John Harvey Williams.

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of the valley and making known the majesty of its walls remained for the

"Mariposa Battalion." Of
that second expedition we
have a vivid and trust-
worthy report. Dr. Bun-
nell's account of it, and of
the Indian war of 185 i, of
which it was a part, is a
frontier classic, with Tena-
ya as its hero. In the old
chief's last stand for the
mountain fortress of his
people, we see the Indian
at his best.

The gold-seekers and
game-hunters of '49 and '50

Distinguished \ isitors to tin- (iriz/.ly t;iaiit. On I'resl- WCre pUShing thC natlVCS

dent Roosevelt's right are Gim,rd Pinchot and Gov. ^^^y^ Jj^^q j-J^g mOUntainS ;
Pardee; on his left, .John Muir, neujaniin Ide \V^heeler,

etc. Out of this visit grew the recession of Yosemite the Indians WCre rCtaliat-

Valley and the Mariposa tirove, and their ineorpora- • i • i 11

tion in the Yoiiemite National Park. "Ig aS USUal Wltll rODDerieS,

\\ fstcru eiwl of \ ONeiiiito. with Sentinel Rock nnti 101 (:i|>iliin, Neeu frtiiii I iiion I'uiut, ^,.'!50 feet

above the Valley floor.



burnings, and occasional murder. To the reser-
vation established by the Indian commissioners
on the Fresno, near the site of the present town
of Madera, some of the hill tribes had come
peaceably. Others were brought in by the militia
companies of the new state government. But
far in the heart of the Sierra, the half-breed
scouts reported, near the head of the Merced
River, was a small tribe that refused to leave its
deep, rocky valley.

"There," they said, "one Indian is more
than ten white men. Hiding places are many,
and the Indians will hurl down rocks upon all
who pursue them. Other tribes dare not make
war on them, for they are lawless, like the griz-
zly bear, whose name, Yo-Semite, they have
adopted, and as strong. We fear to go to this
valley. There are many witches there."

Messengers sent to the Yosemites failed,
but at last their chief came alone. Addressing
Major Savage, a veteran frontiersman who com-
manded the Battalion, the grave old Indian said:
"My people do not want anything from the
Great Father you tell me about. The Great
Spirit is our father, and has supplied us with all
we need. We want nothing from white men.
Our women are able to do our work. Go then;
let us remain in the mountains where we were born, and where the ashes
of our fathers have been given to the winds. I have said enough!"

Iii<li:iii Aforu Caelie ("Cliuck-
aii"), consistiug of a larjie
Mioker l)a.sket set on po!4t.s,
aii«I thati'lied ^vith pine
Uranolies, points rto^vn, to
keep out squirrels and niioe.

Teuaya I'eak ( lO.lMIO H.». on the riKlit, ^vitii Tenaja I-ake in the distance at its foot.



Tenaya was sent to bring in his tribe, but only a part came, mostly
the old and the very young. The aged chief, when charged with decep-
tion, promised to go on with his people to the soldiers' camp. Major
Savage, he said, might go to the valley with one of his youths as a guide,

but he would find no one there ;
the younger men from Mono
and the Tuolumne who had
married into the tribe had gone
back to the mountains. "My
tribe is small," he declared,

In ToiiJiya ("anon. The iipiior view
looks baek to tlie Malt' noiiie; the
louver one shows the isorKi' blocked
by a huKO boiil«Ier. Tlie steep
Moiitli wall, swept by avalanehes
every sprinK: from the side of
Cloiiils Kest. is seen in eaeh pie-
tiire. This eafion oti'ers (;;reat difll-
eiilties to tile eliinber.

"not large as the white chief has said. The Piutcs and Monos are all gone.
Young and strong men can find jilentv in the mountains; why should they
go to see the white chiefs, to be yarded like horses and cattle? I am
willing to go, for it is best for my people."

if *


- yi

3 a


Q «

jm\ it''

■2 i 2 s



South Merced Valley, seen from I^ookout Poiut, on the road from "XVa^vona to Yoseniite.

Sending Tenaya and his band on to the camp, upon the South Fork
of the Merced, Savage and his men proceeded across the upland through
deep snow, and on March 21, 185 i, descended to the mysterious valley.
There they found only an aged squaw. It was as Tenaya had said; the
young men and their women had disappeared, and after a brief survey
the disappointed whites recrossed the hills to their camp.

During this first visit to the valley,
Dr. Bunnell proposed naming it Yosemite,
after its Indian inhabitants; and the beau-
tiful name was adopted, though not with-
out the usual opposition from men who
saw in the Indian merely a savage to be
despoiled of his lands. But the Indian
name of the valley, as I have said, was
Ah-wah-nee. Its ancient tribe had been
almost exterminated by disease many years
before, and the valley home abandoned,
until Tenaya, son of an Ahwahneechee
father by a Mono mother, had led back the
few survivors of the race, re-enforced by
renegade Monos, Piutes from the Tuolum-
ne, and fugitives from the lowland tribes.
The mongrel clan of several hundred mem-
A ^oNeniite wood-Gutiierer. bcrs proudly adoptcd 3. ncw name given it

Mirror l.nko, :il iiKiiitii iil rrii:i>:i ('anon, ^vltli retloctioii of >lt. W'ntkiii.s. ri.sinK: more than
4.<100 feet ali<»ve Its .siirfaee. I'erfeet refleetioiiw siieh a.s this are Neeii only in the early
niorninis: Interval hetiveen the ilownward eurrent.s of the nl^rht and tlie ^variu -winds
that draw up the Sierra Mlope ax .soon a.s the sun strikes It.



Yoseniite In<1i:iu It:isket-!^l:ilver, >vo:ivius' a burden basket.
l:irs;e basket to the left is for cooking-.

by others, Yosemite,
or Grizzly Bear, for
the animal which the
Indians most feared
and emulated.

Savage never got
his captives to the
Fresno reservation.
When nearly there,
alarmed by runners
from the hostile
Chowchillas on the
South Fork, and
taking advantage of
the relaxed vigilance
of their guards, they
fled in the night, and
were not again to be
tempted away from
their valley. In-
ducements successful
with other tribes
were rejected with
contempt. Gaudy clothing and cheap presents Tenaya declared no recom-
pense for loss of freedom in their mountain home. Even the offered beef
was refused; the Indians preferred horse-flesh. Hence, after the Chow-
chillas had been subdued, and the other tribes had made treaties, Savage sent
a second expedition, under Captain Boling, to bring in the stubborn Yo-
semites. Bunnell again was of the party, which expected to have little
difficulty in persuading Tenaya to surrender. But on reaching the valley
in May, Boling found only deserted wigwams and smoking ash-heaps telling
of hastyflight. Three
of the chief's sons
were captured at the
foot of the great
rock then named, in
memory of the cap-
ture, "Three Broth-
ers." One of these
youths was killed in
trying to escape, and
shortly afterwards
Tenaya himself was
caught by Boling's

Indian scouts on a "Umbrella Tree," a sno>v-flattened pine at head of Nevada Pall.



high bench east of
the "Big Falls,"
whence he had been
watching his enemies
below. When he
saw the body of his
son, his grief found
vent only in a look
of hatred that Bol-
ing well understood.
No word could be
coaxed from him in
reply to the cap-
tain's regrets for the
youth's death. A
day or two later, he
made an unsuccess-
ful attempt to escape
across the swollen
Merced. Then at
last his grief and
rage poured out in
characteristic speech.

"Kill me, Cap-
tain," he cried, "as
you killed my son;
as you would kill my
people, if they were
to come to you. You
have made my life
dark. But wait a
little. When I am
dead, my spirit will
make trouble for
you and your people. I will follow in your footsteps, and be among the
rocks and waterfalls, and in the rivers and winds. You will not see me,
but you shall fear the spirit of the old chief, and grow cold."

Tenaya's appeal to the unknown was as futile as eloquence generally
is. The white conquest paid no heed to his threats. Steadily rounding up
the savages, Boling's party captured the last of their band at a rancheria
or village a few miles above the valley, on a beautiful lake walled by pol-
ished granite cliffs and domes, which they at once named Lake Tenaya.
"But it already has a name," Tenaya protested, — " 'Py-we-ack,' Lake of
the Shining Rocks." The naming of a lake in his honor seemed to him a
poor equivalent for the loss of his territory. Another chance was given him.

Wild Flowers beneath the U«»jal Arches.



!t*: -





,1 ^


hi ii




The "P«r»'.st tliii-t'ii," in tlie Gr<»ve, — an ex-
ce|i(ionally NtrsiiKlit <riink,
^vltliuiit the uNiinl hiit-
treMfteM at the ba^e.

Taken at last to the Fresno, he soon begged for
leave to quit the heat and dust of the reserva-
tion; and on his pledge of their good behavior,
he led back his people once more to the cool
spaces of the Yosemite, The aged sachem him-
self kept faith, but he could not control his
young men. The killing of prospectors in the
valley the next summer quickly brought a third
visit from the soldiers, and the final dispersion
of the Yosemites. It hardly detracts from the
pathos of Tenaya's losing fight for his wild
home that he and his last handful of followers
were killed by Monos
whose hospitality they
had repaid by stealing
their horses. The Indi-
an's code did not recog-
nize other people's rights
in livestock.

Present-day visitors
to Yosemite are often
disappointed that their
first Impression of the
height of the valley walls
falls short of published
accounts. Yosemite mag-
nitudes are not quickly
realized. Even Dr. Bun-
nell was ridiculed by Cap-
tain Doling and others
when he estimated the
superb granite cliff opposite their camp as at
least fifteen hundred feet high. Some guessed
five hundred, others, eight hundred. Not even
Bunnell himself dreamed that El Capitan actu-
ally towered more than three-fifths of a mile
above the silent Merced.

Its Indian Inhabitants gone, Yosemite soon
came Into public notice. As early as 1855, the
first tourist parties visited the valley. Trails
were quickly opened, rude inns established, and,
In I 864, John Conness,a senator from California,
introduced and Congress passed an act grant-
ing to the state "the 'cleft' or 'gorge' in the gran-
ite peak of the Sierra Nevada Mountains , . .


^Watch Me!''



known as the Yosemite Val-
ley, with Its branches or
spurs, in estimated length
fifteen miles, and in average
width one mile back from
the main edge of the preci-
pice, on each side of the
valley, with the stipulation,
nevertheless, . . . that the
premises shall be held for
public use, resort, and rec-
reation." To this grant was
added the " 'Mariposa Big
Tree Grove,' not to exceed
the area of four sections."
In 1890, Congress created
the Yosemite National
Park, subject to the grant of
1864. Its lines have since
been modified considerably
by acts of 1905 and 1906,
excluding the head basins of
the north and middle forks
of the San Joaquin, and em-
bracing more completely the
watersheds of the Tuolumne
and Merced Rivers. Its
area, as already noted, is
now 1,124 square miles.

The dual administra-
tion established by the creation of the National Park surrounding the State
Park was soon found impracticable and disastrous. The state commis-
sioners did the best they could with the ten
or fifteen thousand dollars annuallv voted
by the legislature, but these inadequate ap-
propriations were largely consumed in the
salaries of park guardians and the traveling
expenses of the commissioners; little was
left for needed improxements. Much of
Yosemite \'alley was fenced in, and let to
pri\ate contractors. Conflicts occurred be-
tween the state and federal authorities; A
forest fire, for example, was sometimes left
to burn while the ofl^icers debated as to

in >Ierce«l Cniion below ,.,..... -i i i

Vernal Fall, which jurisuiction was responsible!


On the Overhanging Rock at Glaoier Point, with eight
feet of snow.

Blue Jay,



Joliu M

John Muir was one of the first
and most active in pointing out the
importance of ending this imperium
in impetio. His opportunity came
in 1903, when he was invited by
President Roosevelt to accompany
him on his visit to Yosemite. Gov-
ernor Pardee, President Benjamin
Ide Wheeler of the State Universi-
ty, and other well-known men were
in the party, which received Mr.
Muir's arguments for the recession
of the valley and Big Tree grove
with unanimous approval.

A vigorous state-wide cam-
paign was started by the Sierra
Club, the strong California society
of mountain-lovers of which Muir
was president. The plan won gen-

uir in Hetch Hetehy. The tree shown erOUS SUppOrt frOm the nCWSpapcrS
; is a fine example of Yellow Pine. r 1 11 r 4-U ^

of the State, as well as from the
Native Sons and other large organizations; and was eventually successful,
though its advocates had to overcome bitter opposition, both at Sacramento
and at Washington, from certain politicians and favored concessionnaires
whose private interests conflicted with the public advantage.

The recession has been justified by its results. Better order has been
established, and in every way the rights and convenience of the public have
been promoted. The federal management, while sometimes open to criti-
cism, has devoted annual
appropriations exceeding
$50,000, besides an in-
creased income from con-
cessions, mainly to im-
provements that would still
be lacking underthe clumsy
dual system. Several hun-
dred thousand dollars have
been spent in building
good roads and perman-
ent bridges, and in leading
trails into all parts of the
Park. No one who views
the matter impartially can
now be found to advocate
a return to the old regime.

Ready for the Trails.

Tenaya Cnfion, from Glacier Point (3.250 feet), with the iate (>aien t'lark at tlie ase of !>4 on "I'lio-
togrrapbera' Roclt." The perpendicular cleavage of the Half pome by ^veatherinK is well .sliown
in thin view. Mirror Lake lies below in the caiion, and beyond rise Mt. Watkins on tlie left,
Clond.s Rest on the right, and Tenaya Peak in tiie diMtanee at the head of tlic caiion.



Now, whilo a farowoll Klcam of evening light

Is fondly lingering on thy shattered front,

Do thou, in turn, ho paramount; and rule

Over the pomp and heauty of a scene

Whose mountains, torrents, lake and wood unite

To pay thee homage.

— Wordsworth.

Merced River nn«l the Forest in VoMemite, ^vitli Half Dome in iliNtance.



"Of the grandest sights I have enjoyed, — Rome from the dome of St. Peter's, the
Alps from Lake Como, Mont Blanc and its glaciers from Chamouni, Niagara, and
Yosemite, — I judge the last named the most unique and stupendous."- Horace Greeley.

"The only spot I have ever found that came up to the brag." — Balph Waldo Emerson.

EARLY visitors to Yosemite paid well for its pleasures. To reach the
valley by any of the old routes meant a hot and dusty ride of two or
three days, in a primitive vehicle, over the roughest of mountain roads.
In common with thousands of others, I painfully recall my first trip. We
quit the train from San Francisco at Raymond, to endure a day of misery in
a crowded "stage," which jolted us up from the low country into the noble
valley of the South Fork at
Wawona. That ride made
the friendly little inn there,
when we finally reached it,
seem more luxurious than
any metropolitan hotel. The
next day was spent among
the Mariposa Big Trees.
The third carried us across
the broad Wawona ridge to
Inspiration Point and the
hard-won vision of Yosem-
ite itself. We were bruised
and happy.

Hundreds of tourists

^•11 J 1 ,1 Lodt Arrow Triiil, eiiNt Nitle of VoMenilte Creelw, leading

still come and go by the ,„ c„mp LoMt Arrow.



Wawona route, leaving or return-
ing to the railway at Madera or
Raymond. Automobiles, good
roads, and improved hotel service
have robbed the trip of its terrors.
The traveler is able to enjoy fully
the increasing interest of a wonder-
ful ride, as his motor climbs swiftly
back among the great, forested hills
of Wawona. It is a country which,
even without Yosemite or the Mari-
posa Grove, might well draw him
to its own splendid outlooks, deep
valleys, and fine waterfalls and
lakes, — a sportsman's paradise that
should form part of any extended
Yosemite outing.

The Wawona route, like the
Big Oak Flat road north of the
Merced, is recommended by the fact
that it gives the incoming visitor
his introduction to Yosemite Valley
from the heights. Few things in
this world can exceed the surprise
and pleasure of that view. Nearing
the rim of the plateau, the road sud-
denly leaves the forest for a turn far out on a rocky promontory. Nearly
two thousand feet below, the river lies, a white thread, at the bottom of its
gorge. The foreground is wild and unformed, — an abyss fringed by pro-
jecting crags and pinnacles, and barren save for a few rugged and adv^en-
turous pines clutching the ledges. But eastward opens the famous valley,
always more impres-
sive than imagina-
tion has conceived
It. Its nearest cliffs
tower as far above
as the river lies be-
low, while, miles
beyond, the great
picture closes with
domes and peaks
lightly silhouetted
against the softest
blues and whites of

the Sierran sky. "IVew Rnsland Bridge," at Wawona, built by Galen Clark in 1S70.

Chilnualna Falls, near AVa^voua; one of the
most beautiful series of cataracts and cas-
cades In the Park.



Bridnl Veil Meadovi-, on the route of the ancient Pohono Glsioier. Siieh Nkiuny K'l:ii'i:il
flats, large anrt small, telling; of olrt lakes long since transfornieil by stresim-Avash,
are come upon everywhere belo^v timber line, on forest trails or among the upland
granite domes. Homes of flowers and deer, musical fvith the song o£ birtls, they are
one of the surprises of the Park.

It is a picture one can not afford to miss, and if he comes to Yosemite
by rail, as most visitors now do, he will lose much of its beauty if he fails to
see the valley from Wawona road. I do not wonder that every artist wants
to paint his interpretation of Yo-
semite's message from the sublime
outlooks on or near this road, as
it rises out of the cafion; or that
the scene inspires such admirable
work as we have in Mr. Jorgen-
sen's Bohemian Club painting.
But all nature-lovers will indorse
Mr. Chase's protest against the
cheap, bromidic names given these
view-points. It does not add to
•the inspiration of the scene to be
told, "This is Inspiration Point!"
There is both good humor and
good sense in what Chase says :

Inspiration, in any case, is a timid
bird, which appears without advertise-
ment, delights not in sign-boards, and (>„ Wa^ona Itoad, near inspiration



the louder it is whistled for is the more apt to refuse to come. I have heard the
spot spoken of by warm and jocular young gentlemen as Perspiration Point; and
although that species of witticism is, generally speaking, distasteful to me, I find that
I suffer no pang when it is practiced at the expense of this piece of pedantry. —
Yosemite Trails, p. S8.

The Merced River, three miles above El Portal. The sharp V-shape of the gorge indicates
that it tvas probably cut by stream erosion, rather than by the glacier ivbicb carvetl the
U-shaped canon of Vosemite above. Along this ^vild trough, filled ^vith boulders from
the cliffs, an excellent automobile road has been built at great cost.

The majority of Yosemite visitors to-day prefer the quicker service
ot the railway, even to automobiles on the roads into the Park which have
recently been opened to those vehicles. Leaving the Southern Pacific or
Santa Fe system at the pleasant town of Merced, their through cars from
San Francisco or Los Angeles carry them over the Yosemite Valley Railroad
to El Portal, its terminus, just outside the Park boundary. This road is a
noteworthy piece of railway building. A few miles above Merced, it en-
ters the Merced River gorge, which it follows for the rest of its seventy-
eight miles, as the canon sinks deeper into the range. For most of this
length it was blasted out of the granite or cleated upon the wall of the
gorge. Below it the Merced winds in a narrow, tortuous channel, which
is dammed here and there to supply power for quartz and lumber mills.
Gold mining is in progress at many points.



At El Portal, the rail-
way maintains an excellent
hotel. From here automo-
bile stages run not only to
Yosemite, but also to the
Merced and Tuolumne Big
^free Groves. These small
areas contain many fine
trees, and the journey to
them is one of great interest.
The road, as it climbs the
hills, unfolds magnificent
views of Yosemite and the
lower Merced valley. Even
if there were no Giant Se-
quoias in prospect, the ride
would be well worth while,
for the forests of fir, pine
and cedar through which it
passes are among the most
interesting in the state.

A ride of twelve miles
over a good automobile
road of easy grades brings
the visitor to Yosemite Vil-
lage, at the center of Yosem-
ite Valley. This highway
is one of the most pictur-
esque mountain roads in
America. FVom El Portal
to the very gates of the val-
ley, it had to be cut out of
the granite hillsides. All
about it is a scene of colossal
disorder, the work of ava-
lanche and earthquai<:e, fill-
ing the canon with mighty
boulclers from the cliffs
above, over which the river foams in continuous cascades. One great
waterfall is passed before we reach Yosemite, though among the multitude
of cataracts hereabout it is so inconspicuous that the automobile driver may
rush by it without calling his passengers' attention to its beauty. This is
Cascade Falls, seen on the left, where Cascade Creek pours from the north
wall of the cafion, five hundred feet, in a deep recess close to the road.
So fine a sight should not be overlooked. It prepares one for the

Cascade Falls, four miles west of El Capitan.



greater magnificence of Bridal Veil
Fall ahead.

Soon, quitting the narrow, clut-
tered wildness of the lower river,
the newcomer is face to face with
the ordered peace and glory of Yo-
semite itself. Gratefully, silently, he
breathes the very magic of the En-
chanted Valley. For here, fully
spread before him, is that combina-
tion of sylvan charm with stupen-
dous natural phenomena which
makes Yosemite unique among
Earth's great pictures. He sees the
caiion's level floor, telling of an an-
cient glacial lake that has given
place to wide, grassy meadows;
fields of glad mountain flowers;
forests of many greens and laven-
ders; the fascination of the wind-
ing Merced, River of Mercy; and,
gleaming high above this world of
gentle loveliness, the amazing gray
face of El Capitan, while Pohono
drops from a "hanging valley" su-
perbly sculptured, and so beautiful
that he may well deem it the noblest setting Nature has given to any of her
famous waterfalls.

Here, too, at the very gates of the valley, we find an invaluable key
to the problem of its origin. As we followed up the Merced, we have thus
far seen it everywhere a turbulent
canon stream. But at the base
of Cathedral Rocks its character
changes. For seven miles above
that point, it is the most peaceful
of meadow-bordered rivers, with
only a few feet of fall as it me-
anders indolently down the level
valley floor from Happy Isles. A
little easy investigation, for want of
which, however, some eminent sci-
entists have gone far astray, ex-
plains the change.

At the place iuSt mentioned, ^Vlnter sports m Vosemite. SkUng and

, T-'l/^- i'i r snow-shoeing draw many parties to the

where El Capitan bridge formerly vaiiey each winter.

Bridal Veil Fall, seen in early "Winter from the
south-side road.



El Cnpitan and Three Brothers, seen from the moraine at the foot of Cathedral Rocks.

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Online LibraryJohn Harvey WilliamsYosemite and its High Sierra → online text (page 3 of 7)