A Backward Glance at Eighty eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 234 pages of information about A Backward Glance at Eighty.

I have not been much of a traveler abroad, or even beyond the Pacific states.  I have been to the Atlantic shore four times since my emigration thence, and going or coming I visited Chicago, St. Louis, Denver, and other points, but have no striking memories of any of them.  In 1914 I had a very delightful visit to the Hawaiian Islands, including the volcano.  It was full of interest and charm, with a beauty and an atmosphere all its own; but any description, or the story of experiences or impressions, would but re-echo what has been told adequately by others.  British Columbia and western Washington I found full of interest and greatly enjoyed; but they also must be left unsung.  My outings from my beaten track have been brief, but have contributed a large stock of happy memories.  Camping in California is a joy that never palls, and among the pleasantest pictures on memory’s walls are the companionship of congenial friends in the beautiful surroundings afforded by the Santa Cruz Mountains.  Twice in all the years since leaving Humboldt have I revisited its hospitable shores and its most impressive redwoods.  My love for it will never grow less.  Twice, too, have I reveled in the Yosemite Valley and beyond to the valley that will form a majestic lake—­glorious Hetch-Hetchy.

I am thankful for the opportunity I have enjoyed of seeing so fully the great Pacific empire.  My church supervision included California, Oregon, and Washington, with the southern fringe of Canada for good measure.  Even without this attractive neighbor my territory was larger than France (or Germany) and Belgium, England, Wales, and Ireland combined.  San Diego, Bellingham, and Spokane were the triangle of bright stars that bounded the constellation.  To have found friends and to be sure of a welcome at all of these and everywhere between was a great extension to my enjoyment, and visiting them was not only a pleasant duty but a delightful outing.


Belated vacations perhaps gain more than they lose, and in the sum total at least hold their own.  It is one advantage of being well distributed that opportunities increase.  In that an individual is an unsalaried editor, extensive or expensive trips are unthinkable; that his calling affords necessities but a scant allowance of luxuries, leaves recreation in the Sierras out of the question; but that by the accidents of politics he happens to be a supervisor, certain privileges, disguised attractively as duties, prove too alluring to resist.

The city had an option on certain remote lands supposed to be of great value for water and power, and no one wants to buy a pig of that size in a poke, so it was ordained that the city fathers, with their engineer and various clerks and functionaries entitled to a vacation and desiring information (or vice versa), should visit the lands proposed to be acquired.

In 1908 the supervisors inspected the dam-sites at Lake Eleanor and the Hetch-Hetchy, but gained little idea of the intervening country and the route of the water on its way to the city.  Subsequently the trip was more thoroughly planned and the result was satisfactory, both in the end attained and in the incidental process.

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A Backward Glance at Eighty from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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