FIRST JOURNEY TO CALIFORNIA THIRTEEN THOUSAND MILES IN THE WEST
IN the year 1908 I was invited to lecture at the University of California in Berkeley, during the summer session. Accordingly we left New Haven on 9 June, and took the Santa Fé railway from Chicago. Near Kansas City we found enormous floods everywhere. For many miles the wheels were under water. It was a curious experience, to stand on the rear platform of the train, and to see the 'wake' made by our passage; no land visible for miles. On 14 June we saw for the first time the Grand Canyon of the Colorado. We stayed at a hotel there three days and saw the Canyon by sunlight, twilight, dawn, and moonlight; and took drives of many miles. The Canyon is the most sublime spectacle I have ever seen, and the only one of which a picture gives not even a faint representation or conception. It seems all the more astounding because the approach to it is so commonplace and tame. We walked through rough grass and scrubby, dwarfed trees, and then suddenly--But it is vain to attempt a description, either of the vast abyss or of one's impressions.
When we left the Canyon, taking the small junction- train to Williams, the fireman of the locomotive had a day off, and sat down in the train beside me. I said, 'The Canyon is the most sublime spectacle I have ever seen. You have to make three or four trips back and forth every day. Does it still seem to you wonderful? or is it just the
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Publication information: Book title: Autobiography, with Letters. Contributors: William Lyon Phelps - Author. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1939. Page number: 489.
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