Kategorie-Archiv: diary

diary entries of Franz Ferdinand

Livingston — Butte City, 28 September 1893

The train led on a branch line of the Northern Pacific Railway in a Southeastern direction across a bare and sad area, through uncultivated hilly terrain and only in the distance the peaks of the Rocky Mountains were visible. Everywhere we saw cattle in great numbers that seemed to be well nourished despite the poor soil. One and a half hour before Butte City the land turned mountainous. The train crossed deeply cut valleys and gorges on tall wooden bridges. Numerous round rock blocks of considerable size were laying around everywhere allowing only sparse tree growth in the few open places.

At many points we could see clear signs of mining that is very actively undertaken in this Rocky Mountain district rich in ore and centered on Butte City. This mining city in the purest sense of the word is situated in a bare valley surrounded by mountains and is recognizable from afar by its smoking stacks. In the middle of the surrounding area of the city rises a hill rich in ore whose copper and silver deposits are extracted by several mines. The attached machine houses, various laundries and large heaps of dead rocks covered the surface of the hill. Small tracks on which wagons and sledges with the mined ore moved led from site to site. Everywhere there was smoke, hammering and knocking.

Around this hill are arranged the city and some settlements that have in time become suburbs, so that Butte currently has 40.000 inhabitants. If American cities in general are known to have been built without taste and present a chilling sight, then Butte City must count to be among the worst.

One should imagine a community of a considerable extent where not one tree, not one spot of green, the motley houses are built on clay or sand and in the more distant roads are reminiscent of gypsy wagons. Everywhere the Non plus ultra of tastelessness is achieved. The roads are bumpy like a miserable country road. And still there are millionaires living in the city but they do not indulge in any luxuries here and do not embellish their sad homes and only amass dollars.

A dense network of wires extended over the roofs and bright boards with obtrusive ads covered the front and side walls of all buildings. In a two-hour tour I have never receiver viler impressions than here but am still satisfied to have seen Butte City as my opinion that one has to see for oneself and not let one’s judgement be formed only by descriptions was confirmed once more.

I was interesting in visiting one of the mines and thus I drove to a mine where I was informed that the officials and workers were at lunch and the mine at rest which made me conclude that a European shift organization that prevented the interruption of the work flow was not possible to install in this „free“ country here. After longer discussions, one worker was ready to show us the mine which was said to go down 335 m and we entered as seven on a sledge intended for four persons. Fortunately we stopped already at the second level and, each equipped with a flickering candle, followed a gallery until we arrived at the work place after we had climbed over multiple ladders. Here the copper and silver veins in the rock were visible in a strange clay mass.

Mining is done in terraces that lie one above the other and are supported by wooden pillars and as elsewhere, they do use plenty of the cheap wood here. The profit  of the mine seems to be small as only 60 workers were employed and everything looked quite shabby. I thus refrained from visiting the likewise resting laundry and smeltery and returned to the station.

Then started an extended period of shifting our wagons in which they were pushed together so forcefully that only their excellent construction prevented damage, as we often had had the opportunity to observe this.

Light-heartedly we parted from Butte City and drove up to dusk to the South towards Salt Lake City through a bare valley with numerous small stations. Alongside the tracks numerous herds were mingling. Some beautiful light effects were produced by the setting sun in the mountains and compensated for the strong monotony of the area.


  • Location: Butte, Montana, USA
  • ANNO – on 28.09.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the comedy „Das Heiratsnest“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the ballet „Die goldene Märchenwelt“.

Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel — Livingston, 27 September 1893

As the mail still had not arrived on the morning train, I used the time up to the departure to Cinnabar to pay a visit to Captain Anderson, commander of the cavalry detachment stationed here in order to have a look at the menagerie he had assembled which was to be sent to Washington. Captain Anderson had sent me into a fit of despair the evening before when he assured me that he could have arranged for a permission to hunt some predators in the park if we had announced our wishes a few days earlier. How easy it would have been to kill one of those tin-loving bears!

The captain was living in a nicely equipped log house and knew many interesting details about the affairs in the park. His squadron has a very demanding job as it requires many guards and patrols that mainly have to look out for poachers and who have to overcome many dangers given the audacity of the poachers. A poacher was just recently relieved of a nice pony that was standing near the log house.

The menagerie was small but counted among it many remarkable pieces, thus a porcupine, a young buzzard, a badger-like animal unknown to me, three rather tame beavers that could be taken out of the cage and wandered around freely. In an iron cage sat a black bear that had been caught only a few days before and was to undertake a journey to Washington. Four delightful wapiti calves were totally tame, and came running on call, sniffing us curiously, while a fox fled into its artificial cave only to peek out of a tube with a cunning glance from time to time but immediately retiring at every approach.

During the morning some caravans of „sour dough tourists“ arrived which refers to the families that move through and now out of the park with a fully packed wagon, with their children and their stuff. We had encountered several of them already on the first day of our tour. The vehicle, their baggage and the passengers showed clearly visible marks of their gypsy-like roaming. The way these nature lovers visit the park is without doubt a very strange one and a hardly comprehensible way for us to enjoy the summer time. Any demands for comfort these travelers may have to forsake, and whether they find compensation for their many deprivations of their exhausting journey in their boundless existence is dependent on the favor of hazard and the weather’s caprices and thus can not be predicted but seems to be the case.

On the small square I then inspected a cavalry detachment, about half a squadron that performed exercises to an officer’s command. The troop exercised developments and movements that were a bit more complicated than those used at home. The development of a skirmish line where the carbine is grabbed while mounted seems to be one of the most important evolutions. The horses were noticeably tall, strong and also good, mostly white horses. The riding of the soldiers and the rough treatment of the horses I found less sympathetic. The riders wore standard dark-blue uniforms with yellow lacing on the pants and gray slouch hats and tall heavy boots. The armament consisted of saber, revolver and carbine. The latter and the saber were attached on the saddle.

To Cinnabar we came faster this time than the outward journey as the route was in a better condition and was mostly downhill. In this place we had to wait for a long time for the departure of the train of the Northern Pacific Railroad which would take us to Butte City by the way of Livingston. We then intend to travel on to the center of Mormonism, Salt Lake City, our next destination.

During the waiting time in Cinnabar we spoke with an old Saxon who had run away from his homeland to lead a free life in America as a hunter and trapper that apparently pleased him very much. Currently the man engages in a very brisk trade in bear furs and fossilized wood. With special enthusiasm he told us from his hunting expeditions on which he shoots the game emerging from the park but became very agitated when I asked him whether he was married and professed himself as a confirmed bachelor (Hagestolz).

Due to a happy coincidence, I was able to see the most audacious female rider of the area who is able to tame even the most intractable and wild horse, but has been quite neglected by nature as far as beauty and female grace are concerned.

In Livingston we had to use our Pullmann Car also as our night’s lodging as the train to Butte City was only to arrive towards 4 o’clock in the morning. The former city is a known trading place for furs and hides. In the shops one may buy the following: puma, bear, wolf, fox, cat and marten furs, buffalo hides, numerous antlers among them capital ones from wapiti and black-tail deer as well as from mountain sheep. Furthermore a lot of Indian curiosities such as weapons, jewellery and various products of the local industry.

The prices demanded by the merchants were completely outrageous. Furthermore we had to accept it as a kind of grace that they sold us the desired piece for our good money or even receive some sort of packaging. A simple Indian shawl cost 10 dollars, a badly stuffed buffalo head 600 dollars and a pair of wapiti antlers up to 200 dollars. Still our shopping craze was great as we had found many beautiful objects.

When I sent two of my gentlemen with all the necessary attestations and certifications to the post master in the evening and asked him to hand out my mail here in Livingston that had arrived at almost the same time as we and was addressed to Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, I had to experience another proof of American unfriendliness that was very detrimental for our mood. Even though the gentlemen also presented a letter from the post master at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel in which he asked his colleague to hand us out the late-arriving mail which was just then laying on the counter so that individual addresses could be read and one could note that among the letters there were also some whose quick reception was important for me, the impolite post master did not want to give us our mail at any price and insisted to send it on to the place of address despite all our means used to change his opinion.Finally he put on his hat and left his office without a word.


  • Location: Livingston, Montana, USA
  • ANNO – on 27.09.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the drama „Der Meister von Palmyra“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Romeo und Julie“.

Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, 26 September 1893

As I wanted to see the wonders of the Great Canyons again, I rushed at sunrise to another viewing point called Look-out Point. The sun was shining brightly into the color labyrinth and made the yellow tones stand out especially intensely. In the gorge an osprey was flying up and down and above us on a steep peak one could once again see an aerie. From Look-out Point I went up the very steep path with my quite unsuitable urban half-boots  to the great waterfall to the cliff that lay above it and offers a good overview of the rapids and the fall’s cauldron in which tree trunks were swirling.

As the coach was not yet there in place, we decided to undertake a small hunt for the most lovely striped squirrels that were scurrying around on the trees and the ground. There were many of them but we managed to bag but one as sticks and stones were our only weapons.

The drive soon after this frowned upon entertainment went in a Western direction through wooded undulating land and offered little variety. Just when we reached the Norris Hotel and returned to the already familiar road, we saw basalt rocks of adventurous forms in a gorge, among them an eminent big block called the „devil’s elbow“.

At the funny Irishman’s we ate breakfast again in the tent with numerous flies and continued the morning’s hunt for squirrels, with as much cover as possible from the watchful eyes of the soldiers, as the coachmen declared that they had to rest their horses here for at least one and a half hours.

An immense number of fallen trees and wood pieces under which the very fast animals disappeared lightning-fast and into their burrows with wide-ranging passages that served also as hiding places made our start more difficult. After we had bravely run around for some time, we had finally bagged five pieces one among them still alive as it had fled into an empty tin box when it was pursued hard.

While we had seen the road between Morris Geyser Basin and Mammoth Hot Springs in winter dress and in considerable cold weather, the landscape now offered a very different picture: The snow had given way to the warming rays of the sun, so that the colors of the broadleaf trees that were changing between red, yellow and green were put on display to the fullest, especially the prairie-like high plateau and the ledges around Swan Lake. At Beaver Lake, none of its inhabitants. the industrious beavers, showed up while just before the Golden Gate another rare representative of the American animal world, namely the pronghorn, an especially notable strong male, became visible at shooting distance from the wagon and ran across the open area and repeatedly stood still without any sign of timidity. This antelope — America possesses but this one species — reminded me in gait and behavior of both our deer and the chamois. Very original are the hook-like crooked strong antlers.

Shortly afterwards I saw another strange animal move through the low bushes to the prairie at about 200 paces. At first I considered it to be a beaver due to its color and gait, but I soon recognized that it was a porcupine that had noticed our presence and had already turned around to flee. Quickly we jumped from the wagon and stormed after the animals using our lungs and legs to their fullest capacity and cornered it after an extended run. When the distance between us and the porcupine became to small, it jumped into a ditch where it was killed with a hunting knife. The American porcupine is quite different from the Indian one: The pines are considerably shorter, the front part of the body has long bristly hairs and it is of a darker color.

So we nevertheless bagged, without breaching the „No Shooting“ in the Yellowstone Park, a skunk, a porcupine and six squirrels as well as an innocent finch that had been hit by a projectile during the squirrel hunt. We still lifted, even though the hunt could not be called a noble one in honor of St. Hubert, our last and most interesting catch into the wagon with joy.

Towards the evening we arrived at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel where a major disappointment awaited us as the long expected mail had not yet arrived despite it being firmly promised.


Grand Canyon Hotel, 25 September 1893

Chattering from the cold we left the camp early in the morning to do once more some fishing under the cloudless sky. The owner of the steamboat who is living next to the hotel and who was one of the few polite Americans whom I’ve met loaned us the necessary fishing equipment. With it we made a short crossing of the lake and soon were again in the river. This time everybody fished alone in a boat and I had myself rowed further downriver as I expected it to be a more promising location.

During the crossing I could observe numerous species of the bird world present at the Yellowstone River. Flocks of ducks were flying up and down, geese were flapping with loud cries, seagulls flew around in elegant flight and swift as an arrow. Buzzards, harriers and ospreys were circling above the boat whose movements had caused jays at the shore to take to the air accompanied by hoarse sounds.

In a small bay that looked well suited for a catch I anchored the boat and started my task with great patience. To my joy the first trout bit after about an hour, to be followed by four more in longer intervals. Each fish weighed about a kilogram. Some other trouts that I had already believed to have caught I lost again as it was at times not possible to take in the lightning-fast moving fish hanging on the rod on board.  One could clearly see that the fish were only taking the lures with reluctance due to the cold as they often played with it without biting. In the right season, fishing here must be a very entertaining sport as during that time one could catch a hundred pieces in a very short time.

After no trout wanted to bite any more and my efforts in another place proved futile too, I reunited with my gentlemen who had also made some catches and returned to the hotel where seven skunks captured and killed during the night were on display. They have a badger-like body and soft black and white speckled fur. As they befoul the whole area where they are living with their penetrating odor, they are keenly hunted.

In the afternoon we took the route to the Yellowstone Canyon in our coach, first alongside the lake shore, then alongside the Yellowstone river. Soon the closed forest stopped and changed to an open area with Artemisia plants that were surrounded by trees and presented an excellent terrain for feeding game. Probably many a buffalo herd must once have visited these places.

At the halfway mark of the journey next to the road was one of the strangest formations in the park called Mud Cauldron , a deep mud funnel geyser out whose side opening emerged a constant blue-greyish boiling foam with an accompanying strong steam and dull humming, which looks quite  uncanny. Every object that is thrown into the funnel disappears in the horrible opening forever, only wood pieces reappear from time to time on the surface but already quite decomposed.

Hayden Valley in the North is a completely treeless waste valley with undulating ridges with a small stream winding its way through it. A still visible beaten path shows the trail where a complete Indian tribe with wives and children had used to retreat from the Southern regions to the North after they had incurred considerable losses in the fights against other tribes. Nowadays, Indians are prohibited to enter the territory of the Yellowstone Park.

Just after we had driven over a bridge I saw a skunk run past. Shouting „Stop“ to the coachman, we grabbed sticks and jumped out of the wagon and now began a happy hunt in which we also threw stones. The skunk did not want to go into the water even if it was cornered but kept running up and down the shore until it finally faced us and made lavish use of its last means of salvation, its horrible perfume. This, however, did not inhibit us to slay it. Thus we had achieved a hunting trophy in the park even without using the rifles. I gave the order to store it in the second wagon and then we drove on, talking about the happy skunk hunt.

As soon as we had arrived at the Grand Canyon Hotel where we would spend the night, Hodek brought a message that the coachman of the second wagon had refused to bring along the skunk. Hodek had tried to tie it to the axle but the coachman jumped down from his seat and threw the skunk far away which led to a big commotion between the two. The skunk had been left behind. I, however, did not want to let go of this catch made with great effort and we held a war council to decide what we could do, taking into consideration that we would not be allowed to take the animal with us into the hotel. Finally a considerable amount of dollars won over the missgivings of the coachman who rode back with Hodek and soon the hide of the skunk lay well packaged in an iron tin between the other baggage pieces.

The greatest landmark of the park is without doubt the great canyon of the Yellowstone river that alone would warrant a visit to the park. Armed with experience I had very much kept my reserve during the praising of this natural beauty, but must gladly admit that my expectations have been surpassed by far.

We arrived just at the right moment as the evening shortly before sunset is the best moment for visiting the canyon. We drove in a small wagon from the hotel. Due to the bad condition of the wood path this trip imprinted itself unsparingly into our memory. Passing by multiple viewing points that let us already guess about the splendor of the valley, we finally arrived at the foot of the Inspiration Points rising 460 m above the Yellowstone river. There the gorge lay in front of us falling more than 300 m down with steep almost vertical walls that had fantastically formed protrusions with wildly jagged peaks and rock needles, while the river was meandering in a blue band through the valley bottom. The rocky peaks that rose next to each other like a backdrop showed the most audacious forms too and enclose small gorges as well as scree slopes filled with dropped off stones. Rhyolith out of which the rocks are made up is also very much exposed to weathering and decomposition so that without interruption individual pieces separate themselves and the jaggedness is continuously increasing.

The most beautiful and strange of the canyon by far are the various colorings in which the rocky stones and especially the scree are gleaming. All the colors one might think about are represented here in various shades but yellow, red, pink and white are predominant. Especially red is present in all nuances from the darkest blood red to the most delicate pink in a range hardly any well equipped paint-box will match. The few dark spots are formed by the not very numerous crippled pine trees that are enduring in the rock clefts.

Even if a painter’s brush managed to create an exact and realistic rendering of all the colors we were seeing here in all their shades and in their glazes and bizarre forms of the rocks, everyone would still believe that the image was unnatural and something close to it could not exist in nature. Even the most detailed description by a master would be insufficient to give a good representation of the surprising variety of the pomp and splendor developed here. Who wants to see it in all its great majesty needs to have stayed here at a beautiful fall evening to have a dream of the most audacious imagination turned into reality.

At the entrance to the gorge one the Great or Lower Waterfall of the Yellowstone becomes visible and falls at this spot foaming and thunderous  over a vertical rocky wall of nearly 100 m, while the Upper Waterfall lies in the far distance and appears only as a silver-white point. To the other side, the gorge loses itself into the wooded mountains that take on a dark purple coloring in the evening, while behind them a snow-covered mountain giant concludes the composition in an effective manner. This gorgeous view can only be placed on the same worthy level as the few moments when the fog parted in Darjeeling and revealed the Himalaya’s peaks in their virgin majesty.

Inspiration Point,  a rocky peak in the middle of the canyon and not very difficult to reach for those not suffering from vertigo, is the most favorable panoramic spot. All the more I was wondering why there were no safety measures installed for the visitors and there were neither railings nor steps to make the ascent easier on the quite dangerous path of whose outermost point I would like to warn everyone who is not a mountain climber.

The deeper the sun sank below the mountains the more diverse became the game of colors so that we, lost in admiration, could not separate ourselves from the spectacle for a long time, until the repeated warning of the coachman who feared to make the return trip in darkness forced us to leave Inspiration Point. Some large stones that we pushed down, jumped from ledge to ledge and fell down from the enormous height in a few seconds and disappeared with a thud in the river.  On one of the rocky needles, glued to its highest peak, we discovered a large aerie whose builder selected a probably inaccessible spot.

In the evening three bears, apparently an old female with two young ones, were rummaging through the heap of tins barely 200 paces distant from the hotel. They were discovered by gentleman who had hidden himself nearby. When the whole swarm of visitors, among them we too, however descended there from the hotel, the bears unfortunately disappeared never to be seen again as the hotel guests, especially the ladies, were very noisy, chatting and giggling, which would have driven away even a tame bear.

Without the implacable „No Shooting“ I certainly would have taken up position in this not very poetic place, convinced that I would have had an opportunity for a shot during the night.


Yellowstone Lake Hotel, 24 September 1893

Fortunately. Clam was able to participate in today’s drive, especially as the weather was to be splendid and a relatively warm day to be expected. At the Fountain Geyser Hotel, the landlord offered us still an example of American unfriendliness by answering our question about the time when the Old Faithful would play again with a moody „I don’t know“. Having just disappeared in the forest, we learned from the hunters in the second wagon behind us that the geyser had jumped into action only a few minutes ago.

Up to the Upper Geyser Basin we took the same route as the day before and then drove on past the geysers visited yesterday. They were smoking especially strongly due to the cool morning temperature. From there to Lake Yellowstone, a forest was our constant companion that looked quite desert and barren but not like one we were familiar with and contained at least some beautiful trees. A large number of them showed fresh traces from bears that had climbed the trees and left cuts from their paws in the bark. These climbing exercises are made by the bears only for entertainment purposes as they find their food only on the ground, while beaver were hard at work on trunks as thick as an arm that had completely bitten through at a height of about 30 cm.

The first point on our route where our admiration was invited was in no way justifying it. These were the Kepler falls that are formed by the Firehole river falling down over a few stones in a small gorge. A rock formation and stony slopes that interrupted the forest were blanketed with a light snow and made us consider as passionate mountain hunters how suitable this place would be for chamois and how much this place would thus be improved in our eyes.

The road with many curves proved this year that all road works and repairs had been canceled. The Yellowstone Park company had had a bad year as the visitor count amounted only to 3000 persons and had to save money everywhere and for example had to fire 100 coachmen and to send 200 horses into the prairie as there was no work for them.

After a longer ascent and repeated watering of the horses we reached a wooded high plateau of considerable size where a table at 2470 m above sea level with the inscription „Continental Divide“ informed about the fact that the watershed between the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean was there. Out of an extended forest shone the blue area of Lake Shoshone to the South and in the far distance rose some snow-covered peaks.

In very sharply turning serpentine roads the route led down the mountain which showed that the park company did not care much for the safety of the visitors or did trust in their horses very much: The small track which was just wide enough for a wagon without any railing or other safety measure was close to the abyss. Furthermore the road bed consisted of very soft material and was criss-crossed by tracks that did not inspire much confidence.

Completely unexpected, suddenly Lake Yellowstone lay at our feet and we enjoyed the gorgeous view was open to the distant surrounding mountains.This lake covers at an altitude of 2360 m an area of 302 km2 and extends into the land with deep bays so that one can compare it to four fingers of a hand. First for us lay the West Bay or Thumb where even the breakfast is usually eaten in a tent.

Very close many hot springs were sputtering, some of which were remarkable, thus a mud spring similar to the Mammoth Paint Pots which however cast out intensively pink colored instead of the white slurry and thus resembles a boiling strawberry cream, then the tanner’s spring with brown water etc. Some springs were near the lake shore, some even within the lake so that at the Fishing Cone only the depositions separate the hot from the cold water. Here one can catch a trout in the lake while standing on the edge of the spring and cook them immediately in the hot water without moving from the place — a joke that is often practised as the many fishbones and skeletons lying around proved.

In the lunch tent where we were presented with a barely edible breakfast fitting for the end of the season we found a group of Germans who were on their way to a four-week hunting expedition to the South of the park and were drivelling  about the great quantities of game there. The careful park cavalry command had sealed the rifles of these followers of Nimrod for the duration of their journey through the park.

On the small steamboat „Zillah“ that was not owned by the park company but a private company that took us to the other shore of the lake, the captain was acting also as pilot, cashier and steward to safe money. The main treasure of the boat formed capital wapiti antlers that were affixed below the star-spangled banner — a widespread custom in this region. I even once saw a locomotive that had an antler on its funnel. Idyllic calm lay over the area of the mountain lake which was splendidly by mighty mountains among them Mount Sheridan, Mount Cathedral, Grizzly, Eagle Peak and Mount Table. From the shore to the mountains unfathomable woods reach up to the limit of vegetation which also forms the main place for the local buffaloes. Only a little time ago a group of travellers passing by is said to have seen these giants of the animal world from the ship. Numerous ducks and geese populated the lake and were mingling extremely close to our vehicle. At some distance we saw swans and pelicans and on a small sand bank sat a sea eagle with a snow-white head and tail.

The Yellowstone Lake Hotel, another tasteless building, stands on a small hill above the lake and is to me due to its view the most sympathetic among the hotels in the park of those that I have been to.

As the owner of the steamer had made me the proposition to go salmon fishing before dawn we drove in two small boats to the place where the Yellowstone river flows out of the sea to try our luck. I fished with a trolling rod and a lure but there was not much chance for success as only the months of July and August were favorable for fishing and the fish showed little inclination for biting due to the cold. In the gorgeous clear water of the river where one could everywhere see the ground even at considerable depth were numerous fishes but even the most tempting lures were without much force of attraction until finally two salmon trouts gave in to our temptation and became the catch of Imhof who sat with me in the boat. These salmonids distinguished themselves by their especially beautiful coloring as their gold-yellow and rose red skin was covered with numerous dark spots.

A German who had been fishing at the same time and whom we met by chance assured me that the fish had bitten a little bit better in the morning but the present hour is certainly unfavorable so that we decided to retreat while a  gorgeous beautiful setting of the sun, an alpenglow and the concurrent rise of the moon over the quiet mountain lake was more than sufficient compensation for the not much satisfying fishing.

For later in the evening the appearance of a bear was promised that, as was said in the hotel, used to pay a visit to the muck heap near the house with its numerous dumped tins at dusk. The day before a group had surprised it during its meal. It then climbed a tree and was bombarded by the people present with pieces of wood. Despite a long wait we saw nothing but found a horse carcass that had already been fretted by a bear.

An older Hebe with glasses and a low-cut dress who made an extremely comical expression was serving us at supper. During the night we had to endure a severe cold in the damp rooms without a stove.


Fountain Geyser Hotel, 23 September 1893

The Yellowstone Park Company administers as a privileged hotel stock company also transportation and has set a sort of day of rest for the horses that have to cover the arduous journey of 68 km from Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel to the Fountain Geyser Hotel at Lower Geyser Basin without a relay, which is generally used for an incredibly interesting three hour drive to the most beautiful and largest volcanic formations in the park in the Lower and Upper Geyser Basin.

Clam could not join our drive today as he was once again struck by a reminder of the tropical fever. Dense fog covered the whole ground in the morning but it lifted soon and made way for a very beautiful and relatively warm day. Before the departure we still had a hard struggle with our coachman who did not want to remove the large coach roof at all that restricted the view. Only when we had received the permission of the direction we had asked for by telegraph, did he grudgingly decide to comply with our wish, not without however breaking the construction of the roof.

The wagon first rumbled over a hollow sounding calcareous sinter terrace that made us fear to sink in, and in fact one of our rear wheels glided into a small crater of a hot spring. Barely five minutes distant from our hotel we spotted a capital wolf that was milling around 200 paces in front of us in an open space and which reawakened our vivid lamentation of not being permitted to hunt in the park. For a long time we were able to observe it at shooting distance until it disappeared into the woods looking back again and again towards us.

Very close to the Firehole River lies Excelsior Geyser that had had no eruptions since 1888, with a short exception in 1890, but in former times had been the most important in the basin and sent its water masses 60 to 90 m up into the air as a true „Geysir“, old Icelandic for berserker. Now one can only see a large crater with boiling hot water that is dark-blue in the middle and reddish at the edges due to the underlying deposits and that are reflected in the rising steam.

Close to the Excelsior Geyser our wagon stopped near the edge of the Turquoise Springs whose clear waters were truly of a turquoise color. Also remarkable are the springs nearby,  Artemisia and Morning Glory.

A bridge over the Firehole river leads to the extended upper geyser basin which holds numerous springs and up to 40 geysers that we could already see from near the bridge. First we saw the Riverside Geyser whose eruption happening at certain intervals we unfortunately had missed, then the Grotto that has created some sort of vault and a cone above its spring. The next geyser is called Castle due to its crater form and erupts in irregular periods and resembles in my opinion a tall smoking chimney.

The most beautiful and largest currently active geyser is the Old Faithful that fully earns its name as it keeps exactly to its times of eruption, 65 minutes of rest and 4 minutes of show. We thus could use the remaining half hour to the next eruption to visit a snow-white lime terrace that was carrying a good number of fountains on its vaulted surface. Thus the Beehive with its beehive-like cone that has been formed in such a regular way that one could think it is a work of art. The strange black-purple water color marks the Giantess who erupts only every 14 days while her husband, the Giant, is very moody and produces his water spectacles in intervals that can’t be predicted.

Very cute small geysers are the „sponge“ and the „butterfly“ that vividly blow out small water jets aggrandising themselves. The former completely resembles a sponge in color and look, while the latter exactly matches the contours of the wings of a butterfly. At the Lion and the Lioness, small geysers with cone-shaped craters, one notices a bubble-like hard sinter deposit at the outer wall  which is tempting to take a souvenir of a small piece as something new and not yet seen. But this is prevented by the severe watchful soldier who does not leave any travel group unattended. He prevented any catch and stepped in when Imhof finally had managed with great effort to get a piece of the sinter and hide it, so that he again plucked the valuable treasure out of the pocket of the sinner.

Our guide made us aware that it was time to return to the Old Faithful where my curiosity led me to take a look at the already rumbling crater, an undertaking that was punished by a hot steam cloud that suddenly enclosed me and burned strongly. Immediately after the eruption followed, the huge water mass rose like an immense fountain spring to about 45 m, presenting a gorgeous spectacle whose effect was much improved by the beautiful weather, the deep-blue sky and the dark-green background of the fir tree woods. As quickly as it had appeared, the gigantic water jet that looked different on every side sank back into the crater whose surrounding area consists of a small basin in the form of a wave where the remaining water quickly evaporates.

The hunger that comes with the enjoyment of nature is quenched in a wooden hotel where one eats breakfast. As the Old Faithful erupts, as noted, every 65 minutes we waited for the next eruption to admire it once more and take photographs.

The named geysers and springs is far from being a complete list of such attractions here. That’s why I still visited a number of other geysers in the afternoon with a light wagon. One might believe that one more or less resembles the other and that one soon tires of further visits. But this is not the case  as each wonder of nature distinguishes itself by special features and strange aspects.

The Grotto we had already seen in the morning pleased us by just then offering a show by sending out a cascade of hot water from multiple openings at the same time. Then we came to the Punch Bowl, a boiling spring with a raised edge, then to the White Pyramid, a cone of a defunct crater, the Splendid Geyser, Fan, Mortar and all others of these spectacles of nature that still might be named. In a small side valley we were blinded by the snow-white deposits of multiple springs that extended there like a moraine there and had in time turned the dead trees into stone.

Hodek wanted to photograph in an especially picturesque pose appropriate to the character of the region and asked us to climb the very steep crater of the apparently quiet Castle Geyser and take up position at the narrow edge. This image of the audacious climb of the crater would have been very original but Prónay and I had hardly arrived at the top when our intention seemed to displease the old Castle, as suddenly it started to erupt and to spout water over us while hot steam also burned Prónay’s nose. Involuntarily we had to admit that our undertaking had not been more sensible than what the German had done at the Constant Geyser, and sought relief from our failed enterprise by watching the show of the Old Faithful again from a distance.

We returned to the hotel on a different route than we arrived on which we had to pass a rather deep ford of the Firehole River with the wagon while multiple flocks of geese were quacking. While my gentlemen still undertook an evening stroll, I remained in the hotel to write in my diary until the splendid moon rise enticed me to go outside again.


Fountain Geyser Hotel, 22 September 1893

The day started bitter cold even if beautiful and cloudless. On the stiffly frozen ground our coach departed from the hotel and turned past the springs into the gorge of the Gardiner River where the road rose so steeply that our four good horses could only advance with great effort. Despite furs, blankets and the life-preserving cognac we were freezing quite hard during the first hours of the 68 km long drive.

After some time the end of the gorge is reached at some kind of pass that has been named Golden Gate after the yellow moss growing on the rocks. The route continues alongside a rock wall over a wooden bridge.

The Golden Gate is found as an illustration in all travel guide books. Countless photographs of it are sold. But there are hundreds of much more beautiful gorges and passes in our mountains that nobody mentions. I noticed here too that in America, the humbug is extended to natural wonders too and many very unimportant feature and point is pressed upon the visitor as an admirable sight. I am certainly a great friend of nature and its charms and am rightfully said to be an enthusiast for nature and can while away for days in a beautiful area or forest and still find new features in every tree, every mountain, in short in everything. If, however, guide books, guides and travel organizers and coachmen in a way command me to find something „beautiful“, my admiration vanishes and I start to examine with a critical eye and make comparisons with those at home which most of the times favor the latter.

Unfortunately the whole gorge is littered with dead trees, witnesses of earlier forest fires, and the government could at least here in the national park undertake reforestations next to the road. The Gardiner river crashed down as a small waterfall from the ledge of the pass from which we came over a plain prairie-like plateau. In its midst lies Swan Lake that is actually only a puddle despite of its presumptuous name. Behind us rose the Electric Peak at 3400 m the highest mountain in the Yellowstone Park. To our right loomed the snowy peaks of Quadrant Mount, Bannock Peak and Mount Holmes, three mighty steep mountains that were all above  3000 m high.

After the monotonous prairie of the high plateau we were welcomed by a living forest which however was not comparable in beauty to the forests in our latitudes but still had only a few spots of burned trees or trees knocked down by the snow pressure. Spruces and fir trees made up its stock almost exclusively. Only now and then a few dwarfish trembling poplars or willows were casting out a glance out of the dark green of the conifers. As there had fallen today a splendid new snow, we entertained ourselves by discovering and following the numerous tracks crossing the road. Among these were excellent elk (wapiti) tracks of considerable size as well as those of wolfs, foxes and hares. Squirrels of three different species among which one very small striped cute animal were scurrying around as swift as an arrow and were sunning themselves on the fallen trees only to disappear lightning fast among the branches or roots when the wagon came too close.

The richness in game of the park is quite respectable thanks to the severe hunting prohibition. The last specimen of the once innumerable wild buffalo herds spared the senseless destructive urges of the rude farmers and cowboys are living here. Besides them are wapitis, moose, big-horns, mountain sheep, smaller deer species, six bear varieties (grizzly, cinnamon, black, silvertipped, smutfaced and silk bears), one mountain lion, wolves, foxes, coyotes, beavers, — elsewhere close to extinction if their hunt is not stopped — Otters, martens, muskrats, ermines, hares, rabbits, badgers, iltisses and even some species of porcupine. Among the birds one finds grouse, eagle and other predators, owls, many geese and ducks, pelicans and allegedly swans. Then cranes, crows, ravens, a species of blue nutcracker and frequently spotted nutcrackers that are very similar to ours in voice, flight and behavior.

Despite the tables affixed everywhere displaying „No Shooting“ and even though the army battalion is also tasked with prohibiting any hunting, there is much poaching going on. Thus I have heard that a gang has killed 500 wapitis and transported them across the border. And I would have to leave the question open whether there were not some captains who would take up the rifle from time to time with their soldiers during the long lonesome winter months while the park was closed.

Three kilometers from Swan Lake one crosses Indian Creek and Willow Creek that flow here into Gardiner river and then stands face to face to the obsidian rock which I had imagined to look quite different. The cooled stream of volcanic glass can be indeed noticed on the rock and on the many broken  pieces lying around but the light effects and reflections are in no way as extraordinary as they are described. The most interesting is the fact that the rock served as a good orientation marker for the Indians who considered it holy. In its hard mass it once had provided excellent material for arrow heads. When the road had been laid out here, one did not want to destroy the beautiful rock by powder or dynamite explosions but heated it up and then quickly poured cold water over it — a method which made the rock crack on its own.

To our right was Beaver Lake, a small pretty forest lake with a blue surface and beaver lodges. Here as in all places with much water were many ducks that were not at all timid and swam around with great familiarity close to our rolling wagon. At a lake close to Beaver Lake we were greatly surprised. When we were unsuspectingly driving alongside the lake we suddenly saw a brown mass move in a meadow at the edge of the water. Approaching to finally only 150 paces we recognized to our great pleasure a mighty beaver. To see such an animal walking around freely during clear day is certainly a considerable rarity which was confirmed also by our coachman who is driving this route for a good part of the year.

We had the wagon immediately stopped and observed the animal that did not let itself be interrupted. Even when we shouted and whistled, it continued in its slow wobbling walk only now and then stopping and glancing back. How much did I regret the vexed „No Shooting“ that prevented me from firing a shot at this rare animal — what a valuable hunting trophy this apparently very old gentleman would have made! It had been so close that I could very clearly distinguish its beautiful dense fur with the long silver grey tinted ends, the cone-shaped strong tail and the plump legs. This break lifted our somewhat „frozen“ spirits all the more as the warmth of the sun became more noticeable.

It astonished me greatly that the coachman stopped the coach from time to time and made the steaming horses drink snow water despite their hot condition, something I would not have dared to do with my own horses. When we asked him, he said that the company had ordered that he had to water the horses always in the same places during the year. In the summer this may be reasonable but I find the blind following of such an order in this season and the current circumstances to be very audacious or very stupid.

Again there followed two small lakes called Twin Lakes, then it went through a wooded valley on a sometimes quite bad road until we reached the lunch station, the Norris Hotel. It had burned down already twice and thus there was just a great tent erected in its place. In it were innumerable flies that had sought shelter from the coming winter cold and tortured the guests who are offered a bad cold breakfast. The landlord acts as a joker and tomfool but also has moments of an felicitous kind when he shook the hand of his guests and greeted them like friends and old acquaintances. Thus he called Wurmbrand „Oh, how do you do, my dear Duke!“ and other similar childish acts.

At the same time as we arrived from the opposite direction various groups one of which was composed of ladies that were the opposite of young. During the drive we encountered quite many riders with baggage horses and small family wagons, mostly poorer people that had travelled across the Yellowstone park in the warmer season and had camped there and where now fleeing quickly from the coming cold. One wagon with a very corpulent mother and a flock of hopeful children of various ages who were sitting on beds and cooking apparatus looked like a gypsy wagon.

The armed forces were represented by a patrol that came toward us singing but chittering in the cold. They were dressed in theatrical sombreros and cuffed gloves. As soon as we had satisfied our hunger and thirst with cold meat and a bottle of the famous American Zinfandel wine, we rushed on foot to visit the sources and hot springs nearby. Here I saw for the first time an active geyser, the so called Constant Geyser or Minute Man, that was one of the smallest among his brethren but that attracted our attention as it was the closest. In the midst of a calcareous sinter terrace it rises especially eager every four minutes 6 m high into the air and thrusts out a crystal clear water jet like a strong spring fountain, developing considerable amounts of steam and sending hot water into the whole surrounding area.

Very close nearby is the Black Growler, a no longer active geyser that still thrusts out a steam jet with a forceful subterranean noise. A few steps off the road in a cave lies the Mud Geyser, an apparently quiet spring with a smooth surface. Every twenty minutes however bubbles are forming on the surface and suddenly the water rises with a strong whiz up to a height of 2 m and forms a cone like one can see in many artificial water works. Eight minutes does this strange spectacle of nature last, then the whole hot water masses fall down as quickly as they appeared and the spring is as smooth and clear as before.

Continuing we arrived at Emerald Pool, a dead geyser whose water in the crater had such a beautiful green and blue color as I had never before seen it at any other spring. In the unfathomable depth the refracturing of the light is unique in its kind.

The Monarch Geyser situated in a side gorge is fairly young and quite unreliable in its eruption intervals as it sends its water jet in longer unequal periods but then to a notable height of 30 m. This geyser had been damaged like many others in the park by throwing soap into it. The latter one has the strange effect of forcing a sudden eruption. But the too frequent use of this violent chemistry has exhausted some geysers, so that some had gone out completely or became irregular or provided only a very small jet. The effective prohibition of such mischief has come too late as many geysers had already been put out of commission by „soaping“.

Apart from the just named the Norris Geyser Basin includes a large number of smaller geysers and hot springs that would be very interesting all of their own but in the company of so much more spectacular sights they lose in importance as one starts to make comparisons.

On the day before my arrival a Northern German who wanted to impress a group of ladies as a „tough guy“ had the inconsiderate idea to stand straddling the Constant Geyser. When the eruption occurred, he was completely burned and is now in a life or death struggle as a victim of his childish act of bravery.

During the rest of the drive we arrived at Elk Park, a large meadow enclosed in a forest through which the Gibbon River flows quietly. At the shore of it we saw multiple beautiful American geese with dark blue, nearly black heads and necks as well as white stripes. They showed themselves very familiar in contrast to the custom of their European relatives and let us approach quite close. Apart from them we saw only a few representatives of the bird world during the whole journey. Now and then a harrier or buzzard, quite frequently small falcons with grey blue bodies an red wings, some nutcrackers, thrushes, grouses, finches and tits. In the very sparse flora I spotted only a gentian with long stem and purple flowers.

Our stage coach rolled into a wooded valley alongside the Gibbon River following the route that was snaking its way through the forest marked and interrupted by dark sharply cut rock formations. Finally the valley became narrower and gorge-like. The route ascended steeply up to a point from which we could see deep below us the picturesque Gibbon Falls. The river falls there almost 25 m over a tall rock and combines itself down in the valley with the Firehole River to form the Madison River. At a turn in the forest we could see the immense forest areas that reached in the far distance up to the three white sentinels of the Teton Mountains that lay outside the park and were 4270 m high. These mountains form the border between Wyoming, the equality state where man and woman enjoy the same political rights, and Idaho.

Descending down the steep mountain we arrived in the valley of the Firehole River, passed a station as well as a tent camp of the cavalry squadron doing police duty and are at 5 o’clock in the evening after a drive of eight hours at the  Fountain Geyser Hotel that is surrounded by aa ring of steaming springs and geysers.

Here we had arrived in the true center of the volcanic surface activities and used the remaining part of the day to quickly visit the largest geyser that was only a few minutes away from the hotel and was active every two to three hours. There we found numerous visitors who also were awaiting the moment of eruption. To my great surprise I saw a common snipe walk around and jab at the edge of a crater in the hot water of a smaller nearly continuously active minor geyser.

A general „Ah!“ of the waiting audience called me to the edge of the great geyser in which soon rose, with strong bubbling and whizzing, a mighty 10 m wide water jet up to a heigh of 45 m. The rays of the setting sun were broken and reflected in the massive water jet and offered a gorgeous color effect that a vivid Frenchman present compared not incorrectly to a fontaine lumineuse.

Soon after the show of the Fountain Geyser had ended and the water had quieted down, we were faced with a new spectacle of the Mammoth Paint Pots, large mud springs that are in constant motion. Snow-white, viscous mud, resembling freshly slaked lime, is thrown up here in numerous places in form of hemispherical masses, cones, rings or also as a jet and falls down again with a thud.

The vivid Frenchman and I could not refrain from poking our sticks into the mass and throwing pieces from the cooled edge into it. But immediately the watchful eye of the law appeared in the form of a soldier who complained that this action was a violation of the „Rules and Regulations“. These guards of whom one is always found at each prominent point are of the most meticulous exactitude and keep rigorously watch that not one pebble of the national sanctuary goes missing.

Returned to the hotel we enjoyed the splendid view for a while longer that the clear shine of the rising moon wove into the smoke pillars of the geysers and much more than the dinner which was just as awful as we found it prepared everywhere else in America. Only this time the impolite waiters had been replaced in an agreeable way by a group of pretty girls who were guarded by a very old and very lean female „boss“ like a hawk.


Livingston—Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, 21 September 1893

Our sleep was severely disturbed by the constant moving of our wagon which happened with ruthless knocks and incessant whistling and ringing of bells of the locomotives so that we greeted the departure of the train to our final destination, Cinnabar station, with pleasure.

The two-hour drive went alongside the Yellowstone river to a valley that opens up after passing through a gorge called the „Gate of the Mountains“. The name of the valley is Paradise Valley. High mountains with snow-covered peaks, among them Emigrant Peak 3340 m high, rise on both sides of the valley. A half hour before Cinnabar the valley becomes narrower again and forms a rocky romantic gorge with sandstone walls that rise up to 600 m high towards the mountains. Here already the volcanic character of the area becomes apparent in many of its rock types and forms.

At Cinnabar, the arriving passengers had to wait for large coaches pulled by four six very good horses for the drive to the first interesting point in the Yellowstone Park, Mammoth Hot Springs. Leaving the wagon we were welcomed by the severe cold and after barely half a kilometer we arrived in a snowy landscape. The vegetation was quite sparse matching the high altitude of around 1600 m above sea level, but there were fir trees near the streams and mountain ledges, a small thuja, poplars and an especially grey-green broom that is predominant here. I was astonished to see here everywhere a dwarf cactus armed with long spines who grows crawling on the floor.

The road was at times very steeply laid out as it had to rise 368 m over a distance of only about 13 km. At the small settlement of Gardiner that lies at the place where the eponymous river flows into the Yellowstone River I noticed numerous wapiti antlers lying around. Here we reached the territory of the Yellowstone national park.

This famous and much visited park that covers an area of 22.560 km2 was established by an act of congress in 1872 and declared a public park that may not be changed in any way: logging, hunting, mining etc. are all prohibited. This commendable act preserves the originality of the landscape distinguished by its natural beauty and its strange volcanic forms and protects it from destruction by humans. The whole are is of volcanic origin that causes a large number of geysers, hot springs, terraces an crater formations, obsidian rocks and sulphur hills that are both astonishing and admired by the visitors. For example, the geysers are said to surpass those in Island by far.

About one and a half kilometers from this point where one enters the park, one crosses the border to Wyoming on which lies the largest part of the park while Montana and Idaho participate with far smaller areas in this park.

Having conquered the last slope, the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, nearly 2000 m above sea level, lay in front of us, a formless giant wooden building with multiple annexes, resplendent in red and yellow color. Some of the pavilions at the right served as barracks and stables for a cavalry battalion that is responsible for guarding the park and keeping up the order. The star-spangled banner on a high mast marked the assembly place of this formation.

The park is closed for visitors every year at the end of September so that the season was already coming to a close. Still there were many guests in the hotel and among them a considerable number of cantankerous Germans who had apparently come here from the exposition in Chicago. Even though the hotel offers space for 400 beds and is said to be the best of the park, it was nevertheless lacking in all comforts and an all the amenities for the travellers. A deficit that was further increased by the careless if not completely missing service.

After we finally had settled in our quarters, we went to the Mammoth Hot Springs, hot springs that form terraces by their lime deposits whose coloring and picturesque structure create such a splendid spectacle that can not be found in as beautiful manner in New Zealand, Island or Asia Minor. In a heavy snowfall we walked across the whole area consisting of around 70 springs and 10 to 12 terraces. Besides the white, flashy yellow or brown-red color of the depositions the deep blue of the springs that were bubbling and transporting their hot water out of unfathomable depths was all the more effective. Many of these sources whose temperature was fluctuating between 12 and 47° C. show, by the way, a totally clear surface so that we could look down the azure or dark-blue funnel, when the constant rising steam drifted away in the wind, and observe the structure of the deposits and the rocks. Despite the sometimes quite high temperatures of the water there was a thin layer of algae on the rocks. The crumbling edge of the springs was glittering due to the precipitations mostly in a brownish or vermilion color while at the drains  beautiful dripstone and fine-leafed deposits were developing. If these are still fully white or light yellow mixed with sulphur, then it is seen as a proof that the spring had been in existence for a short time.

One strange characteristic of every volcanic area which is on display here especially frequently is the sudden disappearance and drying up of springs and geysers while just as unexpected they emerge anew in other places. Thus we were shown a spring that had existed only for two weeks but had already developed to quite a substantial size.

As in all places visited often by foreigners so here too every remarkable point, every terrace and spring had its own name that was preserved for eternity on white boards and often quite strange or absurd. Thus two mighty stone cones of dried up geysers standing in the open that are visited right at the beginning of the tour carry the names of Liberty Cap and Giant’s Thumb. Having passed these cones one climbs on snow-white lime up to the largest terrace called Minerva Terrace and then one terrace follows the next, spring follows spring. Among the most remarkable sights I count Jupiter Terrace, Pulpit Basins, Pictured Terrace, Narrow Gauge Terrace, Cupid’s Cave, Devil’s Cave and Bear Cave, — the last three named are deep crater-like holes in the rock out of which once springs flowed a long time ago — finally Orange Geyser and the White Elephant. These are two hot springs that do not form terraces but pile up their deposits as a cone. The name of Orange Geyser is correct in so far as the lime of this spring apparently includes a mixture of iron oxide and thus provides it with an orange-like appearance. The White Elephant in fact resembles a giant pachyderm of that species and hot water was gushing out from under our feet when we climbed up on one of the smooth sides and stepped on the „back“ of the formation.

Except for those already named there were numerous smaller structures, sources and springs. And nearly everywhere we stepped on this volcanic ground, it sounded dull and hollow under our steps. Many springs are noticed from far away by their whizzing, bubbling or dull noises.

At the foot of Mammoth Hot Springs an enterprising Yankee had opened up a shop where he offers various objects for sale that have been quickly covered by the hot waters with a hard lime layer similar as in Karlsbad.

The evening was quite unpleasant as there was no space in the hotel where once could smoke and talk after the dinner. One is limited to use the staircase and is faced with the presence of the less agreeable company of idling and spitting cowboys and workers who have access to all places, so that we finally fled to one of our rooms.

In the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel one is, by the way, forced to go to bed early as at 11 o’clock all electric lighting is turned off without any consideration for the guests.


Spokane — Livingston, 20 September 1893

The morning brought us a drive through a desolate area in which bare hills covered with yellow grass rise while the mountains whose peaks were glittering with new snow were only sparsely covered with trees. We saw only a few farms but instead quite frequently Indian of which one offered a whole group of polished buffalo and ox horns for sale at a station. Men and women had their faces tattooed red or chrome yellow, the hair braided and rings made out of shells in their ears. The dress of the men seemed to be a mixture of national and European pieces. It was not without a comical element to see a son of the wilderness who still wore moccasins and original leather pants but covered his body in a worn black jacket and his head with a crushed top hat instead of eagle feathers. The women were clad in colorful capes and stared at the travellers emerging from the train. What a difference between these Indians weakened by culture and their wild free and proud ancestors who not long ago were the masters of this land!

In the afternoon we crossed for the second time the continental divide of the Rocky Mountains, this time at Mullan Pass, through a one kilometer long tunnel at an altitude of 1691 m above sea level. The crest of the mountain range rises to 1789 m. The contrast between the Western and Eastern side of this watershed is remarkable. The yellow ledges of the Western side are replaced by a broken rock landscape in which the railway twists its way up by important bends and sharp curves.  The rocks appear not seldom in fantastic forms. The vegetation leaves much to be desired both in the West and the East.

A short time later the train dashes over a sort of high prairie, a very wide flat valley; a mountain range on whose peaks lies much snow rises steeply. Half-wild cattle herds ran around on the prairie and the locomotive driver often had to use the steam whistle in order to chase the animals from the tracks. Numerous carcasses of dead pieces are bleaching on both sides of the tracks. As the territory is very rich in ores especially in gold, we saw a lot of mines around which settlements, called cities, were grouped among which Helena is the most important and the capital of Montana. Around this place that reminded me of Spokane are rich gold and silver deposits in quartz stone, besides copper, iron and lead. With considerable delay that is almost regular on American railways we arrived in Livingston where we passed the night in the wagon as no night trains were allowed to move on the smaller lines, so that one is forced to spend the night either in a hotel or in the sleeping car.


  • Location: Livingston, Montana, United States
  • ANNO – on 20.09.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing Schiller’s tragedy „Die Räuber“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Carmen“.


Northport — Spokane, 19 September 1893

Early in the morning close to Fort Shepherd we crossed the border between British Columbia and the United States and are now on the territory of the state of Washington.

In the morning the steamer moored at Northport, the final destination of our river journey. As there existed a wise custom of letting a train depart only on those days that there was no steamer, I was forced to take a special train that consisted only of the machine,  baggage wagons and a Pullmann salon wagon. I just then rented the latter one for the full journey onward. This wagon had a kitchen, comfortable sleeping spots and offered the advantage that we could hope to stay among ourselves and thus be spared to come into contact with unkind fellow passengers.

The transfer from the landing to the station at Northport is strange as the track runs straight into the river. The steamer moves so close to it that it is beached. The train literally drives into the water up to half its axis height. The traveller thus takes a big step from the ship to the train wagon while tiny fishes are swimming around the steamer and the train. Our baggage was quickly loaded into the train and now the journey went very quickly, despite the construction of the Spokane Falls and Northern Railway not inspiring much confidence, alongside the steeply falling lake shore to Marcus where the train leaves the lake behind and turns towards Spokane.

The landscape here is markedly different than that of the day before. Not very tall pine trees growing at considerable distance from each other. The ground is covered by dry yellow grass. Instead of the earlier so numerous burnt places there are here corn [maize], oats and wheat fields. Close to the farms herds of beautiful cattle and studs of well formed horses are cavorting. Noticeably many steam saws lay next to the tracks and giant stacks of cut and planed boards prove that here the value of wood is much appreciated. The possessions of the individual farmers were enclosed by barbed wire. We saw some game too as from smaller lakes and reed covered ponds rose flocks of ducks into the air an flew swift as an arrow past the windows of our compartment.

Already in Northport I had received a telegram from Colonel Cook who asked me to his regiment and camp located near the city of Spokane as there would be a two hour stop in that place. I thankfully declined this somewhat strange invitation in consideration of my incognito which led to a vituperative article in the Spokane evening newspaper that was handed to us in the wagon. The article had the laconic title „Franz is here„, illustrated with my image and was filled with mean falsehoods that did in no way attain their intended goal of offending me.  To the contrary, I found this old canard only ridiculous all the more so as various parts were unintentionally funny. Thus, for example,  the bad tempered reported exerted himself about our too numerous pieces of baggage and posed the question how this would be after I had been married . Then he criticized the „nonchalant“ knocking off of the cigar and other nonsense of this kind.

Instead of attending the parade I used the stay for a visit of the city of Spokane whose tasteless buildings painted green or red presented a not so pleasing sight. The center of a rich agricultural district, Spokane was founded in 1878 and rebuilt after a great fire in 1889. Traces of the latter can still today be perceived in the city center. The streets were full with an extraordinary amount of droppings, a situation that reminded me of small villages in Eastern Europe (Halbasien).

The two waterfalls within the city, Spokane Falls, are praised as natural beauties but are actually only weirs from which the water drops out of a total height of 45 m and which powers an lighting system numerous factories and other enterprises in the vicinity.

After a two hour stay out wagon was coupled to the main train that was fully packed with passengers despite its length and the journey onward started on the Northern Pacific Railway.