Frederick E Shearer.

The Pacific tourist : J.R. Bowman's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean ... : acomplete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific Railroads ... online

. (page 48 of 61)
Online LibraryFrederick E ShearerThe Pacific tourist : J.R. Bowman's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean ... : acomplete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific Railroads ... → online text (page 48 of 61)
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of 300. The poetical name is well chosen; the
Indian name is Po-ho-no, a current of wind.
Opposite, a part of the north wall is called El
Capitan, the captain; in Indian Tu-toch-ah-nu-
lah, almost vertical and 3,300 feet above the
valley a majestic rock, to some the most im-
pressive object in the valley.

Farther up, and on the south wall are the
Cathedral Rocks, 2,500 feet high, with the Cathe-
dral Spires, towering gracefully 500 feet higher.
On the north side are the " Three Brothers,"
called by the Indians, Pom-pom-pa-sav, i. t.,
jumping frogs, and agle Point. On the south
side, next above, is Sentinel Rock, 1,000 feet
above the rest of the rim, and one of the most
striking features of the valley. The Indian name
is Lnya, called from a plant found near it, used
for food.

Sentinel Dome, 4,150 feet high, is back of
Sentinel Rock and back of Glacier Point. It is
a beautiful dorile, from which the high Sierras
are well seen. The Indian name was Ho-ko-o-
way, i. e., lizard, from a dark spot in the rock
like the ugly animal. As one turns and faces
the south, Yosemite Falls, 1,500 feet, then 600,
then 400, in round numbers, the precise total
being 2,634 feet. As one turns toward the
south, the massive North Dome with its royal
arches are on the left. The Indian name was
Sho-ho-nee, or To-coy-ah, named from the cover-
ing which shades the face of the papoose in the
basket. Across the valley is Union Point, and
above it, but further south, is Glacier Point,
commanding the best view of Yosemite, Vernal
and Nevada Falls.

Passing up, the opening on the left is Tenaya
Canon, in which is Mirror Lake. On the left of
the main valley, and on the right of Tenaya
Canon, as you go up, the Half Dome or South
Dome, 5,100 feet above the valley, is easily
recognized. Its summit commands the best
view of the valley, and Prof. Whitney thought
human foot would never tread it. The daring
of George Anderson, who drilled holes for iron
spikes and scaled the top, will receive the bene-
diction of many a tourist; and away up the
canon on the south side of it, is Cloud's Rest,
6,450 feet, the highest point near the valley.

On up the valley, on the left, is the Cap of
Liberty, easily recognized by its outline. Be-
tween Glacier Point and Vernal Fall, south and
west of the Merced River, is the Valley of the
Illilouettf, or Tu-tu-lu-we-ack. Vernal Falls,
350 feet high, and Nevada Falls, 700 feet, have
the largest volume of water, and are among the
grandest of their kind. Nevada, the Indians
called YO-W'-T, twisting.





The Big Trees.

There is occasionally a man who insists on
calling them Wellingtonia, but all botanists and
men of nearly every nation give them their Amer-
ican name, sequoia giganteus. The ordinary
red-wood of California is of the same genus,
and called sequoia sempervirens, and attains a
diameter of sixteen feet.

The ordinary red-wood is not found in the
Sierras, and the Big Trees proper are all in the
Sierras. The largest tree yet known is on
King's Eiver, 40 miles from Visalia, and forty-
four feet in diameter. This King's Eiver grove,
and the two groves on the north and south forks
of the Tule River, are not easily accessible.
The groves accessible to tourists are the north
and south Calaveras, Tuolumne, Merced, north
and south Mariposa and the north and south

Of these the Calaveras or Mariposa is usually
visited, and sometimes both. The Tuolumne
is on the direct Big Oak Flat route to the Yose-
mite Valley, and the stage drives through one
of the standing trees, but the number of large
trees is only ten, and the largest only twenty-
four feet in diameter. The Merced group is on
the Coulterville route to the Yosemite, but the
number of trees about fifty, and the size com-
paratively small.

The Fresno Grove is in two groups, a mile
apart, with about 1,200 trees, and these are not
excelled in size,height and symmetry. This grove
is ten miles distant from the Madera stage road
at Fresno Flats. It is not preserved with care,
and tourists after seeing either the Mariposa or
Calaveras trees do not usually care to visit any
others. But the largest tree the writer found
is in the south group of the Fresno Grove, it
being 96. 5 feet in circumference at the ground.
It is round, symmetrical, free from blemish, and
the noblest specimen to be seen while visiting
the Valley. Prof. Whftney says the average
diameter of the trees in the Mariposa Grove ex-
ceeds that of trees in the Calaveras Grove, and
the tallest tree of these groves is in the latter.
In the north Fresno group, the largest tree is
near the cabin of John A. Nelder, the present
owner of the group. It is eighty -seven feet in
circumference at the ground, and seventy -two
and a half feet at six feet from the ground.

The reported size of the trees is apt to vary
in all the groves, with every string that passes
around the trees. One includes and another
leaves out certain enlargments or irregularities
near the ground. The writer has measured all
the large trees in the Calaveras (north and south),
the Mariposa and the Fresno groves, and has
followed the same method and principles in all

The Calaveras Groves are also private prop-
erty, six miles apart, connected by a trail

through a wild and rugged region, abounding
in picturesque and magnificent views. Com-
paratively few tourists go farther than the north
Grove, in which is the Big Tree Hctel, one of the
most charming mountain resorts in all the world.
The keeping of the hotel is as large as the trees.
The grove is as neat as a garden, and to one who
spends his vacation at the excellent hotel, the
trees will grow larger on every return from the
trout streams, the retreats of game or quiet
rambles. The Calaveras Grove was the first
discovered, the first opened to tourists and has
been long and well known. In both this and
the Mariposa groves are prostrate trunks, one-
sixth larger than the largest living trees. In
the Calaveras is the stump of the monster that
was felled with pump augers, and on which
four cotillion sets have danced at the same time.

To visit the south Calaveras grove requires a
day, and a ride on horseback from the hotel.
The south grove is four miles long and one
wide. In both Calaveras groves the trees are
beautiful, surpassing in symmetry and perfec-
tion those of the Mariposa) but not those of the
Fresno Grove.

The most notable trees in the Calaveras group

The Father of the forest, which measures 435 feet in
length, 110 feet in circumference.

Mother of the Forest, 321 feet high, 90 feet in circumfer-

Hercules 320 feet high, 95 feet circumference

Hermit, 318 feet high, 60 feet circumference

Pride of the Forest, . 276 feet high, 60 feet circumference
Three Graces, . . . 295 feet high, 92 feet circumference
Husband and Wife, . 252 feet high, 60 feet circumference
Burnt Tree, .... 330 feet long, 97 feet circumference
" Old Maid," " Old Bachelor," " Siamese Twins," " Mother
and Sons," " Two Guardians."

In the In the

Calaveras Grore. Maripoca GTOT

Number of trees 93 600

Diameter of largest, 33 feet. 33 feet.

Circumference of largest living tree,

six feet above the ground. 61 feet. 90 feet.

No. of living trees between 80 and

90 feet in circumference.

No. between 70 and 80 feet.

No. between 60 and 70 feet, 1

To reach the hotel at the Calaveras Big Trees
requires a detour of fifty-nine miles, from the
Big Oak Flat route to the Yosemite.

The Mattposa Grwe is of national importance.
It is the only one that has been set aside as a
park for the nation. It was ceded by Congress
to the State of California, and is cared for by
the Commissioners of the State. Its trees are
in two groups, and these are half a mile apart.
A wagon-road passes through both of these

The most notable tree in the Mariposa Groves
is the Grizzly Giant, 260 feet high, and 100 feet
in circumference. At a height of 100 feet there
is a limb, more than six feet in diameter. The
tops of the Big Trees towering above their
smaller neighbors have been broken by the wind
and snow, but this one has suffered beyond the
rest. Others of less diameter are higher. I.v


is gnarled at the base as if its struggles had
taken root.

Other interesting trees are "The Sentinels,"
"The (eight) Commissioners," " The Diamond
Group " of four, " General Grant " and " Illin-
ois." "Andy Johnson" succumbed to the

winter of 1880-1. Many of the trees have been
named and re-named.

The hotel at the Big Tree Station is five
miles from the grove, with trout-fishing at the
very door, large game in the mountains and
every attraction to the lover of the

How to Beach the Yosemite Valley and Big Tree Groves.

There are four all-wagon roads. One leaves
the railroad at Milton, two at Merced, and one
at Madera. The first element to be taken into
consideration is

1. Distance. This is as follows :


San Francisco to Milton, by rail 133 miles.

Milton to Murphy's, by stage 30

Murphy's to North Calaveras Grove, and

return to Murphy's 30

Murphy's to Chinese Tamp via Sonoma.. 27

Chinese Camp to Black's Hotel 60 '

Total staging 147

Milton to Black's via Chinese Camp di-
rect 88 miles.


San Francisco to Merced, by rail 151 miles.

Merced to Dudley's, by stage 46 '

Dudley's to Merced 42 '

Total staging 88 "


Merced to Mariposa via Indian Gulch. ... 47 miles.

Mariposa to Clark's 27

Big Tree Station to Black'a 23| "

Total staging 92 "


San Francisco to Madera, by rail 173.5 miles.

Madera to Fresno Flat, by stage 35 "

Fresno Flat to Clark's 20 "

Big Tree Station to Black s 23| "

Total staging 79 "

2. Elevations, Grades, and Hood-Beds. The
bottom of the Yosemite Valley is 4000 feet above
sea-level, and the roads enter it by descending
the wall on either side. Therefore, the road
which rises least above the bottom of the valley is
most desirable, other things being equal.

The greatest elevation of the Big Oak
Flat route is the summit near Tania-

7040 feet.

Coultervilte route, near Hazel Green 6085 ft.

Mariposa route, on Chowchilla Mountains 5750 "
Madera route, on Chowchilla Mountains. 4750 "
Madera route, summit between Big Tree
Station and the Valley 6250 "

The low elevation of the Madera route, in
connection with a southern exposure nearly
all the way to the Valley, makes it freer
from snow in both spring and fall, and
less tiresome to the tourist. It may be pos-
sible to keep this route open nearly all the

The grades vary on the different roads, the
steepest being on the Big Oak Flat route, equal-
ing 20 feet to the 100 feet, and the steep grades
being unbroken for miles at a tune.

On the Coulterville route, the steepest grade is
near Coulterville, 4 miles in length, rising in places
18 feet to the 100 feet. Another grade of five
miles in length rises on an average 10 feet to the
100 feet. On this route there are 30 miles of up
grade between Coulterville and the Valley, and
20 miles of down grade.

On the Mariposa route there are numerous hills
to be ascended and descended, as on the preced-
ing routes. The steepest grade is across the
Chowchilla Mountains, where the rise is 17.5 feet
to the 100 feet.

Between Clark's and the Valley, the Mariposa
and the Madera routes are the same, and the
maximum grade is 10.5 feet to the 100 feet. On
the Madera route the maximum grade between
Madera and Clark's is 4 feet to the 100 feet.
These grades, taken in connection with the great-
est elevation, are an important element in refer-
ence to time, for on steep grades the time must
be slow.

The road-bed will be thought bad enough
whichever route one takes, if he is not accustomed
to mountain roads ; but they are all good, con-
sidering the country through which they pass.
In general, the greater the elevations the more
rocky and rough the road-bed.

3. Coaches and Teams. On these, and in some
coaches on a particular seat, may depend much
of the comfort of the passenger. It is well,
therefore, to see a photograph of the coach, and
know beforehand whether it is to be a " mud-
wagon," or a "Concord coach," or an open
" Kimball wagon." As there is no danger of


rain, the open Kimball wagons are to be greatly
preferred. They are the most comfortable
coaches ever made, and obstruct no fine view for
any passenger. In these every passenger has a

The teams, so far as the writer has observed,
are all good ; it does not pay to have any others,
and they who understand their business look well
to this point.

4. Hotels. These are all good. Some are ex-
cellent as good as any in the State. Among
these are the El Capitan at Merced, Dudley's,
Clark's, Murphy's, and the Calaveras Big Trees.

The Madera route has an unrivaled advantage
in this, that a tourist can take a palace sleeping-car
at 4 P.M. in San Francisco, and be undisturbed
during the night, the car being placed on a side
track on arrival at Madera, to remain until morn-
ing. Or, returning from the Valley, one may
take the palace sleeping-car on arrival at Madera,
and find himself undisturbed until he nears
Lathrop for breakfast the next morning.

5. Scenery en route. On every route it is beauti-
ful. There is a general sameness in looking over
the hills and taking in the great San Joaquin
Valley, but there can be no two views precisely

On the Big Oak Flat route, the crossing of the
Tuolumne, after ascending and descending a
steep mountain, is quite picturesque. On the
Coulterville route there are many fine views of
the mountains^ and there is also Bower Cave, an
immense opening in limestone rock, into which
one can descend by ladder and then pass into
another and larger opening about a hundred feet
square, in one corner of which is a small and
beautiful lake. It is unique and interesting, but
seems not to win permanent and general interest
in the midst of greater wonders. The Coulter-
ville route descends to the canon of the Merced
before reaching the Valley proper, and passes up
along the rapids, where the river roars and rushes
out toward the plain. This is especially in-
teresting, grand, and mighty in the early spring,

The Mariposa and Madera routes unite at
Clark's. From Merced and Madera to Clark's
the scenery is good on either route. Concerning
the route from Merced via, Mariposa, Prof.
Whitney says, " The road from Bear Valley to
Mariposa passes through a region which gives
as good an idea as any in the State of equal ex-
tent can of the peculiar foot-hill scenery of the
Sierra Nevada." Substantially this another
might say of any other of the roads into the
Valley. The road from Clark's to the Valley
passes down the South Fork of the Merced, and
at the same time ascends to the plateau between
this fork and the main Merced, where the scene
is continually changing, but every thing is wildly
sublime. Before losing sight of the canon of
he Merced, where the river flows through it

toward the San Joaquin, the view extends to the
coast mountains, and on going up and into the Yo-
semite, the rapids, where the Merced River leaves
the Yosemite Valley and rushes through the
canon, are seen far below. But the glory of this
route is the scenery, viewed from Inspiration
Point. It is the best general view of the Valley.
From this point the Valley was first seen by those
in pursuit of the Indians in 1851, and here the
most profound emotions have arisen and the most
pregnant words ever uttered concerning it were
conceived, and from this point Hill, Bierstadt,
and others have painted it. If this view is not
had by taking the route to or from Clark's, it
should be had at the expense of a day, for it is.
not possible to have any thing comparable to it
on any road entering on the north side, as the
Big Oak Flat and Coulterville enter. The
latter is near the bed of the river, and too low
down for the grand scenic effect of Inspiration
Point, and both it and the Big Oak Flat route
enter below where there is a trend in the wall,
and El Capitan projects its massive form and
shuts out the major part of the Valley beyond.
Entering on the south wall from Clark's, the
tourist is directed across the lower end of the
Valley, and takes in more of it than any other
point can give. Whoever enters the Valley will
see Inspiration Point, and many who desire to
enter by one road and return by another will
retrace their steps to Clark's, preferring to get the
most of the Valley while they are en route to and
from it

6. Time required in Traveling. The route
to the Valley via Milton is called the Big Oak
Flat, or Hutching's Route, the former name
from a local point on the road, and the latter
after the present State guardian of the Valley,
who in past year^ did more than any other man
to make its attractions known, and by whose
untiring energy the stage road to it was first
opened. It is one of four routes by which
the valley is reached without horseback
riding. It is the shortest route from Stock-
ton or San Francisco, but it requires more

By this route the tourist leaving San Fran-
cisco at 4 P. M. must remain over-night at
Stockton, where he will find the "Yosemite"
and other good hotels. Leaving Stockton the
next morning at 7:30, by the Stockton and Cap-
peropolis Railroad for Milton, he will take
Mattison and Garland's stages and reach Priest's
the same evening, and Black's the next evening
at 6 P. M.

To visit the Calaveras Big Trees en route to
the Valley will require a stage ride of 145
miles and two more days. Leaving Stockton
in the morning he will arrive at Murphy's to
spend the night, and the next day can reach
the grove and return to Murphy's, and the


third evening reach Priest's or Garrote, and
the following day reach the valley.

By the Coulterville route, leaving San Fran-
cisco at 4 P. M., and reaching Merced at 10:50
p. M., the night -is spent at the El Capitan
Hotel, and with an early start Dudley's Ranch
is reached for the night, and Black's the next
evening at 6 o'clock.

By the Mariposa route, an early start from
Merced, or by the Madera route, an early start

from the Palace Car and Madison Hotel will
enable one to reach Big Tree station for the
night, and Black's at noon of the next day. Or,
after spending the night at Big Tree station,
one may visit the Mariposa Groves and reach
Black's the same evening.

The Madera route is preferable, because of
the sleeping-car time and visit to the Mariposa
Grove of Big Trees.

Expenses to the Yosemite Valley The Big Trees*

The tourist will be able to vary these in many
ways, and no statement can be more than an
approximation, unless it be to give maximum
rates. These are as follows : From the railroad
to the valley and return, $45.00, by any route.
The additional stage fare to include the Calav-
eras Big Trees is $7.00, but the extra railroad
fare, after leaving the main line to San Francisco
is only $4.00.

To visit the Mariposa Grove there is no extra
charge, but the railroad fare will be $5.75, $8.10,
or $9.00 additional, according as Merced, or
Madera is made the point of departure. By
taking a round-trip ticket from Lathrop to
Merced, and returning via Madera, the addi-
tional cost will be $8 10. Round-trip ticket,
Lathrop to Merced, $5.75. Round-trip ticket,
Lathrop to Madera, $9.00.

Board and lodging in the valley are $3.00 per

The time to the valley from San Francisco,
via the Big Oak Flat Route, is two days ; and
via the Calavaras Grove of Big Trees, four days :
and via Coulterville, two days ; and via Mariposa
or Madera, one and a half days.

Saddle Horses in the Valley.

The Board of Commissioners in charge of
the valley and the Mariposa Big Tree Grove,
have established maximum rates as follows :

1. From any hotel in the Valley to Glacier Point

and Sentinel Dome and return by same
route, $3.00

2. From Valley to Glacier Point, Sentinel Dome,

Nevada Fall and Snow's (passing the night at
Snow's), $3.00

3. From Valley direct to Snow's and Nevada Fall,

passing by Vernal Fall and returning to Valley
same day, $3.00

4. From Snow's to Cloud's Rest and back to Snow's,

or to Valley the same day, $3.00

5. From Valley direct to Cloud's Rest, and back to

Snow's, $3.00

. From Valley direct to Cloud's Rest and back to

Valley same day, $5.00

7. From Snow's to Valley, $ 2.00

S. From Valley to Upper Yosemite Fall, Eagle

Point and return, $3.00

9. For use of saddle horses on the level of the Val-
ley per day, $2.50


(For a party of not less than four persons./

1. To Bridal Veil Fall and return, each person, $1.00

2. To Mirror Lake and return, each person, .. $1.00

3. To the Cascades, passing by and stopping at the

Bridal Veil Fall, each person, $3.00

4. To the Cascades and return, each person, . . $2.00

5. To Bridal Veil and Artist's Point, each per-

son $2.00

The charge for guide (including horse) when
furnished, will be $3.00 per day. The above
charges do not cover feed for the horses at
Snow's, nor tolls on the various trails. These
latter are as follows :

To Glacier Point, each person, $1.00

To foot of Upper Yosemite Fall, $0.50

From foot of Upper Yosemite Fall to Eagle

Point, $0.50

To Nevada Fall (including Vernal Fall), $0.75

To Mirror "Lake in a carriage, $0.50

All trails in the valley were purchased by the
State Commissioners in 1882 and are now free.

Points in the Valley Most Attractive
to Tourists.

1. South Dome, I each of these includes Vernal and

2. Clouds Rest, [ Nevada Falls.

3. Inspiration Point.

4. Glacier Point.

5. Sentinel Dome.

6. Upper Yosemite Fall and Eagle Point.

7. Mirror Lake.

8. Bridal Veil Fall.

9. Lower Yosemite Fall.
10. El Capitan.

Reference is had in the above order, to the
fact that El Capitan and Bridal Veil Fall are at
the entrance to the Valley and must be passed
both in going in and coming out. The South
Dome is difficult of access, the only way being
to climb the rounded .side of the Dome by hold-
ing to 975 feet of rope anchored at various

Time Usually Required for the Vari-
ous Excursions.

From the hotels to Upper Yosemite Falls and

return 4 hours.

From the hotels to Upper Yosemite Falls and

Eagle Point and return, 6 hours.


To Bridal Veil Falls, 3 hours.

To Bridal Veil Falls and El Capitan, 4 hours.

To El Capitan, 3 hours.

To Mirror Lake, 3 hours.

To Vernal and Nevada Falls, 1 day.

To Mirror Lake, and Vernal and Nevada Falls, . 1 day.

To Lower Yosemite Falls 2 hours.

To Mirror Lake and Lower Yosemite Falls,. . a day.

To Glacier Point, 6 hours.

To Sentinel Dome, 7 hours.

To Glacier Point and Sentinel Dome, 8 hours.

To Cloud's Rest from Snow's Hotel to Nevada

Falls, , 8 hours.

To South Dome from Snow's, 4 hours.

From Snow's to Cloud's Rest and South Dome

and back to Snow's, 1 day.

From Snows to Cloud's Rest, or to South

Dome and back to the Valley possible in. .1 day.
From Valley to Inspiration Point and back

to Hotel, 1 day.

Head-waters of the Sacramento
and Mount Shasta.

From Redding to the Black Butte, more than
80 miles, the stage-route follows the general
course of the river, leaving it occasionally and
crossing it five times. At Redding the broad,
fertile Sacramento Valley ends, and the foot-
hills, with numerous little valleys between them,
begin. The stage ride from Redding north is
through these, and then across the mountains
that confine the waters of the Pitt and McCloud
rivers. These are the main tributaries of the
Upper Sacramento. The Pitt is fed by the eter-
nal snows of Lassen's Peak, the central and lofti-
est figure in a line of ancient volcanoes, and the
northern extremity of the Sierra Nevada range.
The McCloud is a rapid stream, rushing along
at from ten to twenty miles an hour, with high
canon walls on either side, and water cold as ice
and clear as crystal. It bursts from the ground
in a great volume, and is probably the outlet of
Mud Creek, which rises from a glacier on the east
side of Mt. Shasta and then sinks in the earth.

Near the crossing of the McCloud is the United
States fish-hatching establishment. All these
rivers abound in trout and salmon, but the best
place on them for trout-fishing is the upper
waters of the McCloud. The valley of the Sac-
ramento grows narrower as one goes northward,
and at last is almost a canon. Just beyond Camp-
bell's Soda Springs, 69 miles north of Redding,

Online LibraryFrederick E ShearerThe Pacific tourist : J.R. Bowman's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean ... : acomplete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific Railroads ... → online text (page 48 of 61)