The watershed year of Isabella Lucy Bird's life was 1873. In autumn
of that year, the forty-one-year-old English gentlewoman embarked
by rail from San Francisco's east bay, bound for the Colorado
Rockies. A challenging journey, it drove Bird to the utmost
physical effort and initiated her lifelong career in what today is
called adventure travel. More than one hundred twenty years after
their first publication, Isabella Bird's letters to her sister
continue to thrill readers with their account of the then-untamed
and largely unknown American mountain wilderness.
This elegant illustrated edition of Bird's A Lady's Life in the
Rocky Mountains, annotated by Ernest S. Bernard, sheds fresh light
on ambiguities and obscurities in Bird's letters and contains new
details about the frontier Rocky Mountain West -- a region Bird
found so beautiful that she gently chided "nature for her close
imitation of art".
Readers will share Bird's joy and terror as she scales the
nearly sheer face of Longs Peak; her wistfulness and wonder in the
company of the dashing, doomed mountain man, "Rocky Mountain Jim";
and her unalloyed rapture as she glories in "the rushing winds, the
piled-up peaks, the great pines, the wild night noises, the poetry
and prose" of her beloved mountains.
In addition to a map of Bird's 1873 route and contemporary
photographs, this new annotated edition includes an appendix that
illustrates and charts the course of Bird's historic ascent of
Longs Peak, allowing travelers -- real and armchair -- to share the
dangers and discoveries of Isabella Lucy Bird's amazing
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