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snow-streaked gashes run down into Medicine Bow meadows. Far below, along a threadlike shelf, three diminutive horsemen cantered into view, dropping from sight as the trail led down into a gulch, to reappear suddenly on the opposite bank.

Perhaps one of them had sighted us fleeting along in the clear sky a mile above him, and was recounting to his comrades how one winter he had "rescued an airman that was bein' chased by a b'ar."

In another fifteen minutes Medicine Bow Range was behind us and the upper waters of the North Platte unrolled before our platform. What appeared like a jumble of toothpicks lay strewn for miles in the water, drifted in reckless confusion against the sandbars or slipping in huddled masses around endless curves under the shadow of high sandy cliffs. These were railroad ties out of Saratoga, floating down to Fort Fred Steele.

Dropping from our high altitude, we cut across great sloping rows of upended rock strata that looked like successive battlements of some ancient gigantic fortress. Ahead rose the smoke of

Parco, a "tailor-made" oil town by the Union Pacific tracks.

And as we descended, the sharp, wavy contour of the Seminoe and Ferris mountains rose up along the northern sky, like the vertebræ of some enormous dinosaur. What a perfect natural playground for the primeval beasts that have left their bones imbedded in such profusion throughout this land!

"Gee whillikins!" exclaimed Pete, throwing a leg over the side of the fuselage, when we had landed at Rawlins one hour and 28 minutes after leaving Cheyenne. "I braked on the U. P. for six months through here, but I never guessed that the country looked like that! All them lakes, and mountains, and snows, why, it-it just made my blood tingle all over!"

Rawlins is the highest Air Mail Service station on the entire transcontinental route, 6,745 feet above sea-level. It is also probably the poorest, as regards terrain, and we were thankful the next morning to get off without wrapping a wing around the little hangar.

The saving feature that makes nightflying possible in and out of this field is



The route of the Air Mail runs almost directly over the large oil-treating plant shown in this aerial photograph (see, also, text, page 35).



Photograph by Captain A. W. Stevens


Mountain water, flowing over green shale, assumes the light to deep shades of green which give both the river and the town its name.
river bluffs have been carved by the elements into curious forms, such as natural monuments and castlelike structures, light green below and dark
brown above. The upper beds, being harder than the lower ones, make protecting caps for the pinnacles. Major J. W. Powell started in 1869 from
the little town of Green River for his daring exploration of the Colorado's canyons.

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LOOKING NORTHWARD FROM ROCK SPRINGS TOWARD SALT LAKE CITY As the Air Mail pilot approaches Salt Lake City the mountains attain great height and present a rather terrifying aspect. In fair weather it is possible to go over the peaks and under the clouds shown in this photograph, but on days when the clouds hang on the mountain tops or descend into the valleys between, the Air Mail pilot takes desperate chances, for he may become trapped by clouds in these yawning canyons, which are so narrow that it is often impossible to turn and go back. Usually the state of the weather is determined at several points along the line and the flights are delayed a few hours when conditions are so dangerous for flying across the mountains that death is not unlikely.

the almost unfailing presence of a strong westerly wind. Indeed, out in Red Desert, toward which we were now headed, it is said that the cow-punchers and even the sheep and cattle grow up leaning toward the west; and if the wind were to cease blowing, they would all fall on their faces!

As we saw no signs of life in the desert, save one skulking coyote loping through the scattered sage across the red sand, I cannot personally vouch for this state


Pilot Collison might shed some light on it, however, for he threw off a propeller blade here one morning near dawn last July, and landed by degrees for a mile or more, tossing away first one propeller blade, then the radiator, then a hasty assortment of cylinders, and finally coming down himself with the remainder of the plane.

This accident grieved his heart. Although he had not even blown a tire getting down in the scrubby sagebrush, it

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SALT LAKE CITY, WITH THE CAPITOL BUILDING IN THE DISTANCE In the left foreground is the Tabernacle, with its circus-tentlike roof, the Mormon Temple and grounds. To the right is the Hotel Utah.

was the first time in eighteen 'dead-stick' landings that he had broken a wing-skid. "Propellers are my hoodoo," he told me. "Two years ago, near Elk Mountain, I was flying into a forty-mile wind, tossing around in the bumps like a cork in the wake of a steamer. All at once the ship started losing speed and I heard a shrill, piercing sound.

"Cutting the switches, I made a forced landing on Mike Quealy's ranch, threw out a couple of mail sacks to block the wheels, so the plane wouldn't run away, and started an examination to find what was wrong. You can imagine my surprise when I suddenly noticed that the propeller was completely missing!

"That was number thirteen dead-stick landing," he added mournfully. EACH AIR MAIL SECTION HAS ITS "HARDLUCK" PILOTS

Every section of the transcontinental route has its "hard-luck" pilot. At Omaha, on the Central Division, two nights before, a grease-monkey had remarked: "Lange's turn out to-night. It's sure to rain." On this section Collison clearly qualifies for the dubious honor, while on the Pacific Division Scott holds the "title."

But there are other pilots whom trouble rarely visits. Among them is Bob Ellis, who has flown for six years, over 200,000 miles, with only one dead-stick landing,

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