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A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains

Isabella L. Bird

Book Overview: 

Isabella Bird began traveling while in her early twenties to help alleviate illness that had plagued her since childhood. She was a single woman in her early forties when she made her treck through the Rocky Mountains. A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains details this fascinating account of her travels through a series of letters written to her sister, Henrietta. These letters are filled with beautiful, vivid descriptions of the scenery, the people she encountered, the way of life, and a mountain man named Jim Nugent, that was as rough as they come, but a complete gentleman with Ms. Bird.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .He is very fond of talking, and asks me a great deal about my travels, but if I speak favorably of the climate or resources of any other country, he regards it as a slur on Colorado.

They have one hundred and sixty acres of land, a "Squatter's claim," and an invaluable water power. He is a lumberer, and has a saw-mill of a very primitive kind. I notice that every day something goes wrong with it, and this is the case throughout. If he wants to haul timber down, one or other of the oxen cannot be found; or if the timber is actually under way, a wheel or a part of the harness gives way, and the whole affair is at a standstill for days. The cabin is hardly a shelter, but is allowed to remain in ruins because the foundation of a frame house was once dug. A horse is always sure to be lame for want of a shoe nail, or a saddle to be useless from a broken buckle, and the wagon and harness are a marvel of temporary shifts, patchings, and insecure linkings with st. . . Read More

Community Reviews

A fascinating and beautifully written account of a lone British woman traveling through the Rocky Mountains in the late 1800's, this is a collection of letter's written to Isabella Bird's sister as a sort of journal of her journeys. At times harrowing in facing the elements and roughness of frontier

"I cannot describe my feelings on this ride, produced by the utter loneliness, the silence and dumbness of all things, the snow falling quietly without wind, the obliterated mountains, the darkness, the intense cold, and the unusual and appalling aspect of nature. All life was in a shroud, all work

Isabella Bird was very ill, so her doctor sent her to America to regain some of her strength. When she set of from England for the first time, she was already a mature woman, considered a spinster by her sister's family and boring.

Over the course of the next decades, Bird would travel the world, sen

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