National Geographic : 1926 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE I Photograph by Frank E. Caldwell ON THE AVIATION FIELD AT RENO, NEVADA This is the last scheduled stop for the Air Mail in its flight to San Francisco. At the base of Table Mountain, Bitter Creek leads westward between tinted col umns of sandstone pinnacles to Green River. The fertile headwaters of this "Colorado of the West" were once the favorite spring rendezvous for the rival British and American fur companies. A mail plane on an errand of mercy visited those headwaters two winters ago, speeding a doctor to Pinedale, where a dying man lay snow-bound on the slopes of the Wind River Range. Leaving Green River, the Union Pacific swings northward, hugging the valley of Blacks Creek, while we struck boldly west across the most desolate and inhospitable section of any we had thus far seen. For 40 miles the course lay above a country that God had seemingly forgot ten. Even the hardy sagebrush could not endure such a cheerless home. Ugly, waterless gulches wandered lost in the cracked and cauterized earth, and the whole bleak, lifeless landscape sim mered in the fires of an unconsoling sun. The last outpost of civilization seemed to have receded beyond recall, while we hung like a suspended speck, an ineffectual wa vering thunder, at the heart of an oppres sive mystery. WATCHFUL HANGAR CREWS READY TO RUSH TO AID OF PILOTS Yet, for the Mail pilot, the curse has been largely lifted from this forsaken land. He knows that his progress is being closely timed by the watchful han gar crews, advised by radio of his depar ture from the last Air Mail field. Within an hour or more, should he be forced down by weather or motor trouble, anx ious teammates will be scouring the coun tryside to find him and bring him aid. On Granger's Bench, a broad ledge creeping slowly toward us, Lester Bishop once had occasion to test the warmth of this fraternal bond. A sudden snowstorm had swept over the benchland, out of the Uinta Moun tains massed to the south. Blinded by the swirling sheets of snow, Bishop had been forced at last to "sit down"; but he kept his engine idling, hop ing the visibility would improve. Within wm .^IJ- ! .