The elements of grandeur, weirdness, solemnity and vastness enter, in a large degree, into a topographical description of Alaska. Its many interest- ing features hold the mind spellbound with awe, in their presence, and fill the memory with undying wonder. The labyrinth of verdant islands that diversifies the coast line; the swelling plains of the interior; gigantic mountain peaks, snow-covered and hoary with age; the mighty glaciers — vast rivers of ice which for centuries have .slowly forged their way to the abyss of the ocean, and which, before many more centuries will have entirely disappeared, so that future ages will know them only by the records of their awful sublimity; the active volcanoes rearing their smoking, often fiery, crests among the mountain peaks; and the valleys, great and small, rich in natural resources of many kinds, which inter- sect the interior country in all directions.Alaska is naturally divided into two great divisions — Southeast and Western Alaska. Mt. St. Elias marks the dividing line between Western Alaska and Southeast Alaska, at 141 degrees west longitude, running north from this point to the Arctic ocean.
For a number of years it was supposed that Mt. St. EHas was within American territory, but late surveys show most of its base to be just over the line in the Canadian Dominion.Many of the islands in the inland, or tourist route, have the appearance of half-submerged mountains, and water two hundred 22 ALASKA. fathoms deep is often found, where the breadth of the channel can be ahnost spanned, by the length of the ship.
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An all rail route from the new world to the old, across Bering strait, would be the connecting link to weld the nations together, in the development of commerce and of the untold riches of little known portions of the two vast continents. That this would be a mammoth undertaking, is not denied, but its possibility cannot be questioned. It is not all fanciful —”the unsubstantial pageant of a dream” — but is rather the living, actual reality, that before another quarter of a century has rolled away a great international highwaj^ will be opened up and the nations of the world will become its patrons.