Isabella Bird, an English lady who began to travel for her health and continued riding and writing as her occupation, appears at a distance as either fearless or foolhardy, but happiest on a horse, and greatly bemused by the men she met. Her letters to her sisters, and thus to her adoring world-wide audience, however, are personal, showing her loves, fears, accomplishments, and frustration. A spinster, she often accepted the platonic companionship of a man. In Colorado it was a former soldier, explorer, and murderer with outstanding warrants, who helped her climb to the top of a mountain, served her tea and read her poetry, and generally interfered in her life as both a delight and a great worry.
Travelling to San Francisco from Hawaii, she took the train to a town called Truckee and then explored along the shore of Lake Tahoe, being scared by a bear and thrown by a horse only to be saved by a lumber train. Another train took her across the salt flats of Utah to Wyoming. She traveled south to Estes Park, where she spent much of her autumn and early winter in Estes Park. She divided her time between writing and riding, herding cattle and cooking for the bunkhouse. Her clothing steadily disintegrating from hard use, she leaned to sleep in zero degree weather in a room without a roof, and kept herself and her companions alive with heat, food, and water through a long blizzard and weeks of being snowed in.
Thus, her exploration was partly physical, and also of the mind, probing the reliability of a self-introduced young poet, the honesty of her landlord turned employer, and capacity a man she called Mountain Bill who fascinated her.
The book consists of 300 pages, bound in cloth printed with an image of the Rockies; images of Bird herself appear on the endpapers. The overall dimensions are 76 x 76 x 19 mm (3 x 3 x 3/4 inches). It is an open edition, price $45 with free shipping and handling.