National Geographic : 1954 Aug
SLS Puyu zn. mV al, . en vG, t-oI, ... In Red Rocks Park, Near Denver Denver Symphony Orchestra and touring artists give summer concerts in the amphitheater. west, and on December 18 came upon "what we supposed to be the Red River, which here was about twenty-five yards wide; ran with great rapidity, and was full of rocks." After exploring the headwaters, the party descended along the stream. On Christmas Day they camped near the present Salida, "Eight hundred miles from the frontiers of our country, in the most inclement season of the year; not one person properly clothed for the winter, many without blankets, having ... cut them up for socks and other articles." For 10 days the men struggled through a forbidding canyon. Pike's party emerged on the prairie on January 5, only to find they had been following the Arkansas through the Royal Gorge and were back at their Canon City campsite. What a birthday surprise! Here the party rested and built the block house whose marker I was examining. West of Canon City we stopped at the Royal Gorge, into which Pike's expedition struggled a century and a half ago. From the bridge spanning it I watched a dwarfed train puff along tracks 1,000 feet below. To reach the bottom of the gorge, we boarded an inclined railway that slants down through a break in the canyon walls. A door clanged shut and we were off down the 450 tracks (page 235). Five minutes later we were walking along a roadbed beside the Arkansas River (page 234). These tracks, I discovered, were the cause of a bitter contest in 1878 between two pioneer railroads-the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, and Gen. William J. Palmer's Den ver and Rio Grande. The narrow canyon could accommodate only one roadbed. When rival construction workers arrived at the can yon's entrance, a battle royal began. Crews laid rails during the day and at night sabo taged those of their rival, rolling boulders down the canyon, dynamiting the roadbed, and dumping tools in the river. Not until two years later was the dispute legally settled, in favor of General Palmer's railroad. Frank Gimlet Speaks His Mind "Women ought to stay home; they've got no business traipsing over these mountains." So said a bearded miner seated by an open fire on top of Monarch Pass (page 227). He had watched as I scrambled up a rocky bank for a photographic vantage point and shouted to Joanne and Fern to get out on the edge of a cliff. When I wasn't satisfied and urged them out still farther, the miner concluded we just shouldn't be allowed at large.