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Adventures in the Rocky Mountains

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  87 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Inspired by Penguin's innovative Great Ideas series, our new Great Journeys series presents the most incredible tours, voyages, treks, expeditions, and travels ever written- from Isabella Bird's exaltation in the dangers of grizzlies, rattlesnakes, and cowboys in the Rocky Mountains to Marco Polo's mystified reports of a giant bird that eats elephants during his voyage alo ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published September 25th 2007 by Penguin Books (first published 1879)
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Kyle Hoekstra
I've always wanted to get lost in the wilderness of the Rockies, to experience the independent and self-sufficient life and be witness to the mountains on mountains on the horizon, dark pines on their slopes, and an atmosphere of depth and purity.

Isabella Bird was a great writer, and her letters shine the glow of a melancholy sunset on the enchanting thrill of this life and its vicissitudes and hardships. Her descriptions are vivid and the scenes she evokes are totally spectacular. Here's an in
...more
Adam
This collection of letters written by a badass lady traveling the untamed Rockies in 1873 is wonderful -- except of course the ugly language about native Americans.
Don
Feb 28, 2012 Don rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: travel
Contnuing to work my way through this set of Penguin 'Great Journeys' and stumbled on this gem. Bird, clearly a most remarkable woman, at the age of 40+ and after a long history of ill-health and depression, in the year 1873, sets of to explore the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains, heading east from San Francisco and into the 'parks' (including South Park!) of Colorado. Her descriptive writing - recorded in letters back home to her sister in England - reach the sublime as she describes mountain ...more
Erica
Isabella Bird was a woman in the late 1800s who was diagnosed with "an ailment of the spine". So her doctor sent her to Western America - to take in some better air. After climbing the world's largest volcano in Hawaii, she set out to explore the mountains of Colorado. All this as a single, traveling, unarmed woman in the frontier towns of the west. She rode horse for most of her journey, stopping occasionally to climb mountains that enticed her to their peaks, or visit beautiful lakes. She was ...more
Yasnani Yassin
I love, really love the writing style. I feel like the scenery is romantically poetic written. Not really sure about the plot and all that, but I am truly inspired to write a piece like Isabella did--series of letters addressing the reader as 'you'. The letters felt honest and as a reader I feel connected with the author. I really recommend this book for those who not only look for good plots and characters in a book, but also an interesting writing style.
KW
What a delight---Isabella Bird leaves England for America and Canada in the 1850s in order to improve her health. By the 1870s she's an accomplished and nearly fearless lone traveller and heads for Estes Park. Grizzly bears, mountain climbing, desperadoes, blizzards---Isabella enjoys the adventure and so will you. The book was taken from letters to her sister and have immediacy and charm.
Emilie
This is one of the best travel narratives I have read. Isabella Bird was one fearless woman, traveling on her own in the true Wild West and lodging with complete random pioneers and desperadoes. I loved her descriptions of the scenery but more than anything her anecdotes of steering cattle or climbing with Jim. It was also interesting (though cringe-worthy) to read about the prejudice against the Native population, and surprising that a well-educated and well-traveled person would not see why th ...more
Amy Tobin
A small dose of letters from Bird's travels in the Rocky Mountains. The book gives a great viewpoint onto Colorado under the rule of American pioneers, with some wonderful descriptions of the landscape. There is a limit to the detail, particularly the conflict with the native Indians, but when key historical points are mentioned the reaction to them by Bird and those she knows are interesting. Perhaps the strongest characteristic of the book is its inspirational tone, Bird is an exceptional woma ...more
Matt
Isabella Bird was one tough cookie - this slim volume in Penguin's Great Journeys series excerpts some of the letters Bird sent back to her native England while exploring the rough American West in the late 19th century. It's a very enjoyable and evocative little book. I'm looking forward to checking out the other Penguin Great Journeys (the other one I read was the Amazon forest volume).
McKenna
Since it's a travelogue, I was a bit surprised by how much I liked it. It's a great view of America which gives a Victorian English view as well as an example of the romanticization of the American landscape.
Sarah
Wonderful descriptions of Colorado scenery and an evocative account of pioneer life. Also an uplifting tale of "a sister doing it for herself", living the cowboy life.
Andrew
Isabella is one tough cookie. Her descriptions of the landscape and habitat are breathtaking and her adventures awe inspiring.
Iris
nice short book w/ great episodes of (wo)man vs nature.
Becky
Abridged, alas.
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Isabella Lucy Bird (October 15, 1831 – October 7, 1904) was a nineteenth-century English traveller, writer, and a natural historian.

Works:
* The Englishwoman in America (1856)
* Pen and Pencil Sketches Among The Outer Hebrides (published in The Leisure Hour) (1866)
* The Hawaiian Archipelago (1875)
* The Two Atlantics (published in The Leisure Hour) (1876)
* Australia Felix: Impressions of Victori
...more
More about Isabella L. Bird...
A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains Unbeaten Tracks in Japan Six Months in the Sandwich Islands: Among Hawaii's Palm Groves, Coral Reefs and Volcanoes Among the Tibetans The Golden Chersonese

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“I have found a dream of beauty at which one might look all one's life and sigh.” 8 likes
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