Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The U.P. Trail -by Zane Grey

Free US/UK Kindle Classic

Zane Grey was a prolific and popular American novelist who specialized in Westerns.  The U.P. Trail is a 1918 bestseller and his books are still popular.  (US Edition)  (UK Edition)  (UP stands for Union Pacific Railroad)

Grey is celebrated for his descriptions of Western scenery:

Deep in the Wyoming hills lay a valley watered by a stream that ran down from Cheyenne Pass; a band of Sioux Indians had an encampment there. Viewed from the summit of a grassy ridge, the scene was colorful and idle and quiet, in keeping with the lonely, beautiful valley. Cottonwoods and willows showed a bright green; the course of the stream was marked in dark where the water ran, and light where the sand had bleached; brown and black dots scattered over the valley were in reality grazing horses; lodge-pole tents gleamed white in the sun, and tiny bits of red stood out against the white; lazy wreaths of blue smoke rose upward.

The story involves a wagon train, a gold strike, the U.P. Railroad and some romance.  The Sioux Indians are not peaceful!  I would tell you more, but I drove six hours today - so you will have to discover the rest on your own. 

Having just driven from San Antonio, Texas to Kansas City, Kansas and back in the last few days - a 1700 mile round trip - I can assure you the scenery of the West is beautiful and varied and not confined between the pages of a book.  Today I passed miles of yellow and purple flowers.  A flock of white sheep in a field of yellow flowers is a beautiful sight . . . That was Texas today.  Yesterday was the hilly terrain of Oklahoma and the plains of Kansas full of fall color..  All of these states have suffered drought and many areas are still in drought, but recent rain has really brightened the landscape - if only for a short time.

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