Mile 278: Spring Ranch

“We then resumed our journey over a desert, waterless save after rain, for twenty-three miles; it is the divide between the Little Blue and the Platte rivers, a broken table-land rising gradually toward the west, with, at this season, a barren soil of sand and clay. As the evening approached, a smile from above lit up into absolute beauty the homely features of the world below. The sweet commune with nature in her fairest hours denied to the sons of cities—who must contemplate her charms through a vista of brick wall, or over a foreground of chimney-pots—consoled us amply for all the little hardships of travel. Strata upon strata of cloud-banks, burnished to golden red in the vicinity of the setting sun, and polished to dazzling silvery white above, lay piled half way from the horizon to the zenith, with a distinct strike toward a vanishing point in the west, and dipping into a gateway through which the orb of day slowly retired. Overhead floated in a sea of amber and yellow, pink and green, heavy purple nimbi, apparently turned upside down their convex bulges below, and their horizontal lines high in the air while in the east black and blue were so curiously blended that the eye could not distinguish whether it rested upon darkening air or upon a lowering thunder-cloud. We enjoyed these beauties in silence; not a soul said, ‘Look there!’ or ‘How pretty !’

At 9 P.M., reaching ‘Thirty-two-mile Creek,’ we were pleasantly surprised to find an utter absence of the Irishry.”