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.

Laramie Plains

I am now getting on to the famous Laramie Plains, and Elk Mountain looms up not over ten miles to the south - a solid, towery mass of black rocks and dark pine forests, that stands out bold and distinct from surrounding mountain chains as though some animate thing conscious of its own strength and superiority. A snow-storm is raging on its upper slopes, obscuring that portion of the mountain; but the dark forest-clad slopes near the base are in plain view, and also the rugged peak which elevates its white crowned head above the storm, and reposes peacefully in the bright sunlight in striking contrast to the warring elements lower down. I have heard old hunters assert that this famous "landmark of the Rockies" is hollow, and that they have heard wolves howling inside the mountain; but some of these old western hunters see and hear strange things!

As I penetrate the Laramie Plains the persistent sage-brush, that has constantly hovered around my path for the last thousand miles, grows beautifully less, and the short, nutritious buffalo-grass is creeping everywhere. In Carbon, where I arrive after dark, I mention among other things in reply to the usual volley of questions, the fact of having to foot it so great a proportion of the way through the mountain country; and shortly afterward, from among a group of men, I hear a voice, thick and husky with "valley tan," remark: "Faith, Oi cud roide a bicycle meself across the counthry av yeez ud lit me walluk it afut!" and straightway a luminous bunch of shamrocks dangled for a brief moment in the air, and then vanished.

Posted in stevens blog by Thomas Stevens on Thursday 29th May 1884 (22:00 +0000) | Add a comment | Permalink

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