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America the Beautiful
|| 6/10/2011 || 12:28 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

When I was on the top of Pike’s Peak yesterday, I discovered that the song America the Beautiful was inspired by Katharine Lee Bates trip to the summit of Pike’s Peak in 1893. She later wrote of her trip:

One day some of the other teachers and I decided to go on a trip to 14,000-foot Pikes Peak. We hired a prairie wagon. Near the top we had to leave the wagon and go the rest of the way on mules. I was very tired. But when I saw the view, I felt great joy. All the wonder of America seemed displayed there, with the sea-like expanse.

Seventeen years later composer Samuel A. Ward rewrote Katharine Lee Bates poem into what is sung today. Below are the two versions side by side:


America. A Poem for July 4.
Written by Katharine Lee Bates, 1883

O beautiful for halcyon skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the enameled plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
Till souls wax fair as earth and air
And music-hearted sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
Till paths be wrought through wilds of thought
By pilgrim foot and knee!

O beautiful for glory-tale
Of liberating strife,
When once or twice, for man’s avail,
Men lavished precious life!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain,
The banner of the free!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
Till nobler men keep once again
Thy whiter jubilee!

America the Beautiful
Composed by Samuel A. Ward, 1910

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassion’d stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness
America! America!
God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law.

O beautiful for heroes prov’d
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country lov’d,
And mercy more than life.
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev’ry gain divine.

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears.
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.



Photographs from the top of Pike’s Peak
|| 6/9/2011 || 11:14 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Today my step-father & I decided to play tourists and take the Pike’s Peak Cog Railway up to the top of Pike’s Peak. I’m slightly ashamed to say that this was my first time to the summit of a 14er in Colorado. I’ve been up a few high-13ers, but never a 14er, until today (and by way of a train instead of a trail!).

From the top I could see distant forest fires that were burning to the west as well as the entire expanse of Colorado Springs to the east. I can see why the earlier explorers found this mountain to be of such military importance- you can see for miles in all directions. After walking around the summit, we went inside the welcome center and I bought some of their fresh donuts for the slow ride back down the mountain.

Photograph from the top of Pike's Peak


Photograph from the top of Pike's Peak


Photograph from the top of Pike's Peak




Hello from the base of the Contiental Divide
|| 6/8/2011 || 12:05 pm || + Render A Comment || ||


I filmed this short video at Kroenke Lake in the San Isabel National Forest. Click here to see some of the photos from the hike. If this video does not work, blame Facebook’s embed code and/or try clicking here.


This short video includes a 4 short video clips I took of our hike to the snow-covered Kroenke Lake at the base of the Continental Divide.

Clip #1 = view of an unnamed peak near Mount Yale and snow in the forest
Clip #2 = view of the snow-covered meadow near Kroenke Lake
Clip #3 = “Hello from the base of the Continental Divide”
Clip #4 = driving away from the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area with Mount Princeton off in the distance.



Photographs of Rock Climbing in Pike National Forest
|| 6/4/2011 || 11:39 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

I’m not a big into rock climbing, but my mom really wanted to take me to one of her favorite climbs “Madacat” in Pike National Forest. I used borrowed climbing shoes, which were slightly too small, and while I didn’t fall once while climbing, my feet were in severe pain by the end of the day.

Photographs of Rock Climbing in Pike National Forest


Photographs of Rock Climbing in Pike National Forest


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Photograph of the Aftermath of the Haymen Fire in Pike National Forest
|| || 6:38 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Today we are going rock climbing at a place my mom & step father regularly climb at. On the way to the site I snapped this photograph of the burnt remains of Colorado’s largest fire, the 2002 Haymen Fire.

Photograph of the Aftermath of the Haymen Fire in Pike National Forest


Off to Colorado –> It’s All Good
|| 6/1/2011 || 12:45 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

I’m heading to Colorado for the next 10 days. I took this grainy photo on the pilot’s luggage while I was waiting on the tarmac to enter the plane: “It’s All Good”

Grainy photograph of a bumper sticker on a briefcase that says It's All Good in a design like the Colorado license plate


Backpacking Photos from Pike National Forest in Colorado
|| 8/4/2010 || 12:04 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Random Photograph from my backpacking trip in Pike National Forest in Colorado

Last month while I was in Colorado I spent about 14 hours in Pike National Forest. The plan was to leave Monday, July 26th, hike into the state park, find an appropriate camping spot, spend the night, in the morning attempt to climb Sentinel Point, and then return in the afternoon of Tuesday, July 27th. We were able to accomplish some of those plans, but not all of them.

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A Projected Relief Park Map of the United States – The Washington Times, March 28, 1897
|| 11/26/2009 || 3:54 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

Yesterday I found this unique map that was published by the Washington Times on Sunday, March 28th, 1897 in the Library of Congress / National Endowment for the Humanities “Chronicling America Collection.” Its rather amazing how this portion of the National Mall was ultimately developed! Where would Alaska & Hawaii have been added? With today being Thanksgiving, I am giving thanks to the fact that some maps were never made.



Scans & transcription of the article below:

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Birds of Colorado: The Stellar’s Jay
|| 12/30/2008 || 3:48 pm || Comments Off on Birds of Colorado: The Stellar’s Jay || ||

Today I am flying back to Washington, DC, so I am going to post some pictures of the birds I saw when I was in Colorado. This third and final photographic installment is the Stellar’s Jay. I saw this guy eating tourist’s food at the edge of Bear Lake. They are named after naturalist Georg Wilhelm Steller and are probably one of my favorite alpine birds because of their beautiful blue feathers.

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Birds of Colorado: The Hairy Woodpecker
|| || 12:43 pm || Comments Off on Birds of Colorado: The Hairy Woodpecker || ||

Today I am flying back to Washington, DC, so I am going to post some pictures of the birds I saw when I was in Colorado. This second photographic installment is the Hairy Woodpecker. I saw this guy from the deck of the cabin. I believe I saw this same specie about three weeks ago in Washington, DC. It was tapping on the dead tree in the backyard of the house three doors down from where I live.

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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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  • thank you,
    come again!