Ellen G. White: The Progressive Years: 1862-1876 (vol. 2)


The Proposed Camping Trip

When the Whites went from Denver into the mountains, they had no definite plan as to how long they would stay, but thought in terms of about two weeks. Walling was anxious to have them see points of interest over the mountains to the west. Ellen wrote of this to Edson and Emma. “Mr. Walling is very earnest that we should go with him across the Snowy Mountain Range to what is called the Park, on the other side of the Snowy Range.” She described the involvements: 2BIO 348.1

We should have to ride on ponies over the mountains. Our provisions for three or four weeks would be taken in a wagon. All of us would have to ride ponies over the mountains while two horses would draw the provisions and blankets for lodging. When there, over the mountains, we are away from all settlements and must carry everything along that we need. 2BIO 348.2

Willie is perfectly enchanted with the idea, but we fear some it may be too hard for your father. Again, would the Lord be pleased for us to spend our time thus? These questions we carefully and prayerfully considered.—Ibid. 2BIO 348.3

She added, in closing her letter, “Your father is perfectly cheerful and happy. We had precious seasons of prayer before God in the groves and mountains in behalf of ourselves and you and the cause and work of God in Battle Creek.”—Ibid. Through the entire month of August the Whites vacationed. They hiked; picked raspberries as they ripened; visited interesting places, such as the stamping mills in which the ore was broken up and then processed; gathered samples of minerals for an exhibit they proposed to set up; and, of course, wrote. They learned of three or four Adventist women in the area; these they visited and held some meetings with them, distributing literature. They also held meetings with Mr. Walling's mill hands. On some occasions they pitched their tent and camped. 2BIO 348.4

On August 22, Ellen wrote to Edson and Emma: 2BIO 348.5

Last night Father and I rode six miles on the Indian ponies, that we might get accustomed to riding. We have decided it would be better for Father to go up the mountains over the Snowy Range and be benefited with the exercise he would obtain in so doing than to go to California just now. We have applied ourselves closely to get off as much matter as we have, and now we both need a period of rest. 2BIO 349.1

Father was at first quite feeble. He was troubled about breathing, but this no more affects him. We knew that his difficulties arose from the lightness of the air. We have lived out of doors nearly all the time. We go up in the pine forest and sit under the trees and write and read and do not go to the house until sent for to go to dinner. We feel much encouraged in regard to Father, but we dare not yet go to California.—Letter 13a, 1872. 2BIO 349.2

She saw in the proposed trip over the Snowy Range the needed incentive and opportunity for James to “be at liberty to enjoy the scenery, get tired, camp and rest, and become hardened for California.” She added, “We are getting used to a hard bed. We lie on a bed about as hard as the floor. We enjoy it, too.”—Ibid. Finally, on Monday, September 2, they were ready for the big venture. James White wrote of it in two articles published in the Health Reformer under the title “The Summer in the Rocky Mountains.” Willie White wrote quite in detail about the trip in a series of nine articles for the Youth's Instructor, titled “Trip to California.” Ellen White wrote of it in her diary and in her letters. The following preview is from Willie's lead article: 2BIO 349.3

After pleasantly spending a month with Mr. Walling at the Mills, it was proposed by him that we take a pleasure trip to Middle Park, and camp awhile at Sulphur Springs. The parks in Colorado are great basins or depressions with surface and soil more or less similar to that of the plains, but entirely surrounded by lofty mountains. There are four of these parks, the North, Middle, South, and San Luis. 2BIO 349.4

Their elevation is from seven to eight thousand feet above the sea. They are well watered and abundantly timbered, have delightful climate throughout most of the year, and are exceptionally healthful. All abound in mineral springs and minerals of great variety. Owing to the great altitude, they are adapted to the culture of the hardier agricultural products only.—The Youth's Instructor, January, 1873. 2BIO 349.5