Mary Baldwin College - Bluestocking Yearbook (Staunton, VA)

 - Class of 1892

Page 7 of 108


Mary Baldwin College - Bluestocking Yearbook (Staunton, VA) online yearbook collection, 1892 Edition, Page 7
Page 7

Text from page 7:

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Tlic Ait2;usta Scniinayy Aniuial. 3 The heat was intense, and often we could have no ven- tilation on account of the alkali beds. These occur at dif- ferent points through the desert, and while running through them every crack had to be closed, for this sand even if breathed through the nostrils, makes the throat quite sore. The rapid movement of the train sets it in motion, and it enters the cars through the slightest opening. Not only the body became tired of confinement to the warm car, but the eyes grew tired of the dazzling brightness of the sun reflected from the glistening sand and from the yellowish brown crags which scarcely deserve the name of mountains. These I know not how to describe; they shoot almost perpendicularly into the air, and in shape and ap- pearance reminded me of the Palisades along the Hudson, though much higher. There is no vegetation in the desert but the sage-grass, and this is hardly vegetation, merely a tinge of green and as parched and dr} ' looking as the desert itself. The soil, how- ever, on which it grows is said to be rich when irrigated, as Humboldt, truly an " oasis in the desert, " shows. Here the eye of the tourist is rested b} ' seeing again green trees and fresh cool grass ; and even the ear is lulled by the soft music of the fountain of sparkling water. Seven miles to the north-east can be seen, crowned with perpetual snow. Star Peak, the highest mountain in the Humboldt Range. About fifty yards beyond Humboldt, we came to Mirage station, so called from thephenomenon pecul- iar to the desert. The green trees and lakes of bright water, apparent!} ' at a distance of only a few miles, are said to be only optical illusions and to have allured from the beaten track of the trail many emigrants who perished in their attempt to reach the supposed lake. This emigrant trail is near the railway, and in man}^ places we saw bones of honses and cows, though no human skeletons. In this seemingly God-forsaken land, the passengers, though strangers at first, gradually grew into one great fam- ily. My most obliging friend was the porter, who opened the following conversation with me one night while making down my berth: " Where you from, Miss? " When I an- swered, " Virginia, " he said, " L,aw, now, didn ' t I tell the

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