Thursday, January 05, 2006

Happy Birthday Zeb Pike

Thursday would have been Zebulon Pike's 227th birthday.
We can look back 201 years to how he spent his only birthday in the Rockies. It was pretty miserable. After a month of torturous wandering, on this day he realized he had gone in a giant circle.
Nice gift, huh?

Here's the entry from his journal:

5 January 1807
"I went out in the morning to hunt, whilst the two lads were bringing upsome of their loads still left at the foot of the mountain. Wounded several deer, but was surprised to find I killed none, and on examining my gun, discovered her bent, owing as I suppose, to some fall on the ice, or rocks; shortly after received a fall, on the side of a hill, which broke her off by the breach; this put me into desepoir, as I calculated on it, as my grandest resource for great part of my party; returned to my companions sorely fatigued and hungry; I then took a double barrelled gun and left them, with assurances that the first animal I killed, I would return with part for their relief. about ten o'clock rose the highest summit of the mountain, when the unbounded space of the prairies again presented themselves to my view, and from some distant peaks, I immediately recognized it to be the outlet of the Arkansaw, which we had left nearly one month since! This was a great mortification, but at the same time I consoled myself with the knowledge I had acquired of the source of the La Platte and Arkansaw Rivers, with the river to the north west, supposed to be the Pierre Juan, which scarcely any person but a madman would ever purposely attempt to trace any further than the entrance of those mountains, which had hitherto secured
their sources form the scrutinizing eye of civilized man...

.... "This was my [twenty-eighth] birth-day, and most fervently did I hope
never to pass another so miserably. Distance 7 miles..."


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