulated in the presence of such strength and fury, could not avoid imputing to the scene the attributes of gigantic passion and suffering. It seemed as though the geyser, maddened by some inexpressible and mysterious torment, were imprisoned beneath and gradually exhausting herself in unavailing struggles to escape it by bursting the bonds that held her, the paroxysms of efforts being alternated with intervals of stupor, again and again overcome by her still unabated rage.
During the afternoon, the "Bee Hive" again played, the high wind depressing its column below that of the previous discharge.
A party, about dark, came in from Virginia City. Following up the valley of the Madison River, they had brought two wagons without much difficulty through the Lower Basin, but were compelled to leave them a short distance above on account of the fallen timber and bog along the trail. The distance to the Upper Basin from Virginia City is 110 miles.
August 23 All the first-class geysers had now been favorably seen, with the sole exception of the "Giant," toward whose picturesque crater we went, with the intention of devoting the day to it. The "Broken Horn" is a well-chosen and descriptive name, and worthy of being retained. The crater is a steeply conical mound of geyserite, 12 or 15 feet in height, tapering toward the summit, and having the west side broken down, or rather partly unconstructed. The geyser still boiled strongly, and we felt great hopes of seeing it play. Near by are the "Grotto," seen yesterday, and which played almost constantly during the day; the "Pyramid," a cone of silica 25 or 30 feet high, with steam slowly escaping from it, but its life now nearly extinct; the "Punch Bowl," and smaller ones. The last-named geyser played frequently during the day, some of its exhibitions being very fine. We waited the greater part of the day for the "Giant" to give us a display, but though evidently powerfully excited and from time to time arousing fresh hopes, to our great regret failed to do so. Returning toward camp, the "Grand" again gave indications of strong disturbance, and we remained there for an hour, but without result.
While waiting, we had additional evidence of the brutality of the average visitors, several of whom, of both sexes, were busily chopping and prying out the most characteristic and conspicuous ornamental work. An earnest remonstrance was followed by a sulky suspension of hostilities, which were, however, no doubt renewed as soon as we were out of sight.
The "Saw Mill," above the "Grand," is an interesting geyser. Its lively play, and its quick, energetic spouts of 25 or 30 feet in every direction, are very pleasing, and its borders abound in the pretty geyserite pebbles, some smooth, others ornamented, and others again resembling a rose-bud, with closely folded leaves.
Recrossing to the west side of the river, a close examination was made of the "Castle": it has quite a lofty mound, broad, handsomely terraced, and profusely decorated with scalloped pools and little upright pinnacles and towers. It plays with great frequency, though not to a height exceeding perhaps 40 feet; still its very frequent flow and almost constant escape of large quantities of steam, with its striking-looking and highly ornamented crater, constitute it properly a geyser of the first class. This, too, showed, and even in a greater degree than others, how greatly protection against vandalism is needed. From every part of the "Castle" pieces had been chopped, loosening quantities of the rock and threatening to ruin the construction. Two women, with tucked-up skirts and rubber shoes, armed, one with an ax, the other with a spade, were climbing about. Should this continue for another year or two, the beauty of form and outline of the geyser-craters would be destroyed. It should be remembered that these craters were constructed with the greatest slowness by almost imperceptible additions, which can only be made by a discharge from the geyser; while the material, though hard, is very brittle and easily knocked to pieces. We got back to camp just in time to prevent the fall of an uplifted ax, which a woman was evidently about to bring straight down on the summit of the "Bee Hive," whose modest crater forms so strong a contrast to the grandeur of its play. Our shouts fortunately reached her just in time, and subsequent remonstrance induced her at any rate to postpone the attack.
Another party of four men came over in the afternoon from the lake. Including my party, there were now some thirty visitors in the basin.
August 24 Broke camp for the return to Ellis. I should have liked to return by way of the Madison Valley, for the purpose of examining that route, which at present is the only practicable one for wagons into the park; but I had reason to believe that the Missouri River navigation would probably close about September 20, and the long journey of 375 miles back to Carroll had yet to be made, and a few days' delay at Ellis, in order to refit and procure fresh transportation, to be allowed for. We took the back trail to the Lower Basin, examining en route the Fan, Riverside, and Sentinel Geysers. The day was cold, dark, and wet, the air chill and raw. Below the Upper Basin we met three men going to the geysers, each of whom, I supposed, would carry off 20 pounds of specimens and destroy 500. The trail between the two basins is about the worst in the park, and stands in urgent need of improvement, which could readily be effected, and without the use of skilled labor. Timber, fallen and standing, could easily be chopped and thrown aside, and the marshy places in great part avoided by making the trail on higher ground along the foot-hills. Crossing the Lower Basin, which the rain had made miry and passing our former camp, we continued up the valley of the East Fork, the principal features of which are alkaline marsh, dead timber, and little or no grass, the surrounding hills being equally uninteresting to the rapid traveler.
I was desirous, on the score of time, to take the trail direct from the East Fork to Gardiner's River Springs, but a brief examination convinced me that nothing would be gained, as it was obstructed with fallen timber. The ascent out of the Madison Valley to the divide was laboriously made, the rise being fully 1,000 feet, and the back trail down the Yellowstone slope pursued. The Sulphur Springs, three in number, were briefly examined en route. They exhibit considerable activity, though evidently waning in force. The jets of vapor deposit small cones of nearly pure sulphur.
Emerging from the timber, and soon after reaching the head of Alum Creek, we left the trail going on to the Mud Geyser, and inclining to the left crossed a range of prairie hills, and followed down the left bank of Alum Creek until the main trail down the Yellowstone was reached. This was pursued for 2 or 3 miles farther, and camp made in a drenching rain on a small creek, which we named "Jay Creek," and near the point where the two trails from Cascade Creek had united coming up. We had traveled for eleven hours and made about 36 miles.
August 25 Took the back trail over which the pack-train had traveled on the journey out, past our former camp of the 16th and 17th on Cascade Creek, and up the creek-valley. The day was very wet and cold, and desirous as I was of again looking at the Grand Canyon, I was unwilling to impair my vivid recollection of it by seeing it for the last time deprived of its marvelous wealth and brilliancy of color.
As we neared the belt of hills stretching nearly east and west across the trail, and commenced to ascend the shoulder of one of them, we were greeted with a sharp burst of hail, followed by successive gusty showers. The rain made the mountain-trail a hard one, turning the rich, black mold in the narrow bridle-path to a slippery mud, and making the up and down grades equally severe on the animals. The trail gradually ascends from the head of Cascade Creek to the divide between two mountains, thence following partly the valley of another creek, which rises nearly at the summit of the divide, descends a long winding slope, with many fatiguing and unnecessary rises and falls, until the west part of Mount Washburn is reached. Ascending this rapidly but laboriously to the shoulder, we were in a few minutes enveloped in a blinding snowstorm from the west and north, which forbade another ascent to the summit of the mountain, and continued until we were about to descend from the Elephant's Back. The thermometer fell below freezing, the wind blowing in furious gusts, and the snow occasionally turning to hail, with frequent splashes of rain. As we were about leaving the Elephant's Back, half-frozen and entirely discontented with the weather, a change took place. A rift suddenly opened in the clouds to the northward, and rapidly widening disclosed the mountain-tops brilliantly white with fresh-fallen snow, which reflected the clear rays of the sun; the dense strata of clouds drifting black and heavy beneath; the sun soon after reached us with grateful warmth.
The trail winds rapidly down to Tower Creek, just before reaching which two deer were seen, the only game animals we encountered in the park. A number of trout were taken at the mouth of the creek, and we were much disappointed to find that out of twenty-five cooked for supper two certainly were affected by the worm previously mentioned. It has been hitherto stated, and generally believed, that the wormy trout were confined to the lake and river above the falls. It afterward appeared that one captured in Cottonwood Creek, between Ellis and Baker, and several from Deep Creek east of Baker, were affected in the same way. Camp was made at the former place on Meadow Brook, and rain came on again in the evening.
August 26 A visit was paid to Baronet's Ranch, across the bridge, in the forks. We found there a large collection of specimens from Amethyst Mountain, on the east side of the river, a locality which we had not time to visit. The specimens were mainly impure amethysts and forms of quartz, chalcedony, etc.
The weather continued unpropitious as ever, and in a drenching rain the back trail up Meadow Brook was resumed. In such weather, the trail is difficult and in places not a little dangerous. It leads along and ascends slopes of clay which the rain makes exceedingly treacherous and slippery, where a misstep would precipitate a mule with its pack or a horse with its rider down several hundred feet. A great improvement could be made with comparatively little labor by widening the trail and placing rocks on its outer edge. Rain fell all day, with occasional intervals of sunshine; the trail over the broad rolling divide between the Yellowstone and Gardiner's River affording a good road, however, even in such weather. The Gardiner's River Falls were passed, and the long, sloping descent made into the valley, out of which we again climbed to the springs, just before reaching which camp was made.
Thus terminated this most interesting trip, which had covered, by rail, water, and on horseback, thirty-three hundred miles of travel in ninety-three days, through every variety of landscape, from the most forbidding to the grandest and most picturesque.
I beg leave to add the following suggestions relative to the National Park. The main points are such as would present themselves to any visitor capable of appreciating the wonders of the park, and have been in some cases anticipated in the remarks and recommendations of previous visitors. Nevertheless, a repetition of them can do no harm, and will at least show what the concurrent testimony on the subject is.
Congress, by an act approved March 1, 1872, . . . set aside the area therein defined (and which intended to include all the more remarkable objects and scenery) as a national domain, and consecrated it to the enjoyment and improvement of all mankind. For this purpose, the park was placed under the control of the Secretary of the Interior; but, unfortunately, the act provides no further practical measures for its improvement than authorizing the making of small temporary leases (the revenues from which should be devoted to the proper management and improvement of the park) and the promulgation of regulations mainly looking to the preservation of the game. I am not informed as to whether any such leases have been made; but it is certain that no expenditures have been made for the improvement of the park, nor even for its proper protection. Of the preservation of the game I will mention some facts further on. The park remains in the same wild, secluded condition in which it was discovered, a few squatters and hunters inhabiting it. The number of visitors is not great, but is yearly increasing, and is mainly made up from the inhabitants of the Montana towns. Until some railroad facilities shall make the journey less expensive and fatiguing, the people at large can hardly avail themselves of the "pleasuring ground" so provided. Meanwhile, however, those who from propinquity are able to do so are entering upon the possession of their privileges, and abusing them by the wanton destruction of what was intended to be for the edification of all.
The treasures of art and beauty, cunningly contrived by the hand of nature, are in process of removal to territorial homesteads, and the proportion of material destroyed to that carried off is as ten to one. Hunters have for years devoted themselves to the slaughter of the game, until within the limits of the park it is hardly to be found. I was credibly informed by people on the spot, and personally cognizant of the facts, that during the winter of 1874 and 1875, at which season the heavy snows render the elk an easy prey, no less than from 1,500 to 2,000 of these, the largest and finest game animals in the country, were thus destroyed within a radius of 15 miles of the Mammoth Springs. From this large number, representing an immense supply of the best food, the skins only were taken, netting to the hunter some $2.50 or $3 apiece, the frozen carcasses being left in the snow to feed the wolves or to decay in the spring. A continuance of this wholesale and wasteful butchery can have but one effect, viz, the extermination of the animal, and that, too, from the very region where he has a right to expect protection, and where his frequent inoffensive presence would give the greatest pleasure to the greatest number.
The cure for these unlawful practices and undoubted evils can only be found in a thorough mounted police of the park. In the absence of any legislative provision for this, recourse can most readily be had to the already existing facilities afforded by the presence of troops in the vicinity and by the transfer of the park to the control of the War Department. Troops should be stationed to act as guards at the lake, the Mammoth Springs, and especially in the Geyser Basin. A couple of signal-sergeants might profitably be employed in keeping meteorological and geyser records, which would be of great interest and value.
In time, with faithful supervision, the park could easily be made self-supporting. Franchises and leases will be valuable, and, properly administered, would furnish a revenue sufficient to proceed gradually with all the improvements required. But meanwhile, and before any improvements can be judiciously undertaken, an indispensable preliminary would be a thorough and accurate topographical survey, which, having been completed, would serve to indicate where roads and bridle-paths could best be opened or most improved. The boundaries of the park could at the same time be run and laid down upon the ground.
For this a small annual appropriation of from $8,000 to $10,000 should be made, and the survey might properly be under the charge of an engineer officer, who, while making his survey and map, might at the same time be turning his attention and devoting, perhaps, a certain sum to the selection and construction of better routes of travel. While it would not be possible at once to make the park practicable for vehicles, the pack-trails could be vastly improved at slight expense, the survey indicating the best routes. An observatory on Mount Washburn, with a wire to Bozeman, could be constructed cheaply, and furnish a starting-point whence all the higher peaks, and from them the intervening country, could be mapped. Rough bridges could be constructed where needed, and the worst portion of the trail corduroyed. This preliminary work accomplished (and about two seasons' work would be required for it, the yearly appropriation being continued), the roads could by degrees be made practicable for wagons and carriages. Lodging-places could be constructed at the Mammoth Springs, the bridge, the falls, the lake, and the geyser-basins, for the accommodation of visitors; and these, after the construction by the engineer officer, should be under the charge of an officer detailed to make constant inspections of them and of the detachments doing guard and police duty in the park. Visitors should be forbidden to kill any game. The hunters should have their arms and spoils confiscated, besides being liable to prosecution.
For the accomplishment of these purposes, it would certainly be most convenient and expedient to take advantage of the presence and organization of the military, and to intrust the care of the park, at least temporarily, to the War Department; at least until such time as a civilian superintendent, living in the park, with a body of mounted police under his orders, should suffice for its protection.
The day will come, and it cannot be far distant, when this most interesting region, crowded with marvels and adorned with the most superb scenery, will be rendered accessible to all; and then, thronged with visitors from all over the world; it will be what nature and Congress, for once working together in unison, have declared it should be, a national park.
From William Ludlow, "Report of the Reconnaissance from Carroll, Montana, to the Yellowstone National Park, made in the Summer of 1875." ARCE, 1876.