In the summer of 1883 Belgian travel writer Jules Leclercq spent ten days on horseback in Yellowstone, the world's first national park, exploring myriad natural wonders: astonishing geysers, majestic waterfalls, the vast lake, and the breathtaking canyon. He also recorded the considerable human activity, including the rampant vandalism. Leclercq's account of his travels is itself a small marvel blending natural history, firsthand impressions, scientific lore, and anecdote. Along with his observations on the park's long-rumored fountains of boiling water and mountains of glass, Leclercq describes camping near geysers, washing clothes in a bubbling hot spring, and meeting such diverse characters as local guides and tourists from the United States and Europe. Notables including former president Ulysses S. Grant and then-president Chester A. Arthur were also in the park that summer to inaugurate the newly completed leg of the Northern Pacific Railroad.
A sensation in Europe, the book was never published in English. This deft translation at long last makes available to English-speaking readers a masterpiece of western American travel writing that is a fascinating historical document in its own right.
Jules Leclercq (1848-1928), who wrote twenty-three travelogues, was a judge by profession and a founding member of the Royal Belgian Geographical Society. Janet Chapple is the author of Yellowstone Treasures: The Traveler's Companion to the National Park. Suzanne Cane is a librarian and independent French translator.
List of Illustrations Foreword by Lee H. Whittlesey Acknowledgments Translators' Introduction Translation and Editorial Method A Note on the Illustrators Yellowstone, Land of Wonders: Promenade in North America's National Park Preface Chapter I. The Land of Wonders Chapter II. The First Explorations Chapter III. From the Mississippi to the Yellowstone Chapter IV. The Upper Yellowstone Chapter V. Mammoth Springs Chapter VI. The Gibbon River Chapter VII. The First Geysers Chapter VIII. The Firehole Chapter IX. Old Faithful Chapter X. Beehive and Giantess Chapter XI. Along the Firehole Chapter XII. Land of Wonders and Land of Ice Chapter XIII. Theory of Geysers Chapter XIV. Excelsior Chapter XV. The Indians in the National Park Chapter XVI. Yellowstone Lake Chapter XVII. Remarks on Fishing and Hunting Chapter XVIII. Sulphur Mountain Chapter XIX. The Falls of the Yellowstone Chapter XX. Mount Washburn Conclusion Works to Consult Maps Notes Translators' Bibliography Index