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IN THE ALLEGHENIES.
BY ELIHU S. RILEY, ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND.
NE afternoon last August, when down on either side of the noisy little
nearing Keyser, in West Virginia, stream that gives name to this valley that on No. 55 of the Baltimore & Ohio, nestles between the eternal granite.
an acquaintance on the way to the The hostelry retains all the quaintness St. Louis Exposition, asked the writer : and quietude of the ancient colonial inn. “Where are you going?”
The farm life, of which it is part, moves “I am going,” the writer replied, “to serenely on without let or hindrance from the Bramin's Heaven on Earth-a place the hotel; the passing traveler arrives and where I know nobody and nobody knows departs, the summer tourist passes this way
to enjoy a trip through the mountains, and This restful spot, for my summer vad
vacation, the regular boarders receive their due share I found, when three hours later, I reached of attention while the latest swarm from an old time road-side inn, situated along the flourishing apiary is hived, the potatoes the Northwestern Pike, on the initial rise unearthed and the oats threshed. Amidst of the first slope of the Allegheny Moun- the exacting duties of the farm and inn, tains. Brought here to a place I had never the landlord finds hospitable time to plan seen before, by inquiries made, by mail, to and make excursions with rod or by horse the obliging and capable postmaster at New to entertain his guest. Creek, in Mineral County, West Virginia, The guests obtain, at a well supplied I had viewed every yard of the nine miles table, both brawn and zest to climb the of road and landscape that had to be trav- rocky ridge at the creek where “the shakersed and seen before reaching my head- ing rock” lifts its granite head, and to bend quarters, with that profound enjoyment his way to the towering “Pinnacle." felt in beholding new and magnificent The calm and peacefulness that mark scenery. On every side of the singing the long, beautiful summer days, modified brook, that runs through New Creek Val- by the mountain breeze, is at eve followed ley, lofty and sublime mountains rose; and by the inexpressibly delightful repose and creek and mountains kept us company to serenity of night—whose quietude is almost the end of our ride, which brought us holy in its profoundness. At nine the tired amongst the Alleghenies.
farmer and landlord retires to rest. His The Northwestern Pike, at this point, seven children are hours ago abed. Till in a wonderfully scientific grade, for five five the next morning scarce a sound is miles, winds in and out amongst the deep heard to disturb the rest, in a silence that gorges and rocky ridges of the mountains would be painful were it not blissful. Not before it reaches their summit and begins many days had elapsed after my arrival in the down grade westward. There may be New Creek Valley before the staid residents a peer to this piece of mountain road in had discovered that they had a visitor, who grade and equipment, but the writer, with while he would not climb to the top of the no little experience, has never seen it. shaking rock and mount it like a charging
This rural hostelry has a delightfully steed and make it quiver over a rocky suggestive title for the summer tourist chasm of nigh a hundred feet, as is the seeking the higher altitudes-“The Moun- custom here, yet was one who loved to tain Breeze Hotel.” It was not a sou
sounding ascend the lofty domes of the surrounding brass and a tinkling symbol, but a title to mountains. So they said to the sojourner: which it had a real and equitable right. You should go to the Pinnacle." The hotel stands with hills surrounded. The suggestion was followed by more On the south and east rise the lofty heights than one offer of pilotage—they were offers of the New Creek Mountains; on the north that did not materalize in time to please and west the Alleghenies bend in a mag- the visitor's limited stay, so he undertook nificent fullness of unique contours and the ascent aided by the uncertain descripsplendid heights. Between the two moun- tions of road and trail, that could be gathtain ranges lies New Creek Valley—a vale ered from those who had never been to the of beautiful fields and cheery prosperity. towering pile itself. Hard by the inn, the two ranges come But the attempt was made. The meagre IN THE ALLEGHENIES.
directions were "to go up the hollow above Boseley's house to the Ashby road; then through the old field with the burnt house in it; then to the ridge; up the ridge to the top of the mountain, thence by the trail to the Pinnacle."
All were found except the trail on the mountains. A climb up the pathless steep, through weeds, briars and bushes, head high; over rocks and fallen trees, that while they wearied arms and lower limbs, alike, gave always disagreeable suggestion of the rattlesnake lurking beneath and ready to strike with its deadly fangs. Ambition had well-nigh sunk to repentance over the venture, when the crest of the mountain came in view. On its cop was the disagreeable jackoak, knitted and knotted together in so strong a web, that locomotion was made both painful and laborious. It was battle royal at each step. There was neither road, path, nor trail in view and the lofty Pinnacle a mile away. Bordering the inner rim of the rocks that formed a fortress of granite on the crest, were a few feet of earth. A dozen varieties of the most beautiful mountain flowers sparkled in the sun-light, and rimmed the whole crest around as though it had been a garden planted by the hand of man.
They seemed things of life, happy to have one human being to see them arrayed in all their glory.
To reach the Pinnacle, was to climb the pathless rocks and trackless thickets of briar and bush. Only the feet and hands that have tried a half-hour and more of such work knows the work in it, that, to be undertaken, ought to be a labor of love. On the crest no trail appeared, with the Pinnacle a half-mile still farther northward, but now every step was a delight, for although the rocks were high and hard to climb, yet their beauty, their vastness, the ever-changing scene, made more than ample return for all that had been expended in pain and labor. The day was beautiful, the rocks grand in spectacle and suggestion, and success was now within reach.
It was now near high noon, and thirst began to assert itself vigorously; but in the many pockets cut by nature in the solid rock, was clear, limpid water, cool and delicious.
Even on the very Pinnacle itself, next to the top-most rock, was a pocket that held several gallons of water.
When I had descended from the Pinnacle, and had learned that I had come to its top by the rear-stairway, and the right trail was on the side opposite from my climb, on the road between Keyser and Piedmont, that gave a fair path to the top, of only a half-mile from the public road, I understood why the way was so rough and the impossible became the possible. I had traveled five miles afoot to the summit.
Mounting the topmost boulder of the rocky pile that creates the Pinnacle, labor, pain and bruises are forgotten in the sublime amphitheatre that outspreads to the delighted vision. To the southeast lay New Creek, Knobly, Patterson Creek, Mud Run, Mill Creek, South Branch, and the Shenandoah and Blue Ridge Mountains; to the northeast rise the Backbone Mountains of the Allegheny system Savage and Dan's Mountain ; and northward and westward, the Alleghenies rim the broad arena until mountain and sky meet. The vast vista, before the vision, includes an area of mountain and plain eighty miles in diameter.
The still of the lofty mountain height crowns the adventure with the charm of the sanctuary. In the presence of the splendid altitude and vast' solitude there is inspiration to the soul, infusion of vigor to the mind, and recuperation to the body. The sublime hush is broken only by the buzzing of the flies and the faint swish of the wings of butterflies as they chase each other in the golden hours of their happy existence.
The ridge on which the Pinnacle is located is magnificent in its granite roof, that, with many a modillion and cornice piece stretches away in miles of beautiful grotesqueness. Three miles from the Pinnacle rises Betty's Rock that disputes with the Pinnacle its march to the clouds.
Between the grand array of mountain ranges, valleys, farms, hamlets, towns and cities lie. Oakland, Cumberland, Keyser and Piedmont; and Elk Garden nettles between, or at the foot of the long ranges, that fill the periphery of landscape from the capstone of the Pinnacle.
The Pinnacle, taking the current data of the neighborhood, rises 2,000 feet above the plain on which it is situated. The inscriptions in the rocks bear witness of its many visitors. The summit is a deluge of rocks, furrowed and battle-scarred by many a fierce conflict with time and tempest.
This summit attracts many visitors, and several years ago, for three Fourths of July in succession, a Dunkard preacher, from the Pinnacle as his pulpit, preached a patriotic sermon to a hundred auditors who gathered to hear the address. The Stars and Stripes floated from a staff planted above and between the highest rocks. These pilgrims came up the popular trail and not by the rear-stairway passage.
Eight hours were consumed, with the rests between, in making the ascent and descent. The pains and penalties of the adventure are over, but the angel-guard of memory will ever cherish with delightful sensations the recollection of pleasant hours spent upon one of those sublime domes on earth where God and His august presence seem divinely near in the wonders of His creation.
The management of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company has at all times desired the highest standard of efficiency among its officers, agents and employes, particularly impressing upon them the importance of politeness and courtesy to patrons.
To effect this high standard, the co-operation of the traveling public is necessary. Acknowledged appreciation now and then, when the occasion justifies, will greatly encourage the railroad company and assist towards the consummation of their desire to please.
It is, therefore, a great pleasure to print the following letters, which fully explain themselves:
MR. D. B. Martis,
SACRAMENTO, CAL., September 15, 1904, Manager Passenger Traffic,
BALTIMORE, MD. DEAR SIR:
The “Baltimore & Ohio Special" which bore the Sir Knights of Maryland and the District of Columbia with their ladies and their friends to San Francisco to attend the Twenty-ninth Triennial Conclave of the Grand Encampment, Knights Templar, of the United States is now on its way homeward after nearly a week's travel through Southern California, amid scenes that have charmed and greatly interested our party, and in accordance with the excellent itinerary prepared for our pilgrimage and as at this point the routes diverge and some of the Sir Knights and their ladies will continue their journey eastward apart from the main body. the members of the Joint Committee representing the Grand Commanderies of Maryland and the District of Columbia in the making of the arrangements for the tour, speaking for every Sir Knight and lady on the train, desire to thank you for the good fortune we have enjoyed in having assigned to our special as the representative of your company, its Pacific Coast Agent, Mr. Peter Harvey, who joined us at Salt Lake City on the way out, and who is to continue with us on our return as far as Ogden. In season and out of season since he came on board the train he has been constant in his efforts to add to the comfort of every passenger, carefully looking after all connections so that the schedule laid down might be observed and seeing that the side trips were carried out as planned. He seems also to have anticipated the wants of every member of the party. Though the target of every inquiry concerning the variety of subjects pertaining to the arrangements for the trip, his never failing patience, politeness, and anxiety only to please the patrons of your company have endeared him to the hearts of all our people and we doubt if a more competent of painstaking official could have been selected to perform the duties that have devolved upon him.
This tribute of respect for the recognition of the service performed by Mr. Harvey is prompted solely by our admiration of his skill in his chosen calling and by our desire that a knowledge of this feeling on our part may be communicated to you, knowing that we cannot speak too highly of him as a man and as the faithful representative of the best interests of your company.
F. W. KROH.
GEO. H. WALKER
FRANK H. THOMAS