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Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Prose Works. 1892.

I. Specimen Days

190. Unfulfill’d Wants—The Arkansas River

I HAD wanted to go to the Yellowstone river region—wanted specially to see the National Park, and the geysers and the “hoodoo” or goblin land of that country; indeed, hesitated a little at Pueblo, the turning point—wanted to thread the Veta pass—wanted to go over the Santa Fé trail away southwestward to New Mexico—but turn’d and set my face eastward—leaving behind me whetting glimpse-tastes of southeastern Colorado, Pueblo, Bald mountain, the Spanish peaks, Sangre de Christos, Mile-Shoe-curve (which my veteran friend on the locomotive told me was “the boss railroad curve of the universe,”) fort Garland on the plains, Veta, and the three great peaks of the Sierra Blancas.

The Arkansas river plays quite a part in the whole of this region—I see it, or its high-cut rocky northern shore, for miles, and cross and recross it frequently, as it winds and squirms like a snake. The plains vary here even more than usual—sometimes a long sterile stretch of scores of miles—then green, fertile and grassy, an equal length. Some very large herds of sheep. (One wants new words in writing about these plains, and all the inland American West—the terms, far, large, vast, &c., are insufficient.)