BLANCHE TRASK
writes to
WILLIS JEPSON:
Letter of June 21, 1913


Mancos Hotel
Mancos, Colorado
June 21, 1913

Jepson Correspondence Volume 8: 704-706.

I was pleased to hear your decision in regard to the 'cones' on the 'cedar' - as these junipers are locally called here. I am sending to day what is common in this region & (I think) but another form of the same condition: 'old time inhabitants' say they have never seen 'cones' on these 'cedars'. +++ I look forward to again enjoying the island trails: However beautiful other lands may be - I have never found a charm so great as our islands possess! +++ The cliff dwellings here are a wonderful sight - but the heavily low-timbered country in which they are situated is far more oppressive to me than a dense fog ever was. Our view alone compensates - that of Ship Rock seen on the great outlook on the Mesa Verde above the cliffs. Out of the yellowish desert mists, it lifts - so clean - so alive - as though blown ever onward by some adverse wind of Fate [?], from the sea of the waves to the sea of the sands! +++ Some day - again I hope to greet you on our island: no 'professor' but a human creature harking back to 'The Call of the Wild."! Mail will reach me if sent to Colorado Springs Col The Antlers Hotel. For I am slowly (but surely - 'let us hope') making my way towards Yellowstone."


Preliminary Analysis of the Letter
by
Robert Roy van de Hoek
December 2000

Blanche Trask, poet-explorer-naturalist, did most of her California wild nature exploration and writing on the Channel Islands of Southern California. She was a resident of Avalon on Santa Catalina Island in Los Angeles County, California from 1895 to 1915. Her time on Catalina spanned 20 years. Her winter home was located next to the Tuna Club in Avalon, but she also had a summer home at the Isthmus where the Institute of Environmental Studies of USC is currently located. However, she did travel to the deserts of the west as well and we know this through her correspondence such as in the following letter. She corresponded with professors and scientists at UC Berkeley, Harvard University, the Smithsonian, and at the California Academy of Sciences in San Franciso. For example, Willis Linn Jepson, was Professor of Botany at the University of California (Berkeley) with a PhD with several books on botany published. About a dozen letters were written to Doctor Jepson, and one of those letters is presented below. The deep friendship to Willis Jepson is evident as well as is her affection for the ocean and the islands. She did appreciate the desert scenary of the southwest but the California Channel Islands is her "sense of place." The Geography of Hope for Blanche Trask is undoubtedly Santa Catalina Island

Blanche Trask wrote this letter on June 21, 1913. By 1913, Blanche Trask was not publishing any new articles or poetry. In fact, all we know about Blanche Trask from 1908 to her passing in 1916, is through her written correpsondence. The above letter was compiled and analyzed by Robert Roy van de Hoek for educational purposes in recognition of the 87th year anniversary of this letter being written.

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