Charles Frederick Holder.

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rises and comes aboard gleaming and


sparkling in the sun, seeming- to have
a fragrance of its own. Strange things
are seen on this cruise across the
channel : here a school of giant gray
whales sporting alongside within easy
pistol shot ; everywhere light, big-
winged flying-fishes dashing away
like the birds of the sea they are,
rising and falling, turning in graceful
curves, apparentl)' at will ; that mass

enamored with the reflection in the
ocean below. Great canons — rivers
of verdure — reach down to the sea
between the ridges, and open out
in little harbors with beaches of white
sand and pebbles, against which the
waves gently beat. Toward one of
these — the port of Avalon — we are
heading and soon make the harbor,
passing a high, rocky pinnacle, which

:-■ V


of foam is caused by the big tunny —
the horse mackerel of the Pacific — a
magnificent creature six or seven feet
long, that dashes as many feet into
the air to catch its prey. Lazy sharks
ol the hammer-head and shovel-nose
variety are often seen, while the green
turtle is occasionally caught napping,
and adds to the larder of La Paloma.
As the yacht approaches the island,
the beauties of the latter become more
and more apparent. The summer sun
has not yet dried the verdure, and
from the rocks and hillsides rare
flowers bend low their cups, as if

stands like a sentinel, and drop an-
chor to the booming salutes of other
craft already in port.

Avalon is an ideal yachting center,
the little settlement being charmingly
situated at the mouth of a big canon
that forms a perfect half-moon bay,
thoroughly protected, as the prevail-
ing wind is from the west; anchorage
is perfectly safe, and for small boats
and yachts it is a most delightful
spot. Here the Paloma is at home,
as her owner, Mr. Banning, is lord of
the isle, which is a magnificent do-
main twenty-five miles long and from


one to six miles in width. The Hotel
Metropole is crowded with guests, and
the dancing pavilion on the beach,
with the fine bathing and fishing are
attractions not slighted by the visiting

Avalon is the starting point for
many tramps and cruises. From the
hotel, trips may be made on horse-
back to various parts of the island;

salute from the bright guns of the
yachts we are away, skirting along
the lea of the island, where we may
stop to try conclusions with the jew-
fish, a monster bass, often tipping the
scales at 500 pounds, or catch the
lithe yellow-tail, or barracuda, as we
bowl along by the seal rocks where
these sleek divers lie in the sun.

A cruise around the island is replete

lofty trails may be ascended where
incomparable views are to be had of
the main land and snow-capped peaks.
One may find strange Indian graves,
visit deep canons, view picturesque
falls of water, and the new mountain
stage route from Avalon to the
isthmus may be followed with delight
and pleasure. Here the yachtsman
may make the acquaintance of Mexi-
can Joe, and be initiated into the
mysteries of chile - con - carne and
other succulent dainties concocted in
the depths of a well-wooded canon
below the falls of L,a Paloma. A
volume could be written on the de-
lights and pleasures of this resort;
but we must up anchor, and with a

with variety. The little harbor on
the west coast at the isthmus is a
good haven, where one may delve
in the ancient graves of old occupants
and string beads that hung about the
dusky necks of Catalina belles per-
haps hundreds of years ago. The
west coast of Catalina is the windy
side, and breasts the sea with a bold
and forbidding front.

The rocky ledges rise distinctly
from the sea in fantastic pinnacles,
the home of the eagle and seahawk.
Here and there small beaches are seen,
and back from them green -wooded
eaiions that wind away into a region
among the mountains of surpassing
loveliness. Even the solitude has its



charms for the yachtsman who is try-
ing to escape the cares of business, and
the vista of the cliffs of Cataiina, when
the fog sweeps silently in and the
only sounds are the barking of the
sea lion and the moaning of the sea, is
one long to be remembered.

From Santa Cataiina, with a fresh
wind, it is but a short run to the
islands off Santa Barbara, Anacapa,
Santa Rosa and others, all having

attractions especially their own, and
harbors are passed where the eye can
see the bottom, clear and distinct, for
fifty or sixty feet. Here, as at Cata-
iina, are ideal spots for the stroller
ashore, where the rocky borders are
broken up in attractive bays and sunny
harbors, ever inviting investigation.
If the weird and strange is especially
desired, San Nicholas is visited.
Here many years ago the natives





deserted one of their people, a squaw,
who was found by a white man many
years later and brought to the main-
land, where she died utterly unable to
tell much of her sad Story. The west
coast of this island presents many in-
teresting features, the sand being
blown into curious shapes — isolated
pillars and columns — monuments of
the odd fancies of nature.

Here the west wi id beats the sand
about like a living thing, and after
heavy gales strange relics and masses
of human bones are uncovered, to be
hidden again by the merciful hand
of a later gale. From San Nicholas
we may bear away to San Clemente,
which to-day is not an inviting spot,
and is deserted save by a single herder,
who gives welcome to the yachts-

At the anchorage here a huge black
form catches the eye forty or fifty feet
below, and a few moments later the
jew-fish line, a ponderous affair, is
over, baited with a four-pound grouper.

The big game is easily watched,
owing to the remarkable clearness of
the water, and soon the tempting bait
is taken, and a struggle to the death
begins. The hook once jerked into
its massive jaws, the big fish rushes
away with a fervor that nothing can

withstand. When the first burst is
finished, the line is taken in hand by
several men and the laborious work of
catching a jew-fish actually begins.
It is a case of give and take, the
fierce rushes of the gigantic game
making the line smoke as it hisses
over the side with irresistible force; a
slight lull and the advantage is taken,
and up comes the black sea bass beat-
ing its great head from side to side in
desperate efforts to break the line.
Little sport in this; rather hard work.
Even when at the surface the great
fish lashes the water with powerful
blows of its tail and drenches the fish-
ermen who still struggle at the line.
Too big to be left, the game is
swung to a boom and its four hundred
pounds of animation landed upon the

In old times, when the meat was
prepared as boneless cod for home and
foreign markets, the jew-fish industry
was an important feature of these
islands, but the catches of to-day do
not justify a continuance of the fishery
business. Old fishermen say that the
Italians frightened the jew-fish off by
throwing the heads overboard, which
so alarmed the fish that they forthwith
deserted the banks, and have never
since returned in sufficient quantities


to make the catch a paying one. For
the amateur fisherman, however, the
supply is quite sufficient.

One great charm in this locality
lies in the fact that the yachtsman
can, with a fresh breeze, reach the
broad Pacific in a few moments, sail
into a perfect calm in the lea of the
island, and land and reach, in a short
space of time, a hunter's paradise. On
Catalina, especially, there is the finest
quail shooting ; the notes of the Cali-
fornia plumed quail being heard in ev-
ery canon, and the roar of their wings
almost the only sound that breaks the
stillness in these solitudes. If large
game is required, there is the wild
goat, not too wild, but just wild
enough for the yachtsman ashore,
who perforce is not anxious for undue
exertion . The goats were placed upon
the island 3-ears ago, it is said, and

now offer good sport to those who
care to climb the steep mountains or
descend into the deep canons that cut
the ranges. The islands of the chan-
nel exhausted, the yacht may bear
away, wing-and-wing, for Santa Bar-
bara, and on the return lie off Santa
Monica, with its wonderful wharf, or
sweep in by the great hotel at Redon-
do ; or, perchance, continue on to San
Diego, where Coronado Beach offers
a welcome to the yachtsmen, and the
local craft turn out to do honor to the
visiting craft. So the summer days
run away in the Catalina Yacht Club,
days of dolce far niente in the true
sense ; days which are absolutely per-
fect, and during which the blue sky is
never clouded except by fitful fog
banks, which, at times, roll in from the
open sea to be dispersed by the morn-
ing sun.



O bitter grief that weighs my .spirit down,
Till crushed, I fall and lie upon the ground !

O bitter sense of what's unjust — untrue,
Which niem'ry brings so oft to me anew !

Though useless to remember, 'tis but yet
A profitless endeavor to forget.



HK opening of the
new stage-line from
Flagstaff has at last
made the Grand
Canon of the Colorado easi-
ly accessible at its noblest
- 7 point. For the first time
in its history, this sublimest wonder
of earth is really open to all sight-
seers. Before, the seeing it was at
the cost of a journey uncertain, trouble-
some and exhausting. Now it is
easy, even for women and children —
as easy as I hope to see it. Far be
the day when a railroad shall pro-
fane creation's masterpiece, with its
infestment of the vulgar, to kill the
joy of those with souls. For when
a glbry of nature is absolutely facile
to the herd, it reeks with their in-
anity and is never again the same.
Cheapened sublimity is no more as
sublime. What is worth having is
worth paying for in some way, and
nature's utmost drama is as worthy
the protection of some barrier as are
our cheap shows. A money admit-
tance might shut out the deserving
poor ; but the slight physical tax will
deter only those whose epidermis is
more important than their brains ; and
they are the class I would see kept
out. If people could know what the
Grand Caiion really is, an army with
banners could not stand them back
from it ; but all the writers and all
the artists and all the photographers
cannot tell. Omnipotence itself could
only put it there to wait to be seen,
and sight is the sole teacher of this
most ineffable thing that exists within
the range of Man.


the little
lumber town
which plays at hide-and-seek amid its
stately pines with the noble vSan Fran-
cisco range, is an interesting point of
departure from the rail, and may itself
well claim some attention. Its scenery
is unusual and fine, its climate stimu-
lant as champagne, and its surround-
ings fascinating. Only ten miles away
through the pineries is the great gash
of a caiion — a forty-mile split in the
level plateau — along whose 600 foot
cliffs cling the most easily accessible
cliff-builders' ruins in North America.
There are many hundreds of these
strange, dumb relics of forgotten days ;
and many of them are excellently pre-
served. No further from town are
equally interesting cave-dwellings.
The view from the 13,000 foot peak of
Mt. Agassi/. — whose top is reached by
a good trail only twelve miles long
from town — is of almost unmatched
extent, and of characteristic beauty.
Large game abounds in the superb
pine forests, and in the wild canon of
Oak Creek, twenty miles from Flag-
staff, is excellent trout-fishing amid
such scenery as the gentle Izaak never
saw. If one can take time to go down
Oak creek, there are the Verde coun-
try and the Tonto basin, crowded with
matchless wonders — Montezuma's
Well, Montezuma's Castle, and the
hugest natural bridge on earth. Even
the industries of Flagstaff are not un-
interesting — the great lumber business,
and the quarries whose exquisite red
sandstone is being exported in enor-
mous blocks even to Chicago. Down




in the Verde country is an extensive
and important mining region ; but the
pine -belt has never figured as an ore-
producer heretofore. Now, however,
promising discoveries of asbestos, gold,
silver and copper are being made in
the Grand Canon, and are being grad-
ually developed by earnest prospectors.
The Grand Canon can be reached
only from the Atlantic and Pacific
Railroad and at three points. The
nearest route is from Peach Springs,
where the gorge is onlv twenty-three
miles from the railroad. This route
takes one to the bottom of the Canon,
via the Peach Springs and Diamond
Creek Carious, and is the route to be
chosen between December and May,
as it never has snow. It taps a far
less noble part of the canon than the
two easterly routes, but a part still
nobler than any scenery outside this
wonderland. The route from Williams,
whence one may also visit the wildlv

romantic Cataract Canon by a ninety-
mile drive, is about the same length as
that from Flagstaff ; and the scenery
is very like. But it is a much harder
road and offers no such accommoda-
tions for the traveler.

The Flagstaff route is really the
only one to be taken into considera-
tion. It is open from May ist to
December ist ; both it and the Wil-
liams road being closed by snow during
the winter. It has the best long
monntain-road in the Southwest ; and
the trip is an easier one than that into
the Yosemite. Leaving the comfort-
able hotel at Flagstaff after an early
breakfast, we rattle eastward in a very
easy-riding stage, skillfully handled.
The morning air is a benediction.
Clear and fresh as the mountain snows
and pines whose breath it brings, it
bathes the skin and swells the chest.

One would be all lungs, to swallow
it in bigger draughts. We are nearly




' *>^1H

TtSS^^KKm ' ■■'■■■ J$'


seven thousand feet above the sea, and
will improve upon that altitude before
the day is done. To our left towers
the noble bulk of Mt. Agassiz, and
his brethren, still snow-crowned in
May ; ahead, through the columns of
the pines, the brown, enchanted vistas
of the beginning plains. For three
or four miles the road parallels the
railway, and then turns northward
among the pines and through the
smooth, grassy glades. Flocks of the
pinon bluejay chatter from tree to
tree. Gray squirrels scamper aloft ;
and in the openings the querulous
prairie-dog ogles us and dives down
his casemate. Yonder a sleek ante-
lope stares a moment and then trots
leisurely away from view. And all
the waj- the white peak, over-topping
the tall pines, looks down upon us,
more impressive with each turn, more
mighty with each receding step.

Fifteen miles out is a little relay-
station, and here we get fresh horses
and have a moment for stretching.
Then off again through the ever-
charming aisles of pine, over volcanic
ridges, down the verge of desolate
plains which look across to the won-

drous Painted Desert, and past a file
of extinct craters of fascinating curve
and color. By eleven o'clock we are at
the white tents of the Halfway Station,
where the horses are again changed,
and we wash, stretch, and comfort
the within by an excellent meal —
thanking fate for the enterprise which
has at last made it possible to get to
the Grand Canon unstarved.

The next fifteen miles is through
more open country, with view ahead
to the vast, dark line of timber which
stretches east and west beyond the
ranp;e of .sight. With the third change
of horses we enter the outskirts of
this forest, and plunge deeper with
every mile. Now and then Mt. Agas-
siz still sees us through some rift in
the pinetops, and his squattier brother,
Bill Williams. Fifty miles away now,
these five peaks are apparently larger
and certainly more beautiful than
when we left their base.

The ride has been a delight. Un-
wearied horses, comfortable seats, fas-
cinating vistas, and the endless joy of
that glorious air — words have given
out long ago, and now only an
occasional grunt of deep physical sat-



isfaction tells how they are

It is one of the beauties
of this route that it brings
one to the greatest sight on
earth almost without warn-
ing. Only once through
the columnar trunks we
catch a glimpse of a purple
front so vast, so shadowy,
so unearthly that the heart
seems to stop for an instant;
and as swiftly the vision is
gone. At half-past five we
rattle down a wooded hill
to a picturesque hollow,
glad with the greenness
that hems a spring in the
desert. There are people
and the shimmer of a pool, and snowy tents ; and in a moment more we are at
the camp, none the worse for our stage ride of sixty-seven miles.

The sun is still upon the pine- tops ; and while the driver is putting up his
team, and the hotel man is hurrying supper, we run up a slope and in less than
a hundred yards from camp stand upon the brink of— It. And where the
Grand Cailon begins, words stop. In looking back across the years with all
their blunders and follies, it is comforting to remember that at least I have




never thought to describe the canon
of the Colorado. A hint, a suggestion,
a faint and ridiculously inadequate
comparison are all that are possible.
Whoso tries more, a sense of the bal-
ance of things is not in him.

The canon at this point is eighteen
miles from rim to rim, and a mile and
a quarter in perpendicular depth.

tossed in here, neck and crop, it would
be lost among what seem to us
rocks and not mountains. The canon
is no sheer-walled fissure. It is a
gigantic trough, an infinite trap into
which seem to have been swept all the
huge peaks missing on an upland as
big as an empire. It fairly bristles
with their mighty crests ; but it holds


From this first vantage-ground we see
only about forty miles to the east ; but
by walking out to the end of a promon-
tory we can command a view of about
a hundred miles up and down the
gorge. The canon is an ineffable
chasm split across the floor of this
vast upland. From the dead level,
which stretches hundreds of miles
from either side to the very rim, one
steps into view of this matchless
wilderness of peaks. We .stand on a
plain and look across over the tops of
five hundred mountains, each greater
than the noblest peak east of the
Rockies. If Mt. Washington were

them safe. Not one can peer over its
strange prison walls.

As the sun falls lower, a matchless
change creeps in. There is probably
no other place on earth where one
can sit still and have the infinite scene-
shifters change the stage-setting so
strangely and so fast. With every
hour there is a new canon. Every de-
gree of the sun loses mountains that
have awed us, and carves out new
ones more terrific still. There are
more colors in a day there than man
ever saw in any other one spot — " the
last still loveliest. " One cannot say
which is supreme ; the infinite, un-





earthly refulgence of color by midday,
or the sunset pallor when color is
gone, and when through an air that
is itself blue the receding giants peer
back heavenly dim. The one over-
whelms the eye ; the other is vision
turning to memory even as we gaze.

There are comfortable fare and good
beds and the .sleep-insistent air to for-
tify us for the morrows tramp. First
thing of all, when the sun shall lift
across the Painted Desert, be up for
a good morning to that view at the
campside. Then, when breakfast
shall have warmed the body to the
mind's wakefulness, off along the rim-
rock to a promontory three miles east.
There are new marvels at every turn.
And at last, where that gray rock juts
into the vast abyss, is the one finish-
ing touch — Ruskin's "human inter-
est." A hundred feet ahead of the
promontory a titanic column of rock,
2,000 feet high, less than 100 in di-
ameter, towers aloft alone. Its top
is 100 feet below the rim, with
which a narrow neck of sandstone
connects it. And as we admire its
columnar grace, there is a sudden
clutch at the heart-strings. Yes !
Those are masonries upon its flat top !

To find the narrow and gruesome
trail — to slide, clamber, cling, balance
and at last to gain that wondrous
castle is the work of ten minutes.
Hut that is for want of opposition.
Were a boy with a pebble to dispute
our passage, the pluckiest would turn

If ever stone walls held romance,
these are they. Upon that aerial islet,
whose oval top is seventy-five feet in
its longest diameter, was a human
home. The outer wall hugs the rim
of the cliff even-where ; and behind
it are the little rooms. Two unassaila-
ble climbing-places to it are there ; the
rest is impregnable as a star. From
the outer (northern) rooms, one can
lean over the wall, still breast high,
and drop a pebble 2,000 uninter-
rupted feet. Such was a home, in
the immemorial days before Colum-
bus when the Pueblos bought safety
from the nomads at such a price. But
there was something besides fear writ
in the hearts of those stubborns who
declined the courteous attentions of
the scalper — those brown first Amer-
icans who lived and looked ever across
such scenery as no king of earth ever
saw or conceived.



We say we have seen the Grand Canon — with
very much the same liberality of language with
which we speak of having ' ' seen ' ' the stars.
Our sight is about as exhaustive of the one as
of the other. Our eyes blunder over a wilder-
ness of wonders and bring away a few impres-
sions. No man will ever really 4 ' see ' ' the
Grand Canon — it is inexhaustible, incompre-
hensible, endless. But it is well to see as much
of it as one can. Its boundless majesty does not
open to one point of view. Above all, after gaz-
ing from the rim, go down to the turbid river
and look up. John Hance, the pioneer whose
cabin is close to the stage camp, has built an
admirable trail clear to the stream. A young
man too recentlv from Boston to feel humble in


the presence of the infinite,
once wrote a gruesome tale
of the terrors of this path —
of course making himself
the adequate hero to over-
come them. Whereat I fan-
cy the heavy-laden burros
who tramp this trail weekly
must have mocked him —
not to mention the girls
and middle-aged ladies who
have made the trip without
seeing a chance for heroics.
Any trail which climbs over
6,500 feet in seven miles is
of course warm climbing ;
but Hance' s trail is harm-
less, if provocative of perspi-
ration, and it gives an idea
of the canon which Hum-
boldt himself could not have
figured out from the rim.


\ i.iimi-SK OP Till, i \n<>\ riQM KAlfCB'8

There is one Grand Cafion of the
Colorado. Nothing else on earth is
like it, or approaches it, or prepares
for it, or suggests it. If you would see
the first and the last place in the world,

go to it. That is, of course, if you
are a foreigner. If you are an Amer-
ican, snub the Cafion and dodder off
across seas for some sight more befit-
ting patriotic eyes.



TERRACE beyond terrace ; pali-
sades rising aboYe palisades ;
buttes, platforms, domes, temples,
towers, pinnacles, in endless profusion,
water-worn cliffs and precipices for
miles and miles away to right and

left of us. A wild confusion of noble
architectural forms ; a multiplicity of
ornamental designs ; a diYine splendor
of rich coloring ; a visible representa-
tion of the iirvisible Almighty's unseen
industry — peopleless cities falling into



ruins on every side. The effect of time
and meteoric forces over material
hardness and ponderosity ; the battle-

Online LibraryCharles Frederick HolderThe Californian (Volume 4) → online text (page 3 of 120)