in the time of our visit, for those we left behind to search for Mr. Everts
came by these geysers several days later, and saw but two in operation:
"The Fantail," and a smaller one near it. They were, however, short
of provisions, and remained in the vicinity of the geysers but a few hours.
Steam-jets and clear, deep pools occurred in great
numbers, all over the geyser basin. The latter were very beautiful.
Four or five miles below the geyser basin, on the west side of the Fire
Hole, were four hot lakes. They were similar to the clear, pale-violet
pools which we saw above, and at the point where we left the lake, but
were very much larger. Three of the party paced around the largest
one, making the circumference four hundred and fifty paces. It looked
very deep. The sides of the whitest subsilica, converged at an angle
of about forty-five degrees. It was full to the brim, and a track,
about twenty feet wide all around it, was covered with two inches of water,
which was so hot that it almost scalded our feet, through heavy boots.
Before our pacers got all the way round, they stepped not only very high,
but in quite a lively, animated style. Beyond the track of water
which circled the lake, the ground, covered with subsilica, sloped away
gradually on all sides. Immense volumes of steam rose from all these
lakes, and first attracted our attention to them. So much hot water
flowed from them that the Fire Hole was tempered for several miles below.
We found no fish anywhere in the Fire Hole, though after its junction with
the Madison they were quite plentiful.
Leaving the hot lakes, we continued homeward.
On the way we passed through two beautiful cañons; one on
the Fire Hole, and one on the Madison. The cañon on
the Fire Hole is grand and beautiful. Its sides are granite, nearly
perpendicular, and from eight hundred to a thousand feet high. It
is cut on both sides by small, lateral ravines, which are filled with evergreens;
and on both sides of the river is a narrow bottom, also covered with trees
and verdure. The cañon on the Yellowstone is grand
and gloomy. This one is beautiful and cheerful. The first was
seen from above, the last from below. The former inspires one with
awe, the latter with delight.
The Madison Cañon may be less grand, but
scarcely less beautiful. Its walls are not so high, and generally
not quite so precipitous. It is filled with fine timber, affords
splendid and picturesque camping-places, and is watered not only by the
Madison River, but by pleasant, clear, rippling brooks, which flow through
ravines entering the sides of the cañon.
On the 22d day of September, just one month after
leaving Fort Ellis, the party reached Farley's, the frontier rancho
on the Madison River. It was a little strange to feel that we were
again within the pale of civilization. During our month's absence,
we had seen so much that was new and strange that it seemed more like a
year. Every one felt funny; and we looked at each other and laughed
in a silly way, as one small boy does, when, on entering church or any
other place where he ought to keep quiet, he catches the eye of another
small-boy acquaintance. There was a pleasure in getting home; and
all felt curious to hear the news. papers, old and new, were alike
seized, and devoured with wonderful avidity. One gentleman even got
hold of a Norwegian paper, but it was too much for his brain.
As an agricultural country, I was not favorably
impressed with the great Yellowstone basin; but its brimstone resources
are ample for all the matchmakers of the world. A snow-storm in September,
two feet deep, is hardly conducive to any kind of agricultural enter- Go
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