“The lure of the high places is in your blood. The call of the mountains is a real call. The veneer, after all, is so thin. Throw off the impedimenta of civilization, the telephones, the silly conventions, the lies that pass for truth. Go out to the West. Ride slowly, not to startle the wild things. Throw out your chest and breathe; look across green valleys to wild peaks where mountain sheep stand impassive on the edge of space. Let the summer rains fall on your upturned face and wash away the memory of all that is false and petty and cruel. Then the mountains will get you. You will go back. The call is a real call.”
So wrote Mary Roberts Rinehart in her famous travelogue, Through Glacier Park, first published in 1916, as the already famous mystery writer introduced readers to recently minted national park and to the scenic wonders of Montana and to the adventures to be found there. Howard Eaton, an intrepid guide who had become known for his Yellowstone experience, had convinced Rinehart to make the trek to the West. Traveling three hundred miles on horseback with a group of more than forty assorted tourists of all shapes and sizes, she took in her fellow travelers, the scenery, and the travel itself with all the style and aplomb and humor of the talented fiction writer and journalist she was—and her words remain fresh and entertaining to this day.
Mary Roberts Rinehart (August 12, 1876 – September 22, 1958) was an American writer who has frequently been called the American Agatha Christie. Wildly popular in the 1910s and 1920s, her mystery novels are still read and referenced in the twenty-first century. Also widely traveled in the West, she toured Glacier National Park with Howard Eaton in 1915, when it was newly minted. Her travelogues on Glacier helped popularize the parks and offer a glimpse into an earlier time that is still appealing today.