From Harpers New Monthly Magazine, 1888
By Edwards Roberts
From Helena to Butte is only a half-dayâ€™s ride. Leaving the one early in he morning, you are at the other by noon. The journey is extremely interesting. The route is westward, by the Northern Pacific, over the main divide of the Rocky mountains to Garrison, and from there southward, through the fertile Deer Lodge Valley, to the city of mines, smelteries, and steep hills. For an hour after leaving Helena the road traverses the Prickly Pear Valley. Westward rise the Rockies, seemingly impossible, and in the southeast Helena is seen nestled in its winding gulch, and creeping out upon the lowbrowed hills. The air is so clear that objects fifty miles away seem close at hand. By degrees the grade becomes steeper, and leaving the valley, one finds himself among the gigantic cliffs and buttresses of granite that form the foundations of the huge natural wall that stretches north and south from British Columbia to the borders of old Mexico. Then comes the Mullan Tunnel., long and dark, through which the train passes to the western side of the divide, where the slopes have a pastoral beauty in strange contrast to the appearance of those on the east. At last we are literally among the mountains. Tall peaks surround us; the pines choke the winding valleys that we follow; clear streams of water flow past us; we enter park after park. The coloring is exquisite, and so varied that one cries out with delight. Strangely fashioned monuments of red and yellow sandstone, grim cliffs of dark basaltic rock, rich green masses of firs and pines, surrounded by dull brown grasses, and scattered over the slopes the bright patches of the quaking asp, colored by the early frosts, and as beautiful as the New England maples after their first encounter with the chilly nights of fall.
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