John Harvey Williams.

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for the glacier to re-
move. So Yosemite

T) • . ( . Sentinel Dome, on tlie plsitenu above Voseniite Valley, south of

rOint COnrrontS sentlnel Rock. On the summit is seen the lone Jeflfrey Pine

Union Point, and which is shown at large on the opposite page.

Cliaraoteristic Dome Landscape; view nortli from Glacier
Point, looking across Yosemite Valley to North Dome, Basket
Dome, and Mt. Hoffman. In the foreground, note the deep
fissure separating AVashington Column from the Royal Arclies.



the splendid prow
of Glacier Point the
projecting pedestal
of the Half Dome.
In the areas of abun-
dantly fissured rock
separating each of
these pairs of oppos-
ing cliffs from the
next, the glacier took
advantage of the
vertical and hori-
zontal jointing to un-
dermine and cutback
the valley walls.
Their varying cleav-
age planes, with the
occurrence of small-
er unjointed masses,
were set out in an
infinite variety of
gables, pinnacles and
spires. Where the
jointingwas vertical,
the ice left the sheer
faces of Glacier and
Yosemite Points and
the Sentinel. Where
it inclined, the Three
Brothers, with their sloping steps, resulted. A succession of fissured and
massive granites gave us the deeply trenched Cathedral Rocks. Purely
local solidity surrounded by a fissile structure is represented in Cathedral
Spires and the Lost Arrow, as well as in such clefts as The Fissures and
the gap separating Washington Column from the Royal Arches. Much
of this detailed sculpture, of course, has been the result of weathering
since the retreat of the glacier. To that agency must also be ascribed the
splitting off of flat plates from the front of Half Dome, as well as the ex-
foliation of concentric layers from the top of that and other domes, which,
rather than any glacial grinding, is responsible for their rounded form.

Half Dome, the Indian Tis-sa-ack, dominates the upper end of the valley
even more finely than El Capitan, Tu-tock-ah-nu-lah, commands the lower.
These superb cliffs, perhaps the noblest rocks in the world, withstood the ice
as they now endure the storms. Serene and distinguished, they express Yo-
Semite's majesty. "The Colorado Grand Cafion," writes John Burroughs,
*'is more unearthly, apochryphal; but one could live with Yosemite."

Aspen Forest at Lake Merced. The finest grove of Aspens in
California. Tlie large trunlc at tlie riglit slio^vs scratclies
from tlie clairs of mountain lions, ^vhicli delight in climbing
these trees. The Aspen (Populus tremuloides) is the most
Ttidely distributed of American trees, ranging from the Arctic
Circle to lUexico; and with the Black Willow (Salix nigra)
it monopolizes the distinction of being common to both the
Atlantic and the Pacific Coast.

Triple Divide Peak (11,613 ft.), seen from meado^vs at the foot of Foerster Peak. So called
because Its snow-fields feed the San Joaquin and t^vo forks of l>Ierced River.



I ramble to the summit of Mt. Hoffman, eleven thousand feet high, the highest
point in life's journey my feet have yet touched. And what glorious landscapes are
about me, new plants, new animals, new crystals, and multitudes of new mountains,
far higher than Hoffman, towering in glorious array along the axis of the range, serene,
majestic, snow-laden, sun-drenched, vast domes and ridges shining below them, forests,
lakes, and meadows in the hollows, the pure blue bell-flower sky brooding them all, —
a glory day of admission into a new realm of wonders as if Nature had wooingly
whispered, "Come higher." — John Muir: ''My First Summer in the Sierra."

THE best way to see Yosemlte is from the heights. The wonder and
pleasure of this experience draws thousands of visitors each summer to
Yosemite Point, overlooking Yosem-
ite Falls, and thence to the still higher b
elevations of ErCapitan, Three Brothers |
(Eagle Peak) and the North Dome; or, on p
the south side, to Glacier Point, Sentinel [
Dome and the great outlooks offered by the
Long trail and Pohono trail. These com- -
paratively easy ascents should be made on
foot by everybody who commands good
wind and a fair pair of legs. Others are
advised to take horses. It is not well to
underestimate either the labor required or
the rewards to be obtained. As one rises
from the valley, the view develops unex-
pected surprises; the opposite clifts rise

Climbing: >It. Clark.



with him; new rock forms are discovered, colossal and unique; near-by
proportions and distant perspective alike change with increasing altitude;
until, at last, from the summits he beholds at his feet a vaster and
more beautiful Yo-
semite than he has
ever dreamed of.

These upland
trails are the keys
that unlock, not only
the secrets of Yo-
semite Vallev, with

ruoluiuue Pass, — upper
vie^v looking: south;
lower view, nortb. Be-
low is seen a sno»T-
field on the slope of
Mt. Vogelsang, ■with
advance of Sierra Club
pack-train coming; in-
to view. Beyond are
Rafferty Creek Canon
and Raflterty and John-
son Peaks.

its cliff sculptures,
waterfalls and gla-
cial story, but also the greater mysteries of the higher mountains. No one
can climb the valley walls, under the clear Sierran sky, and behold the
panorama which they unfold of the far-away California sky-line, without
hearing the call of those snowy peaks and sunny ranges rising in the east.
Splendid views of the High Sierra may be had from Glacier Point or North
Dome, and still grander
ones from Clouds Rest, east
of Half Dome and easily
reached by trail from Ne-
vada Fall, — the highest
point on the rim of the val-
ley. But distant views are
a poor substitute for the
real enjoyment of days and
nights spent amongthe lofty
passes and fascinating alpine
meadows nearer the back-
bone of the range, with such

ascents as may be within ^n Lake Wasbbum at sunset.



one's time and inclination.
Hence the most important
thing about the trails out of
the valley is that they in-
vite one on and on, to the
grander Yosemite of the far

Visiting the Yosemite
Sierra has till recentlymeant
real exploration, but with
the good trails now opened
to many parts of the Park,
one can hardly go anywhere
below timber line without


Suiiiiiier Sno»v-
field.s in tire
Sierra. Upper
picture shoT»s
party enterin;;
Parlt via Don-
ohue PasN anil
east Nlioultler
of Lyell. Mid-
dle, a vie^v
Houtli, near

Foerster Pass,
across froxen
Lake Harriet.
I^o^ver, coast-
ing on sno^v
slope near
Foerster Pass,
«itU Merced
Canon and Mt.
Clark in dis-
tance beyond.

finding sign-boards pointing
him to lake or peak or val-
ley. All this is in disregard
of the professional climber's
fear that his favorite wilds
will be rushed by the "mob."
The Park administration
wisely aims to make this
great national playground
fully accessible to the gen-
eral public, as well as to the
mountain enthusiast. The
"mob," of course, will not
follow; but mountain par-



Looking up Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne, with Kuna Crest on the extreme left, Potter
Point in the center, and Parsons Peak at the end of the ridge beyond.

ties become larger and more numerous every year, and with the establish-
ment of the Sierra Club's lodge and camp at Soda Springs next summer,
and the chalets which the government is about to erect at Lake Merced,
Tuolumne Meadows and some of the intervening passes, the number of such
companies taking the long trails will, happily, soon be multiplied.

There is variety enough in the moun-
tain trails and the districts to which they
lead to fill many summers with enjoyment.
No season would be long enough to cover
all the trails at anything less than a sprint-
er's gait. Hence it is best to undertake
some definite section of the Park, knowing
that unforeseen calls are likely to be made
on one's interest and time.

Except the old Tioga road, all high-
ways entering the Park lead to Yosemite
Village, and end there; travel to the up-
lands, save for persons relying upon their
knapsacks, must be by the horse-trails. The
Tioga road is not really an exception. Built
many years ago on easy grades to reach the
Tioga Mine, it follows up the Merced-
Tuolumne divide, and crosses Tioga Pass.
East of the Park, it is maintained as a state
road; but the western end, long unused and

I'ack Train at VoKelsanw; Pass. Mt. . i i r L" 1 * • 1

Clark is seen in the distance. now impassabk tor vehiclcs, IS Simply a



Kuna Crest, seen from inendo^vs near Mono Pass.

well-marked, though very rocky, trail through the central zone of the Park
to Tenaya Lake and Tuolumne Meadows. It is necessarily traversed in
part by those who go north from the val-
ley, whether to the upper Tuolumne or to
Hetch Hetchy.

This road could be put in good shape,
and connected by a branch road from Aspen
Valley with the Big Oak Flat road, at com-
paratively small cost. When this is done,
we shall have a practicable highway, as
nearly direct as is now possible, from Yo-
semite to Tenaya Lake and the Tuolumne
country, and forming part of a transcon-
tinental automobile highway. Such a road
would be very much used. Next to more
hotels, it is the greatest present need of the
Park. The government project of a road
from Yosemite to Nevada P'all and Little
Yosemite, and thence across one of the
passes east of Clouds Rest, promises in time
to give the Park a magnificent highway by
the upper Merced to Soda Springs. But It
will probably cost four or five times as much
as the other, and, in view of Congressional
indifference to "mere scenery," is not likely
to be built within a decade.

Mountain Henilnoks (TsiiKa nierten-
siana) on east Hlope of Mat-
terliorn Canon, ^vliere there Is n
reni]irkal>le forest of this most
Krttccful of alpine trees.



Outing parties visiting the High Sierra may now leave Yosemite
Village, where camp equipment and supplies, horses and guides are to be

had, by one of several
trails. The most popu-
lar are those by Nevada
Fall, Little Yosemite
and Lake Merced, in the
Merced Caiion, and by
Lake Tenaya and the
Tioga road to Soda
H ^^^: ^^K^!^*?^'^"^ Springs and Tuolumne

^^^^ ^^■b- jtAsr-:^^ Meadows. There is also

In Alpiue California. Above,
>It. Dana Glacier, seen from
the summit, with camera
pointing sharply «lown-\var<l
to the moraines and snow-
coverert ice cascailes. Be-
low, an arctic pool, not at
the Xorth Pole, but in Bloody

a good trail from Glacier
Point south, across the
wooded uplands, to the

lake country north of Wawona ; and, on the north side, a new route con-
tinuing the Yosemite Falls trail has been opened to Hetch Hetchy.

The Merced route, besides its branch trails to Clouds Rest, Mt. Clark
and the Illilouette head-basin, connects with other well-blazed trails crossing

the divide to the Tuolumne through Cathedral
and Tuolumne Passes; and also offers access to
the entire upper watershed of the Merced River.
In this basin, the Merced's branches flow down
from cirques and snowfields which form a great
horse-shoe stretching from the Merced Range
and Triple Divide Peak, on the south, along the
crest of the Sierra to the Cathedral Peak Range.

kj. f^f^ ''^ V ^fs principal peaks, reaching elevations of twelve
^ .y^^sikM' J ^^ ^nd thirteen thousand feet, are Long, Foerster,
1 ^LMfM^" ^-^^ct^^' Rodgers, Lyell, McClure, Florence,
L ^''<'^^^^^'. Parsons, and Vogelsang, — a splendid line of
i, ^^^^^P snow- fountains, forming a vast amphitheater
p; "^^M jM laced with cafions, and ridged by great moraines

of the old Merced glacier. In this wild region,
Mr. Muir counted sixty-seven glacier lakes, not

Cutting Steps up the Snow
Finger on Mt. I^yell.



Rodgers, Klectrn and Davis Peaks, seen from near Island Pass.

to mention scores of others across in the lUilouette basin and on the south
side of the Park, in the watershed of the Merced's South Fork.

This whole southeastern section is a favorite haunt of sportsmen, since

its lakes and streams are abundantly
stocked with trout, — as, indeed, are
the waters of the entire Park. Many
thousands of young trout have been
successfully planted in nearly every
stream and larger lake, up to nine
or ten thousand feet. Nowhere in
America is there better fishing.

Down in Yosemite Valley, the
Merced shelters many an educated
trout that exhibits only indifference
to the lures of the fly-book. But
back in the streams and lakes of the
higher altitudes, as well as in the
less fished waters of Hetch Hetchy,
during July and August, even a
novice may fill his creel with glitter-
ing beauties. The native Rainbow
trout (Salmo iridrus) is widespread
in the Sierra. The Eastern Brook
trout (Sahelinus fontinalis) , intro-
duced here from the hatchery near

A Convenient Crack. Such chance fissures WaWOna, haS multiplied CXtCnsively
frequently offer the only possible trails ' r . _ ■'

atroNS the Kla<>ler-pollshed granite slopes. on the UppCr McrCed, CSpCCially in


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Till- "HerKsfliriind" <»f I^yell Glacier. This Gt'niinii «or<l < "iiioiintiiiii rit'f) is applied to
the great crevasse stretchiu;^' across the heatl of every active glacier at the polut \vhere
its luotion begins, and the ice-stream pulls a^vay from the summit sno^vfield. To the
^veatiiering of tlie slope exposed in such crevasses, through daily tha^ving and freez-
ing in summer, is chiefly due the head-v\-all cutting that digs the "cirque" or glacial
head-basin far back into the heart of the mountain, and opens passes through the range.
Thisi is no^v recognized as the prime factor in the sculpturing of high mountain dis-
tricts. The upper rim of a bergschrund often overhangs, as here, in a "sno^v-cornice."

Merced and Washburn Lakes, and also In the Tuolumne basin. A few
Tahoe trout {Salmo my kiss henshaijui) are also to be taken In the Merced,
and an occasional Loch Levin, or hybrids of It with native species, rewards
the angler. On the other hand, the wonderfully brilliant and gamy Golden

trout of high altitudes In
the Mt. Whitney region Is
not found here. It Is to be
caught only In the lakes and
streams of the southern
Sierra, notably In the Cot-
tonwood Lakes, where It Is
known scientifically 3.s Salmo
agiia-bonita, and in Volcanic
Creek {Salmo roosevelti) .

For those who mix
mountain climbing with

riie Uplands in .July. View of Kcho Peak from Unicorn t-U ' fi W n* a nii't-en

i'eak. «ith Mt. Holl'man iu the distance. tnCir USning, Or VlCe ZtrSa,



the snow-peaks that sentinel the Merced amphitheater offer fascinating
ascents; and the climber is rewarded with far-reaching views, both of that
watershed and of the upper San Joaquin. But the best mountain climbing
in the Park is doubt-
less to be had from
Tuolumne Meadows
as a base. The way
thither from the
Merced, by either
Cathedral or Tuol-
umne Pass, is a day's
easy march across
high country of

Above, Mt. Dana (13,050
ft.), seen from Gibbs. Be-
lo^v, GibbN Mountain (i:i,-
700 ft.), from the Dana-
Gibbs saddle.

broad, snowy cols and
sunny, wind-swept
plateaus, dotted with
peaks of curious gla-
cial architecture and
shining granite bosses,
all burnished by the recent ice. It is country of immense interest, because
it is astonishingly new, — so new, indeed, that the rapid disintegration com-
mon to altitudes of nine and ten thousand feet under daily interchange of

Tbe (raters of >lono County. Tills unl<|iie voleanle rnnjje, ^vlilcli lies in tlie desert of
Kastern California, belo^v Mono Pass, rises ^..'(Nl feet aliove the near-liy Mono Lake.
Tlie picture is a ^vinter vie^v from I'umioe Valley.



sun and frost has not yet tarnished the landscape. Glacier-polished slopes
and benches are common enough on the uplands adjacent to Yosemite and
Hetch Hetchy. Here, on the edge of the snowfields, they are everywhere;

but hundreds, perhaps

thousands, or years ' - ''''^^'^■■ll

younger. How hard it ^11

is to take Nature's word
for it, that this land of
sunshine and gentlest
mountain airs, with joy-
ous flowers in every hoi- ^^^^^^mimmmmf> .-i^y-' ."^f ^n^^ '.u'i
low that holds a spoonful
of soil, was yesterday a
sea of sullen ice !

Suniinit of Mt. Couness (12,556
ft.). The cliff sho^vn belo^v is
the top of a 2,000-foot wall,
part of the rim of an ancient
glacial cirque.

Yosemite visitors who
have the time will find a
trip to Soda Springs from
the Merced, across one of
the high passes, as fine an
experience as the Park can
give. But the Tuolumne
may be reached more
directly from the valley, either by the Yosemite Point trail or by the new
Snow-Creek trail out of Tenaya Cafion. Each of these trails soon brings
one to the Tioga road, which he follows to Tenaya Lake, and thence north-
ward past Mt. Hoffman and Fairview Dome. This is the region traversed
by the south branch of the Tuolumne glacier, on its way to Tenaya Cafion
and Yosemite. The cleanness of the country is amazing, and we realize
how the mighty ice-stream stripped the whole region bare of its overlying
sedimentary rock, and left only the hardest granites.

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Matterliorn Caiion, seen from Its east slope. Matterhorn I'esik (12,272 ft.). Is on tlie sky-
line at ri^^ht, and the Sa-tv-Tooth Range in the distance on left of center.

The trails radiating from Tuolumne Meadows bring a score of im-
portant peaks, with their glaciers and snowfields, within easy reach of the
climber. The story of actual ascents must be left to our illustrations show-
ing some of the adventures of California's great Sierra Club.

Of all high mountain scenes, the glacial head-basins are the most Inter-
esting. For they hold the secret of the glacier's method. The fundamental
importance of such cirques as makers of
mountain landscape was not recognized,
even by leading geologists, till the last
decade. Much less was it understood that
the tool with which the work is done is the
"bergschrund," or crevasse across the head
of every living glacier, separating the mov-
ing ice from the snowfield above (See page
104). That the bergschrund, through its
exposure of the head-wall to daily thawing
and drenching, and to nightly freezing,
plucks huge rocks from the mountain, and
so drives the cirque deeper and farther
back, till great peaks are undermined and
overthrown, and broad passes are cut
where two glaciers head together, — this
world-old romance of the silent, icy heights
is one of the newest nature-stories told by The Hammond Fiy-catcher.



Vie^v Elast froiu Benson Pass (10.130 ft.). In the foreground, Wilson Creek Cauon leads
do^rn to tlie Matterhorn Canon, flight miles east, Conness Mountain rises at center of
the sky-line.

twentieth-century science. So little were these things known a few years ago,
indeed, that the famous Scotch geologist. Professor Geikie, could describe
the "corries" or cirques of the Scotch Highlands as mainly excavated by

"convergent torrents," dropping over
their rims! But if Geikie's theory
begged the question, it remained for our
distinguished American scientist. Dr.
Gannett, president of the National Geo-
graphic Society, writing as late as 1898,
to ascribe the cirque to the avalanches
which its steep walls induce :

Glaciers commonly head in amphithea-
ters or cirques — basins lying under the shadow
of the summit cliffs. An amphitheater is sur-
rounded on three sides by vertical walls or
steep slopes, down which the ice and snow
slide in avalanches. The effect is precisely
like that of a waterfall. The falling snow and
ice dig a hollow or depression at the foot of
the steep descent, just as water does. Such
amphitheaters are found at the heads of all
glacial gorges in the high mountains. — Na-
tion-al Geographic Magazine, vol. 9, p. 419.

Dr. Gannett assumed the existence
of the "vertical walls" and "steep de-
scent" — the very things his theory pro-

Snow Plant < .Sarcodes sauKuinea),— the fcSScd tO aCCOUnt f Or ! But field WOrk

most curious and lirilliant decoration l,, T^U.-.^^., «»,^ \ /\ ^ *-4-i-, ^r. A\c^r^^,Ta.-^aA <-Vio

of the Yellow Pine belt, .vhere Its by J ohnson and Matthcs discovcrcd the
scaly stems and fleshy blood-red real causc. It is the bcrgschrund that

flowers closely follow the retreat of ,. . . i i i ,i i

the snowbanks. digs the cirqucs and levels the peaks.

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California's mountains crown all
her diversified wealth of scenery and
climate. The story of her old glaciers
is as fascinating as the new life of tree
and flower which they have made pos-
sible. Under the gentle and unfailing
sunshine of the highlands, on one of
their broadest alpine meadows, those
dauntless explorers, the members of
the Sierra Club, led by America's
greatest mountaineer, their president,
have discovered the very Fountain of
Eternal Youth, and proved it no fable,
but a fact of the Yosemite Sierra.
And what a leader is John Muir ! As
one talks with him, or reads his books,
George Sterling's lines on another
great Californian come to mind:

Of all he said, I best recall:
"He knows the sky who knows the sod;
And he who loves a flower loves God."
Sky, flower and sod, he loved them all.

The Sierrans testify their love of
the mountains by spending a month
each summer among them. This is the
sanest and most joyous of sport. It
was my privilege for the first time to
join the club's large party last July at
their camp in Tuolumne Meadows, and there learn how two hundred and
fifty men and women, drawn from all the professions, lawyers, teachers and
students, doctors, preachers and business men, were able, after a day's climbing,
to gather about a huge campfire, and jest away their weariness in club songs:

In the mountains of California,
We're hitting the trail and shov-
ing our feet along.

Or, still more pathetically:

There are rocks in the cradle
where I sleep.
And roots and cones embed-
ded deep;
Aslant I lie upon my bed.

My feet are higher than my
I know I shall not hear the
My camp is farthest off of all ;
And so I dare not go to sleep,
While ants and lizards o'er me
NeariuK the Sunimit of Mt. LyeU. Creep.

Group of 250-foot Sequoius, shovrlng char-
acteristic dome shape of cro^vn ^vhen
unbroken. The sharp-pointed trees at
sides are AVliite Firs (Abies concolor).



Piute Mountain, and Lakelet near tlie head of
Seavey Pass.

Ah! those mountain
firesides, after the long
marches over the snow-
fields, or across the passes,
or down the canons ! We
were not always frivolous.
One evening, a brilliant col-
lege philosopher put into
crisp English Plato's legacy
to modern life. Again, a
returned diplomat outlined
America's relations with the
Orient, and a well-known
Hebrew scholar, turning
from philology, very de-
lightfully described the birds
of Yosemite. Another
night, a distinguished sci-
entist from California's
great university explained
how he told the years of a
trout. "We estimate the age of a tree," said the solemn professor, "by its
growth rings. We estimate the age
of a horse by its teeth. We esti-
mate the age of a woman by count-
ing ten, and then asking. We
estimate the age of a fish by noting
the circles in its ear-bones." No
wonder those "serious" campfires
drew crowds of tired trampers!

This inspiring society is one of
the most useful of California organ-
izations. Its intelligent efforts to

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Online LibraryJohn Harvey WilliamsYosemite and its High Sierra → online text (page 5 of 7)