Around the World on a Bicycle

In 1884, the 29 year old Thomas Stevens set out from San Fransisco on the 'modern mechanical invention' of the Penny Farthing to circumnavigate the globe on his 'big wheel'. His book - "Around the World on a Bicycle" - was published in 1888 and his writings are presented here in blog form. Read more in the archive.

Devil's Slide

Wherever the walls of the canyon recede from the river's brink, and leave a space of cultivable land, there the industrious Mormons have built log or adobe cabins, and converted the circumscribed domain into farms, gardens, and orchards. In one of these isolated settlements I seek shelter from a passing shower at the house of a "three-ply Mormon " (a Mormon with three wives), and am introduced to his three separate and distinct better-halves; or, rather, one should say, "better-quarters," for how can anything have three halves. A noticeable feature at all these farms is the universal plurality of women around the house, and sometimes in the field. A familiar scene in any farming community is a woman out in the field, visiting her husband, or, perchance, assisting him in his labors. The same thing is observable at the Mormon settlements along the Weber River - only, instead of one woman, there are generally two or three, and perhaps yet another standing in the door of the house. Passing through two tunnels that burrow through rocky spurs stretching across the canyon, as though to obstruct farther progress, across the river, to the right, is the "Devil's Slide" - two perpendicular walls of rock, looking strangely like man's handiwork, stretching in parallel lines almost from base to summit of a sloping, grass-covered mountain. The walls are but a dozen feet apart. It is a curious phenomenon, but only one among many that are scattered at intervals all through here.

Posted in stevens blog by Thomas Stevens on Sunday 18th May 1884 (17:00 +0000) | Add a comment | Permalink

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