Woman Of The Rockies

Photo credit: Bradley Weber/Flickr

Photo credit: Bradley Weber/Flickr

"The mountains which rise abruptly from the margin, are covered with dense pine forests, through which, here and there, strange forms of grey rock, castellated, or needle-like, protrude themselves."

Those are the words of Isabella Bird, a woman whose life was ruled by adventure. An avid explorer, she wrote about her time living in the wilds of Colorado in A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains.

Published in 1879, it was her fourth and most popular book, and one I recall reading and instantly questioning, why hasn't anyone made a movie about this person??

With an endless curiosity about the wide, open world that lay beyond her English homeland, Isabella made her first long distance trip to America at the age of 23.

Aware that women of her era stayed at home due to financial and matrimonial conditions, she discovered she was free to do the opposite. Independent with no children, she was unmarried for most of her life and relished the freedom to write and travel.

Isabella was a rare and uncommon sight as she traipsed about the Wild West in the 1800s. Saddling her horse, off she would ride through night, rain or blizzard to get wherever she wanted to go.

Writing frequent letters to her sister, she described the landscapes surrounding her as being "truly magnificent and full of life". Isabella enjoyed observing nature and was quick to appreciate its wild and untamed beauty; climbing mountain peaks, hiking in woods and galloping on horseback, long skirts and all.

While Isabella’s words may come from a previous century, her experiences as a traveller still remain exciting and real to me. I know if I met her today, she would have no hesitation in sharing her truth: finding the wild is worth the hardship of every journey.

Angela Gnyp