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A Dweller on two Planets, Interlude 2






By Frederick S. Oliver, Amanuensis


On the old wagon road which existed ere ever iron rails linked Oregon's greatest city to the metropolis of the Golden West, there still stands, as for thirty years, not many miles from the State line, a station established for stage line uses, and "run" by "Daddy Dollarhyde." A lonely place, hidden amongst towering pines, which make regal raiment for the great "Siskiyou Ridge" of the Coast Range extending in gloomy grandeur not miles, but hundreds of miles, Dollarhyde's appeals to the heart of the traveler' as Saharan oasis, to the weary caravan. "'Tis a lodge in some vast wilderness," and in the days of this second "Shasta Scene" (A. D. 1884) was the only footprint of civilization for many a long mile.

Leaving Dollarhyde's, the road wound as directly as possible up a two-mile stretch of exceedingly steep mountain. Up this steep, long before aught but hinted dawn lit those grand ridges, a youth, on foot and alone, was climbing. A tramp? Temporarily; down below, at Dollarhyde's, the rest of his party yet slept. Up, up he toiled, stopping when the love of nature prompted him to "bold communion with her visible forms," and listen to her "various language"; pausing, the better to enjoy the exhilarating freedom, the beauty of the piny slopes, the whirr of the early grouse, and the chattering of squirrel and chipmunk. Once, enchanted by the exquisite charm of a crystal spring that leapt into and across the road, he stayed his step; and again, he stood gazing afar down into the gloom of a great canyon, which became lost to view "in the dawn's early light." The summit at last! But still no sun in the sky. All beneath was yet quietly resting 'neath the sway of Morpheus. Ah! what is that? Away in the south is a huge, dim mass, dull gray below, but, where its peak holds aloft the sky, 'tis rosy, glowing pink. As the youth gazes, spellbound, Old Sol dispels the valley glooms, thrusts aside the night, and the new day is born. The rose tints are gone, but also the gray, and in their place appears a giant, pointed cone of purest white, albeit streaked at its base with black lines, each some awful gorge. It rises not like other mountain piles, from ranges rivalling its own height; no, all alone it stands forth from its high plateau, piercing heaven's blue, from base to summit, eleven thousand feet, from ocean's plane to apical peak thirty-five hundred more--Shasta, O, Mt. Shasta.


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