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Full text of "Steep trails : California, Utah, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, the Grand Cañon"



GIFT F 

of 




STEEP TRAILS 



I 




MOUNTAIN SHEEP 

(Ovis nelsoni) 
From a drawing by Allan Brooks 



STEEP TRAILS 

BY 

JOHN MUIR 

EDITED BY 
WILLIAM FKEDERIC BADE 

With Illustrations 




BOSTON AND NEW YORK 

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY 

MDCCCCXVIII 



COPYRIGHT, 1918, BY HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY 
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 

Published September ig/8 




\" 



EDITOR S NOTE 

THE papers brought together in this volume 
have, in a general way, been arranged in chron 
ological sequence. They span a period of 
twenty-nine years of Muir s life, during which 
they appeared as letters and articles, for the 
most part in publications of limited and local 
circulation. The Utah and Nevada sketches, 
and the two San Gabriel papers, were con 
tributed, in the form of letters, to the San 
Francisco Evening Bulletin toward the end of 
the seventies. Written in the field, they pre 
serve the freshness of the author s first impres 
sions of those regions. Much of the material 
in the chapters on Mount Shasta first took 
similar shape in 1874. Subsequently it was 
rewritten and much expanded for inclusion in 
Picturesque California, and the Region West of 
the Rocky Mountains, which Muir began to edit 
in 1888. In the same work appeared the de 
scription of Washington and Oregon. The 
charming little essay "Wild Wool" was writ 
ten for the Overland Monthly in 1875. "A 
Geologist s Winter Walk" is an extract from 
a letter to a friend, who, appreciating its fine 
literary quality, took the responsibility of send- 



383082 



EDITOR S NOTE 

ing it to the Overland Monthly without the 
author s knowledge. The concluding chapter 
on "The Grand Canon of the Colorado" was 
published in the Century Magazine in 1902, and 
exhibits Muir s powers of description at their 
maturity. 

Some of these papers were revised by the 
author during the later years of his life, and 
these revisions are a part of the form in which 
they now appear. The chapters on Mount 
Shasta, Oregon, and Washington will be found 
to contain occasional sentences and a few 
paragraphs that were included, more or less 
verbatim, in The Mountains of California and 
Our National Parks. Being an important part 
of their present context, these paragraphs 
could not be omitted without impairing the 
unity of the author s descriptions. 

The editor feels confident that this volume 
will meet, in every way, the high expectations 
of Muir s readers. The recital of his experi 
ences during a storm night on the summit of 
Mount Shasta will take rank among the most 
thrilling of his records of adventure. His 
observations on the dead towns of Nevada, 
and on the Indians gathering their harvest 
of pine-nuts, recall a phase of Western life 
that has left few traces in American literature. 
Many, too, will read with pensive interest the 



EDITOR S NOTE 

author s glowing description of what was one 
time called the New Northwest. Almost in 
conceivably great have been the changes 
wrought in that region during the past gener 
ation. Henceforth the landscapes that Muir 
saw there will live in good part only in his 
writings, for fire, axe, plough, and gunpowder 
have made away with the supposedly bound 
less forest wildernesses and their teeming life. 
WILLIAM FREDERIC BADE 

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA 
May, 1918 



CONTENTS 

I. WILD WOOL 3 

II. A GEOLOGIST S WINTER WALK . . 19 

III. SUMMER DAYS AT MOUNT SHASTA . 29 

IV. A PERILOUS NIGHT ON SHASTA S SUM 
MIT 57 

L, V. SHASTA RAMBLES AND MODOC MEMO 
RIES 82 

VI. THE CITY OF THE SAINTS . . . 105 

*/ VII. A GREAT STORM IN UTAH . . .114 

VIII. BATHING IN SALT LAKE . . . .121 

IX. MORMON LILIES 126 

X. THE SAN GABRIEL VALLEY . . .136 

XI. THE SAN GABRIEL MOUNTAINS . . 145 

XII. NEVADA FARMS 154 

XIII. NEVADA FORESTS 164 

XIV. NEVADA S TIMBER BELT . . . .174 
XV. GLACIAL PHENOMENA IN NEVADA . 184 

XVI. NEVADA S DEAD TOWNS . . . .195 

XVII. PUGET SOUND 204 

XVIII. THE FORESTS OF WASHINGTON . 227 



CONTENTS 

XIX. PEOPLE AND TOWNS OF PUGET SOUND 248 
XX. AN ASCENT OF MOUNT RAINIER . 261 

XXI. THE PHYSICAL AND CLIMATIC CHAR 
ACTERISTICS OF OREGON . . .271 

XXII. THE FORESTS OF OREGON AND THEIR 

INHABITANTS 299 

XXIII. THE RIVERS OF OREGON .... 327 

XXIV. THE GRAND CANON OF THE COLORADO 347 

INDEX . 383 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

MOUNTAIN SHEEP (Ovis nelsoni) . . . Frontispiece 
From a drawing by Allan Brooks, reproduced by per 
mission of the State Fish and Game Commission of 
California. 

TlSSIACK FROM GLACIER POINT! TENAYA CANON . 20 

MOUNT SHASTA AFTER A SNOWSTORM .... 30 
Photograph by Pillsbury s Pictures, Inc., of San 
Francisco 

AT SHASTA SODA SPRINGS 48 

IN THE WAHSATCH MOUNTAINS 106 

SEGO LILIES (Calochortus Nuttallii) . . . .134 

SAN GABRIEL VALLEY 138 

THE SAGE LEVELS OF THE NEVADA DESERT . .168 
MOUNT RAINIER FROM THE SODA SPRINGS . . . 262 

THE OREGON SEA-BLUFFS 274 

CAPE HORN, COLUMBIA RIVER 340 

THE GRAND CANON AT O NEILL S POINT . . . 348 

All but the first three illustrations are from photo 
graphs by Herbert W. Gleason 



STEEP TRAILS 



STEEP TRAILS 

I 

WILD WOOL 

MORAL improvers have calls to preach. I 
have a friend who has a call to plough, and 
woe to the daisy sod or azalea thicket that 
falls under the savage redemption of his -keen 
steel shares. Not content with the so-called 
subjugation of every terrestrial bog, rock, and 
moorland, he would fain discover some method 
of reclamation applicable to the ocean and the 
sky, that in due calendar time they might be 
brought to bud and blossom as the rose. Our 
efforts are of no avail when we seek to turn his 
attention to wild roses, or to the fact that both 
ocean and sky are already about as rosy as 
possible the one with stars, the other with 
dulse, and foam, and wild light. The practical 
developments of his culture are orchards and 
clover-fields wearing a smiling, benevolent 
aspect, truly excellent in their way, though a 
near view discloses something barbarous in 
them all. Wildness charms not my friend, 
charm it never so wisely : and whatsoever may 
be the character of his heaven, his earth seems 

3 



STEEr TRAILS 

only a chaos of agricultural possibilities calling 
for grubbing-hoes and manures. 

Sometimes I venture to approach him with 
a plea for wildness, when he good-naturedly 
shakes a big mellow apple in my face, reiterat 
ing his favorite aphorism, " Culture is an 
orchard apple; Nature is a crab." Not all cul 
ture, however, is equally destructive and inap- 
preciative. Azure skies and crystal waters find 
loving recognition, and few there be who would 
welcome the axe among mountain pines, or 
would care to apply any correction to the tones 
and costumes of mountain waterfalls. Never 
theless, the barbarous notion is almost univer 
sally entertained by civilized man, that there 
is in all the manufactures of Nature some 
thing essentially coarse which can and must be 
eradicated by human culture. I was, therefore, 
delighted in finding that the wild wool growing 
upon mountain sheep in the neighborhood of 
Mount Shasta was much finer than the aver 
age grades of cultivated wool. This fine dis 
covery was made some three months ago, 1 while 
hunting among the Shasta sheep between 
Shasta and Lower Klamath Lake. Three 
fleeces were obtained one that belonged to 
a large ram about four years old, another to a 
ewe about the same age, and another to a 

1 This essay was written early in 1875. [Editor.] 
4 



WILD WOOL 

yearling lamb. After parting their beautiful 
wool on the side and many places along the 
back, shoulders, and hips, and examining it 
closely with my lens, I shouted: "Well done 
for wildness! Wild wool is finer than tame!" 

My companions stooped down and examined 
the fleeces for themselves, pulling out tufts 
and ringlets, spinning them between their 
fingers, and measuring the length of the staple, 
each in turn paying tribute to wildness. It 
was finer, and no mistake; finer than Spanish 
Merino. Wild wool is finer than tame. 

"Here," said I, "is an argument for fine 
wildness that needs no explanation. Not that 
such arguments are by any means rare, for all 
wildness is finer than tameness, but because 
fine wool is appreciable by everybody alike 
from the most speculative president of na 
tional wool-growers associations all the way 
down to the gude-wife spinning by her ingle- 
side." 

Nature is a good mother, and sees well to 
the clothing of her many bairns birds with 
smoothly imbricated feathers, beetles with 
shining jackets, and bears with shaggy furs. 
In the tropical south, where the sun warms 
like a fire, they are allowed to go thinly clad; 
but in the snowy northland she takes care to 
clothe warmly. The squirrel has socks and 



STEEP TRAILS 

mittens, and a tail broad enough for a blanket; 
the grouse is densely feathered down to the 
ends of his toes; and the wild sheep, besides 
his undergarment of fine wool, has a thick 
overcoat of hair that sheds off both the snow 
and the rain. Other provisions and adaptations 
in the dresses of animals, relating less to climate 
than to the more mechanical circumstances of 
life, are made with the same consummate skill 
that characterizes all the love-work of Nature. 
Land, water, and air, jagged rocks, muddy 
ground, sand-beds, forests, underbrush, grassy 
plains, etc., are considered in all their possible 
combinations while the clothing of her beauti 
ful wildlings is preparing. No matter what the 
circumstances of their lives may be, she never 
allows them to go dirty or ragged. The mole, 
living always in the dark and in the dirt, is 
yet as clean as the otter or the wave-washed 
seal; and our wild sheep, wading in snow, 
roaming through bushes, and leaping among 
jagged storm-beaten cliffs, wears a dress so 
exquisitely adapted to its mountain life that 
it is always found as unruffled and stainless 
as a bird. 

On leaving the Shasta hunting-grounds I 
selected a few specimen tufts, and brought 
them away with a view to making more lei 
surely examinations; but, owing to the imper- 

6 



WILD WOOL 

fectness of the instruments at my command, 
the results thus far obtained must be regarded 
only as rough approximations. 

As already stated, the clothing of our wild 
sheep is composed of fine wool and coarse hair. 
The hairs are from about two to four inches 
long, mostly of a dull bluish-gray color, though 
varying somewhat with the seasons. In gen 
eral characteristics they are closely related to 
the hairs of the deer and antelope, being light, 
spongy, and elastic, with a highly polished 
surface, and though somewhat ridged and spi- 
raled, like wool, they do not manifest the 
slightest tendency to felt or become taggy. A 
hair two and a half inches long, which is per 
haps near the average length, will stretch 
about one fourth of an inch before breaking. 
The diameter decreases rapidly both at the 
top and bottom, but is maintained throughout 
the greater portion of the length with a fair 
degree of regularity. The slender tapering 
point in which the hairs terminate is nearly 
black: but, owing to its fineness as compared 
with the main trunk, the quantity of black 
ness is not sufficient to affect greatly the gen 
eral color. The number of hairs growing upon a 
square inch is about ten thousand; the number 
of wool fibers is about twenty-five thousand, 
or two and a half times that of the hairs. The 



STEEP TRAILS 

wool fibers are white and glossy, and beauti 
fully spired into ringlets. The average length 
of the staple is about an inch and a half. A 
fiber of this length, when growing undisturbed 
down among the hairs, measures about an 
inch; hence the degree of curliness may easily 
be inferred. I regret exceedingly that my in 
struments do not enable me to measure the 
diameter of the fibers, in order that their 
degrees of fineness might be definitely com 
pared with each other and with the finest of 
the domestic breeds; but that the three wild 
fleeces under consideration are considerably 
finer than the average grades of Merino 
shipped from San Francisco is, I think, un 
questionable. 

When the fleece is parted and looked into 
with a good lens, the skin appears of a beauti 
ful pale-yellow color, and the delicate wool 
fibers are seen growing up among the strong 
hairs, like grass among stalks of corn, every 
individual fiber being protected about as spe 
cially and effectively as if inclosed in a sepa 
rate husk. Wild wool is too fine to stand by 
itself, the fibers being about as frail and invisi 
ble as the floating threads of spiders, while the 
hairs against which they lean stand erect like 
hazel wands; but, notwithstanding their great 
dissimilarity in size and appearance, the wool 

8 



WILD WOOL 

and hair are forms of the same thing, modified 
in just that way and to just that degree that 
renders them most perfectly subservient to the 
well-being of the sheep. Furthermore, it will 
be observed that these wild modifications are 
entirely distinct from those which are brought 
chancingly into existence through the acci 
dents and caprices of culture; the former being 
inventions of God for the attainment of defi 
nite ends. Like the modifications of limbs 
the fin for swimming, the wing for flying, the 
foot for walking so the fine wool for warmth, 
the hair for additional warmth and to protect 
the wool, and both together for a fabric to 
wear well in mountain roughness and wash 
well in mountain storms. 

The effects of human culture upon wild wool 
are analogous to those produced upon wild 
roses. In the one case there is an abnormal 
development of petals at the expense of the 
stamens, in the other an abnormal develop 
ment of wool at the expense of the hair. 
Garden roses frequently exhibit stamens in 
which the transmutation to petals may be 
observed in various stages of accomplishment, 
and analogously the fleeces of tame sheep 
occasionally contain a few wild hairs that are 
undergoing transmutation to wool. Even wild 
wool presents here and there a fiber that 

9 



STEEP TRAILS 

appears to be in a state of change. In the 
course of my examinations of the wild fleeces 
mentioned above, three fibers were found that 
were wool at one end and hair at the other. 
This, however, does not necessarily imply 
imperfection, or any process of change similar 
to that caused by human culture. Water-lilies 
contain parts variously developed into stamens 
at one end, petals at the other, as the constant 
and normal condition. These half wool, half 
hair fibers may therefore subserve some fixed 
requirement essential to the perfection of the 
whole, or they may simply be the fine boundary- 
lines where an exact balance between the wool 
and the hair is attained. 

I have been offering samples of mountain 
wool to my friends, demanding in return that 
the fineness of wildness be fairly recognized 
and confessed, but the returns are deplorably 
tame. The first question asked is, "Now truly, 
wild sheep, wild sheep, have you any wool?" 
while they peer curiously down among the 
hairs through lenses and spectacles. "Yes, 
wild sheep, you have wool; but Mary s lamb 
had more. In the name of use, how many wild 
sheep, think you, would be required to furnish 
wool sufficient for a pair of socks? " I endeavor 
to point out the irrelevancy of the latter ques 
tion, arguing that wild wool was not made for 
10 



WILD WOOL 

man but for sheep, and that, however deficient 
as clothing for other animals, it is just the thing 
for the brave mountain-dweller that wears it. 
Plain, however, as all this appears, the quan 
tity question rises again and again in all its 
commonplace tameness. For in my experience 
it seems well-nigh impossible to obtain a hear 
ing on behalf of Nature from any other stand 
point than that of human use. Domestic flocks 
yield more flannel per sheep than the wild, 
therefore it is claimed that culture has im 
proved upon wildness; and so it has as far as 
flannel is concerned, but all to the contrary as 
far as a sheep s dress is concerned. If every 
wild sheep inhabiting the Sierra were to put 
on tame wool, probably only a few would sur 
vive the dangers of a single season. With their 
fine limbs muffled and buried beneath a tangle 
of hairless wool, they would become short- 
winded, and fall an easy prey to the strong 
mountain wolves. In descending precipices 
they would be thrown out of balance and 
killed, by their taggy wool catching upon 
sharp points of rocks. Disease would also be 
brought on by the dirt which always finds a 
lodgment in tame wool, and by the draggled 
and water-soaked condition into which it falls 
during stormy weather. 
No dogma taught by the present civilization 
11 



STEEP TRAILS 

seems to form so insuperable an obstacle in 
the way of a right understanding of the rela 
tions which culture sustains to wildness as 
that which regards the world as made especially 
for the uses of man. Every animal, plant, and 
crystal controverts it in the plainest terms. 
Yet it is taught from century to century as 
something ever new and precious, and in the 
resulting darkness the enormous conceit is 
allowed to go unchallenged. 

I have never yet happened upon a trace of 
evidence that seemed to show that any one 
animal was ever made for another as much as 
it was made for itself. Not that Nature mani 
fests any such thing as selfish isolation. In the 
making of every animal the presence of every 
other animal has been recognized. Indeed, 
every atom in creation may be said to be ac 
quainted with and married to every other, but 
with universal union there is a division suffi 
cient in degree for the purposes of the most 
intense individuality; no matter, therefore, 
what may be the note which any creature forms 
in the song of existence, it is made first for 
itself, then more and more remotely for all the 
world and worlds. 

Were it not for the exercise of individualizing 
cares on the part of Nature, the universe would 
be felted together like a fleece of tame wool. 

12 



WILD WOOL 

But we are governed more than we know, and 
most when we are wildest. Plants, animals, 
and stars are all kept in place, bridled along 
appointed ways, with one another, and through 
the midst of one another killing and being 
killed, eating and being eaten, in harmonious 
proportions and quantities. And it is right 
that we should thus reciprocally make use of 
one another, rob, cook, and consume, to the 
utmost of our healthy abilities and desires. 
Stars attract one another as they are able, and 
harmony results. Wild lambs eat as many wild 
flowers as they can find or desire, and men 
and wolves eat the lambs to just the same 
extent. 

This consumption of one another in its vari 
ous modifications is a kind of culture varying 
with the degree of directness with which it is 
carried out, but we should be careful not to 
ascribe to such culture any improving qualities 
upon those on whom it is brought to bear. The 
water-ouzel plucks moss from the river-bank 
to build its nest, but it does not improve the 
moss by plucking it. We pluck feathers from 
birds, and less directly wool from wild sheep, 
for the manufacture of clothing and cradle- 
nests, without improving the wool for the sheep, 
or the feathers for the bird that wore them. 
When a hawk pounces upon a linnet and pro- 
is 



STEEP TRAILS 

ceeds to pull out its feathers, preparatory to 
making a meal, the hawk may be said to be 
cultivating the linnet, and he certainly does 
effect an improvement as far as hawk-food is 
concerned; but what of the songster? He ceases 
to be a linnet as soon as he is snatched from 
the woodland choir; and when, hawklike, we 
snatch the wild sheep from its native rock, and, 
instead of eating and wearing it at once, carry 
it home, and breed the hair out of its wool 
and the bones out of its body, it ceases to be a 
sheep. 

These breeding and plucking processes are 
similarly improving as regards the secondary 
uses aimed at; and, although the one requires 
but a few minutes for its accomplishment, the 
other many years or centuries, they are essen 
tially alike. We eat wild oysters alive with 
great directness, waiting for no cultivation, 
and leaving scarce a second of distance between 
the shell and the lip; but we take wild sheep 
home and subject them to the many extended 
processes of husbandry, and finish by boiling 
them in a pot a process which completes 
all sheep improvements as far as man is con 
cerned. It will be seen, therefore, that wild 
wool and tame wool wild sheep and tame 
sheep are terms not properly comparable, 
nor are they in any correct sense to be con- 

14 



WILD WOOL 

sidered as bearing any antagonism toward 
each other; they are different things, planned 
and accomplished for wholly different pur 
poses. 

Illustrative examples bearing upon this inter 
esting subject may be multiplied indefinitely, 
for they abound everywhere in the plant and 
animal kingdoms wherever culture has reached. 
Recurring for a moment to apples. The beauty 
and completeness of a wild apple tree living its 
own life in the woods is heartily acknowledged 
by all those who have been so happy as to form 
its acquaintance. The fine wild piquancy of 
its fruit is unrivaled, but in the great question 
of quantity as human food wild apples are 
found wanting. Man, therefore, takes the tree 
from the woods, manures and prunes and 
grafts, plans and guesses, adds a little of this 
and that, selects and rejects, until apples of 
every conceivable size and softness are pro 
duced, like nut-galls in response to the irritat 
ing punctures of insects. Orchard apples are 
to me the most eloquent words that culture 
has ever spoken, but they reflect no imperfec 
tion upon Nature s spicy crab. Every culti 
vated apple is a crab, not improved, but cooked, 
variously softened and swelled out in the 
process, mellowed, sweetened, spiced, and ren 
dered pulpy and foodful, but as utterly unfit 
15 



STEEP TRAILS 

for the uses of nature as a meadowlark killed 
and plucked and roasted. Give to Nature every 
cultured apple codling, pippin, russet and 
every sheep so laboriously compounded 
muffled Southdowns, hairy Cotswolds, wrin 
kled Merinos and she would throw the one 
to her caterpillars, the other to her wolves. 

It is now some thirty-six hundred years 
since Jacob kissed his mother and set out 
across the plains of Padan-aram to begin his ex 
periments upon the flocks of his uncle, Laban; 
and, notwithstanding the high degree of excel 
lence he attained as a wool-grower, and the 
innumerable painstaking efforts subsequently 
made by individuals and associations in all 
kinds of pastures and climates, we still seem 
to be as far from definite and satisfactory re 
sults as we ever were. In one breed the wool 
is apt to wither and crinkle like hay on a sun- 
beaten hillside. In another, it is lodged and 
matted together like the lush tangled grass of 
a manured meadow. In one the staple is defi 
cient in length, in another in fineness; while in 
all there is a constant tendency toward disease, 
rendering various washings and dippings indis 
pensable to prevent its falling out. The prob 
lem of the quality and quantity of the carcass 
seems to be as doubtful and as far removed 
from a satisfactory solution as that of the wool. 

16 



WILD WOOL 

Desirable breeds blundered upon by long 
series of groping experiments are often found 
to be unstable and subject to disease bots, 
foot-rot, blind-staggers, etc. causing infinite 
trouble, both among breeders and manufac 
turers. Would it not be well, therefore, for 
some one to go back as far as possible and take 
a fresh start? 

The source or sources whence the various 
breeds were derived is not positively known, 
but there can be hardly any doubt of their 
being descendants of the four or five wild 
species so generally distributed throughout the 
mountainous portions of the globe, the marked 
differences between the wild and domestic spe 
cies being readily accounted for by the known 
variability of the animal, and by the long series 
of painstaking selection to which all its char 
acteristics have been subjected. No other 
animal seems to yield so submissively to the 
manipulations of culture. Jacob controlled the 
color of his flocks merely by causing them to 
stare at objects of the desired hue; and pos 
sibly Merinos may have caught their wrinkles 
from the perplexed brows of their breeders. 
The California species (Ovis montana) 1 is a 

1 The wild sheep of California are now classified as Ovis 
nelsoni. Whether those of the Shasta region belonged to the 
latter species, or to the bighorn species of Oregon, Idaho, 
and Washington, is still an unsettled question. [Editor.] 

17 



STEEP TRAILS 

noble animal, weighing when full-grown some 
three hundred and fifty pounds, and is well 
worthy the attention of wool-growers as a 
point from which to make a new departure, 
for pure wildness is the one great want, both 
of men and of sheep. 



II 

A GEOLOGIST S WINTEK WALK 1 

AFTER reaching Turlock, I sped afoot over 
the stubble fields and through miles of brown 
hemizonia and purple erigeron, to Hopeton, 
conscious of little more than that the town 
was behind and beneath me, and the moun 
tains above and before me; on through the 
oaks and chaparral of the foothills to Coulter- 
ville; and then ascended the first great moun 
tain step upon which grows the sugar pine. 
Here I slackened pace, for I drank the spicy, 
resiny wind, and beneath the arms of this noble 
tree I felt that I was safely home. Never did 
pine trees seem so dear. How sweet was their 
breath and their song, and how grandly they 
winnowed the sky! I tingled my fingers among 
their tassels, and rustled my feet among their 
brown needles and burrs, and was exhilarated 
and joyful beyond all I can write. 

When I reached Yosemite, all the rocks 
seemed talkative, and more telling and lovable 
than ever. They are dear friends, and seemed 
to have warm blood gushing through their 

1 An excerpt from a letter to a friend, written in 1873. 
[Editor.] 

19 



STEEP TRAILS 

granite flesh; and I love them with a love inten 
sified by long and close companionship. After 
I had bathed in the bright river, sauntered over 
the meadows, conversed with the domes, and 
played with the pines, I still felt blurred and 
weary, as if tainted in some way with the sky 
of your streets. I determined, therefore, to 
run out for a while to say my prayers in the 
higher mountain temples. "The days are sun- 
ful," I said, "and, though now winter, no 
great danger need be encountered, and no 
sudden storm will block my return, if I am 
watchful." 

The morning after this decision, I started 
up the canon of Tenaya, caring little about 
the quantity of bread I carried; for, I thought, 
a fast and a storm and a difficult canon were 
just the medicine I needed. When I passed 
Mirror Lake, I scarcely noticed it, for I was 
absorbed in the great Tissiack her crown a 
mile away in the hushed azure; her purple 
granite drapery flowing in soft and graceful 
folds down to my feet, embroidered gloriously 
around with deep, shadowy forest. I have 
gazed on Tissiack a thousand times in days 
of solemn storms, and when her form shone 
divine with the jewelry of winter, or was veiled 
in living clouds; and I have heard her voice of 
winds, and snowy, tuneful waters when floods 
20 




TISSIACK FROM GLACIER POINT: TENAYA CANON ON THE LEFT 



A GEOLOGIST S WINTER WALK 

were falling; yet never did her soul reveal itself 
more impressively than now. I hung about 
her skirts, lingering timidly, until the higher 
mountains and glaciers compelled me to push 
up the canon. 

This canon is accessible only to mountain 
eers, and I was anxious to carry my barometer 
and clinometer through it, to obtain sections 
and altitudes, so I chose it as the most attrac 
tive highway. After I had passed the tall groves 
that stretch a mile above Mirror Lake, and 
scrambled around the Tenaya Fall, which is 
just at the head of the lake groves, I crept 
through the dense and spiny chaparral that 
plushes the roots of the mountains here for 
miles in warm green, and was ascending a 
precipitous rock-front, smoothed by glacial 
action, when I suddenly fell for the first 
time since I touched foot to Sierra yocks. After 
several somersaults, I became insensible from 
the shock, and when consciousness returned I 
found myself wedged among short, stiff bushes, 
trembling as if cold, not injured in the slightest. 

Judging by the sun, I could not have been 
insensible very long; probably not a minute, 
possibly an hour; and I could not remember 
what made me fall, or where I had fallen from; 
but I saw that if I had rolled a little further, 
my mountain-climbing would have been fin- 
21 



STEEP TRAILS 

ished, for just beyond the bushes the canon 
wall steepened and I might have fallen to the 
bottom. "There," said I, addressing my feet, 
to whose separate skill I had learned to trust 
night and day on any mountain, "that is what 
you get by intercourse with stupid town stairs, 
and dead pavements." I felt degraded and 
worthless. I had not yet reached the most dif 
ficult portion of the canon, but I determined to 
guide my humbled body over the most nerve- 
trying places I could find; for I was now awake, 
and felt confident that the last of the town fog 
had been shaken from both head and feet. 

I camped at the mouth of a narrow gorge 
which is cut into the bottom of the main canon, 
determined to take earnest exercise next day. 
No plushy boughs did my ill-behaved bones 
enjoy that night, nor did my bumped head get 
a spicy cedar plume pillow mixed with flowers. 
I slept on a naked boulder, and when I awoke 
all my nervous trembling was gone. 

The gorged portion of the canon, in which I 
spent all the next day, is about a mile and a 
half in length; and I passed the time in tracing 
the action of the forces that determined this 
peculiar bottom gorge, which is an abrupt, 
ragged-walled, narrow-throated canon, formed 
in the bottom of the wide-mouthed, smooth, 
and beveled main canon. I will not stop now 

22 



A GEOLOGIST S WINTER WALK 

to tell you more; some day you may see it, 
like a shadowy line, from Cloud s Rest. In 
high water, the stream occupies all the bottom 
of the gorge, surging and chafing in glorious 
power from wall to wall. But the sound of the 
grinding was low as I entered the gorge, scarcely 
hoping to be able to pass through its entire 
length. By cool efforts, along glassy, ice-worn 
slopes, I reached the upper end in a little over a 
day, but was compelled to pass the second night 
in the gorge, and in the moonlight I wrote you 
this short pencil-letter in my notebook: 

The moon is looking down into the canon, and 
how marvelously the great rocks kindle to her light ! 
Every dome, and brow, and swelling boss touched 
by her white rays, glows as if lighted with snow. 
I am now only a mile from last night s camp; and 
have been climbing and sketching all day in this 
difficult but instructive gorge. It is formed in the 
bottom of the main canon, among the roots of 
Cloud s Rest. It begins at the filled-up lake-basin 
where I camped last night, and ends a few hundred 
yards above, in another basin of the same kind. 
The walls everywhere are craggy and vertical, and 
in some places they overlean. It is only from twenty 
to sixty feet wide, and not, though black and 
broken enough, the thin, crooked mouth of some 
mysterious abyss; but it was eroded, for in many 
places I saw its solid, seamless floor. 

I am sitting on a big stone, against which the 
stream divides, and goes brawling by in rapids on 
23 



STEEP TRAILS 

both sides; half of my rock is white in the light, half 
in shadow. As I look from the opening jaws of this 
shadowy gorge, South Dome is immediately in 
front high in the stars, her face turned from the 
moon, with the rest of her body gloriously muffled 
in waved folds of granite. On the left, sculptured 
from the main Cloud s Rest ridge, are three mag 
nificent rocks, sisters of the great South Dome. 
On the right is the massive, moonlit front of Mount 
Watkins, and between, low down in the furthest 
distance, is Sentinel Dome, girdled and darkened 
with forest. In the near foreground Tenaya Creek 
is singing against boulders that are white with 
snow and moonbeams. Now look back twenty 
yards, and you will see a waterfall fair as a spirit; 
the moonlight just touches it, bringing it into relief 
against a dark background of shadow. A little to 
the left, and a dozen steps this side of the fall, a 
flickering light marks my camp and a precious 
camp it is. A huge, glacier-polished slab, falling 
from the smooth, glossy flank of Cloud s Rest, hap 
pened to settle on edge against the wall of the gorge. 
I did not know that this slab was glacier-polished 
until I lighted my fire. Judge of my delight. I 
think it was sent here by an earthquake. It is about 
twelve feet square. I wish I could take it home 1 for 
a hearthstone. Beneath this slab is the only place 
in this torrent-swept gorge where I could find sand 
sufficient for a bed. 

I expected to sleep on the boulders, for I spent 
most of the afternoon on the slippery wall of the 
canon, endeavoring to get around this difficult part 

1 Muir at this time was making Yosemite Valley his home. 
[Editor.] 

24 



A GEOLOGIST S WINTER WALK 

of the gorge, and was compelled to hasten down 
here for water before dark. I shall sleep soundly on 
this sand; half of it is mica. Here, wonderful to 
behold, are a few green stems of prickly rubus, and 
a tiny grass. They are here to meet us. Ay, even 
here in this darksome gorge, "frightened and tor 
mented" with raging torrents and choking ava 
lanches of snow. Can it be? As if rubus and the 
grass leaf were not enough of God s tender prattle 
words of love, which we so much need in these 
mighty temples of power, yonder in the "benmost 
bore" are two blessed adiantums. Listen to them! 
How wholly infused with God is this one big word 
of love that we call the world! Good-night. Do 
you see the fire-glow on my ice-smoothed slab, and 
on my two ferns and the rubus and grass panicles? 
And do you hear how sweet a sleep-song the fall 
and cascades are singing? 

The water-ground chips and knots that I 
found fastened between the rocks kept my 
fire alive all through the night. Next morning 
I rose nerved and ready for another day of 
sketching and noting, and any form of climbing. 
I escaped from the gorge about noon, after 
accomplishing some of the most delicate feats 
of mountaineering I ever attempted; and here 
the canon is all broadly open again the floor 
luxuriantly forested with pine, and spruce, 
and silver fir, and brown-trunked librocedrus. 
The walls rise in Yosemite forms, and Tenaya 
Creek comes down seven hundred feet in a 

25 



STEEP TRAILS 

white brush of foam. This is a little Yosemite 
valley. It is about two thousand feet above the 
level of the main Yosemite, and about twenty- 
four hundred below Lake Tenaya. 

I found the lake frozen, and the ice was so 
clear and unruffled that the surrounding moun 
tains and the groves that look down upon it 
were reflected almost as perfectly as I ever 
beheld them in the calm evening mirrors of 
summer. At a little distance, it was difficult 
to believe the lake frozen at all; and when I 
walked out on it, cautiously stamping at short 
intervals to test the strength of the ice, I 
seemed to walk mysteriously, without ade 
quate faith, on the surface of the water. The 
ice was so transparent that I could see through 
it the beautifully wave-rippled, sandy bottom, 
and the scales of mica glinting back the down- 
pouring light. When I knelt down with my 
face close to the ice, through which the sun 
beams were pouring, I was delighted to dis 
cover myriads of TyndalFs six-rayed water 
flowers, magnificently colored. 

A grand old mountain mansion is this Tenaya 
region! In the glacier period it was a mer de 
glace, far grander than the mer de glace of 
Switzerland, which is only about half a mile 
broad. The Tenaya mer de glace was not less 
than two miles broad, late in the glacier epoch, 
26 



A GEOLOGIST S WINTER WALK 

when all the principal dividing crests were 
bare; and its depth was not less than fifteen 
hundred feet. Ice-streams from Mounts Lyell 
and Dana, and all the mountains between, and 
from the nearer Cathedral Peak, flowed hither, 
welded into one, and worked together. After 
eroding this Tenaya Lake basin, and all the 
splendidly sculptured rocks and mountains 
that surround and adorn it, and the great 
Tenaya Canon, with its wealth of all that 
makes mountains sublime, they were welded 
with the vast South, Lyell, and Illilouette 
glaciers on one side, and with those of Hoffman 
on the other thus forming a portion of a yet 
grander mer de glace in Yosemite Valley. 

I reached the Tenaya Cafion, on my way 
home, by coming in from the northeast, ram 
bling down over the shoulders of Mount Wat- 
kins, touching bottom a mile above Mirror 
Lake. From thence home was but a saunter 
in the moonlight. 

After resting one day, and the weather con 
tinuing calm, I ran up over the left shoulder of 
South Dome and down in front of its grand 
split face to make some measurements, com 
pleted my work, climbed to the right shoulder, 
struck off along the ridge for Cloud s Rest, and 
reached the topmost heave of her sunny wave 
in ample time to see the sunset. 

27 



STEEP TRAILS 

Cloud s Rest is a thousand feet higher than 
Tissiack. It is a wavelike crest upon a ridge, 
which begins at Yosemite with Tissiack, and 
runs continuously eastward to the thicket of 
peaks and crests around Lake Tenaya. This 
lofty granite wall is bent this way and that by 
the restless and weariless action of glaciers 
just as if it had been made of dough. But the 
grand circumference of mountains and forests 
are coming from far and near, densing into 
one close assemblage; for the sun, their god 
and father, with love ineffable, is glowing a 
sunset farewell. Not one of all the assembled 
rocks or trees seemed remote. How impres 
sively their faces shone with responsive love! 

I ran home in the moonlight with firm 
strides; for the sun-love made me strong. 
Down through the junipers; down through 
the firs; now in jet shadows, now in white light; 
over sandy moraines and bare, clanking rocks; 
past the huge ghost of South Dome rising 
weird through the firs ; past the glorious fall of 
Nevada, the groves of Illilouette; through the 
pines of the valley; beneath the bright crystal 
sky blazing with stars. All of this mountain 
wealth in one day ! one of the rich ripe days 
that enlarge one s life; so much of the sun 
upon one side of it, so much of the moon and 
stars on the other. 



Ill 

SUMMER DAYS AT MOUNT SHASTA 

MOUNT SHASTA rises in solitary grandeur 
from the edge of a comparatively low and 
lightly sculptured lava plain near the northern 
extremity of the Sierra, and maintains a far 
more impressive and commanding individual 
ity than any other mountain within the limits 
of California. Go where you may, within a 
radius of from fifty to a hundred miles or more, 
there stands before you the colossal cone of 
Shasta, clad in ice and snow, the one grand, 
unmistakable landmark the pole-star of the 
landscape. Far to the southward Mount 
Whitney lifts its granite summit four or five 
hundred feet higher than Shasta, but it is 
nearly snowless during the late summer, and 
is so feebly individualized that the traveler 
may search for it in vain among the many 
rival peaks crowded along the axis of the range 
to north and south of it, which all alike are 
crumbling residual masses brought into relief 
in the degradation of the general mass of the 
range. The highest point on Mount Shasta, 
as determined by the State Geological Survey, 
is 14,440 feet above mean tide. That of Whit- 

29 



STEEP TRAILS 

ney, computed from fewer observations, is 
about 149,00 feet. But inasmuch as the aver 
age elevation of the plain out of which Shasta 
rises is only about four thousand feet above 
the sea, while the actual base of the peak of 
Mount Whitney lies at an elevation of eleven 
thousand feet, the individual height of the 
former is about two and a half times as great 
as that of the latter. 

Approaching Shasta from the south, one 
obtains glimpses of its snowy cone here and 
there through the trees from the tops of hills 
and ridges; but it is not until Strawberry 
Valley is reached, where there is a grand out- 
opening of the forests, that Shasta is seen in 
all its glory, from base to crown clearly re 
vealed with its wealth of woods and waters 
and fountain snow, rejoicing in the bright 
mountain sky, and radiating beauty on all the 
subject landscape like a sun Standing in a 
fringing thicket of purple spiraea in the imme 
diate foreground is a smooth expanse of green 
meadow with its meandering stream, one of 
the smaller affluents of the Sacramento; then a 
zone of dark, close forest, its countless spires 
of pine and fir rising above one another on 
the swelling base of the mountain in glorious 
array; and, over all, the great white cone 
sweeping far into the thin, keen sky meadow, 
30 



SUMMER DAYS AT MOUNT SHASTA 

forest, and grand icy summit harmoniously 
blending and making one sublime picture 
evenly balanced. 

The main lines of the landscape are im 
mensely bold and simple, and so regular that 
it needs all its shaggy wealth of woods and 
chaparral and its finely tinted ice and snow 
and brown jutting crags to keep it from looking 
conventional. In general views of the moun 
tain three distinct zones may be readily de 
fined. The first, which may be called the 
Chaparral Zone, extends around the base in a 
magnificent sweep nearly a hundred miles 
in length on its lower edge, and with a breadth 
of about seven miles. It is a dense growth of 
chaparral from three to six or eight feet high, 
composed chiefly of manzanita, cherry, chin- 
capin, and several species of ceanothus, called 
deerbrush by the hunters, forming, when in 
full bloom, one of the most glorious flower-beds 
conceivable. The continuity of this flowery 
zone is interrupted here and there, especially 
on the south side of the mountain, by wide 
swaths of coniferous trees, chiefly the sugar 
and yellow pines, Douglas spruce, silver fir, 
and incense cedar, many specimens of which 
are two hundred feet high and five to seven 
feet in diameter. Goldenrods, asters, gilias, 
lilies, and lupines, with many other less con- 

31 



STEEP TRAILS 

spicuous plants, occur in warm sheltered open 
ings in these lower woods, making charming 
gardens of wildness where bees and butterflies 
are at home and many a shy bird and squirrel. 

The next higher is the Fir Zone, made up 
almost exclusively of two species of silver fir. 
It is from two to three miles wide, has an 
average elevation above the sea of some six 
thousand feet on its lower edge and eight thou 
sand on its upper, and is the most regular and 
best defined of the three. 

The Alpine Zone has a rugged, straggling 
growth of storm-beaten dwarf pines (Pinus 
albicaulis) , which forms the upper edge of the 
timber-line. This species reaches an elevation 
of about nine thousand feet, but at this height 
the tops of the trees rise only a few feet into 
the thin frosty air, and are closely pressed and 
shorn by wind and snow; yet they hold on 
bravely and put forth an abundance of beauti 
ful purple flowers and produce cones and 
seeds. Down towards the edge of the fir belt 
they stand erect, forming small, well-formed 
trunks, and are associated with the taller two- 
leafed and mountain pines and the beautiful 
Williamson spruce. Bryanthus, a beautiful 
flowering heathwort, flourishes a few hundred 
feet above the timber-line, accompanied with 
kalmia and spiraea. Lichens enliven the faces 

32 



SUMMER DAYS AT MOUNT SHASTA 

of the cliffs with their bright colors, and in 
some of the warmer nooks of the rocks, up to 
a height of eleven thousand feet, there are a 
few tufts of dwarf daisies, wall-flowers, and 
penstemons; but, notwithstanding these bloom 
freely, they make no appreciable show at a dis 
tance, and the stretches of rough brown lava 
beyond the storm-beaten trees seem as bare of 
vegetation as the great snow-fields and glaciers 
of the summit. 

Shasta is a fire-mountain, an old volcano 
gradually accumulated and built up into the 
blue deep of the sky by successive eruptions of 
ashes and molten lava which, shot high in the 
air and falling in darkening showers, and flow 
ing from chasms and craters, grew outward and 
upward like the trunk of a knotty, bulging tree. 
Not in one grand convulsion was Shasta given 
birth, nor in any one special period of volcanic 
storm and stress, though mountains more than 
a thousand feet in height have been cast up like 
mole-hills in a night quick contributions to 
the wealth of the landscapes, and most em 
phatic statements, on the part of Nature, of 
the gigantic character of the power that dwells 
beneath the dull, dead-looking surface of the 
earth. But sections cut by the glaciers, dis 
playing some of the internal framework of 
Shasta, show that comparatively long periods 

33 



STEEP TRAILS 

of quiescence Intervened between many dis 
tinct eruptions, during which the cooling lavas 
ceased to flow, and took their places as perma 
nent additions to the bulk of the growing 
mountain. Thus with alternate haste and 
deliberation eruption succeeded eruption, until 
Mount Shasta surpassed even its present sub 
lime height. 

Then followed a strange contrast. The gla 
cial winter came on. The sky that so often had 
been darkened with storms of cinders and 
ashes and lighted by the glare of volcanic fires 
was filled with crystal snow-flowers, which, 
loading the cooling mountain, gave birth to 
glaciers that, uniting edge to edge, at length 
formed one grand conical glacier a down- 
crawling mantle of ice upon a fountain of 
smouldering fire, crushing and grinding its 
brown, flinty lavas, and thus degrading and 
remodeling the entire mountain from summit 
to base. How much denudation and degrada 
tion has been effected we have no means of 
determining, the porous, crumbling rocks 
being ill adapted for the reception and preser 
vation of glacial inscriptions. 

The summit is now a mass of ruins, and all 
the finer striations have been effaced from the 
flanks by post-glacial weathering, while the 
irregularity of its lavas as regards susceptibility 

34 



SUMMER DAYS AT MOUNT SHASTA 

to erosion, and the disturbance caused by 
inter- and post-glacial eruptions, have ob 
scured or obliterated those heavier characters 
of the glacial record found so clearly in 
scribed upon the granite pages of the high 
Sierra between latitude 36 30 and 39. This 
much, however, is plain: that the summit of 
the mountain was considerably lowered, and the 
sides were deeply grooved and fluted while it 
was a center of dispersal for the glaciers of the 
circumjacent region. And when at length the 
glacial period began to draw near its close, 
the ice mantle was gradually melted off around 
the base of the mountain, and in receding and 
breaking up into its present fragmentary con 
dition the irregular heaps and rings of moraine 
matter were stored upon its flanks on which 
the forests are growing. The glacial erosion of 
most of the Shasta lavas gives rise to detritus 
composed of rough subangular boulders of 
moderate size and porous gravel and sand, 
which yields freely to the transporting power 
of running water. Several centuries ago im 
mense quantities of this lighter material were 
washed down from the higher slopes by a flood 
of extraordinary magnitude, caused probably 
by the sudden melting of the ice and snow dur 
ing an eruption, giving rise to the deposition 
of conspicuous delta-like beds around the base. 

35 



STEEP TRAILS 

And it is upon these flood-beds of moraine soil, 
thus suddenly and simultaneously laid down 
and joined edge to edge, that the flowery chap 
arral is growing. 

Thus, by forces seemingly antagonistic and 
destructive, Nature accomplishes her benefi 
cent designs now a flood of fire, now a flood 
of ice, now a flood of water; and again in the 
fullness of time an outburst of organic life 
forest and garden, with all their wealth of fruit 
and flowers, the air stirred into one universal 
hum with rejoicing insects, a milky way of 
wings and petals, girdling the new-born moun 
tain like a cloud, as if the vivifying sunbeams 
beating against its sides had broken into a 
foam of plant-bloom and bees. 

But with such grand displays as Nature is 
making here, how grand are her reservations, 
bestowed only upon those who devotedly seek 
them! Beneath the smooth and snowy surface 
the fountain fires are still aglow, to blaze forth 
afresh at their appointed times. The glaciers, 
looking so still and small at a distance, repre 
sented by the artist with a patch of white paint 
laid on by a single stroke of his brush, are still 
flowing onward, unhalting, with deep crys 
tal currents, sculpturing the mountain with 
stern, resistless energy. How many caves and 
fountains that no eye has yet seen lie with all 

36 



SUMMER DAYS AT MOUNT SHASTA 

their fine furniture deep down in the darkness, 
and how many shy wild creatures are at home 
beneath the grateful lights and shadows of the 
woods, rejoicing in their fullness of perfect life! 

Standing on the edge of the Strawberry 
Meadows in the sun-days of summer, not a 
foot or feather or leaf seems to stir; and the 
grand, towering mountain with all its inhab 
itants appears in rest, calm as a star. Yet how 
profound is the energy ever in action, and how 
great is the multitude of claws and teeth, wings 
and eyes, wide-awake and at work and shining! 
Going into the blessed wilderness, the blood of 
the plants throbbing beneath the life-giving 
sunshine seems to be heard and felt; plant- 
growth goes on before our eyes, and every tree 
and bush and flower is seen as a hive of restless 
industry. The deeps of the sky are mottled 
with singing wings of every color and tone 
clouds of brilliant chrysididse dancing and swirl 
ing in joyous rhythm, golden-barred vespidse, 
butterflies, grating cicadas and jolly rattling 
grasshoppers fairly enameling the light, and 
shaking all the air into music. Happy fellows 
they are, every one of them, blowing tiny pipe 
and trumpet, plodding and prancing, at work 
or at play. 

Though winter holds the summit, Shasta in 
summer is mostly a massy, bossy mound of 

37 



STEEP TRAILS 

flowers colored like the alpenglow that flushes 
the snow. There are miles of wild roses, pink 
bells of huckleberry and sweet manzanita, 
every bell a honey-cup, plants that tell of the 
north and of the south; tall nodding lilies, the 
crimson sarcodes, rhododendron, cassiope, 
and blessed linnsea; phlox, calycanthus, plum, 
cherry, cratsegus, spiraea, mints, and clovers in 
endless variety; ivesia, larkspur, and colum 
bine; golden aplopappus, linosyris, 1 bahia, 
wyethia, arnica, brodisea, etc., making sheets 
and beds of light edgings of bloom in lavish 
abundance for the myriads of the air dependent 
on their bounty. 

The common honey-bees, gone wild in this 
sweet wilderness, gather tons of honey into the 
hollows of the trees and rocks, clambering 
eagerly through bramble and hucklebloom, 
shaking the clustered bells of the generous 
manzanita, now humming aloft among polleny 
willows and firs, now down on the ashy ground 
among small gilias and buttercups, and anon 
plunging into banks of snowy cherry and buck 
thorn. They consider the lilies and roll into 
them, pushing their blunt polleny faces against 
them like babies on their mother s bosom; and 
fondly, too, with eternal love does Mother 

1 An obsolete genus of plants now replaced in the main 
by Chrysothamnus and Ericameria. [Editor.] 

38 



SUMMER DAYS AT MOUNT SHASTA 

Nature clasp her small bee-babies and suckle 
them, multitudes at once, on her warm Shasta 
breast. Besides the common honey-bee there 
are many others here, fine, burly, mossy fel 
lows, such as were nourished on the mountains 
many a flowery century before the advent of 
the domestic species bumble-bees, mason- 
bees, carpenter-bees, and leaf-cutters. Butter 
flies, too, and moths of every size and pattern; 
some wide-winged like bats, flapping slowly 
and sailing in easy curves ; others like small fly 
ing violets shaking about loosely in short zigzag 
flights close to the flowers, feasting in plenty 
night and day. 

Deer in great abundance come to Shasta 
from the warmer foothills every spring to feed 
in the rich, cool pastures, and bring forth their 
young in the ceanothus tangles of the chapar 
ral zone, retiring again before the snowstorms 
of winter, mostly to the southward and west 
ward of the mountain. In like manner the 
wild sheep of the adjacent region seek the lofty 
inaccessible crags of the summit as the snow 
melts, and are driven down to the lower spurs 
and ridges where there is but little snow, to the 
north and east of Shasta. 

Bears, too, roam this foodful wilderness, 
feeding on grass, clover, berries, nuts, ant-eggs, 
fish, flesh, or fowl, whatever comes in their 



STEEP TRAILS 

way, with but little troublesome discrimina 
tion. Sugar and honey they seem to like best 
of all, and they seek far to find the sweets; but 
when hard pushed by hunger they make out to 
gnaw a living from the bark of trees and rot 
ten logs, and might almost live on clean lava 
alone. 

Notwithstanding the California bears have 
had as yet but little experience with honey 
bees, they sometimes succeed in reaching the 
bountiful stores of these industrious gatherers 
and enjoy the feast with majestic relish. But 
most honey-bees in search of a home are wise 
enough to make choice of a hollow in a living 
tree far from the ground, whenever such can 
be found. There they are pretty secure, for 
though the smaller brown and black bears 
climb well, they are unable to gnaw their way 
into strong hives, while compelled to exert 
themselves to keep from falling and at the 
same time endure the stings of the bees about 
the nose and eyes, without having their paws 
free to brush them off. But woe to the unfor 
tunates who dwell in some prostrate trunk, 
and to the black bumble-bees discovered in 
their mossy, mouselike nests in the ground. 
With powerful teeth and claws these are speed 
ily laid bare, and almost before tune is given 
for a general buzz the bees, old and young, 

40 



SUMMER DAYS AT MOUNT SHASTA 

larvae, honey, stings, nest, and all, are devoured 
in one ravishing revel. 

The antelope may still be found in consider 
able numbers to the northeastward of Shasta, 
but the elk, once abundant, have almost en 
tirely gone from the region. The smaller ani 
mals, such as the wolf, the various foxes, wild 
cats, coon, squirrels, and the curious wood rat 
that builds large brush huts, abound in all the 
wilder places; and the beaver, otter, mink, etc., 
may still be found along the sources of the 
rivers. The blue grouse and mountain quail 
are plentiful in the woods and the sage-hen on 
the plains about the northern base of the moun 
tain, while innumerable smaller birds enliven 
and sweeten every thicket and grove. 

There are at least five classes of human in 
habitants about the Shasta region: the Indi 
ans, now scattered, few in numbers and miser 
ably demoralized, though still offering some 
rare specimens of savage manhood; miners and 
prospectors, found mostly to the north and 
west of the mountain, since the region about 
its base is overflowed with lava; cattle-raisers, 
mostly on the open plains to the northeastward 
and around the Klamath Lakes; hunters and 
trappers, where the woods and waters are 
wildest; and farmers, in Shasta Valley on the 

41 



STEEP TRAILS 

north side of the mountain, wheat, apples, mel 
ons, berries, all the best production of farm and 
garden growing and ripening there at the foot of 
the great white cone, which seems at times dur 
ing changing storms ready to fall upon them 
the most sublime farm scenery imaginable. 

The Indians of the McCloud River that 
have come under my observation differ con 
siderably in habits and features from the Dig 
gers and other tribes of the foothills and plains, 
and also from the Pah Utes and Modocs. They 
live chiefly on salmon. They seem to be closely 
related to the Tlingits of Alaska, Washington, 
and Oregon, and may readily have found their 
way here by passing from stream to stream in 
which salmon abound. They have much bet 
ter features than the Indians of the plains, and 
are rather wide awake, speculative and ambi 
tious in their way, and garrulous, like the 
natives of the northern coast. 

Before the Modoc War they lived in dread 
of the Modocs, a tribe living about the Kla- 
math Lake and the Lava Beds, who were in the 
habit of crossing the low Sierra divide past the 
base of Shasta on freebooting excursions, steal 
ing wives, fish, and weapons from the Pitts and 
McClouds. Mothers would hush their children 
by telling them that the Modocs would catch 
them. 

42 



SUMMER DAYS AT MOUNT SHASTA ^ 

During my stay at the Government fish- 
hatching station on the McCloud I was accom 
panied in my walks along the river-bank by a 
McCloud boy about ten years of age, a bright, 
inquisitive fellow, who gave me the Indian 
names of the birds and plants that we met. 
The water-ousel he knew well and he seemed 
to like the sweet singer, which he called "Sus- 
sinny." He showed me how strips of the stems 
of the beautiful maidenhair fern were used to 
adorn baskets with handsome brown bands, 
and pointed out several plants good to eat, 
particularly the large saxifrage growing abun 
dantly along the river-margin. Once I rushed 
suddenly upon him to see if he would be fright 
ened; but he unflinchingly held his ground, 
struck a grand heroic attitude, and shouted, 
"Me no fraid; me Modoc!" 

Mount Shasta, so far as I have seen, has 
never been the home of Indians, not even their 
hunting-ground to any great extent, above the 
lower slopes of the base. They are said to be 
afraid of fire-mountains and geyser-basins as 
being the dwelling-places of dangerously power 
ful and unmanageable gods. However, it is 
food and their relations to other tribes that 
mainly control the movements of Indians; and 
here their food was mostly on the lower slopes, 
with nothing except the wild sheep to tempt 

43 



STEEP TRAILS 

them higher. Even these were brought within 
reach without excessive climbing during the 
storms of winter. 

On the north side of Shasta, near Sheep 
Rock, there is a long cavern, sloping to the 
northward, nearly a mile in length, thirty or 
forty feet wide, and fifty feet or more in height, 
regular in form and direction like a railroad 
tunnel, and probably formed by the flowing 
away of a current of lava after the harden 
ing of the surface. At the mouth of this cave, 
where the light and shelter is good, I found 
many of the heads and horns of the wild sheep, 
and the remains of campfires, no doubt those 
of Indian hunters who in stormy weather had 
camped there and feasted after the fatigues of 
the chase. A wild picture that must have 
formed on a dark night the glow of the fire, 
the circle of crouching savages around it seen 
through the smoke, the dead game, and the 
weird darkness and half -darkness of the walls 
of the cavern, a picture of cave-dwellers at 
home in the stone age ! 

Interest in hunting is almost universal, so 
deeply is it rooted as an inherited instinct ever 
ready to rise and make itself known. Fine 
scenery may not stir a fiber of mind or body, 
but how quick and how true is the excitement 
of the pursuit of game! Then up flames the 

44 



SUMMER DAYS AT MOUNT SHASTA 

slumbering volcano of ancient wildness, all 
that has been done by church and school 
through centuries of cultivation is for the mo 
ment destroyed, and the decent gentleman or 
devout saint becomes a howling, bloodthirsty, 
demented savage. It is not long since we all 
were cave-men and followed game for food as 
truly as wildcat or wolf, and the long repression 
of civilization seems to make the rebound to 
savage love of blood all the more violent. This 
frenzy, fortunately, does not last long in its 
most exaggerated form, and after a season of 
wildness refined gentlemen from cities are not 
more cruel than hunters and trappers who kill 
for a living. 

Dwelling apart in the depths of the woods 
are the various kinds of mountaineers, hunt 
ers, prospectors, and the like, rare men, 
" queer characters," and well worth knowing. 
Their cabins are located with reference to game 
and the ledges to be examined, and are con 
structed almost as simply as those of the wood 
rats made of sticks laid across each other with 
out compass or square. But they afford good 
shelter from storms, and so are " square" with 
the need of their builders. These men as a class 
are singularly fine in manners, though their 
faces may be scarred and rough like the bark 
of trees. On entering their cabins you will 



STEEP TRAILS 

promptly be placed on your good behavior, 
and, your wants being perceived with quick 
insight, complete hospitality will be offered 
for body and mind to the extent of the larder. 

These men know the mountains far and near, 
and their thousand voices, like the leaves of a 
book. They can tell where the deer may be 
found at any time of year or day, and what 
they are doing; and so of all the other furred 
and feathered people they meet in their walks; 
and they can send a thought to its mark as well 
as a bullet. The aims of such people are not 
always the highest, yet how brave and manly 
and clean are their lives compared with too 
many in crowded towns mildewed and dwarfed 
in disease and crime! How fine a chance is here 
to begin life anew in the free fountains and sky- 
lands of Shasta, where it is so easy to live and 
to die! The future of the hunter is likely to be 
a good one; no abrupt change about it, only 
a passing from wilderness to wilderness, from 
one high place to another. 

Now that the railroad has been built up the 
Sacramento, everybody with money may go 
to Mount Shasta, the weak as well as the 
strong, fine-grained, succulent people, whose 
legs have never ripened, as well as sinewy 
mountaineers seasoned long in the weather. 
This, surely, is not the best way of going to 

46 



SUMMER DAYS AT MOUNT SHASTA 

the mountains, yet it is better than staying 
below. Many still small voices will not be 
heard in the noisy rush and din, suggestive of 
going to the sky in a chariot of fire or a whirl 
wind, as one is shot to the Shasta mark in a 
booming palace-car cartridge; up the rocky 
canon, skimming the foaming river, above the 
level reaches, above the dashing spray fine 
exhilarating translation, yet a pity to go so 
fast in a blur, where so much might be seen 
and enjoyed. 

The mountains are fountains not only of 
rivers and fertile soil, but of men. Therefore 
we are all, in some sense, mountaineers, and 
going to the mountains is going home. Yet 
how many are doomed to toil in town shadows 
while the white mountains beckon all along 
the horizon ! Up the canon to Shasta would be 
a cure for all care. But many on arrival seem 
at a loss to know what to do with themselves, 
and seek shelter in the hotel, as if that were 
the Shasta they had come for. Others never 
leave the rail, content with the window views, 
and cling to the comforts of the sleeping-car 
like blind mice to their mothers. Many are 
sick and have been dragged to the healing 
wilderness unwillingly for body-good alone. 
Were the parts of the human machine detach 
able like Yankee inventions, how strange would 

47 



STEEP TRAILS 

be the gatherings on the mountains of pieces 
of people out of repair! 

How sadly unlike the whole-hearted ongoing 
of the seeker after gold is this partial, compul 
sory mountaineering! as if the mountain 
treasuries contained nothing better than gold! 
Up the mountains they go, high-heeled and 
high-hatted, laden like Christian with morti 
fications and mortgages of divers sorts and 
degrees, some suffering from the sting of bad 
bargains, others exulting in good ones; hunters 
and fishermen with gun and rod and leggins; 
blythe and jolly troubadours to whom all 
Shasta is romance; poets singing their prayers; 
the weak and the strong, unable or unwilling 
to bear mental taxation. But, whatever the 
motive, all will be in some measure benefited. 
None may wholly escape the good of Nature, 
however imperfectly exposed to her blessings. 
The minister will not preach a perfectly flat 
and sedimentary sermon after climbing a snowy 
peak; and the fair play and tremendous impar 
tiality of Nature, so tellingly displayed, will 
surely affect the after pleadings of the lawyer. 
Fresh air at least will get into everybody, and 
the cares of mere business will be quenched 
like the fires of a sinking ship. 

Possibly a branch railroad may some time be 
built to the summit of Mount Shasta like the 

48 




AT SHASTA SODA SPRINGS 



SUMMER DAYS AT MOUNT SHASTA \ 

road on Mount Washington. In the mean tune 
tourists are dropped at Sisson s, about twelve 
miles from the summit, whence as head 
quarters they radiate in every direction to the 
so-called "points of interest "; sauntering 
about the flowery fringes of the Strawberry 
Meadows, bathing hi the balm of the woods, 
scrambling, fishing, hunting; riding about 
Castle Lake, the McCloud River, Soda Springs, 
Big Spring, deer pastures, and elsewhere. Some 
demand bears, and make excited inquiries con 
cerning their haunts, how many there might 
be altogether on the mountain, and whether 
they are grizzly, brown, or black. Others 
shout, " Excelsior," and make off at once for 
the upper snow-fields. Most, however, are con 
tent with comparatively level ground and mod 
erate distances, gathering at the hotel every 
evening laden with trophies great sheaves 
of flowers, cones of various trees, cedar and 
fir branches covered with yellow lichens, and 
possibly a fish or two, or quail, or grouse. 

But the heads of deer, antelope, wild sheep, 
and bears are conspicuously rare or altogether 
wanting in tourist collections in the " paradise 
of hunters." There is a grand comparing of 
notes and adventures. Most are exhilarated 
and happy, though complaints may occasion 
ally be heard "The mountain does not look 

49 



STEEP TRAILS 

so very high after all, nor so very white; the 
snow is in patches like rags spread out to dry," 
reminding one of Sydney Smith s joke against 

Jeffrey, "D n the Solar System; bad light, 

planets too indistinct." But far the greater 
number are in good spirits, showing the influ 
ence of holiday enjoyment and mountain air. 
Fresh roses come to cheeks that long have been 
pale, and sentiment often begins to blossom 
under the new inspiration. 

The Shasta region may be reserved as a 
national park, with special reference to the 
preservation of its fine forests and game. This 
should by all means be done; but, as far as 
game is concerned, it is hi little danger from 
tourists, notwithstanding many of them carry 
guns, and are in some sense hunters. Going in 
noisy groups, and with guns so shining, they 
are oftentimes confronted by inquisitive Doug 
las squirrels, and are thus given opportunities 
for shooting; but the larger animals retire at 
their approach and seldom are seen. Other 
gun people, too wise or too lifeless to make 
much noise, move slowly along the trails and 
about the open spots of the woods, like be 
numbed beetles in a snowdrift. Such hunters 
are themselves hunted by the animals, which 
in perfect safety follow them out of curiosity. 

During the bright days of midsummer the 

50 



SUMMER DAYS AT MOUNT SHASTA 

ascent of Shasta is only a long, safe saunter, 
without fright or nerve-strain, or even serious 
fatigue, to those in sound health. Setting out 
from Sisson s on horseback, accompanied by a 
guide leading a pack-animal with provisions, 
blankets, and other necessaries, you follow a 
trail that leads up to the edge of the timber- 
line, where you camp for the night, eight or 
ten miles from the hotel, at an elevation of 
about ten thousand feet. The next day, rising 
early, you may push on to the summit and 
return to Sisson s. But it is better to spend 
more tune in the enjoyment of the grand scen 
ery on the summit and about the head of the 
Whitney Glacier, pass the second night in 
camp, and return to Sisson s on the third day. 
Passing around the margin of the meadows and 
on through the zones of the forest, you will 
have good opportunities to get ever-changing 
views of the mountain and its wealth of crea 
tures that bloom and breathe. 

The woods differ but little from those that 
clothe the mountains to the southward, the 
trees being slightly closer together and gener 
ally not quite so large, marking the incipient 
change from the open sunny forests of the 
Sierra to the dense damp forests of the north 
ern coast, where a squirrel may travel in the 
branches of the thick-set trees hundreds of 

51 



STEEP TRAILS 

miles without touching the ground. Around 
the upper belt of the forest you may see gaps 
where the ground has been cleared by ava 
lanches of snow, thousands of tons in weight, 
which, descending with grand rush and roar, 
brush the trees from their paths like so many 
fragile shrubs or grasses. 

At first the ascent is very gradual. The 
mountain begins to leave the plain in slopes 
scarcely perceptible, measuring from two to 
three degrees. These are continued by easy 
gradations mile after mile all the way to the 
truncated, crumbling summit, where they 
attain a steepness of twenty to twenty-five 
degrees. The grand simplicity of these lines is 
partially interrupted on the north subordinate 
cone that rises from the side of the main cone 
about three thousand feet from the summit. 
This side cone, past which your way to the 
summit lies, was active after the breaking-up 
of the main ice-cap of the glacial period, as 
shown by the comparatively unwasted crater 
in which it terminates and by streams of fresh- 
looking, unglaciated lava that radiate from it 
as a center. 

The main summit is about a mile and a half 
in diameter from southwest to northeast, and 
is nearly covered with snow and nv6, bounded 
by crumbling peaks and ridges, among which 

52 



SUMMER DAYS AT MOUNT SHASTA 

we look in vain for any sure plan of an ancient 
crater. The extreme summit is situated on the 
southern end of a narrow ridge that bounds 
the general summit on the east. Viewed from 
the north, it appears as an irregular blunt point 
about ten feet high, and is fast disappearing 
before the stormy atmospheric action to which 
it is subjected. 

At the base of the eastern ridge, just be 
low the extreme summit, hot sulphurous gases 
and vapor escape with a hissing, bubbling 
noise from a fissure in the lava. Some of the 
many small vents cast up a spray of clear hot 
water, which falls back repeatedly until wasted 
in vapor. The steam and spray seem to be 
produced simply by melting snow coming in 
the way of the escaping gases, while the gases 
are evidently derived from the heated interior 
of the mountain, and may be regarded as the 
last feeble expression of the mighty power that 
lifted the entire mass of the mountain from the 
volcanic depths far below the surface of the 
plain. 

The view from the summit in clear weather 
extends to an immense distance in every direc 
tion. Southeastward, the low volcanic portion 
of the Sierra is seen like a map, both flanks as 
well as the crater-dotted axis, as far as Lassen s 1 

, l An early local name for what is now known as Lassen 
63 



STEEP TRAILS 

Butte, a prominent landmark and an old vol 
cano like Shasta, between ten and eleven thou 
sand feet high, and distant about sixty miles. 
Some of the higher summit peaks near Inde 
pendence Lake, one hundred and eighty miles 
away, are at times distinctly visible. Far to 
the north, in Oregon, the snowy volcanic cones 
of Mounts Pitt, Jefferson, and the Three Sis 
ters rise in clear relief, like majestic monu 
ments, above the dim dark sea of the northern 
woods. To the northeast lie the Rhett and 
Klamath Lakes, the Lava Beds, and a grand 
display of hill and m mountain and gray rocky 
plains. The Scott, Siskiyou, and Trinity Moun 
tains rise in long, compact waves to the west 
and southwest, and the valley of the Sacra 
mento and the coast mountains, with their 
marvelous wealth of woods and waters, are 
seen ; while close around the base of the moun 
tain lie the beautiful Shasta Valley, Strawberry 
Valley, Huckleberry Valley, and many others, 
with the headwaters of the Shasta, Sacramento, 
and McCloud Rivers. Some observers claim 
to have seen the ocean from the summit of 
Shasta, but I have not yet been so fortunate. 
The Cinder Cone near Lassen s Butte is 

Peak, or Mt. Lassen. In 1914 its volcanic activity was re 
sumed with spectacular eruptions of ashes, steam, and gas. 
[Editor.] 

54 



SUMMER DAYS AT MOUNT SHASTA 

remarkable as being the scene of the most 
recent volcanic eruption in the range. It is 
a symmetrical truncated cone covered with 
gray cinders and ashes, with a regular crater 
in which a few pines an inch or two in diameter 
are growing. It stands between two small lakes 
which previous to the last eruption, when the 
cone was built, formed one lake. From near 
the base of the cone a flood of extremely rough 
black vesicular lava extends across what was 
once a portion of the bottom of the lake into 
the forest of yellow pine. 

This lava-flow seems to have been poured 
out during the same eruption that gave birth 
to the cone, cutting the lake in two, flowing a 
little way into the woods and overwhelming 
the trees in its way, the ends of some of the 
charred trunks still being visible, projecting 
from beneath the advanced snout of the flow 
where it came to rest; while the floor of the for 
est for miles around is so thickly strewn with 
loose cinders that walking is very fatiguing. 
The Pitt River Indians tell of a fearful time 
of darkness, probably due to this eruption, 
when the sky was filled with falling cinders 
which, as they thought, threatened every living 
creature with destruction, and say that when 
at length the sun appeared through the gloom 
it was red like blood. 

55 



STEEP TRAILS 

Less recent craters in great numbers dot the 
adjacent region, some with lakes in their 
throats, some overgrown with trees, others 
nearly bare telling monuments of Nature s 
mountain fires so often lighted throughout the 
northern Sierra. And, standing on the top of 
icy Shasta, the mightiest fire-monument of 
them all, we can hardly fail to look forward to 
the blare and glare of its next eruption and 
wonder whether it is nigh. Elsewhere men 
have planted gardens and vineyards in the 
craters of volcanoes quiescent for ages, and 
almost without warning have been hurled into 
the sky. More than a thousand years of pro 
found calm have been known to intervene 
between two violent eruptions. Seventeen cen 
turies intervened between two consecutive 
eruptions on the island of Ischia. Few volca 
noes continue permanently in eruption. Like 
gigantic geysers, spouting hot stone instead of 
hot water, they work and sleep, and we have 
no sure means of knowing whether they are 
only sleeping or dead. 



IV 

A PERILOUS NIGHT ON SHASTA *S SUMMIT 

TOWARD the end of summer, after a light, 
open winter, one may reach the summit of 
Mount Shasta without passing over much 
snow, by keeping on the crest of a long narrow 
ridge, mostly bare, that extends from near the 
camp-ground at the timber-line. But on my 
first excursion to the summit the whole moun 
tain, down to its low swelling base, was 
smoothly laden with loose fresh snow, present 
ing a most glorious mass of winter mountain 
scenery, in the midst of which I scrambled and 
reveled or lay snugly snowbound, enjoying 
the fertile clouds and the snow-bloom in all 
their growing, drifting grandeur. 

I had walked from Redding, sauntering lei 
surely from station to station along the old 
Oregon stage-road, the better to see the rocks 
and plants, birds and people, by the way, trac 
ing the rushing Sacramento to its fountains 
around icy Shasta. The first rains had fallen 
on the lowlands, and the first snows on the 
mountains, and everything was fresh and 
bracing, while an abundance of balmy sun 
shine filled all the noonday hours. It was the 

57 



STEEP TRAILS 

calm afterglow that usually succeeds the first 
storm of the winter. I met many of the birds 
that had reared their young and spent their 
summer in the Shasta woods and chaparral. 
They were then on their way south to their 
winter homes, leading their young full-fledged 
and about as large and strong as the parents. 
Squirrels, dry and elastic after the storms, were 
busy about their stores of pine nuts, and the 
latest goldenrods were still in bloom, though it 
was now past the middle of October. The grand 
color glow the autumnal jubilee of ripe 
leaves was past prime, but, freshened by 
the rain, was still making a fine show along the 
banks of the river and in the ravines and the 
dells of the smaller streams. 

At the salmon-hatching establishment on 
the McCloud River I halted a week to examine 
the limestone belt, grandly developed there, 
to learn what I could of the inhabitants of the 
river and its banks, and to give tune for the 
fresh snow that I knew had fallen on the 
mountain to settle somewhat, with a view to 
making the ascent. A pedestrian on these 
mountain roads, especially so late in the year, 
is sure to excite curiosity, and many were the 
interrogations concerning my ramble. When 
I said that I was simply taking a walk, and 
that icy Shasta was my mark. I was invariably 

58 



A NIGHT ON SHASTA S SUMMIT 

admonished that I had come on a dangerous 
quest. The time was far too late, the snow was 
too loose and deep to climb, and I should be 
lost in drifts and slides. When I hinted that 
new snow was beautiful and storms not so bad 
as they were called, my advisers shook their 
heads in token of superior knowledge and de 
clared the ascent of "Shasta Butte" through 
loose snow impossible. Nevertheless, before 
noon of the second of November I was in the 
frosty azure of the utmost summit. 

When I arrived at Sisson s everything was 
quiet. The last of the summer visitors had 
flitted long before, and the deer and bears also 
were beginning to seek their winter homes. My 
barometer and the sighing winds and filmy, 
half-transparent clouds that dimmed the sun 
shine gave notice of the approach of another 
storm, and I was in haste to be off and get 
myself established somewhere in the midst of 
it, whether the summit was to be attained or 
not. Sisson, who is a mountaineer, speedily 
fitted me out for storm or calm as only a 
mountaineer could, with warm blankets and a 
week s provisions so generous in quantity and 
kind that they easily might have been made to 
last a month in case of my being closely snow 
bound. Well I knew the weariness of snow- 
climbing, and the frosts, and the dangers of 



STEEP TRAILS 

mountaineering so late in the year; therefore I 
could not ask a guide to go with me, even had 
one been willing. All I wanted was to have 
blankets and provisions deposited as far up in 
the timber as the snow would permit a pack- 
animal to go. There I could build a storm 
nest and lie warm, and make raids up and 
around the mountain in accordance with the 
weather. 

Setting out on the afternoon of November 
first, with Jerome Fay, mountaineer and guide, 
in charge of the animals, I was soon plodding 
wearily upward through the muffled winter 
woods, the snow of course growing steadily 
deeper and looser, so that we had to break a 
trail. The animals began to get discouraged, 
and after night and darkness came on they be 
came entangled in a bed of rough lava, where, 
breaking through four or five feet of mealy 
snow, their feet were caught between angular 
boulders. Here they were in danger of being 
lost, but after we had removed packs and sad 
dles and assisted their efforts with ropes, they 
all escaped to the side of a ridge about a thou 
sand feet below the timber-line. 

To go farther was out of the question, so we 
were compelled to camp as best we could. A 
pitch-pine fire speedily changed the tempera 
ture and shed a blaze of light on the wild lava- 

60 



A NIGHT ON SHASTA S SUMMIT 

slope and the straggling storm-bent pines 
around us. Melted snow answered for coffee, 
and we had plenty of venison to roast. Toward 
midnight I rolled myself in my blankets, slept 
an hour and a half, arose and ate more venison, 
tied two days provisions to my belt, and set 
out for the summit, hoping to reach it ere the 
coming storm should fall. Jerome accompanied 
me a little distance above camp and indicated 
the way as well as he could in the darkness. 
He seemed loath to leave me, but, being reas 
sured that I was at home and required no care, 
he bade me good-bye and returned to camp, 
ready to lead his animals down the mountain 
at daybreak. 

After I was above the dwarf pines, it was 
fine practice pushing up the broad unbroken 
slopes of snow, alone in the solemn silence of 
the night. Half the sky was clouded; in the 
other half the stars sparkled icily in the keen, 
frosty air; while everywhere the glorious wealth 
of snow fell away from the summit of the cone 
in flowing folds, more extensive and continuous 
than any I had ever seen before. When day 
dawned the clouds were crawling slowly and 
becoming more massive, but gave no intima 
tion of immediate danger, and I pushed on 
faithfully, though holding myself well in hand, 
ready to return to the timber; for it was easy 

61 



STEEP TRAILS 

to see that the storm was not far off. The 
mountain rises ten thousand feet above the 
general level of the country, in blank exposure 
to the deep upper currents of the sky, and no 
labyrinth of peaks and canons I had ever been 
in seemed to me so dangerous as these immense 
slopes, bare against the sky. 

The frost was intense, and drifting snow-dust 
made breathing at times rather difficult. The 
snow was as dry as meal, and the finer particles 
drifted freely, rising high in the air, while the 
larger portions of the crystals rolled like sand. 
I frequently sank to my armpits between 
buried blocks of loose lava, but generally only 
to my knees. When tired with walking I still 
wallowed slowly upward on all fours. The 
steepness of the slope thirty-five degrees in 
some places made any kind of progress 
fatiguing, while small avalanches were being 
constantly set in motion in the steepest places. 
But the bracing air and the sublime beauty of 
the snowy expanse thrilled every nerve and 
made absolute exhaustion impossible. I seemed 
to be walking and wallowing in a cloud; but, 
holding steadily onward, by half-past ten 
o clock I had gained the highest summit. 

I held my commanding foothold in the sky 
for two hours, gazing on the glorious landscapes 
spread maplike around the immense horizon, 

62 



A NIGHT ON SHASTA S SUMMIT 

and tracing the outlines of the ancient lava- 
streams extending far into the surrounding 
plains, and the pathways of vanished glaciers 
of which Shasta had been the center. But, as 
I had left my coat in camp for the sake of hav 
ing my limbs free in climbing, I soon was cold. 
The wind increased in violence, raising the 
snow in magnificent drifts that were drawn out 
in the form of wavering banners glowing in the 
sun. Toward the end of my stay a succession 
of small clouds struck against the summit rocks 
like drifting icebergs, darkening the air as they 
passed, and producing a chill as definite and 
sudden as if ice-water had been dashed in my 
face. This is the kind of cloud in which snow- 
flowers grow, and I turned and fled. 

Finding that I was not closely pursued, I 
ventured to take time on the way down for a 
visit to the head of the Whitney Glacier and 
the " Crater Butte." After I reached the end 
of the main summit ridge the descent was but 
little more than one continuous soft, mealy, 
muffled slide, most luxurious and rapid, though 
the hissing, swishing speed attained was ob 
scured in great part by flying snow-dust 
a marked contrast to the boring seal-wallow 
ing upward struggle. I reached camp about an 
hour before dusk, hollowed a strip of loose 
ground in the lee of a large block of red lava, 

63 



STEEP TRAILS 

where firewood was abundant, rolled myself in 
my blankets, and went to sleep. 

Next morning, having slept little the night 
before the ascent and being weary with climb 
ing after the excitement was over, I slept late. 
Then, awaking suddenly, my eyes opened on 
one of the most beautiful and sublime scenes 
I ever enjoyed. A boundless wilderness of 
storm-clouds of different degrees of ripeness 
were congregated over all the lower landscape 
for thousands of square miles, colored gray, 
and purple, and pearl, and deep-glowing white, 
amid which I seemed to be floating; while the 
great white cone of the mountain above was all 
aglow in the free, blazing sunshine. It seemed 
not so much an ocean as a land of clouds 
undulating hill and dale, smooth purple plains, 
and silvery mountains of cumuli, range over 
range, diversified with, peak and dome and 
hollow fully brought out in light and shade. 

I gazed enchanted, but cold gray masses, 
drifting like dust on a wind-swept plain, began 
to shut out the light, forerunners of the coming 
storm I had been so anxiously watching. I 
made haste to gather as much wood as possi 
ble, snugging it as a shelter around my bed. 
The storm side of my blankets was fastened 
down with stakes to reduce as much as possible 
the sifting-in of drift and the danger of being 

64 



A NIGHT ON SHASTA S SUMMIT 

blown away. The precious bread-sack was 
placed safely as a pillow, and when at length 
the first flakes fell I was exultingly ready to 
welcome them. Most of my firewood was more 
than half rosin and would blaze in the face of 
the fiercest drifting; the winds could not de 
molish my bed, and my bread could be made 
to last indefinitely; while in case of need I had 
the means of making snowshoes and could 
retreat or hold my ground as I pleased. 

Presently the storm broke forth into full 
snowy bloom, and the thronging crystals dark 
ened the air. The wind swept past in hissing 
floods, grinding the snow into meal and sweep 
ing down into the hollows hi enormous drifts 
all the heavier particles, while the finer dust 
was sifted through the sky, increasing the icy 
gloom. But my fire glowed bravely as if hi glad 
defiance of the drift to quench it, and, notwith 
standing but little trace of my nest could be 
seen after the snow had leveled and buried it, 
I was snug and warm, and the passionate up 
roar produced a glad excitement. 

Day after day the storm continued, piling 
snow on snow in weariless abundance. There 
were short periods of quiet, when the sun would 
seem to look eagerly down through rents in the 
clouds, as if to know how the work was ad 
vancing. During these calm intervals I re- 

65 



STEEP TRAILS 

plenished my fire sometimes without leaving 
the nest, for fire and woodpile were so near 
this could easily be done or busied myself 
with my notebook, watching the gestures of the 
trees in taking the snow, examining separate 
crystals under a lens, and learning the methods 
of their deposition as an enduring fountain for 
the streams. Several times, when the storm 
ceased for a few minutes, a Douglas squirrel 
came frisking from the foot of a clump of 
dwarf pines, moving in sudden interrupted 
spurts over the bossy snow; then, without any 
apparent guidance, he would dig rapidly into 
the drift where were buried some grains of 
barley that the horses had left. The Douglas 
squirrel does not strictly belong to these upper 
woods, and I was surprised to see him out in 
such weather. The mountain sheep also, quite 
a large flock of them, came to my camp and 
took shelter beside a clump of matted dwarf 
pines a little above my nest. 

The storm lasted about a week, but before 
it was ended Sisson became alarmed and sent 
up the guide with animals to see what had be 
come of me and recover the camp outfit. The 
news spread that "there was a man on the 
mountain," and he must surely have perished, 
and Sisson was blamed for allowing any one to 
attempt climbing in such weather; while I was 

66 



A NIGHT ON SHASTA S SUMMIT 

as safe as anybody in the lowlands, lying like 
a squirrel in a warm, fluffy nest, busied about 
my own affairs and wishing only to be let alone. 
Later, however, a trail could not have been 
broken for a horse, and some of the camp fur 
niture would have had to be abandoned. On 
the fifth day I returned to Sisson s, and from 
that comfortable base made excursions, as the 
weather permitted, to the Black Butte, to the 
foot of the Whitney Glacier, around the base 
of the mountain, to Rhett and Klamath Lakes, 
to the Modoc region and elsewhere, develop 
ing many interesting scenes and experiences. 

But the next spring, on the other side of this 
eventful winter, I saw and felt still more of the 
Shasta snow. For then it was my fortune to 
get into the very heart of a storm, and to be 
held in it for a long time. 

On the 28th of April [1875] I led a party up 
the mountain for the purpose of making a sur 
vey of the summit with reference to the loca 
tion of the Geodetic monument. On the 30th, 
accompanied by Jerome Fay, I made another 
ascent to make some barometrical observations, 
the day intervening between the two ascents 
being devoted to establishing a camp on the 
extreme edge of the timber-line. Here, on our 
red trachyte bed, we obtained two hours of 
shallow sleep broken for occasional glimpses 

67 



STEEP TRAILS 

of the keen, starry night. At two o clock we 
rose, breakfasted on a warmed tin-cupful of 
coffee and a piece of frozen venison broiled on 
the coals, and started for the summit. Up to 
this time there was nothing in sight that be 
tokened the approach of a storm; but on gain 
ing the summit, we saw toward Lassen s Butte 
hundreds of square miles of white cumuli boil 
ing dreamily in the sunshine far beneath us, 
and causing no alarm. 

The slight weariness of the ascent was soon 
rested away, and our glorious morning in the 
sky promised nothing but enjoyment. At 
9 A.M. the dry thermometer stood at 34 in the 
shade and rose steadily until at 1 P.M. it stood 
at 50, probably influenced somewhat by radi 
ation from the sun-warmed cliffs. A common 
bumble-bee, not at all benumbed, zigzagged 
vigorously about our heads for a few moments, 
as if unconscious of the fact that the nearest 
honey flower was a mile beneath him 

In the mean time clouds were growing down 
in Shasta Valley massive swelling cumuli, 
displaying delicious tones of purple and gray 
in the hollows of their sun-beaten bosses. 
Extending gradually southward around on 
both sides of Shasta, these at length united 
with the older field towards Lassen s Butte, 
thus encircling Mount Shasta in one continu 
es 



A NIGHT ON SHASTA S SUMMIT 

ous cloud-zone. Rhett and Kalmath Lakes 
were eclipsed beneath clouds scarcely less bril 
liant than their own silvery disks. The Modoc 
Lava Beds, many a snow-laden peak far north 
in Oregon, the Scott and Trinity and Siskiyou 
Mountains, the peaks of the Sierra, the blue 
Coast Range, Shasta Valley, the dark forests 
filling the valley of the Sacramento, all in turn 
were obscured or buried, leaving the lofty cone 
on which we stood solitary in the sunshine 
between two skies a sky of spotless blue 
above, a sky of glittering cloud beneath. The 
creative sun shone glorious on the vast expanse 
of cloudland; hill and dale, mountain and val 
ley springing into existence responsive to his 
rays and steadily developing in beauty and 
individuality. One huge mountain-cone of 
cloud, corresponding to Mount Shasta in these 
newborn cloud-ranges, rose close alongside 
with a visible motion, its firm, polished bosses 
seeming so near and substantial that we almost 
fancied we might leap down upon them from 
where we stood and make our way to the low 
lands. No hint was given, by anything in 
their appearance, of the fleeting character of 
these most sublime and beautiful cloud moun 
tains. On the contrary they impressed one as 
being lasting additions to the landscape. 
The weather of the springtime and summer, 



STEEP TRAILS 

throughout the Sierra in general, is usually 
varied by slight local rains and dustings of 
snow, most of which are obviously far too joy 
ous and life-giving to be regarded as storms 
single clouds growing in the sunny sky, ripen 
ing in an hour, showering the heated landscape, 
and passing away like a thought, leaving no 
visible bodily remains to stain the sky. Snow 
storms of the same gentle kind abound among 
the high peaks, but in spring they not unfre- 
quently attain larger proportions, assuming a 
violence and energy of expression scarcely sur 
passed by those bred in the depths of winter. 
Such was the storm now gathering about us. 

It began to declare itself shortly after noon, 
suggesting to us the idea of at once seeking 
our safe camp in the timber and abandoning 
the purpose of making an observation of the 
barometer at 3 P.M., two having already 
been made, at 9 A.M., and 12 M., while simul 
taneous observations were made at Strawberry 
Valley. Jerome peered at short intervals over 
the ridge, contemplating the rising clouds with 
anxious gestures in the rough wind, and at 
length declared that if we did not make a 
speedy escape we should be compelled to pass 
the rest of the day and night on the summit. 
But anxiety to complete my observations 
stifled my own instinctive promptings to re- 

70 



A NIGHT ON SHASTA S SUMMIT 

treat, and held me to my work. No inexperi 
enced person was depending on me, and I told 
Jerome that we two mountaineers should be 
able to make our way down through any storm 
likely to fall. 

Presently thin, fibrous films of cloud began 
to blow directly over the summit from north 
to south, drawn out in long fairy webs like 
carded wool, forming and dissolving as if by 
magic. The wind twisted them into ringlets 
and whirled them in a succession of graceful 
convolutions like the outside sprays of Yosem- 
ite Falls in flood-time; then, sailing out into 
the thin azure over the precipitous brink of the 
ridge they were drifted together like wreaths 
of foam on a river. These higher and finer 
cloud fabrics were evidently produced by the 
chilling of the air from its own expansion caused 
by the upward deflection of the wind against 
the slopes of the mountain. They steadily 
increased on the north rim of the cone, form 
ing at length a thick, opaque, ill-defined em 
bankment from the icy meshes of which snow- 
flowers began to fall, alternating with hail. The 
sky speedily darkened, and just as I had com 
pleted my last observation and boxed my 
instruments ready for the descent, the storm 
began in serious earnest. At first the cliffs 
were beaten with hail, every stone of which, 
71 



STEEP TRAILS 

as far as I could see, was regular in form, six- 
sided pyramids with rounded base, rich and 
sumptuous-looking, and fashioned with loving 
care, yet seemingly thrown away on those deso 
late crags down which they went rolling, fall 
ing, sliding in a network of curious streams. 

After we had forced our way down the ridge 
and past the group of hissing fumaroles, the 
storm became inconceivably violent. The ther 
mometer fell 22 in a few minutes, and soon 
dropped below zero. The hail gave place to 
snow, and darkness came on like night. The 
wind, rising to the highest pitch of violence, 
boomed and surged amid the desolate crags; 
lightning-flashes in quick succession cut the 
gloomy darkness; and the thunders, the most 
tremendously loud and appalling I ever heard, 
made an almost continuous roar, stroke follow 
ing stroke in quick, passionate succession, as 
though the mountain were being rent to its 
foundations and the fires of the old volcano 
were breaking forth again. 

Could we at once have begun to descend the 
snow-slopes leading to the timber, we might 
have made good our escape, however dark and 
wild the storm. As it was, we had first to make 
our way along a dangerous ridge nearly a mile 
and a half long, flanked in many places by steep 
ice-slopes at the head of the Whitney Glacier 

72 



A NIGHT ON SHASTA S SUMMIT 

on one side and by shattered precipices on the 
other. Apprehensive of this coming darkness, 
I had taken the precaution, when the storm 
began, to make the most dangerous points clear 
to my mind, and to mark their relations with 
reference to the direction of the wind. When, 
therefore, the darkness came on, and the be 
wildering drift, I felt confident that we could 
force our way through it with no other guid 
ance. After passing the "Hot Springs" I 
halted in the lee of a lava-block to let Jerome, 
who had fallen a little behind, come up. Here 
he opened a council in which, under circum 
stances sufficiently exciting but without evinc 
ing any bewilderment, he maintained, in oppo 
sition to my views, that it was impossible to 
proceed. He firmly refused to make the ven 
ture to find the camp, while I, aware of the 
dangers that would necessarily attend our 
efforts, and conscious of being the cause of his 
present peril, decided not to leave him. 

Our discussions ended, Jerome made a dash 
from the shelter of the lava-block and began 
forcing his way back against the wind to the 
"Hot Springs," wavering and struggling to 
resist being carried away, as if he were fording 
a rapid stream. After waiting and watching in 
vain for some flaw in the storm that might be 
urged as a new argument in favor of attempt- 
73 



STEEP TRAILS 

ing the descent, I was compelled to follow. 
"Here," said Jerome, as we shivered in the 
midst of the hissing, sputtering fumaroles, 
"we shall be safe from frost." "Yes," said I, 
"we can lie in this mud and steam and sludge, 
warm at least on one side; but how can we 
protect our lungs from the acid gases, and how, 
after our clothing is saturated, shall we be able 
to reach camp without freezing, even after the 
storm is over? We shall have to wait for sun 
shine, and when will it come?" 

The tempered area to which we had com 
mitted ourselves extended over about one 
fourth of an acre; but it was only about an 
eighth of an inch in thickness, for the scalding 
gas-jets were shorn off close to the ground by 
the oversweeping flood of frosty wind. And 
how lavishly the snow fell only mountaineers 
may know. The crisp crystal flowers seemed 
to touch one another and fairly to thicken the 
tremendous blast that carried them. This was 
the bloom-time, the summer of the cloud, and 
never before have I seen even a mountain 
cloud flowering so profusely. 

When the bloom of the Shasta chaparral is 
falling, the ground is sometimes covered for 
hundreds of square miles to a depth of half an 
inch. But the bloom of this fertile snow-cloud 
grew and matured and fell to a depth of two 

74 



A NIGHT ON SHASTA S SUMMIT 

feet in a few hours. Some crystals landed with 
their rays almost perfect, but most of them 
were worn and broken by striking against one 
another, or by rolling on the ground. The 
touch of these snow-flowers in calm weather is 
infinitely gentle glinting, swaying, settling 
silently in the dry mountain air, or massed in 
flakes soft and downy. To lie out alone in the 
mountains of a still night and be touched by 
the first of these small silent messengers from 
the sky is a memorable experience, and the 
fineness of that touch none will forget. But 
the storm-blast laden with crisp, sharp snow 
seems to crush and bruise and stupefy with its 
multitude of stings, and compels the bravest 
to turn and flee. 

The snow fell without abatement until an 
hour or two after what seemed to be the natu 
ral darkness of the night. Up to the tune the 
storm first broke on the summit its develop 
ment was remarkably gentle. There was a 
deliberate growth of clouds, a weaving of 
translucent tissue above, then the roar of the 
wind and the thunder, and the darkening flight 
of snow. Its subsidence was not less sudden. 
The clouds broke and vanished, not a crystal 
was left in the sky, and the stars shone out with 
pure and tranquil radiance. 

During the storm we lay on our backs so as 

75 



STEEP TRAILS 

to present as little surface as possible to the 
wind, and to let the drift pass over us. The 
mealy snow sifted into the folds of our clothing 
and in many places reached the skin. We were 
glad at first to see the snow packing about us, 
hoping it would deaden the force of the wind, 
but it soon froze into a stiff, crusty heap as the 
temperature fell, rather augmenting our novel 
misery. 

When the heat became unendurable, on 
some spot where steam was escaping through 
the sludge, we tried to stop it with snow and 
mud, or shifted a little at a time by shoving 
with our heels; for to stand in blank exposure 
to the fearful wind in our frozen-and-broiled 
condition seemed certain death. The acrid 
incrustations sublimed from the escaping gases 
frequently gave way, opening new vents to 
scald us; and, fearing that if at any time the 
wind should fall, carbonic acid, which often 
formed a considerable portion of the gaseous 
exhalations of volcanoes, might collect in suffi 
cient quantities to cause sleep and death, I 
warned Jerome against forgetting himself for 
a single moment, even should his sufferings ad 
mit of such a thing. 

Accordingly, when during the long, dreary 
watches of the night we roused from a state of 
half-consciousness, we called each other by 

76 



A NIGHT ON SHASTA S SUMMIT 

name in a frightened, startled way, each fear 
ing the other might be benumbed or dead. The 
ordinary sensations of cold give but a faint 
conception of that which comes on after hard 
climbing with want of food and sleep in such 
exposure as this. Life is then seen to be a fire, 
that now smoulders, now brightens, and may 
be easily quenched. The weary hours wore 
away like dim half-forgotten years, so long 
and eventful they seemed, though we did 
nothing but suffer. Still the pain was not al 
ways of that bitter, intense kind that precludes 
thought and takes away all capacity for enjoy 
ment. A sort of dreamy stupor came on at 
times in which we fancied we saw dry, resinous 
logs suitable for campfires, just as after going 
days without food men fancy they see bread. 

Frozen, blistered, famished, benumbed, our 
bodies seemed lost to us at times all dead 
but the eyes. For the duller and fainter we 
became the clearer was our vision, though only 
in momentary glimpses. Then, after the sky 
cleared, we gazed at the stars, blessed immor 
tals of light, shining with marvelous brightness 
with long lance rays, near-looking and new- 
looking, as if never seen before. Again they 
would look familiar and remind us of star 
gazing at home. Oftentimes imagination com 
ing into play would present charming pictures 

77 



STEEP TRAILS 

of the warm zone below, mingled with others 
near and far. Then the bitter wind and the 
drift would break the blissful vision and dreary 
pains cover us like clouds. "Are you suffering 
much?" Jerome would inquire with pitiful 
faintness. "Yes," I would say, striving to 
keep my voice brave, "frozen and burned; but 
never mind, Jerome, the night will wear away 
at last, and to-morrow we go a-Maying, and 
what campfires we will make, and what sun- 
baths we will take!" 

The frost grew more and more intense, and 
we became icy and covered over with a crust 
of frozen snow, as if we had lain cast away in 
the drift all winter. In about thirteen hours 
every hour like a year day began to dawn, 
but it was long ere the summit s rocks were 
touched by the sun. No clouds were visible 
from where we lay, yet the morning was dull 
and blue, and bitterly frosty; and hour after 
hour passed by while we eagerly watched the 
pale light stealing down the ridge to the hollow 
where we lay. But there was not a trace of 
that warm, flushing sunrise splendor we so long 
had hoped for. 

As the tune drew near to make an effort to 

reach camp, we became concerned to know 

what strength was left us, and whether or no 

we could walk; for we had lain flat all this time 

78 



A NIGHT ON SHASTA S SUMMIT 

without once rising to our feet. Mountaineers, 
however, always find in themselves a reserve 
of power after great exhaustion. It is a kind 
of second life, available only in emergencies 
like this; and, having proved its existence, I 
had no great fear that either of us would fail, 
though one of my arms was already benumbed 
and hung powerless. 

At length, after the temperature was some 
what mitigated on this memorable first of May, 
we arose and began to struggle homeward. 
Our frozen trousers could scarcely be made to 
bend at the knee, and we waded the snow with 
difficulty. The summit ridge was fortunately 
wind-swept and nearly bare, so we were not 
compelled to lift our feet high, and on reaching 
the long home slopes laden with loose snow we 
made rapid progress, sliding and shuffling and 
pitching headlong, our feebleness accelerating 
rather than diminishing our speed. When we 
had descended some three thousand feet the 
sunshine warmed our backs and we began to 
revive. At 10 A.M. we reached the timber and 
were safe. 

Half an hour later we heard Sisson shouting 
down among the firs, coming with horses to 
take us to the hotel. After breaking a trail 
through the snow as far as possible he had tied 
his animals and walked up. We had been so 
79 



STEEP TRAILS 

long without food that we cared but little 
about eating, but we eagerly drank the coffee 
he prepared for us. Our feet were frozen, and 
thawing them was painful, and had to be done 
very slowly by keeping them buried in soft 
snow for several hours, which avoided perma 
nent damage. Five thousand feet below the 
summit we found only three inches of new 
snow, and at the base of the mountain only a 
slight shower of rain had fallen, showing how 
local our storm had been, notwithstanding its 
terrific fury. Our feet were wrapped in sacking, 
and we were soon mounted and on our way 
down into the thick sunshine " God s Coun 
try," as Sisson calls the Chaparral Zone. In 
two hours ride the last snow-bank was left 
behind. Violets appeared along the edges of 
the trail, and the chaparral was coming into 
bloom, with young lilies and larkspurs about 
the open places in rich profusion. How beauti 
ful seemed the golden sunbeams streaming 
through the woods between the warm brown 
boles of the cedars and pines! All my friends 
among the birds and plants seemed like old 
friends, and we felt like speaking to every one 
of them as we passed, as if we had been a long 
time away in some far, strange country. 

In the afternoon we reached Strawberry Val 
ley and fell asleep. Next morning we seemed to 

80 



A NIGHT ON SHASTA S SUMMIT 

have risen from the dead. My bedroom was 
flooded with sunshine, and from the window I 
saw the great white Shasta cone clad in forests 
and clouds and bearing them loftily in the sky. 
Everything seemed full and radiant with the 
freshness and beauty and enthusiasm of youth. 
Sisson s children came in with flowers and cov 
ered my bed, and the storm on the mountain- 
top vanished like a dream. 






SHASTA RAMBLES AND MODOC MEMORIES 

ARCTIC beauty and desolation, with their 
blessings and dangers, all may be found here, 
to test the endurance and skill of adventurous 
climbers; but far better than climbing the 
mountain is going around its warm, fertile base, 
enjoying its bounties like a bee circling around 
a bank of flowers. The distance is about a hun 
dred miles, and will take some of the time we 
hear so much about a week or two but 
the benefits will compensate for any number 
of weeks. Perhaps the profession of doing good 
may be full, but everybody should be kind at 
least to himself. Take a course of good water 
and air, and in the eternal youth of Nature 
you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; 
no harm will befall you. Some have strange, 
morbid fears as soon as they find themselves 
with Nature, even in the kindest and wildest 
of her solitudes, like very sick children afraid 
of their mother as if God were dead and the 
devil were king. 

One may make the trip on horseback, or in 
a carriage, even; for a good level road may be 
found all the way round, by Shasta Valley, 

82 



SHASTA RAMBLES 

Sheep Rock, Elk Flat, Huckleberry Valley, 
Squaw Valley, following for a considerable 
portion of the way the old Emigrant Road, 
which lies along the east disk of the mountain, 
and is deeply worn by the wagons of the early 
gold-seekers, many of whom chose this north 
ern route as perhaps being safer and easier, 
the pass here being only about six thousand 
feet above sea-level. But it is far better to go 
afoot. Then you are free to make wide waver 
ings and zigzags away from the roads to visit 
the great fountain streams of the rivers, the 
glaciers also, and the wildest retreats in the 
primeval forests, where the best plants and 
animals dwell, and where many a flower-bell 
will ring against your knees, and friendly trees 
will reach out their fronded branches and 
touch you as you pass. One blanket will be 
enough to carry, or you may forego the pleas 
ure and burden altogether, as wood for fires is 
everywhere abundant. Only a little food will 
be required. Berries and plums abound in 
season, and quail and grouse and deer the 
magnificent shaggy mule deer as well as the 
common species. 

As you sweep around so grand a center, the 
mountain itself seems to turn, displaying its 
riches like the revolving pyramids in jewelers 
windows. One glacier after another comes into 

83 



STEEP TRAILS 

view, and the outlines of the mountain are 
ever changing, though all the way around, from 
whatever point of view, the form is maintained 
of a grand, simple cone with a gently sloping 
base and rugged, crumbling ridges separating 
the glaciers and the snow-fields more or less 
completely. The play of colors, from the first 
touches of the morning sun on the summit, 
down the snow-fields and the ice and lava until 
the forests are aglow, is a never-ending delight, 
the rosy lava and the fine flushings of the snow 
being ineffably lovely. Thus one saunters on 
and on in the glorious radiance in utter peace 
and forgetfulness of time. 

Yet, strange to say, there are days even here 
somewhat dull-looking, when the mountain 
seems uncommunicative, sending out no appre 
ciable invitation, as if not at home. At such 
times its height seems much less, as if, crouch 
ing and weary, it were taking rest. But Shasta 
is always at home to those who love her, and 
is ever in a thrill of enthusiastic activity 
burning fires within, grinding glaciers without, 
and fountains ever flowing. Every crystal 
dances responsive to the touches of the sun, 
and currents of sap in the growing cells of all 
the vegetation are ever in a vital whirl and 
rush, and though many feet and wings are 
folded, how many are astir! And the wander- 

84 



SHASTA RAMBLES 

ing winds, how busy they are, and what a 
breadth of sound and motion they make, glint 
ing and bubbling about the crags of the sum 
mit, sifting through the woods, feeling their 
way from grove to grove, ruffling the loose hair 
on the shoulders of the bears, fanning and rock 
ing young birds in their cradles, making a 
trumpet of every corolla, and carrying their 
fragrance around the world. 

In unsettled weather, when storms are grow 
ing, the mountain looms immensely higher, 
and its miles of height become apparent to all, 
especially in the gloom of the gathering clouds, 
or when the storm is done and they are rolling 
away, torn on the edges and melting while in 
the sunshine. Slight rain-storms are likely to 
be encountered in a trip round the mountain, 
but one may easily find shelter beneath well- 
thatched trees that shed the rain like a roof. 
Then the shining of the wet leaves is delight 
ful, and the steamy fragrance, and the burst 
of bird-song from a multitude of thrushes and 
finches and warblers that have nests in the 
chaparral. 

The nights, too, are delightful, watching 
with Shasta beneath the great starry dome. A 
thousand thousand voices are heard, but so 
finely blended they seem a part of the night 
itself, and make a deeper silence. And how 

85 



STEEP TRAILS 

grandly do the great logs and branches of your 
campfire give forth the heat and light that 
during their long century-lives they have so 
slowly gathered from the sun, storing it away 
in beautiful dotted cells and beads of amber 
gum! The neighboring trees look into the 
charmed circle as if the noon of another day 
had come, familiar flowers and grasses that 
chance to be near seem far more beautiful and 
impressive than by day, and as the dead trees 
give forth their light all the other riches of 
their lives seem to be set free and with the 
rejoicing flames rise again to the sky. In set 
ting out from Strawberry Valley, by bearing off 
to the northwestward a few miles you may see 

" . . . beneath dim aisles, in odorous beds, 
The slight Linnsea hang its twin-born heads, 
And [bless] the monument of the man of flowers, 
Which breathes his sweet fame through the 
northern bowers." 

This is one of the few places in California 
where the charming linnsea is found, though 
it is common to the northward through Oregon 
and Washington. Here, too, you may find the 
curious but unlovable darlingtonia, a carnivo 
rous plant that devours bumble-bees, grass 
hoppers, ants, moths, and other insects, with 
insatiable appetite. In approaching it, its 
suspicious-looking yellow-spotted hood and 
86 



SHASTA RAMBLES 

watchful attitude will be likely to make you 
go cautiously through the bog where it stands, 
as if you were approaching a dangerous snake. 
It also occurs in a bog near Sothern s Station 
on the stage-road, where I first saw it, and in 
other similar bogs throughout the mountains 
hereabouts. 

The "Big Spring " of the Sacramento is 
about a mile and a half above Sisson s, issuing 
from the base of a drift-covered hill. It is lined 
with emerald algae and mosses, and shaded 
with alder, willow, and thorn bushes, which 
give it a fine setting. Its waters, apparently 
unaffected by flood or drouth, heat or cold, 
fall at once into white rapids with a rush and 
dash, as if glad to escape from the darkness to 
begin their wild course down the canon to the 
plain. 

Muir s Peak, a few miles to the north of the 
spring, rises about three thousand feet above 
the plain on which it stands, and is easily 
climbed. The view is very fine and well repays 
the slight walk to its summit, from which much 
of your way about the mountain may be stud 
ied and chosen. The view obtained of the 
Whitney Glacier should tempt you to visit it, 
since it is the largest of the Shasta glaciers and 
its lower portion abounds in beautiful and 
interesting cascades and crevasses. It is three 

87 




STEEP TRAILS 

or four miles long and terminates at an eleva 
tion of about nine thousand five hundred feet 
above sea-level, in moraine-sprinkled ice-cliffs 
sixty feet high. The long gray slopes leading 
up to the glacier seem remarkably smooth and 
unbroken. They are much interrupted, never 
theless, with abrupt, jagged precipitous gorges, 
which, though offering instructive sections of 
the lavas for examination, would better be 
shunned by most people. This may be done 
by keeping well down on the base until front 
ing the glacier before beginning the ascent. 

The gorge through which the glacier is 
drained is raw-looking, deep and narrow, and 
indescribably jagged. The walls in many 
places overhang; in others they are beveled, 
loose, and shifting where the channel has been 
eroded by cinders, ashes, strata of firm lavas, 
and glacial drift, telling of many a change from 
frost to fire and their attendant floods of mud 
and water. Most of the drainage of the glacier 
vanishes at once in the porous rocks to reappear 
in springs in the distant valley, and it is only 
in tune of flood that the channel carries much 
water; then there are several fine falls in the 
gorge, six hundred feet or more in height. 
Snow lies in it the year round at an elevation 
of eight thousand five hundred feet, and in 
sheltered spots a thousand feet lower. Trac- 



SHASTA RAMBLES 

ing this wild changing channel-gorge, gully, 
or canon, the sections will show Mount Shasta 
as a huge palimpsest, containing the records, 
layer upon layer, of strangely contrasted events 
in its fiery-icy history. But look well to your 
footing, for the way will test the skill of the 
most cautious mountaineers. 

Regaining the low ground at the base of the 
mountain and holding on in your grand or 
bit, you pass through a belt of juniper woods, 
called "The Cedars," to Sheep Rock at the 
foot of the Shasta Pass. Here you strike the 
old emigrant road, which leads over the low 
divide to the eastern slopes of the mountain. 
In a north-northwesterly direction from the 
foot of the pass you may chance to find Pluto s 
Cave, already mentioned; but it is not easily 
found, since its several mouths are on a level 
with the general surface of the ground, and 
have been made simply by the falling-in of 
portions of the roof. Far the most beautiful 
and richly furnished of the mountain caves of 
California occur in a thick belt of metamorphic 
limestone that is pretty generally developed 
along the western flank of the Sierra from the 
McCloud River to the Kaweah, a distance of 
nearly four hundred miles. These volcanic 
caves are not wanting in interest, and it is well 
to light a pitch-pine torch and take a walk in 

89 



STEEP TRAILS 

these dark ways of the underworld whenever 
opportunity offers, if for no other reason to 
see with new appreciation on returning to the 
sunshine the beauties that lie so thick about us. 

Sheep Rock is about twenty miles from 
Sisson s, and is one of the principal winter 
pasture-grounds of the wild sheep, from which 
it takes its name. It is a mass of lava present 
ing to the gray sage plain of Shasta Valley a 
bold craggy front two thousand feet high. Its 
summit lies at an elevation of five thousand 
five hundred feet above the sea, and has sev 
eral square miles of comparatively level sur 
face, where bunch-grass grows and the snow 
does not lie deep, thus allowing the hardy 
sheep to pick up a living through the winter 
months when deep snows have driven them 
down from the lofty ridges of Shasta. 

From here it might be well to leave the im 
mediate base of the mountain for a few days 
and visit the Lava Beds made famous by the 
Modoc War. They lie about forty miles to the 
northeastward, on the south shore of Rhett or 
Tule 1 Lake, at an elevation above sea-level of 
about forty-five hundred feet. They are a por 
tion of a flow of dense black vesicular lava, 
dipping northeastward at a low angle, but 
little changed as yet by the weather, and about 

1 Pronounced Too -lay. 
90 



SHASTA RAMBLES 

as destitute of soil as a glacial pavement. The 
surface, though smooth hi a general way as 
seen from a distance, is dotted with hillocks 
and rough crater-like pits, and traversed by a 
network of yawning fissures, forming a com 
bination of topographical conditions of very 
striking character. The way lies by Mount 
Bremer, over stretches of gray sage plains, 
interrupted by rough lava-slopes timbered with 
juniper and yellow pine, and with here and 
there a green meadow and a stream. 

This is a famous game region, and you will 
be likely to meet small bands of antelope, 
mule deer, and wild sheep. Mount Bremer is 
the most noted stronghold of the sheep in the 
whole Shasta region. Large flocks dwell here 
from year to year, winter and summer, de 
scending occasionally into the adjacent sage 
plains and lava-beds to feed, but ever ready 
to take refuge hi the jagged crags of their 
mountain at every alarm. While traveling 
with a company of hunters I saw about fifty 
in one flock. 

The Van Bremer brothers, after whom the 
mountain is named, told me that they once 
climbed the mountain with their rifles and 
hounds on a grand hunt; but, after keeping 
up the pursuit for a week, their boots and 
clothing gave way, and the hounds were lamed 

91 



STEEP TRAILS 

and worn out without having run down a 
single sheep, notwithstanding they ran night 
and day. On smooth spots, level or ascending, 
the hounds gained on the sheep, but on de 
scending ground, and over rough masses of 
angular rocks they fell hopelessly behind. Only 
half a dozen sheep were shot as they passed 
the hunters stationed near their paths circling 
round the rugged summit. The full-grown 
bucks weigh nearly three hundred and fifty 
pounds. 

The mule deer are nearly as heavy. Their 
long, massive ears give them a very striking 
appearance. One large buck that I measured 
stood three feet and seven niches high at the 
shoulders, and when the ears were extended 
horizontally the distance across from tip to 
tip was two feet and one inch. 

From the Van Bremer ranch the way to the 
Lava Beds leads down the Bremer Meadows 
past many a smooth grassy knoll and jutting 
cliff, along the shore of Lower Klamath Lake, 
and thence across a few miles of sage plain to 
the brow of the wall-like bluff of lava four hun 
dred and fifty feet above Tule Lake. Here you 
are looking southeastward, and the Modoc 
landscape, which at once takes possession of 
you, lies revealed in front. It is composed of 
three principal parts; on your left lies the 

92 



SHASTA RAMBLES 

bright expanse of Tule Lake, on your right an 
evergreen forest, and between the two are the 
black Lava Beds. 

When I first stood there, one bright day be 
fore sundown, the lake was fairly blooming in 
purple light, and was so responsive to the sky 
in both calmness and color it seemed itself a 
sky. No mountain shore hides its loveliness. 
It lies wide open for many a mile, veiled in no 
mystery but the mystery of light. The forest 
also was flooded with sun-purple, not a spire 
moving, and Mount Shasta was seen towering 
above it rejoicing in the ineffable beauty of 
the alpenglow. But neither the glorified woods 
on the one hand, nor the lake on the other, 
could at first hold the eye. That dark mysteri 
ous lava plain between them compelled atten 
tion. Here you trace yawning fissures, there 
clusters of somber pits; now you mark where 
the lava is bent and corrugated in swelling 
ridges and domes, again where it breaks into a 
rough mass of loose blocks. Tufts of grass grow 
far apart here and there and small bushes of 
hardy sage, but they have a singed appearance 
and can do little to hide the blackness. Deserts 
are charming to those who know how to see 
them all kinds of bogs, barrens, and heathy 
moors; but the Modoc Lava Beds have for me 
an uncanny look. As I gazed the purple deep- 

93 



STEEP TRAILS 

ened over all the landscape. Then fell the 
gloaming, making everything still more for 
bidding and mysterious. Then, darkness like 
death. 

Next morning the crisp, sunshiny ah* made 
even the Modoc landscape less hopeless, and 
we ventured down the bluff to the edge of the 
Lava Beds. Just at the foot of the bluff we 
came to a square enclosed by a stone wall. This 
is a graveyard where lie buried thirty soldiers, 
most of whom met their fate out in the Lava 
Beds, as we learn by the boards marking the 
graves a gloomy place to die in, and deadly- 
looking even without Modocs. The poor fel 
lows that lie here deserve far more pity than 
they have ever received. Picking our way over 
the strange ridges and hollows of the beds, we 
soon came to a circular flat about twenty 
yards in diameter, on the shore of the lake, 
where the comparative smoothness of the lava 
and a few handfuls of soil have caused the 
grass tufts to grow taller. This is where Gen 
eral Canby was slain while seeking to make 
peace with the treacherous Modocs. 

Two or three miles farther on is the main 
stronghold of the Modocs, held by them so 
long and defiantly against all the soldiers that 
could be brought to the attack. Indians usu 
ally choose to hide in tall grass and bush and 

94 



SHASTA RAMBLES 

behind trees, where they can crouch and glide 
like panthers, without casting up defenses that 
would betray their positions; but the Modoc 
castle is in the rock. When the Yosemite 
Indians made raids on the settlers of the lower 
Merced, they withdrew with their spoils into 
Yosemite Valley; and the Modocs boasted 
that in case of war they had a stone house into 
which no white man could come as long as they 
cared to defend it. Yosemite was not held for a 
single day against the pursuing troops; but the 
Modocs held their fort for months, until, weary 
of being hemmed in, they chose to withdraw. 

It consists of numerous redoubts formed by 
the unequal subsidence of portions of the lava- 
flow, and a complicated network of redans 
abundantly supplied with salient and reenter- 
ing angles, being united each to the other and 
to the redoubts by a labyrinth of open and 
covered corridors, some of which expand at 
intervals into spacious caverns, forming as a 
whole the most complete natural Gibraltar I 
ever saw. Other castles scarcely less strong 
are connected with this by subterranean pas 
sages known only to the Indians, while the 
unnatural blackness of the rock out of which 
Nature has constructed these defenses, and the 
weird, inhuman physiognomy of the whole 
region are well calculated to inspire terror. 
95 



STEEP TRAILS 

Deadly was the task of storming such a 
place. The breech-loading rifles of the Indians 
thrust through chinks between the rocks were 
ready to pick off every soldier who showed him 
self for a moment, while the Indians lay utterly 
invisible. They were familiar with byways 
both over and under ground, and could at any 
time sink suddenly out of sight like squirrels 
among the loose boulders. Our bewildered 
soldiers heard them shooting, now before, now 
behind them, as they glided from place to 
place through fissures and subterranean passes, 
all the while as invisible as Gyges wearing his 
magic ring. To judge from the few I have seen, 
Modocs are not very amiable-looking people 
at best. When, therefore, they were crawling 
stealthily in the gloomy caverns, unkempt and 
begrimed and with the glare of war in their 
eyes, they must have seemed very demons of 
the volcanic pit. 

Captain Jack s cave is one of the many 
somber cells of the castle. It measures twenty- 
five or thirty feet in diameter at the entrance, 
and extends but a short distance in a hori 
zontal direction. The floor is littered with the 
bones of the animals slaughtered for food dur 
ing the war. Some eager archaeologist may 
hereafter discover this cabin and startle his 
world by announcing another of the Stone Age 
96 



SHASTA RAMBLES 

caves. The sun shines freely into its mouth, 
and graceful bunches of grass and eriogonums 
and sage grow about it, doing what they can 
toward its redemption from degrading associ 
ations and making it beautiful. 

Where the lava meets the lake there are some 
fine curving bays, beautifully embroidered 
with rushes and polygonums, a favorite resort 
of waterfowl. On our return, keeping close 
along shore, we caused a noisy plashing and 
beating of wings among cranes and geese. The 
ducks, less wary, kept their places, merely 
swimming in and out through openings in the 
rushes, rippling the glassy water, and raising 
spangles in their wake. The countenance of 
the lava-beds became less and less forbidding. 
Tufts of pale grasses, relieved on the jet rocks, 
looked like ornaments on a mantel, thick- 
furred mats of emerald mosses appeared in 
damp spots next the shore, and I noticed one 
tuft of small ferns. From year to year in the 
kindly weather the beds are thus gathering 
beauty beauty for ashes. 

Returning to Sheep Rock and following the 
old emigrant road, one is soon back again be 
neath the snows and shadows of Shasta, and 
the Ash Creek and McCloud Glaciers come 
into view on the east side of the mountain. 
They are broad, rugged, crevassed cloudlike 

97 



STEEP TRAILS 

masses of down-grinding ice, pouring forth 
streams of muddy water as measures of the 
work they are doing in sculpturing the rocks 
beneath them; very unlike the long, majestic 
glaciers of Alaska that riverlike go winding 
down the valleys through the forests to the sea. 
These, with a few others as yet nameless, are 
lingering remnants of once great glaciers that 
occupied the canons now taken by the rivers, 
and in a few centuries will, under present con 
ditions, vanish altogether. 

The rivers of the granite south half of the 
Sierra are outspread on the peaks in a shining 
network of small branches, that divide again 
and again into small dribbling, purling, oozing 
threads drawing their sources from the snow 
and ice of the surface. They seldom sink out 
of sight, save here and there in moraines or 
glaciers, or, early in the season, beneath banks 
and bridges of snow, soon to issue again. But 
in the north half, laden with rent and porous 
lava, small tributary streams are rare, and the 
rivers, flowing for a time beneath the sky of 
rock, at length burst forth into the light in 
generous volume from seams and caverns, 
filtered, cool, and sparkling, as if their bondage 
in darkness, safe from the vicissitudes of the 
weather in their youth, were only a blessing. 

Only a very small portion of the water de- 



SHASTA RAMBLES 

rived from the melting ice and snow of Shasta 
flows down its flanks on the surface. Probably 
ninety-nine per cent of it is at once absorbed 
and drained away beneath the porous lava-folds 
of the mountain to gush forth, filtered and pure, 
in the form of immense springs, so large, some 
of them, that they give birth to rivers that 
start on their journey beneath the sun, full- 
grown and perfect without any childhood. 
Thus the Shasta River issues from a large lake- 
like spring in Shasta Valley, and about two 
thirds of the volume of the McCloud gushes 
forth in a grand spring on the east side of the 
mountain, a few miles back from its immediate 
base. 

To find the big spring of the McCloud, or 
"Mud Glacier," which you will know by its 
size (it being the largest on the east side), 
you make your way through sunny, parklike 
woods of yellow pine, and a shaggy growth of 
chaparral, and come in a few hours to the 
river flowing in a gorge of moderate depth, cut 
abruptly down into the lava plain. Should the 
volume of the stream where you strike it seem 
small, then you will know that you are above 
the spring; if large, nearly equal to its volume at 
its confluence with the Pitt River, then you are 
below it; and in either case have only to follow 
the river up or down until you come to it. 

99 



STEEP TRAILS 

Under certain conditions you may hear the 
roar of the water rushing from the rock at a 
distance of half a mile, or even more; or you 
may not hear it until within a few rods. It 
comes in a grand, eager gush from a horizontal 
seam hi the face of the wall of the river-gorge 
in the form of a partially interrupted sheet 
nearly seventy-five yards in width, and at a 
height above the river-bed of about forty feet, 
as nearly as I could make out without the 
means of exact measurement. For about fifty 
yards this flat current is in one unbroken sheet, 
and flows in a lacework of plashing, upleaping 
spray over boulders that are clad in green silky 
algae and water-mosses to meet the smaller 
part of the river, which takes its rise farther 
up. Joining the river at right angles to its 
course, it at once swells its volume to three 
tunes its size above the spring. 

The vivid green of the boulders beneath the 
water is very striking, and colors the entire 
stream with the exception of the portions 
broken into foam. The color is chiefly due to 
a species of algae which seems common in 
springs of this sort. That any kind of plant 
can hold on and grow beneath the wear of so 
boisterous a current seems truly wonderful, 
even after taking into consideration the free 
dom of the water from cutting drift, and the 

100 



SHASTA RAMBLES 

constancy of its volume and temperature 
throughout the year. The temperature is about 
45, and the height of the river above the sea is 
here about three thousand feet. Asplenium, 
epilobium, heuchera, hazel, dogwood, and alder 
make a luxurious fringe and setting; and the 
forests of Douglas spruce along the banks are 
the finest I have ever seen in the Sierra. 

From the spring you may go with the river 
a fine traveling companion down to the 
sportsman s fishing station, where, if you are 
getting hungry, you may replenish your stores; 
or, bearing off around the mountain by Huckle 
berry Valley, complete your circuit without 
interruption, emerging at length from beneath 
the outspread arms of the sugar pine at Straw 
berry Valley, with all the new wealth and 
health gathered in your walk; not tired in the 
least, and only eager to repeat the round. 

Tracing rivers to their fountains makes the 
most charming of travels. As the life-blood 
of the landscapes, the best of the wilderness 
comes to their banks, and not one dull passage 
is found in all their eventful histories. Tracing 
the McCloud to its highest springs, and over 
the divide to the fountains of Fall River, near 
Fort Crook, thence down that river to its con 
fluence with the Pitt, on from there to the vol 
canic region about Lassen s Butte, through 
101 



STEEP TRAILS 

the Big Meadows among the sources of the 
Feather River, and down through forests of 
sugar pine to the fertile plains of Chico this 
is a glorious saunter and imposes no hardship. 
Food may be had at moderate intervals, and 
the whole circuit forms one ever-deepening, 
broadening stream of enjoyment. 

Fall River is a very remarkable stream. It is 
only about ten miles long, and is composed of 
springs, rapids, and falls springs beautifully 
shaded at one end of it, a showy fall one hun 
dred and eighty feet high at the other, and a 
rush of crystal rapids between. The banks are 
fringed with rubus, rose, plum, cherry, spiraea, 
azalea, honeysuckle, hawthorn, ash, alder, 
elder, aster, goldenrod, beautiful grasses, 
sedges, rushes, mosses, and ferns with fronds 
as large as the leaves of palms all in the 
midst of a richly forested landscape. Nowhere 
within the limits of California are the forests 
of yellow pine so extensive and exclusive as on 
the headwaters of the Pitt. They cover the 
mountains and all the lower slopes that border 
the wide, open valleys which abound there, 
pressing forward in imposing ranks, seemingly 
the hardiest and most firmly established of all 
the northern coniferse. 

The volcanic region about Lassen s Butte I 
have already in part described. Miles of its 
102 



SHASTA RAMBLES 

flanks are dotted with hot springs, many of 
them so sulphurous and boisterous and noisy 
in their boiling that they seem inclined to 
become geysers like those of the Yellowstone. 

The ascent of Lassen s Butte is an easy walk, 
and the views from the summit are extremely 
telling. Innumerable lakes and craters sur 
round the base; forests of the charming Wil 
liamson spruce fringe lake and crater alike; the 
sunbeaten plains to east and west make a 
striking show, and the wilderness of peaks and 
ridges stretch indefinitely away on either hand. 
The lofty, icy Shasta, towering high above all, 
seems but an hour s walk from you, though the 
distance in an air-line is about sixty miles. 

The "Big Meadows" lie near the foot of 
Lassen s Butte, a beautiful spacious basin set 
in the heart of the richly forested mountains, 
scarcely surpassed in the grandeur of its sur 
roundings by Tahoe. During the Glacial 
Period it was a mer de glace, then a lake, and 
now a level meadow shining with bountiful 
springs and streams. In the number and size 
of its big spring fountains it excels even Shasta. 
One of the largest that I measured forms a 
lakelet nearly a hundred yards in diameter, 
and, in the generous flood it sends forth offers 
one of the most telling symbols of Nature s 
affluence to be found in the mountains. 

103 



STEEP TRAILS 

The great wilds of our country, once held to 
be boundless and inexhaustible, are being rap 
idly invaded and overrun in every direction, 
and everything destructible in them is being 
destroyed. How far destruction may go it is 
not easy to guess. Every landscape, low and 
high, seems doomed to be trampled and harried. 
Even the sky is not safe from scath blurred 
and blackened whole summers together with 
the smoke of fires that devour the woods. 

The Shasta region is still a fresh unspoiled 
wilderness, accessible and available for travel 
ers of every kind and degree. Would it not 
then be a fine thing to set it apart like the 
Yellowstone and Yosemite as a National Park 
for the welfare and benefit of all mankind, pre 
serving its fountains and forests and all its 
glad life hi primeval beauty? Very little of 
the region can ever be more valuable for any 
other use certainly not for gold nor for 
grain. No private right or interest need suffer, 
and thousands yet unborn would come from 
far and near and bless the country for its wise 
and benevolent forethought. 



VI 

THE CITY OF THE SAINTS 1 

THE mountains rise grandly round about 
this curious city, the Zion of the new Saints, so 
grandly that the city itself is hardly visible. 
The Wahsatch Range, snow-laden and adorned 
with glacier-sculptured peaks, stretches con 
tinuously along the eastern horizon, forming 
the boundary of the Great Salt Lake Basin; 
while across the valley of the Jordan south- 
westward from here, you behold the Oquirrh 
Range, about as snowy and lofty as the 
Wahsatch. To the northwest your eye skims 
the blue levels of the great lake, out of the 
midst of which rise island mountains, and be 
yond, at a distance of fifty miles, is seen the 
picturesque wall of the lakeside mountains 
blending with the lake and the sky. 

The glacial developments of these superb 
ranges are sharply sculptured peaks and crests, 
with ample wombs between them where the 
ancient snows of the glacial period were col 
lected and transformed into ice, and ranks of 

1 Letter dated "Salt Lake City, Utah, May 15, 1877." 
[Editor.] 

105 



STEEP TRAILS 

profound shadowy canons, while moraines 
commensurate with the lofty fountains extend 
into the valleys, forming far the grandest series 
of glacial monuments I have yet seen this side 
of the Sierra. 

In beginning this letter I meant to describe 
the city, but in the company of these noble old 
mountains, it is not easy to bend one s atten 
tion upon anything else. Salt Lake cannot be 
called a very beautiful town, neither is there 
anything ugly or repulsive about it. From the 
slopes of the Wahsatch foothills, or old lake 
benches, toward Fort Douglas it is seen to 
occupy the sloping gravelly delta of City 
Creek, a fine, hearty stream that comes pouring 
from the snows of the mountains through a 
majestic glacial canon; and it is just where this 
stream comes forth into the light on the edge 
of the valley of the Jordan that the Mormons 
have built their new Jerusalem. 

At first sight there is nothing very marked 
in the external appearance of the town except 
ing its leafiness. Most of the houses are veiled 
with trees, as if set down in the midst of one 
grand orchard; and seen at a little distance 
they appear like a field of glacier boulders 
overgrown with aspens, such as one often meets 
in the upper valleys of the California Sierra, 
for only the angular roofs are clearly visible. 

106 



THE CITY OF THE SAINTS 

Perhaps nineteen twentieths of the houses 
are built of bluish-gray adobe bricks, and are 
only one or two stories high, forming fine cot 
tage homes which promise simple comfort 
within. They are set well back from the street, 
leaving room for a flower garden, while almost 
every one has a thrifty orchard at the sides and 
around the back. The gardens are laid out 
with great simplicity, indicating love for flow 
ers by people comparatively poor, rather than 
deliberate efforts of the rich for showy artistic 
effects. They are like the pet gardens of chil 
dren, about as artless and humble, and har 
monize with the low dwellings to which they 
belong. In almost every one you find daisies, 
and mint, and lilac bushes, and rows of plain 
English tulips. Lilacs and tulips are the most 
characteristic flowers, and nowhere have I 
seen them in greater perfection. As Oakland 
is preeminently a city of roses, so is this Mor 
mon Saints 7 Rest a city of lilacs and tulips. 
The flowers, at least, are saintly, and they are 
surely loved. Scarce a home, however obscure, 
is without them, and the simple, unostentatious 
manner in which they are planted and gathered 
in pots and boxes about the windows shows 
how truly they are prized. 

The surrounding commons, the marshy 
levels of the Jordan, and dry, gravelly lake 

107 



STEEP TRAILS 

benches on the slopes of the Wahsatch foot 
hills are now gay* with wild flowers, chief 
among which are a species of phlox, with an 
abundance of rich pink corollas, growing among 
sagebrush in showy tufts, and a beautiful 
papilionaceous plant, with silky leaves and 
large clusters of purple flowers, banner, wings, 
and keel exquisitely shaded, a mertensia, 
hydrophyllum, white boragewort, orthocarpus, 
several species of violets, and a tall scarlet gilia. 
It is delightful to see how eagerly all these 
are sought after by the children, both boys and 
girls. Every day that I have gone botanizing 
I have met groups of little Latter-Days with 
their precious bouquets, and at such times it 
was hard to believe the dark, bloody passages 
of Mormon history. 

But to return to the city. As soon as City 
Creek approaches its upper limit its waters are 
drawn off right and left, and distributed in 
brisk rills, one on each side of every street, the 
regular slopes of the delta upon which the city 
is built being admirably adapted to this system 
of street irrigation. These streams are all pure 
and sparkling in the upper streets, but, as 
they are used to some extent as sewers, they 
soon manifest the consequence of contact with 
civilization, though the speed of their flow pre 
vents their becoming offensive, and little Saints 

108 



THE CITY OF THE SAINTS 

not over particular may be seen drinking from 
them everywhere. 

The streets are remarkably wide and the 
buildings low, making them appear yet wider 
than they really are. Trees are planted along 
the sidewalks elms, poplars, maples, and a 
few catalpas and hawthorns; yet they are 
mostly small and irregular, and nowhere form 
avenues half so leafy and imposing as one 
would be led to expect. Even in the business 
streets there is but little regularity hi the 
buildings now a row of plain adobe struc 
tures, half store, half dwelling, then a high 
mercantile block of red brick or sandstone, 
and again a row of adobe cottages nestled back 
among apple trees. There is one immense 
store with its sign upon the roof, in letters big 
enough to be read miles away, "Z.C.M.I." 
(Zion s Cooperative Mercantile Institution), 
while many a small, codfishy corner grocery 
bears the legend "Holiness to the Lord, 
Z.C.M.I." But little evidence will you find in 
this Zion, with its fifteen thousand souls, of 
great wealth, though many a Saint is seeking 
it as keenly as any Yankee Gentile. But on 
the other hand, searching throughout all the 
city, you will not find any trace of squalor or 
extreme poverty. 

Most of the women I have chanced to meet, 

109 



STEEP TRAILS 

especially those from the country, have a 
weary, repressed look, as if for the sake of their 
religion they were patiently carrying burdens 
heavier than they were well able to bear. But, 
strange as it must seem to Gentiles, the many 
wives of one man, instead of being repelled 
from one another by jealousy, appear to be 
drawn all the closer together, as if the real 
marriage existed between the wives only. 
Groups of half a dozen or so may frequently be 
seen on the streets in close conversation, look 
ing as innocent and unspeculative as a lot of 
heifers, while the masculine Saints pass them 
by as if they belonged to a distinct species. In 
the Tabernacle last Sunday, one of the elders 
of the church, in discoursing upon the good 
things of life, the possessions of Latter-Day 
Saints, enumerated fruitful fields, horses, cows, 
wives, and implements, the wives being placed 
as above, between the cows and implements, 
without receiving any superior emphasis. 

Polygamy, as far as I have observed, exerts 
a more degrading influence upon husbands than 
upon wives. The love of the latter finds expres 
sion in flowers and children, while the former 
seem to be rendered incapable of pure love of 
anything. The spirit of Mormonism is in 
tensely exclusive and un-American. A more 
withdrawn, compact, sealed-up body of people 
no 



THE CITY OF THE SAINTS 

could hardly be found on the face of the earth 
than is gathered here, notwithstanding rail 
roads, telegraphs, and the penetrating lights 
that go sifting through society everywhere hi 
this revolutionary, question-asking century. 
Most of the Mormons I have met seem to be 
in a state of perpetual apology, which can 
hardly be fully accounted for by Gentile 
attacks. At any rate it is unspeakably offen 
sive to any free man. 

"We Saints," they are continually saying, 
"are not as bad as we are called. We don t 
murder those who differ with us, but rather 
treat them with all charity. You may go 
through our town night or day and no harm 
shall befall you. Go into our houses and you 
will be well used. We are as glad as you are 
that Lee was punished," etc. While taking 
a saunter the other evening we were overtaken 
by a characteristic Mormon, "an umble man," 
who made us a very deferential salute and then 
walked on with us about half a mile. We dis 
cussed whatsoever of Mormon doctrines came 
to mind with American freedom, which he 
defended as best he could, speaking in an 
excited but deprecating tone. When hard 
pressed he would say: "I don t understand 
these deep things, but the elders do. I m only 
an umble tradesman." In taking leave he 
in 



STEEP TRAILS 

thanked us for the pleasure of our querulous 
conversation, removed his hat, and bowed 
lowly in a sort of Uriah Heep manner, and 
then went to his humble home. How many 
humble wives it contained, we did not learn. 

Fine specimens of manhood are by no means 
wanting, but the number of people one meets 
here who have some physical defect or who 
attract one s attention by some mental pecu 
liarity that manifests itself through the eyes, 
is astonishingly great in so small a city. It 
would evidently be unfair to attribute these 
defects to Mormonism, though Mormonism 
has undoubtedly been the magnet that elected 
and drew these strange people together from 
all parts of the world. 

But however "the peculiar doctrines" and 
"peculiar practices" of Mormonism have 
affected the bodies and the minds of the old 
Saints, the little Latter-Day boys and girls are 
as happy and natural as possible, running wild, 
with plenty of good hearty parental indulgence, 
playing, fighting, gathering flowers in delight 
ful innocence; and when we consider that most 
of the parents have been drawn from the thickly 
settled portion of the Old World, where they 
have long suffered the repression of hunger and 
hard toil, these Mormon children, "Utah s best 
crop," seem remarkably bright and promising. 
112 



THE CITY OF THE SAINTS 

From children one passes naturally into the 
blooming wilderness, to the pure religion of 
sunshine and snow, where all the good and the 
evil of this strange people lifts and vanishes 
from the mind like mist from the mountains. 



VII 

A GREAT STORM IN UTAH * 

UTAH has just been blessed with one of the 
grandest storms I have ever beheld this side 
of the Sierra. The mountains are laden with 
fresh snow; wild streams are swelling and 
booming adown the canons, and out in the 
valley of the Jordan a thousand rain-pools are 
gleaming in the sun. 

With reference to the development of fertile 
storms bearing snow and rain, the greater 
portion of the calendar springtime of Utah has 
been winter. In all the upper canons of the 
mountains the snow is now from five to ten 
feet deep or more, and most of it has fallen 
since March. Almost every other day during 
the last three weeks small local storms have 
been falling on the Wahsatch and Oquirrh 
Mountains, while the Jordan Valley remained 
dry and sun-filled. But on the afternoon of 
Thursday, the 17th ultimo, wind, rain, and 
snow filled the whole basin, driving wildly 
over valley and plain from range to range, be 
stowing their benefactions in most cordial and 

1 Letter dated "Salt Lake City, Utah, May 19, 1877." 
[Editor.] 

114 



A GREAT STORM IN UTAH 

harmonious storm-measures. The oldest Saints 
say they have never witnessed a more violent 
storm of this kind since the first settlement of 
Zion, and while the gale from the northwest, 
with which the storm began, was rocking their 
adobe walls, uprooting trees and darkening the 
streets with billows of dust and sand, some of 
them seemed inclined to guess that the terrible 
phenomenon was one of the signs of the times 
of which their preachers are so constantly re 
minding them, the beginning of the outpouring 
of the treasured wrath of the Lord upon the 
Gentiles for the killing of Joseph Smith. To 
me it seemed a cordial outpouring of Nature s 
love; but it is easy to differ with salt Latter- 
Days in everything storms, wives, politics, 
and religion. 

About an hour before the storm reached the 
city I was so fortunate as to be out with a 
friend on the banks of the Jordan enjoying the 
scenery. Clouds, with peculiarly restless and 
self-conscious gestures, were marshaling them 
selves along the mountain-tops, and sending 
out long, overlapping wings across the valley; 
and even where no cloud was visible, an ob 
scuring film absorbed the sunlight, giving rise 
to a cold, bluish darkness. Nevertheless, dis 
tant objects along the boundaries of the land 
scape were revealed with wonderful distinct- 

115 



STEEP TRAILS 

ness in this weird, subdued, cloud-sifted light. 
The mountains, in particular, with the forests 
on their flanks, their mazy lacelike canons, the 
wombs of the ancient glaciers, and their mar 
velous profusion of ornate sculpture, were most 
impressively manifest. One would fancy that 
a man might be clearly seen walking on the 
snow at a distance of twenty or thirty miles. 
While we were reveling in this rare, ungarish 
grandeur, turning from range to range, study 
ing the darkening sky and listening to the still 
small voices of the flowers at our feet, some of 
the denser clouds came down, crowning and 
wreathing the highest peaks and dropping long 
gray fringes whose smooth linear structure 
showed that snow was beginning to fall. Of 
these partial storms there were soon ten or 
twelve, arranged in two rows, while the main 
Jordan Valley between them lay as yet in pro 
found calm. At 4.30 P.M. a dark brownish 
cloud appeared close down on the plain to 
wards the lake, extending from the northern 
extremity of the Oquirrh Range in a north 
easterly direction as far as the eye could reach. 
Its peculiar color and structure excited our 
attention without enabling us to decide cer 
tainly as to its character, but we were not left 
long in doubt, for hi a few minutes it came 
sweeping over the valley in wild uproar, a 
116 



A GREAT STORM IN UTAH 

torrent of wind thick with sand and dust, 
advancing with a most majestic front, rolling 
and overcombing like a gigantic sea-wave. 
Scarcely was it in plain sight ere it was upon 
us, racing across the Jordan, over the city, and 
up the slopes of the Wahsatch, eclipsing all 
the landscapes hi its course the bending 
trees, the dust streamers, and the wild onrush 
of everything movable giving it an appreciable 
visibility that rendered it grand and inspiring. 

This gale portion of the storm lasted over 
an hour, then down came the blessed rain and 
the snow all through the night and the next 
day, the snow and rain alternating and blending 
in the valley. It is long since I have seen snow 
coming into a city. The crystal flakes falling 
hi the foul streets was a pitiful sight. 

Notwithstanding the vaunted refining influ 
ences of towns, purity of all kinds pure 
hearts, pure streams, pure snow must here 
be exposed to terrible trials. City Creek, com 
ing from its high glacial fountains, enters the 
streets of this Mormon Zion pure as an angel, 
but how does it leave it? Even roses and lilies 
in gardens most loved are tainted with a thou 
sand impurities as soon as they unfold. I heard 
Brigham Young in the Tabernacle the other 
day warning his people that if they did not 
mend their manners angels would not come 

117 



STEEP TRAILS 

into their houses, though perchance they might 
be sauntering by with little else to do than chat 
with them. Possibly there may be Salt Lake 
families sufficiently pure for angel society, but 
I was not pleased with the reception they gave 
the small snow angels that God sent among 
them the other night. Only the children hailed 
them with delight. The old Latter- Days seemed 
to shun them. I should like to see how Mr. 
Young, the Lake Prophet, would meet such 
messengers. 

But to return to the storm. Toward the even 
ing of the 18th it began to wither. The snowy 
skirts of the Wahsatch Mountains appeared 
beneath the lifting fringes of the clouds, and 
the sun shone out through colored windows, 
producing one of the most glorious after-storm 
effects I ever witnessed. Looking across the 
Jordan, the gray sagey slopes from the base of 
the Oquirrh Mountains were covered with a 
thick, plushy cloth of gold, soft and ethereal 
as a cloud, not merely tinted and gilded like a 
rock with autumn sunshine, but deeply muffled 
beyond recognition. Surely nothing in heaven, 
nor any mansion of the Lord in all his worlds, 
could be more gloriously carpeted. Other por 
tions of the plain were flushed with red and 
purple, and all the mountains and the clouds 
above them were painted in corresponding 
118 



A GREAT STORM IN UTAH 

loveliness. Earth and sky, round and round 
the entire landscape, was one ravishing reve 
lation of color, infinitely varied and inter- 
blended. 

I have seen many a glorious sunset beneath 
lifting storm-clouds on the mountains, but 
nothing comparable with this. I felt as if new- 
arrived in some other far-off world. The moun 
tains, the plains, the sky, all seemed new. 
Other experiences seemed but to have prepared 
me for this, as souls are prepared for heaven. 
To describe the colors on a single mountain 
would, if it were possible at all, require many 
a volume purples, and yellows, and deli 
cious pearly grays divinely toned and inter- 
blended, and so richly put on one seemed to be 
looking down through the ground as through a 
sky. The disbanding clouds lingered lovingly 
about the mountains, filling the canons like 
tinted wool, rising and drooping around the 
topmost peaks, fondling their rugged bases, or, 
sailing alongside, trailed their lustrous fringes 
through the pines as if taking a last view of 
their accomplished work. Then came dark 
ness, and the glorious day was done. 

This afternoon the Utah mountains and val 
leys seem to belong to our own very world 
again. They are covered with common sun 
shine. Down here on the banks of the Jordan, 

119 



STEEP TRAILS 

larks and redwings are swinging on the rushes; 
the balmy air is instinct with immortal life; 
the wild flowers, the grass, and the farmers 
grain are fresh as if, like the snow, they had 
come out of heaven, and the last of the angel 
clouds are fleeing from the mountains. 



VIII 

BATHING IN SALT LAKE 1 

WHEN the north wind blows, bathing in Salt 
Lake is a glorious baptism, for then it is all 
wildly awake with waves, blooming like a 
prairie in snowy crystal foam. Plunging con 
fidently into the midst of the grand uproar you 
are hugged and welcomed, and swim without 
effort, rocking and heaving up and down, hi 
delightful rhythm, while the winds sing in 
chorus and the cool, fragrant brine searches 
every fiber of your body; and at length you 
are tossed ashore with a glad Godspeed, braced 
and salted and clean as a saint. 

The nearest point on the shore-line is dis 
tant about ten miles from Salt Lake City, and 
is almost inaccessible on account of the boggy 
character of the ground, but, by taking the 
Western Utah Railroad, at a distance of twenty 
miles you reach what is called Lake Point, 
where the shore is gravelly and wholesome and 
abounds in fine retreating bays that seem to 
have been made on purpose for bathing. Here 
the northern peaks of the Oquirrh Range plant 

1 Letter dated "Lake Point, Utah, May 20, 1877." [Ed 
itor.] 

121 



STEEP TRAILS 

their feet in the clear blue brine, with fine 
curving insteps, leaving no space for muddy 
levels. The crystal brightness of the water, the 
wild flowers, and the lovely mountain scenery 
make this a favorite summer resort for pleas 
ure and health seekers. Numerous excursion 
trains are run from the city, and parties, some 
of them numbering upwards of a thousand, 
come to bathe, and dance, and roam the flow 
ery hillsides together. 

But at the time of my first visit in May, I 
fortunately found myself alone. The hotel and 
bathhouse, which form the chief improvements 
of the place, were sleeping in winter silence, 
notwithstanding the year was in full bloom. 
It was one of those genial sun-days when 
flowers and flies come thronging to the light, 
and birds sing their best. The mountain-ranges, 
stretching majestically north and south, were 
piled with pearly cumuli, the sky overhead was 
pure azure, and the wind-swept lake was all 
aroll and aroar with whitecaps. 

I sauntered along the shore until I came to 
a sequestered cove, where buttercups and wild 
peas were blooming close down to the limit 
reached by the waves. Here, I thought, is just 
the place for a bath; but the breakers seemed 
terribly boisterous and forbidding as they came 
rolling up the beach, or dashed white against 

122 



BATHING IN SALT LAKE 

the rocks that bounded the cove on the east. 
The outer ranks, ever broken, ever builded, 
formed a magnificent rampart, sculptured and 
corniced like the hanging wall of a bergschrund, 
and appeared hopelessly insurmountable, how 
ever easily one might ride the swelling waves 
beyond. I feasted awhile on their beauty, 
watching their coming in from afar like faith 
ful messengers, to tell their stories one by one; 
then I turned reluctantly away, to botanize 
and wait a calm. But the calm did not come 
that day, nor did I wait long. In an hour or 
two I was back again to the same little cove. 
The waves still sang the old storm song, and 
rose in high crystal walls, seemingly hard 
enough to be cut in sections, like ice. 

Without any definite determination I found 
myself undressed, as if some one else had taken 
me in hand; and while one of the largest waves 
was ringing out its message and spending itself 
on the beach, I ran out with open arms to the 
next, ducked beneath its breaking top, and got 
myself into right lusty relationship with the 
brave old lake. Away I sped in free, glad mo 
tion, as if, like a fish, I had been afloat all my 
life, now low out of sight in the smooth, glassy 
valleys, now bounding aloft on firm combing 
crests, while the crystal foam beat against my 
breast with keen, crisp clashing, as if composed 

123 



STEEP TRAILS 

of pure salt. I bowed to every wave, and each 
lifted me right royally to its shoulders, almost 
setting me erect on my feet, while they all went 
speeding by like living creatures, blooming and 
rejoicing in the brightness of the day, and 
chanting the history of their grand mountain 
home. 

A good deal of nonsense has been written 
concerning the difficulty of swimming in this 
heavy water. "One s head would go down, 
and heels come up, and the acrid brine would 
burn like fire." I was conscious only of a joy 
ous exhilaration, my limbs seemingly heeding 
their own business, without any discomfort or 
confusion; so much so, that without previous 
knowledge my experience on this occasion 
would not have led me to detect anything 
peculiar. In calm weather, however, the sus 
taining power of the water might probably be 
more marked. This was by far the most excit 
ing and effective wave excursion I ever made 
this side of the Rocky Mountains; and when 
at its close I was heaved ashore among the 
sunny grasses and flowers, I found myself a 
new creature indeed, and went bounding along 
the beach with blood all aglow, reinforced by 
the best salts of the mountains, and ready for 
any race. 

Since the completion of the transcontinental 

124 



BATHING IN SALT LAKE 

and Utah railways, this magnificent lake in 
the heart of the continent has become as acces 
sible as any watering-place on either coast; and 
I am sure that thousands of travelers, sick and 
well, would throng its shores every summer 
were its merits but half known. Lake Point is 
only an hour or two from the city, and has hotel 
accommodations and a steamboat for excur 
sions; and then, besides the bracing waters, 
the climate is delightful. The mountains rise 
into the cool sky furrowed with canons almost 
yosemitic in grandeur, and filled with a glori 
ous profusion of flowers and trees. Lovers of 
science, lovers of wildness, lovers of pure rest 
will find here more than they may hope for. 

As for the Mormons one meets, however 
their doctrines be regarded, they will be found 
as rich in human kindness as any people in all 
our broad land, while the dark memories that 
cloud their earlier history will vanish from the 
mind as completely as when we bathe hi the 
fountain azure of the Sierra. 



IX 

MORMON LILIES 1 

LILIES are rare in Utah; so also are their 
companions the ferns and orchids, chiefly on 
account of the fiery saltness of the soil and cli 
mate. You may walk the deserts of the Great 
Basin in the bloom time of the year, all the way 
across from the snowy Sierra to the snowy 
Wahsatch, and your eyes will be filled with 
many a gay malva, and poppy, and abronia, 
and cactus, but you may not see a single true 
lily, and only a very few liliaceous plants of 
any kind. Not even in the cool, fresh glens of 
the mountains will you find these favorite 
flowers, though some of these desert ranges 
almost rival the Sierra in height. Neverthe 
less, in the building and planting of this grand 
Territory the lilies were not forgotten. Far 
back in the dim geologic ages, when the sedi 
ments of the old seas were being gathered and 
outspread in smooth sheets like leaves of a 
book, and when these sediments became dry 
land, and were baked and crumbled into the 
sky as mountain-ranges; when the lava-floods 
of the Fire Period were being lavishly poured 

i Letter dated Salt Lake, July, 1877." [Editor.] 
126 



MORMON LILIES 

forth from innumerable rifts and craters; when 
the ice of the Glacial Period was laid like a 
mantle over every mountain and valley 
throughout all these immensely protracted 
periods, in the throng of these majestic opera 
tions, Nature kept her flower children in mind. 
She considered the lilies, and, while planting 
the plains with sage and the hills with cedar, 
she has covered at least one mountain with 
golden erythroniums and fritillarias as its 
crowning glory, as if willing to show what she 
could do in the lily line even here. 

Looking southward from the south end of 
Salt Lake, the two northmost peaks of the 
Oquirrh Range are seen swelling calmly into 
the cool sky without any marked character, 
excepting only their snow crowns, and a few 
small weedy-looking patches of spruce and fir, 
the simplicity of their slopes preventing their 
real loftiness from being appreciated. Gray, 
sagey plains circle around their bases, and up 
to a height of a thousand feet or more their 
sides are tinged with purple, which I after 
wards found is produced by a close growth of 
dwarf oak just coming into leaf. Higher you 
may detect faint tintings of green on a gray 
ground, from young grasses and sedges; then 
come the dark pine woods filling glacial hol 
lows, and over all the smooth crown of snow. 

127 



STEEP TRAILS 

While standing at their feet, the other day, 
shortly after my memorable excursion among 
the salt waves of the lake, I said: "Now I shall 
have another baptism. I will bathe in the high 
sky, among cool wind-waves from the snow/ 
From the more southerly of the two peaks a 
long ridge comes down, bent like a bow, one 
end in the hot plains, the other in the snow of 
the summit. After carefully scanning the jag 
ged towers and battlements with which it is 
roughened, I determined to make it my way, 
though it presented but a feeble advertisement 
of its floral wealth. This apparent barrenness, 
however, made no great objection just then, 
for I was scarce hoping for flowers, old or new, 
or even for fine scenery. I wanted in particular 
to learn what the Oquirrh rocks were made of, 
what trees composed the curious patches of 
forest; and, perhaps more than all, I was ani 
mated by a mountaineer s eagerness to get my 
feet into the snow once more, and my head 
into the clear sky, after lying dormant all 
winter at the level of the sea. 

But in every walk with Nature one receives 
far more than he seeks. I had not gone more 
than a mile from Lake Point ere I found the 
way profusely decked with flowers, mostly 
composite and purple leguminosae, a hundred 
corollas or more to the square yard, with a 

128 



MORMON LILIES 

corresponding abundance of winged blossoms 
above them, moths and butterflies, the legu- 
minosse of the insect kingdom. This floweriness 
is maintained with delightful variety all the 
way up through rocks and bushes to the snow 
violets, lilies, gilias, cenotheras, wallflowers, 
ivesias, saxifrages, smilax, and miles of bloom 
ing bushes, chiefly azalea, honeysuckle, brier 
rose, buckthorn, and eriogonum, all meeting 
and blending in divine accord. 

Two liliaceous plants in particular, Erythro- 
nium grandiflorum and Fritillaria pudica, are 
marvelously beautiful and abundant. Never 
before, in all my walks, have I met so glorious 
a throng of these fine showy liliaceous plants. 
The whole mountain-side was aglow with 
them, from a height of fifty-five hundred feet 
to the very edge of the snow. Although re 
markably fragile, both in form and in substance, 
they are endowed with plenty of deep-seated 
vitality, enabling them to grow in all kinds of 
places down in leafy glens, in the lee of wind- 
beaten ledges, and beneath the brushy tangles 
of azalea, and oak, and prickly roses every 
where forming the crowning glory of the flow 
ers. If the neighboring mountains are as rich 
hi lilies, then this may well be called the Lily 
Range. 

After climbing about a thousand feet above 

129 



STEEP TRAILS 

the plain I came to a picturesque mass of rock, 
cropping up through the underbrush on one of 
the steepest slopes of the mountain. After 
examining some tufts of grass and saxifrage 
that were growing in its fissured surface, I was 
going to pass it by on the upper side, where the 
bushes were more open, but a company com 
posed of the two lilies I have mentioned were 
blooming on the lower side, and though they 
were as yet out of sight, I suddenly changed 
my mind and went down to meet them, as if 
attracted by the ringing of their bells. They 
were growing in a small, nestlike opening be 
tween the rock and the bushes, and both the 
erythronium and the fritillaria were in full 
flower. These were the first of the species I 
had seen, and I need not try to tell the joy 
they made. They are both lowly plants, 
lowly as violets, the tallest seldom exceed 
ing six inches in height, so that the most 
searching winds that sweep the mountains 
scarce reach low enough to shake their bells. 
The fritillaria has five or six linear, obtuse 
leaves, put on irregularly near the bottom of 
the stem, which is usually terminated by one 
large bell-shaped flower; but its more beautiful 
companion, the erythronium, has two radical 
leaves only, which are large and oval, and shine 
like glass. They extend horizontally in oppo- 

130 



MORMON LILIES 

site directions, and form a beautiful glossy 
ground, over which the one large down-looking 
flower is swung from a simple stem, the petals 
being strongly recurved, like those of Lilium 
superbum. Occasionally a specimen is met 
which has from two to five flowers hung in a 
loose panicle. People oftentimes travel far to 
see curious plants like the carnivorous darling- 
tonia, the fly-catcher, the walking fern, etc. I 
hardly know how the little bells I have been 
describing would be regarded by seekers of this 
class, but every true flower-lover who comes to 
consider these Utah lilies will surely be well 
rewarded, however long the way. 

Pushing on up the rugged slopes, I found 
many delightful seclusions moist nooks at 
the foot of cliffs, and lilies in every one of 
them, not growing close together like daisies, 
but well apart, with plenty of room for their 
bells to swing free and ring. I found hundreds 
of them in full bloom within two feet of the 
snow. In winter only the bulbs are alive, 
sleeping deep beneath the ground, like field 
mice in their nests; then the snow-flowers fall 
above them, lilies over lilies, until the spring 
winds blow, and these winter lilies wither in 
turn; then the hiding erythroniums and fritil- 
larias rise again, responsive to the first touches 
of the sun. 

131 



STEEP TRAILS 

I noticed the tracks of deer in many placet 
among the lily gardens, and at the height o) 
about seven thousand feet I came upon the 
fresh trail of a flock of wild sheep, showing 
that these fine mountaineers still flourish here 
above the range of Mormon rifles. In the plant 
ing of her wild gardens, Nature takes the feet 
and teeth of her flocks into account, and makes 
use of them to trim and cultivate, and keep 
them in order, as the bark and buds of the 
tree are tended by woodpeckers and linnets. 

The evergreen woods consist, as far as I 
observed, of two species, a spruce and a fir, 
standing close together, erect and arrowy hi a 
thrifty, compact growth; but they are quite 
small, say from six to twelve or fourteen inches 
in diameter, and about forty feet in height. 
Among their giant relatives of the Sierra the 
very largest would seem mere saplings. A con 
siderable portion of the south side of the moun 
tain is planted with a species of aspen, called 
" quaking asp" by the wood-choppers. It 
seems to be quite abundant on many of the 
eastern mountains of the basin, and forms a 
marked feature of their upper forests. 

Wading up the curves of the summit was 
rather toilsome, for the snow, which was soft 
ened by the blazing sun, was from ten to 
twenty feet deep, but the view was one of the 

132 



MORMON LILIES 

most impressively sublime I ever beheld. 
Snowy, ice-sculptured ranges bounded the 
horizon all around, while the great lake, eighty 
miles long and fifty miles wide, lay fully re 
vealed beneath a lily sky. The shore-lines, 
marked by a ribbon of white sand, were seen 
sweeping around many a bay and promon 
tory in elegant curves, and picturesque islands 
rising to mountain heights, and some of them 
capped with pearly cumuli. And the wide 
prairie of water glowing in the gold and purple 
of evening presented all the colors that tint the 
lips of shells and the petals of lilies the most 
beautiful lake this side of the Rocky Moun 
tains. Utah Lake, lying thirty-five miles to 
the south, was in full sight also, and the river 
Jordan, which links the two together, may be 
traced in silvery gleams throughout its whole 
course. 

Descending the mountain, I followed the 
windings of the main central glen on the north, 
gathering specimens of the cones and sprays 
of the evergreens, and most of the other new 
plants I had met; but the lilies formed the 
crowning glory of my bouquet the grandest 
I had carried in many a day. I reached the 
hotel on the lake about dusk with all my fresh 
riches, and my first mountain ramble in Utah 
was accomplished. On my way back to the 
133 



STEEP TRAILS 

city, the next day, I met a grave old Mormon 
with whom I had previously held some Latter- 
Day discussions. I shook my big handful of 
lilies in his face and shouted, "Here are the 
true saints, ancient and Latter-Day, enduring 
forever !" After he had recovered from his 
astonishment he said, "They are nice." 

The other liliaceous plants I have met in 
Utah are two species of zigadenas, Fritillaria 
atropurpurea, Calochortus Nuttallii, and three 
or four handsome alliums. One of these lilies, 
the calochortus, several species of which are 
well known in California as the "Mariposa 
tulips," has received great consideration at the 
hands of the Mormons, for to it hundreds of 
them owe their lives. During the famine years 
between 1853 and 1858, great destitution pre 
vailed, especially in the southern settlements, 
on account of drouth and grasshoppers, and 
throughout one hunger winter in particular, 
thousands of the people subsisted chiefly on 
the bulbs of these tulips, called "sego" by the 
Indians, who taught them its use. 

Liliaceous women and girls are rare among 
the Mormons. They have seen too much hard, 
repressive toil to admit of the development of 
lily beauty either in form or color. In general 
they are thickset, with large feet and hands, 
and with sun-browned faces, often curiously 

134 




Ij 

o " 
(2 



MORMON LILIES 

freckled like the petals of Fritillaria atropur- 
purea. They are fruit rather than flower 
good brown bread. But down in the San Pitch 
Valley at Gunnison, I discovered a genuine 
lily, happily named Lily Young. She is a 
granddaughter of Brigham Young, slender and 
graceful, with lily-white cheeks tinted with 
clear rose. She was brought up in the old Salt 
Lake Zion House, but by some strange chance 
has been transplanted to this wilderness, where 
she blooms alone, the "Lily of San Pitch. f 
Pitch is an old Indian, who, I suppose, pitched 
into the settlers and thus acquired fame enough 
to give name to the valley. Here I feel uneasy 
about the name of this lily, for the compositors 
have a perverse trick of making me say all 
kinds of absurd things wholly unwarranted by 
plain copy, and I fear that the "Lily of San 
Pitch" will appear in print as the widow of Sam 
Patch. But, however this may be, among my 
memories of this strange land, that Oquirrh 
mountain, with its golden lilies, will ever rise 
in clear relief, and associated with them will 
always be the Mormon lily of San Pitch. 



THE SAN GABEIEL VALLEY l 

THE sun valley of San Gabriel is one of the 
brightest spots to be found in all our bright 
land, and most of its brightness is wildness 
wild south sunshine in a basin rimmed about 
with mountains and hills. Cultivation is not 
wholly wanting, for here are the choicest of all 
the Los Angeles orange groves, but its glorious 
abundance of ripe sun and soil is only beginning 
to be coined into fruit. The drowsy bits of 
cultivation accomplished by the old mission 
aries and the more recent efforts of restless 
Americans are scarce as yet visible, and when 
comprehended in general views form nothing 
more than mere freckles on the smooth brown 
bosom of the Valley. 

I entered the sunny south half a month ago, 
coming down along the cool sea, and landing 
at Santa Monica. An hour s ride over stretches 
of bare, brown plain, and through cornfields 
and orange groves, brought me to the hand 
some, conceited little town of Los Angeles, 
where one finds Spanish adobes and Yankee 
shingles meeting and overlapping in very curi- 

1 Letter dated "September 1, 1877." [Editor.] 
136 



THE SAN GABRIEL VALLEY 

ous antagonism. I believe there are some 
fifteen thousand people here, and some of their 
buildings are rather fine, but the gardens and 
the sky interested me more. A palm is seen 
here and there poising its royal crown in the 
rich light, and the banana, with its magnificent 
ribbon leaves, producing a marked tropical 
effect not semi-tropical, as they are so fond 
of saying here, while speaking of their fruits. 
Nothing I have noticed strikes me as semi, save 
the brusque little bits of civilization with which 
the wilderness is checkered. These are semi- 
barbarous or less; everything else in the region 
has a most exuberant pronounced wholeness. 
The city held me but a short time, for the San 
Gabriel Mountains were in sight, advertising 
themselves grandly along the northern sky, 
and I was eager to make my way into their 
midst. 

At Pasadena I had the rare good fortune to 
meet my old friend Doctor Congar, with whom 
I had studied chemistry and mathematics 
fifteen years ago. He exalted San Gabriel above 
all other inhabitable valleys, old and new, 
on the face of the globe. "I have rambled," 
said he, "ever since we left college, tasting 
innumerable climates, and trying the advan 
tages offered by nearly every new State and 
Territory. Here I have made my home, and 
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STEEP TRAILS 

here I shall stay while I live. The geographical 
position is exactly right, soil and climate per 
fect, and everything that heart can wish comes 
to our efforts flowers, fruits, milk and honey, 
and plenty of money. And there," he con 
tinued, pointing just beyond his own precious 
possessions, "is a block of land that is for sale; 
buy it and be my neighbor; plant five acres 
with orange trees, and by the time your last 
mountain is climbed their fruit will be your 
fortune." He then led me down the valley, 
through the few famous old groves in full bear 
ing, and on the estate of Mr. Wilson showed 
me a ten-acre grove eighteen years old, the 
last year s crop from which was sold for twenty 
thousand dollars. " There," said he, with tri 
umphant enthusiasm, "what do you think of 
that? Two thousand dollars per acre per 
annum for land worth only one hundred 
dollars." 

The number of orange trees planted to the 
acre is usually from forty-nine to sixty-nine; 
they then stand from twenty-five to thirty 
feet apart each way, and, thus planted, thrive 
and continue fruitful to a comparatively great 
age. J. DeBarth Shorb, an enthusiastic believer 
in Los Angeles and oranges, says, "We have 
trees on our property fully forty years old, 
and eighteen inches in diameter, that are still 

138 



THE SAN GABRIEL VALLEY 

vigorous and yielding immense crops of fruit, 
although they are only twenty feet apart." 
Seedlings are said to begin to bear remunera 
tive crops in their tenth year, but by superior 
cultivation this long unproductive period may 
be somewhat lessened, while trees from three 
to five years old may be purchased from the 
nurserymen, so that the newcomer who sets 
out an orchard may begin to gather fruit by 
the fifth or sixth year. When first set out, and 
for some years afterward, the trees are irri 
gated by making rings of earth around them, 
which are connected with small ditches, 
through which the water is distributed to each 
tree. Or, where the ground is nearly level, the 
whole surface is flooded from time to time as 
required. From 309 trees, twelve years old 
from the seed, DeBarth Shorb says that in the 
season of 1874 he obtained an average of $20.50 
per tree, or $1435 per acre, over and above cost 
of transportation to San Francisco, commission 
on sales, etc. He considers $1000 per acre 
a fair average at present prices, after the trees 
have reached the age of twelve years. The 
average price throughout the county for the 
last five years has been about $20 or $25 per 
thousand; and, inasmuch as the area adapted 
to orange culture is limited, it is hoped that 
this price may not greatly fall for many years. 

139 



STEEP TRAILS 

The lemon and lime are also cultivated here 
to some extent, and considerable attention is 
now being given to the Florida banana, and 
the olive, almond, and English walnut. But 
the orange interest heavily overshadows every 
other, while vines have of late years been so 
unremunerative they are seldom mentioned. 

This is preeminently a fruit land, but the 
fame of its productions has in some way far 
outrun the results that have as yet been 
attained. Experiments have been tried, and 
good beginnings made, but the number of 
really valuable, well-established groves is 
scarce as one to fifty, compared with the newly 
planted. Many causes, however, have com 
bined of late to give the business a wonderful 
impetus, and new orchards are being made 
every day, while the few old groves, aglow 
with golden fruit, are the burning and shining 
lights that direct and energize the sanguine 
newcomers. 

After witnessing the bad effect of homeless- 
ness, developed to so destructive an extent in 
California, it would reassure every lover of his 
race to see the hearty home-building going on 
here and the blessed contentment that natu 
rally follows it. Travel- worn pioneers, who 
have been tossed about like boulders in flood- 
time, are thronging hither as to a kind of ter- 

140 



THE SAN GABRIEL VALLEY 

restrial heaven, resolved to rest. They build, 
and plant, and settle, and so come under nat 
ural influences. When a man plants a tree he 
plants himself. Every root is an anchor, over 
which he rests with grateful interest, and be 
comes sufficiently calm to feel the joy of living. 
He necessarily makes the acquaintance of the 
sun and the sky. Favorite trees fill his mind, 
and, while tending them like children, and 
accepting the benefits they bring, he becomes 
himself a benefactor. He sees down through 
the brown common ground teeming with col 
ored fruits, as if it were transparent, and learns 
to bring them to the surface. What he wills 
he can raise by true enchantment. With slips 
and rootlets, his magic wands, they appear at 
his bidding. These, and the seeds he plants, 
are his prayers, and, by them brought into 
right relations with God, he works grander 
miracles every day than ever were written. 

The Pasadena Colony, located on the south 
west corner of the well-known San Pasqual 
Rancho, is scarce three years old, but it is 
growing rapidly, like a pet tree, and already 
forms one of the best contributions to culture 
yet accomplished in the county. It now num 
bers about sixty families, mostly drawn from 
the better class of vagabond pioneers, who, 
during their rolling-stone days have managed 

141 



STEEP TRAILS 

to gather sufficient gold moss to purchase from 
ten to forty acres of land. They are perfectly 
hilarious in their newly found life, work like 
ants in a sunny noonday, and, looking far 
into the future, hopefully count their orange 
chicks ten years or more before they are 
hatched; supporting themselves in the mean 
time on the produce of a few acres of alfalfa, 
together with garden vegetables and the quick- 
growing fruits, such as figs, grapes, apples, etc., 
the whole reinforced by the remaining dollars 
of their land purchase money. There is nothing 
more remarkable in the character of the colony 
than the literary and scientific taste displayed. 
The conversation of most I have met here is sea 
soned with a smack of mental ozone, Attic salt, 
which struck me as being rare among the tillers 
of California soil. People of taste and money 
in search of a home would do well to prospect 
the resources of this aristocratic little colony. 
If we look now at these southern valleys in 
general, it will appear at once that with all 
their advantages they lie beyond the reach of 
poor settlers, not only on account of the high 
price of irrigable land one hundred dollars 
per acre and upwards but because of the 
scarcity of labor. A settler with three or four 
thousand dollars would be penniless after 
paying for twenty acres of orange land and 

142 



THE SAN GABRIEL VALLEY 

building ever so plain a house, while many 
years would go by ere his trees yielded an 
income adequate to the maintenance of his 
family. 

Nor is there anything sufficiently reviving 
in the fine climate to form a reliable induce 
ment for very sick people. Most of this class, 
from all I can learn, come here only to die, and 
surely it is better to die comfortably at home, 
avoiding the thousand discomforts of travel, 
at a time when they are so hard to bear. It is 
indeed pitiful to see so many invalids, already 
on the verge of the grave, making a painful 
way to quack climates, hoping to change age 
to youth, and the darkening twilight of their 
day to morning. No such health-fountain has 
been found, and this climate, fine as it is, 
seems, like most others, to be adapted for well 
people only. From all I could find out regard 
ing its influence upon patients suffering from 
pulmonary difficulties, it is seldom beneficial 
to any great extent in advanced cases. The 
cold sea-winds are less fatal to this class of 
sufferers than the corresponding winds further 
north, but, notwithstanding they are tempered 
on their passage inland over warm, dry ground, 
they are still more or less injurious. 

The summer climate of the fir and pine woods 
of the Sierra Nevada would, I think, be found 

143 



STEEP TRAILS 

infinitely more reviving; but because these 
woods have not been advertised like patent 
medicines, few seem to think of the spicy, vivi 
fying influences that pervade their fountain 
freshness and beauty. 



XI 

THE SAN GABRIEL MOUNTAINS 1 

AFTER saying so much for human culture in 
my last, perhaps I may now be allowed a word 
for wildness the wildness of this southland, 
pure and untamable as the sea. 

In the mountains of San Gabriel, overlook 
ing the lowland vines and fruit groves, Mother 
Nature is most ruggedly, thornily savage. Not 
even in the Sierra have I ever made the ac 
quaintance of mountains more rigidly inac 
cessible. The slopes are exceptionally steep 
and insecure to the foot of the explorer, how 
ever great his strength or skill may be, but 
thorny chaparral constitutes their chief de 
fense. With the exception of little park and 
garden spots not visible in comprehensive 
views, the entire surface is covered with it, 
from the highest peaks to the plain. It swoops 
into every hollow and swells over every ridge, 
gracefully complying with the varied topog 
raphy, in shaggy, ungovernable exuberance, 
fairly dwarfing the utmost efforts of human 
culture out of sight and mind. 

1 Letter written during the first week of September, 1877. 
[Editor.] 

145 



STEEP TRAILS 

But in the very heart of this thorny wilder 
ness, down in the dells, you may find gardens 
filled with the fairest flowers, that any child 
would love, and unapproachable linns lined 
with lilies and ferns, where the ousel builds its 
mossy hut and sings in chorus with the white 
falling water. Bears, also, and panthers, wolves, 
wildcats, wood rats, squirrels, foxes, snakes, 
and innumerable birds, all find grateful homes 
here, adding wildness to wildness in glorious 
profusion and variety. 

Where the coast ranges and the Sierra 
Nevada come together we find a very compli 
cated system of short ranges, the geology and 
topography of which is yet hidden, and many 
years of laborious study must be given for 
anything like a complete interpretation of 
them. The San Gabriel is one or more of these 
ranges, forty or fifty miles long, and half as 
broad, extending from the Cajon Pass on the 
east, to the Santa Monica and Santa Susanna 
ranges on the west. San Antonio, the domi 
nating peak, rises towards the eastern extrem 
ity of the range to a height of about six thou 
sand feet, forming a sure landmark throughout 
the valley and all the way down to the coast, 
without, however, possessing much striking 
individuality. The whole range, seen from the 
plain, with the hot sun beating upon its south- 

146 



THE SAN GABRIEL MOUNTAINS 

ern slopes, wears a terribly forbidding aspect. 
There is nothing of the grandeur of snow, or 
glaciers, or deep forests, to excite curiosity or 
adventure; no trace of gardens or waterfalls. 
From base to summit all seems gray, barren, 
silent dead, bleached bones of mountains, 
overgrown with scrubby bushes, like gray 
moss. But all mountains are full of hidden 
beauty, and the next day after my arrival at 
Pasadena I supplied myself with bread and 
eagerly set out to give myself to their keeping. 
On the first day of my excursion I went only 
as far as the mouth of Eaton Canon, because 
the heat was oppressive, and a pair of new 
shoes were chafing my feet to such an extent 
that walking began to be painful. While look 
ing for a camping-ground among the boulder 
beds of the canon, I came upon a strange, dark 
man of doubtful parentage. He kindly invited 
me to camp with him, and led me to his little 
hut. All my conjectures as to his nationality 
failed, and no wonder, since his father was 
Irish and mother Spanish, a mixture not often 
met even in California. He happened to be 
out of candles, so we sat in the dark while he 
gave me a sketch of his life, which was exceed 
ingly picturesque. Then he showed me his 
plans for the future. He was going to settle 
among these canon boulders, and make money, 

147 



STEEP TRAILS 

and marry a Spanish woman. People mine for 
irrigating water along the foothills as for gold. 
He is now driving a prospecting tunnel into a 
spur of the mountains back of his cabin. "My 
prospect is good," he said, "and if I strike a 
strong flow, I shall soon be worth five or ten 
thousand dollars. That flat out there," he 
continued, referring to a small, irregular patch 
of gravelly detritus that had been sorted out 
and deposited by Eaton Creek during some 
flood season, "is large enough for a nice orange 
grove, and, after watering my own trees, I can 
sell water down the valley; and then the hill 
side back of the cabin will do for vines, and I 
can keep bees, for the white sage and black 
sage up the mountains is full of honey. You 
see, I ve got a good thing." All this prospec 
tive affluence in the sunken, boulder-choked 
flood-bed of Eaton Creek! Most home-seekers 
would as soon think of settling on the summit 
of San Antonio. 

Half an hour s easy rambling up the canon 
brought me to the foot of "The Fall," famous 
throughout the valley settlements as the finest 
yet discovered in the range. It is a charming 
little thing, with a voice sweet as a songbird s, 
leaping some thirty-five or forty feet into a 
round, mirror pool. The cliff back of it and on 
both sides is completely covered with thick, 
148 



THE SAN GABRIEL MOUNTAINS 

furry mosses, and the white fall shines against 
the green like a silver instrument in a velvet 
case. Here come the Gabriel lads and lassies 
from the commonplace orange groves, to make 
love and gather ferns and dabble away their 
hot holidays hi the cool pool. They are fortu 
nate in finding so fresh a retreat so near their 
homes. It is the Yosemite of San Gabriel. The 
walls, though not of the true Yosemite type 
either in form or sculpture, rise to a height of 
nearly two thousand feet. Ferns are abundant 
on all the rocks within reach of the spray, and 
picturesque maples and sycamores spread a 
grateful shade over a rich profusion of wild 
flowers that grow among the boulders, from 
the edge of the pool a mile or more down the 
dell-like bottom of the valley, the whole form 
ing a charming little poem of wildness the 
vestibule of these shaggy mountain temples. 

The foot of the fall is about a thousand feet 
above the level of the sea, and here climbing 
begins. I made my way out of the valley on 
the west side, followed the ridge that forms the 
western rim of the Eaton Basin to the summit 
of one of the principal peaks, thence crossed 
the middle of the basin, forcing a way over its 
many subordinate ridges, and out over the 
eastern rim, and from first to last during three 
days spent in this excursion, I had to con- 

149 



STEEP TRAILS 

tend with the richest, most self-possessed and 
uncompromising chaparral I have ever enjoyed 
since first my mountaineering began. 

For a hundred feet or so the ascent was prac 
ticable only by means of bosses of the club moss 
that clings to the rock. Above this the ridge is 
weathered away to a slender knife-edge for a 
distance of two or three hundred yards, and 
thence to the summit it is a bristly mane of 
chaparral. Here and there small openings 
occur, commanding grand views of the valley 
and beyond to the ocean. These are favorite 
outlooks and resting-places for the wild ani 
mals, in particular for bears, wolves, and wild 
cats. In the densest places I came upon wood- 
rat villages whose huts were from four to eight 
feet high, built hi the same style of architec 
ture as those of the muskrats. 

The day was nearly done. I reached the 
summit and I had tune to make only a hasty 
survey of the topography of the wild basin 
now outspread maplike beneath, and to drink 
in the rare loveliness of the sunlight before 
hastening down in search of water. Pushing 
through another mile of chaparral, I emerged 
into one of the most beautiful parklike groves 
of live oak I ever saw. The ground beneath 
was planted only with aspidiums and brier 
roses. At the foot of the grove I came to the 

150 



THE SAN GABRIEL MOUNTAINS 

dry channel of one of the tributary streams, 
but, following it down a short distance, I de 
scried a few specimens of the scarlet mimulus; 
and I was assured that water was near. I found 
about a bucketful in a granite bowl, but it 
was full of leaves and beetles, making a sort 
of brown coffee that could be rendered avail 
able only by filtering it through sand and 
charcoal. This I resolved to do in case the 
night came on before I found better. Follow 
ing the channel a mile farther down to its con 
fluence with another, larger tributary, I found 
a lot of boulder pools, clear as crystal, and 
brimming full, linked together by little glis 
tening currents just strong enough to sing. 
Flowers in full bloom adorned the banks, lilies 
ten feet high, and luxuriant ferns arching over 
one another in lavish abundance, while a noble 
old live oak spread its rugged boughs over all, 
forming one of the most perfect and most 
secluded of Nature s gardens. Here I camped, 
making my bed on smooth cobblestones. 

Next morning, pushing up the channel of 
a tributary that takes its rise on Mount San 
Antonio, I passed many lovely gardens watered 
by oozing currentlets, every one of which had 
lilies in them in the full pomp of bloom, and a 
rich growth of ferns, chiefly woodwardias and 
aspidiums and maidenhairs; but toward the 

151 



STEEP TRAILS 

base of the mountain the channel was dry, and 
the chaparral closed over from bank to bank, 
so that I was compelled to creep more than a 
mile on hands and knees. 

In one spot I found an opening in the thorny 
sky where I could stand erect, and on the 
further side of the opening discovered a small 
pool. "Now, here" I said, "I must be careful 
in creeping, for the birds of the neighborhood 
come here to drink, and the rattlesnakes come 
here to catch them." I then began to cast my 
eye along the channel, perhaps instinctively 
feeling a snaky atmosphere, and finally dis 
covered one rattler between my feet. But there 
was a bashful look in his eye, and a withdraw 
ing, deprecating kink in his neck that showed 
plainly as words could tell that he would not 
strike, and only wished to be let alone. I there 
fore passed on, lifting my foot a little higher 
than usual, and left him to enjoy his life in this 
his own home. 

My next camp was near the heart of the basin, 
at the head of a grand system of cascades from 
ten to two hundred feet high, one following 
the other in close succession and making a total 
descent of nearly seventeen hundred feet. The 
rocks above me leaned over in a threatening 
way and were full of seams, making the camp 
a very unsafe one during an earthquake. 

152 



THE SAN GABRIEL MOUNTAINS 

Next day the chaparral, in ascending the 
eastern rim of the basin, was, if possible, denser 
and more stubbornly bayoneted than ever. I 
followed bear trails, where in some places I 
found tufts of their hair that had been pulled 
out in squeezing a way through; but there was 
much of a very interesting character that far 
overpaid all my pains. Most of the plants are 
identical with those of the Sierra, but there are 
quite a number of Mexican species. One conif 
erous tree was all I found. This is a spruce of 
a species new to me, Douglasii macrocarpa. 1 

My last camp was down at the narrow, 
notched bottom of a dry channel, the only 
open way for the life in the neighborhood. 
I therefore lay between two fires, built to fence 
out snakes and wolves. 

From the summit of the eastern run I had a 
glorious view of the valley out to the ocean, 
which would require a whole book for its de 
scription. My bread gave out a day before 
reaching the settlements, but I felt all the 
fresher and clearer for the fast. 

1 [The spruce, or hemlock, then known as Abies Douglasii 
var. macrocarpa is now called Pseudotsuga macrocarpa.] 



XII 



NEVADA FAEMS 1 

To the farmer who comes to this thirsty 
land from beneath rainy skies, Nevada seems 
one vast desert, all sage and sand, hopelessly 
irredeemable now and forever. And this, under 
present conditions, is severely true. For not 
withstanding it has gardens, grainfields, and 
hayfields generously productive, these com 
pared with the arid stretches of valley and 
plain, as beheld in general views from the 
mountain-tops, are mere specks lying incon 
spicuously here and there, in out-of-the-way 
places, often thirty or forty miles apart. 

In leafy regions, blessed with copious rains, 
we learn to measure the productive capacity 
of the soil by its natural vegetation. But this 
rule is almost wholly inapplicable here, for, 
notwithstanding its savage nakedness, scarce 
at all veiled by a sparse growth of sage and 
linosyris, 2 the desert soil of the Great Basin 
is as rich in the elements that in rainy regions 
rise and ripen into food as that of any other 
State in the Union. The rocks of its numerous 

1 Written at Ward, Nevada, in September, 1878. [Editor.] 

2 See footnote on p. 38. 

154 



NEVADA FARMS 

mountain-ranges have been thoroughly crushed 
and ground by glaciers, thrashed and vitalized 
by the sun, and sifted and outspread in lake- 
basins by powerful torrents that attended the 
breaking-up of the glacial period, as if in every 
way Nature had been making haste to prepare 
the land for the husbandman. Soil, climate, 
topographical conditions, all that the most 
exacting could demand, are present, but one 
thing, water, is wanting. The present rainfall 
would be wholly inadequate for agriculture, 
even if it were advantageously distributed over 
the lowlands, while in fact the greater portion 
is poured out on the heights in sudden and 
violent thunder-showers called "cloud-bursts," 
the waters of which are fruitlessly swallowed 
up in sandy gulches and deltas a few minutes 
after their first boisterous appearance. The 
principal mountain-chains, trending nearly 
north and south, parallel with the Sierra and 
the Wahsatch, receive a good deal of snow dur 
ing winter, but no great masses are stored up as 
fountains for large perennial streams capable 
of irrigating considerable areas. Most of it 
is melted before the end of May and absorbed 
by moraines and gravelly taluses, which send 
forth small rills that slip quietly down the 
upper canons through narrow strips of flowery 
verdure, most of them sinking and vanishing 

155 



STEEP TRAILS 

before they reach the base of their fountain 
ranges. Perhaps not one in ten of the whole 
number flow out into the open plains, not a 
single drop reaches the sea, and only a few are 
large enough to irrigate more than one farm 
of moderate size. 

It is upon these small outflowing rills that 
most of the Nevada ranches are located, lying 
countersunk beneath the general level, just 
where the mountains meet the plains, at an 
average elevation of five thousand feet above 
sea-level. All the cereals and garden vege 
tables thrive here, and yield bountiful crops. 
Fruit, however, has been, as yet, grown suc 
cessfully in only a few specially favored spots. 

Another distinct class of ranches are found 
sparsely distributed along the lowest portions 
of the plains, where the ground is kept moist 
by springs, or by narrow threads of moving 
water called rivers, fed by some one or more 
of the most vigorous of the mountain rills that 
have succeeded in making their escape from 
the mountains. These are mostly devoted to 
the growth of wild hay, though in some the 
natural meadow grasses and sedges have been 
supplemented by timothy and alfalfa; and 
where the soil is not too strongly impregnated 
with salts, some grain is raised. Reese River 
Valley, Big Smoky Valley, and White River 

156 



NEVADA FARMS 

Valley offer fair illustrations of this class. As 
compared with the foothill ranches, they are 
larger and less inconspicuous, as they lie in the 
wide, unshadowed levels of the plains wavy- 
edged flecks of green in a wilderness of gray. 

Still another class equally well defined, both 
as to distribution and as to products, is re 
stricted to that portion of western Nevada and 
the eastern border of California which lies 
within the redeeming influences of California 
waters. Three of the Sierra rivers descend from 
their icy fountains into the desert like angels 
of mercy to bless Nevada. These are the 
Walker, Carson, and Truckee; and in the val 
leys through which they flow are found by far 
the most extensive hay and grain fields within 
the bounds of the State. Irrigating streams are 
led off right and left through innumerable chan 
nels, and the sleeping ground, starting at once 
into action, pours forth its wealth without stint. 

But notwithstanding the many porous fields 
thus fertilized, considerable portions of the 
waters of all these rivers continue to reach their 
old deathbeds in the desert, indicating that in 
these salt valleys there still is room for com 
ing farmers. In middle and eastern Nevada, 
however, every rill that I have seen hi a ride of 
three thousand miles, at all available for irriga 
tion, has been claimed and put to use. 

157 



STEEP TRAILS 

It appears, therefore, that under present 
conditions the limit of agricultural develop 
ment in the dry basin between the Sierra and 
the Wahsatch has been already approached, a 
result caused not alone by natural restrictions 
as to the area capable of development, but by 
the extraordinary stimulus furnished by the 
mines to agricultural effort. The gathering of 
gold and silver, hay and barley, have gone on 
together. Most of the mid-valley bogs and 
meadows, and foothill rills capable of irrigat 
ing from ten to fifty acres, were claimed more 
than twenty years ago. 

A majority of these pioneer settlers are 
plodding Dutchmen, living content in the back 
lanes and valleys of Nature; but the high price 
of all kinds of farm products tempted many of 
even the keen Yankee prospectors, made wise 
in California, to bind themselves down to this 
sure kind of mining. The wildest of wild hay, 
made chiefly of carices and rushes, was sold at 
from two to three hundred dollars per ton on 
ranches. The same kind of hay is still worth 
from fifteen to forty dollars per ton, according 
to the distance from mines and comparative 
security from competition. Barley and oats are 
from forty to one hundred dollars a ton, while 
all sorts of garden products find ready sale at 
high prices. 

158 



NEVADA FARMS 

With rich mine markets and salubrious cli 
mate, the Nevada farmer can make more 
money by loose, ragged methods than the same 
class of farmers in any other State I have yet 
seen, while the almost savage isolation in 
which they live seems grateful to them. Even 
in those cases where the advent of neighbors 
brings no disputes concerning water-rights and 
ranges, they seem to prefer solitude, most of 
them having been elected from adventurers 
from California the pioneers of pioneers. 
The passing stranger, however, is always wel 
comed and supplied with the best the home 
affords, and around the fireside, while he 
smokes his pipe, very little encouragement is 
required to bring forth the story of the farmer s 
life hunting, mining, fighting, in the early 
Indian times, etc. Only the few who are mar 
ried hope to return to California to educate 
their children, and the ease with which money 
is made renders the fulfillment of these hopes 
comparatively sure. 

After dwelling thus long on the farms of this 
dry wonderland, my readers may be led to 
fancy them of more importance as compared 
with the unbroken fields of Nature than they 
really are. Making your way along any of the 
wide gray valleys that stretch from north to 
south, seldom will your eye be interrupted by 

159 



STEEP TRAILS 

a single mark of cultivation. The smooth lake- 
like ground sweeps on indefinitely, growing 
more and more dim in the glowing sunshine, 
while a mountain-range from eight to ten 
thousand feet high bounds the view on either 
hand. No singing water, no green sod, no 
moist nook to rest in mountain and valley 
alike naked and shadowless in the sun-glare; 
and though, perhaps, traveling a well-worn 
road to a gold or silver mine, and supplied with 
repeated instructions, you can scarce hope 
to find any human habitation from day to day, 
so vast and impressive is the hot, dusty, alka 
line wildness. 

But after riding some thirty or forty miles, 
and while the sun may be sinking behind the 
mountains, you come suddenly upon signs of 
cultivation. Clumps of willows indicate water, 
and water indicates a farm. Approaching more 
nearly, you discover what may be a patch of 
barley spread out unevenly along the bottom 
of a flood-bed, broken perhaps, and rendered 
less distinct by boulder-piles and the fringing 
willows of a stream. Speedily you can confi 
dently say that the grain-patch is surely such; 
its ragged bounds become clear; a sand-roofed 
cabin comes to view littered with sun-cracked 
implements and with an outer girdle of potato, 
cabbage, and alfalfa patches. 

160 



NEVADA FARMS 

The immense expanse of mountain-girt val 
leys, on the edges of which these hidden ranches 
lie, make even the largest fields seem comic in 
size. The smallest, however, are by no means 
insignificant in a pecuniary view. On the east 
side of the Toyabe Range I discovered a jolly 
Irishman who informed me that his income 
from fifty acres, reinforced by a sheep-range 
on the adjacent hills, was from seven to nine 
thousand dollars per annum. His irrigating 
brook is about four feet wide and eight inches 
deep, flowing about two miles per hour. 

On Duckwater Creek, Nye County, Mr. 
Irwin has reclaimed a tule swamp several 
hundred acres hi extent, which is now chiefly 
devoted to alfalfa. On twenty-five acres he 
claims to have raised this year thirty-seven 
tons of barley. Indeed, I have not yet noticed 
a meager crop of any kind in the State. Fruit 
alone is conspicuously absent. 

On the California side of the Sierra gram will 
not ripen at a much greater elevation than 
four thousand feet above sea-level. The val 
leys of Nevada lie at a height of from four to 
six thousand feet, and both wheat and barley 
ripen, wherever water may be had, up to seven 
thousand feet. The harvest, of course, is later 
as the elevation increases. In the valleys of 
the Carson and Walker Rivers, four thousand 

161 



STEEP TRAILS 

feet above the sea, the grain harvest is about 
a month later than in California. In Reese 
River Valley, six thousand feet, it begins near 
the end of August. Winter grain ripens some 
what earlier, while occasionally one meets a 
patch of barley in some cool, high-lying canon 
that will not mature before the middle of 
September. 

Unlike California, Nevada will probably be 
always richer in gold and silver than in grain. 
Utah farmers hope to change the climate of 
the east side of the basin by prayer, and point 
to the recent rise in the waters of the Great 
Salt Lake as a beginning of moister times. 
But Nevada s only hope, in the way of any 
considerable increase in agriculture, is from 
artesian wells. The cleft and porous character 
of the mountain rocks, tilted at every angle, 
and the presence of springs bursting forth hi 
the valleys far from the mountain sources, 
indicate accumulations of water from the melt 
ing snows that have escaped evaporation, 
which, no doubt, may in many places now 
barren be brought to the surface in flowing 
wells. The experiment has been tried on a 
small scale with encouraging success. But 
what is now wanted seems to be the boring of 
a few specimen wells of a large size out in the 
main valleys. The encouragement that suc- 

162 



NEVADA FARMS 

cessful experiments of this kind would give to 
emigration seeking farms forms an object well 
worthy the attention of the Government. But 
all that California farmers in the grand central 
valley require is the preservation of the forests 
and the wise distribution of the glorious abun 
dance of water from the snow stored on the 
west flank of the Sierra. 

Whether any considerable area of these sage 
plains will ever thus be made to blossom in 
grass and wheat, experience will show. But in 
the mean tune Nevada is beautiful in her wild- 
ness, and if tillers of the soil can thus be brought 
to see that possibly Nature may have other 
uses even for rich soil besides the feeding of 
human beings, then will these foodless " des 
erts" have taught a fine lesson. 



XIII 

NEVADA FOEESTS 1 

WHEN the traveler from California has 
crossed the Sierra and gone a little way down 
the eastern flank, the woods come to an end 
about as suddenly and completely as if, going 
westward, he had reached the ocean. From 
the very noblest forests in the world he emerges 
into free sunshine and dead alkaline lake- 
levels. Mountains are seen beyond, rising in 
bewildering abundance, range beyond range. 
But however closely we have been accustomed 
to associate forests and mountains, these al 
ways present a singularly barren aspect, ap 
pearing gray and forbidding and shadeless, 
like heaps of ashes dumped from the blazing 
sky. 

But wheresoever we may venture to go in 
all this good world, nature is ever found richer 
and more beautiful than she seems, and no 
where may you meet with more varied and 
delightful surprises than in the byways and 
recesses of this sublime wilderness lovely 
asters and abronias on the dusty plains, rose- 
gardens around the mountain wells, and resiny 

1 Written at Eureka, Nevada, in October, 1878. [Editor.] 
164 



NEVADA FORESTS 

woods, where all seemed so desolate, adorning 
the hot foothills as well as the cool summits, 
fed by cordial and benevolent storms of rain 
and hail and snow; all of these scant and rare 
as compared with the immeasurable exuber 
ance of California, but still amply sufficient 
throughout the barest deserts for a clear mani 
festation of God s love. 

Though Nevada is situated in what is called 
the "Great Basin," no less than sixty-five 
groups and chains of mountains rise within 
the bounds of the State to a height of about 
from eight thousand to thirteen thousand feet 
above the level of the sea, and as far as I have 
observed, every one of these is planted, to some 
extent, with coniferous trees, though it is only 
upon the highest that we find anything that 
may fairly be called a forest. The lower ranges 
and the foothills and slopes of the higher are 
roughened with small scrubby junipers and 
nut pines, while the dominating peaks, to 
gether with the ridges that swing in grand 
curves between them, are covered with a 
closer and more erect growth of pine, spruce, 
and fir, resembling the forests of the Eastern 
States both as to size and general botanical 
characteristics. Here is found what is called 
the heavy timber, but the tallest and most 
fully developed sections of the forests, growing 

165 



STEEP TRAILS 

down in sheltered hollows on moist moraines, 
would be regarded in California only as groves 
of saplings, and so, relatively, they are, for by 
careful calculation we find that more than a 
thousand of these trees would be required to 
furnish as much timber as may be obtained 
from a single specimen of our Sierra giants. 

The height of the timber-line in eastern 
Nevada, near the middle of the Great Basin, 
is about eleven thousand feet above sea-level; 
consequently the forests, hi a dwarfed, storm- 
beaten condition, pass over the summits of 
nearly every range in the State, broken here 
and there only by mechanical conditions of 
the surface rocks. Only three mountains in 
the State have as yet come under my observa 
tion whose summits rise distinctly above the 
tree-line. These are Wheeler s Peak, twelve 
thousand three hundred feet high, Mount 
Moriah, about twelve thousand feet, and 
Granite Mountain, about the same height, all 
of which are situated near the boundary-line 
between Nevada and Utah Territory. 

In a rambling mountaineering journey of 
eighteen hundred miles across the state, I have 
met nine species of coniferous trees, four 
pines, two spruces, two junipers, and one fir, 
about one third the number found in Cali 
fornia. By far the most abundant and inter- 

166 



NEVADA FORESTS 

esting of these is the Pinus Fremontiana, 1 or 
nut pine. In the number of individual trees 
and extent of range this curious little conifer 
surpasses all the others combined. Nearly 
every mountain in the State is planted with it 
from near the base to a height of from eight 
thousand to nine thousand feet above the sea. 
Some are covered from base to summit by this 
one species, with only a sparse growth of juni 
per on the lower slopes to break the continuity 
of these curious woods, which, though dark- 
looking at a little distance, are yet almost 
shadeless, and without any hint of the dark 
glens and hollows so characteristic of other 
pine woods. Tens of thousands of acres occur 
in one continuous belt. Indeed, viewed com 
prehensively, the entire State seems to be 
pretty evenly divided into mountain-ranges 
covered with nut pines and plains covered 
with sage now a swath of pines stretching 
from north to south, now a swath of sage; the 
one black, the other gray; one severely level, 
the other sweeping on complacently over ridge 
and valley and lofty crowning dome. 

The real character of a forest of this sort 
would never be guessed by the inexperienced 
observer. Traveling across the sage levels in 
the dazzling sunlight, you gaze with shaded 

1 Now called Pinus monophylla, or one-leaf pinon. [Editor.] 
167 



STEEP TRAILS 

eyes at the mountains rising along their edges, 
perhaps twenty miles away, but no invitation 
that is at all likely to be understood is discern 
ible. Every mountain, however high it swells 
into the sky, seems utterly barren. Approach 
ing nearer, a low brushy growth is seen, 
strangely black in aspect, as though it had been 
burned. This is a nut pine forest, the bountiful 
orchard of the red man. When you ascend into 
its midst you find the ground beneath the trees, 
and in the openings also, nearly naked, and 
mostly rough on the surface a succession of 
crumbling ledges of lava, limestones, slate, and 
quartzite, coarsely strewn with soil weathered 
from them. Here and there occurs a bunch of 
sage or linosyris, or a purple aster, or a tuft 
of dry bunch-grass. 

The harshest mountain-sides, hot and water 
less, seem best adapted to the nut pine s de 
velopment. No slope is too steep, none too 
dry; every situation seems to be gratefully 
chosen, if only it be sufficiently rocky and firm 
to afford secure anchorage for the tough, grasp 
ing roots. It is a sturdy, thickset little tree, 
usually about fifteen feet high when full grown, 
and about as broad as high, holding its knotty 
branches well out in every direction in stiff 
zigzags, but turning them gracefully upward 
at the ends in rounded bosses. Though making 

168 



NEVADA FORESTS 

so dark a mass in the distance, the foliage is a 
pale grayish green, in stiff, awl-shaped fascicles. 
When examined closely these round needles 
seem inclined to be two-leaved, but they are 
mostly held firmly together, as if to guard 
against evaporation. The bark on the older 
sections is nearly black, so that the boles and 
branches are clearly traced against the pre 
vailing gray of the mountains on which they 
delight to dwell. 

The value of this species to Nevada is not 
easily overestimated. It furnishes fuel, char 
coal, and timber for the mines, and, together 
with the enduring juniper, so generally asso 
ciated with it, supplies the ranches with abun 
dance of firewood and rough fencing. Many a 
square mile has already been denuded in sup 
plying these demands, but, so great is the area 
covered by it, no appreciable loss has as yet 
been sustained. It is pretty generally known 
that this tree yields edible nuts, but their 
importance and excellence as human food is 
infinitely greater than is supposed. In fruitful 
seasons like this one, the pine-nut crop of 
Nevada is, perhaps, greater than the entire 
wheat crop of California, concerning which so 
much is said and felt throughout the food- 
markets of the world. 

The Indians alone appreciate this portion 

169 



STEEP TRAILS 

of Nature s bounty and celebrate the harvest 
home with dancing and feasting. The cones, 
which are a bright grass-green in color and 
about two inches long by one and a half in 
diameter, are beaten off with poles just before 
the scales open, gathered in heaps of several 
bushels, and lightly scorched by burning a thin 
covering of brushwood over them. The resin, 
with which the cones are bedraggled, is thus 
burned off, the nuts slightly roasted, and the 
scales made to open. Then they are allowed 
to dry in the sun, after which the nuts are 
easily thrashed out and are ready to be stored 
away. They are about half an inch long by a 
quarter of an inch in diameter, pointed at the 
upper end, rounded at the base, light-brown 
in general color, and handsomely dotted with 
purple, like birds eggs. The shells are thin, 
and may be crushed between the thumb and 
finger. The kernels are white and waxy-look 
ing, becoming brown by roasting, sweet and 
delicious to every palate, and are eaten by 
birds, squirrels, dogs, horses, and man. When 
the crop is abundant the Indians bring in large 
quantities for sale; they are eaten around every 
fireside in the State, and oftentimes fed to 
horses instead of barley. 

Looking over the whole continent, none of 
Nature s bounties seems to me so great as 

170 



NEVADA FORESTS 

this in the way of food, none so little appre 
ciated. Fortunately for the Indians and wild 
animals that gather around Nature s board, 
this crop is not easily harvested in a monopol 
izing way. If it could be gathered like wheat 
the whole would be carried away and dissi 
pated in towns, leaving the brave inhabitants 
of these wilds to starve. 

Long before the harvest-time, which is in 
September and October, the Indians examine 
the trees with keen discernment, and inas 
much as the cones require two years to mature 
from the first appearance of the little red ro 
settes of the fertile flowers, the scarcity or 
abundance of the crop may be predicted more 
than a year in advance. Squirrels, and worms, 
and Clarke crows, make haste to begin the 
harvest. When the crop is ripe the Indians 
make ready their long beating-poles; baskets, 
bags, rags, mats, are gotten together. The 
squaws out among the settlers at service, 
washing and drudging, assemble at the family 
huts; the men leave their ranch work; all, old 
and young, are mounted on ponies, and set 
off in great glee to the nut lands, forming cav 
alcades curiously picturesque. Flaming scarfs 
and calico skirts stream loosely over the 
knotty ponies, usually two squaws astride of 
each, with the small baby midgets bandaged 
171 



STEEP TRAILS 

in baskets slung on their backs, or balanced 
upon the saddle-bow, while the nut-baskets 
and water-jars project from either side, and 
the long beating-poles, like old-fashioned 
lances, angle out in every direction. 

Arrived at some central point already fixed 
upon, where water and grass is found, the 
squaws with baskets, the men with poles, 
ascend the ridges to the laden trees, followed 
by the children; beating begins with loud noise 
and chatter; the burs fly right and left, lodg 
ing against stones and sagebrush; the squaws 
and children gather them with fine natural 
gladness; smoke-columns speedily mark the 
joyful scene of their labors as the roasting-fires 
are kindled; and, at night, assembled in circles, 
garrulous as jays, the first grand nut feast 
begins. Sufficient quantities are thus obtained 
in a few weeks to last all winter. 

The Indians also gather several species of 
berries and dry them to vary their stores, and 
a few deer and grouse are killed on the moun 
tains, besides immense numbers of rabbits and 
hares; but the pine-nuts are their main de 
pendence their staff of life, their bread. 

Insects also, scarce noticed by man, come 
in for their share of this fine bounty. Eggs 
are deposited, and the baby grubs, happy fel 
lows, find themselves in a sweet world of 

172 



NEVADA FORESTS 

plenty, feeding their way through the heart 
of the cone from one nut-chamber to another, 
secure from rain and wind and heat, until 
their wings are grown and they are ready to 
launch out into the free ocean of air and light. 



XIV 

NEVADA S TIMBER BELT l 

THE pine woods on the tops of the Nevada 
mountains are already shining and blooming 
in winter snow, making a most blessedly re 
freshing appearance to the weary traveler 
down on the gray plains. During the fiery 
days of summer the whole of this vast region 
seems so perfectly possessed by the sun that 
the very memories of pine trees and snow are 
in danger of being burned away, leaving one 
but little more than dust and metal. But 
since these first winter blessings have come, 
the wealth and beauty of the landscapes have 
come fairly into view, and one is rendered 
capable of looking and seeing. 

The grand nut-harvest is over, as far as the 
Indians are concerned, though perhaps less 
than one bushel in a thousand of the whole 
crop has been gathered. But the squirrels and 
birds are still busily engaged, and by the time 
that Nature s ends are accomplished, every 
nut will doubtless have been put to use. 

All of the nine Nevada conifers mentioned 
in my last letter are also found in California, 

1 Written at Pioche, Nevada, in October, 1878. [Editor.] 
174 



NEVADA S TIMBER BELT 

excepting only the Rocky Mountain spruce, 
which I have not observed westward of the 
Snake Range. So greatly, however, have they 
been made to vary by differences of soil and 
climate, that most of them appear as distinct 
species. Without seeming in any way dwarfed 
or repressed in habit, they nowhere develop 
to anything like California dimensions. A 
height of fifty feet and diameter of twelve or 
fourteen inches would probably be found to be 
above the average size of those cut for lumber. 
On the margin of the Carson and Humboldt 
Sink the larger sage bushes are called " heavy 
timber " ; and to the settlers here any tree seems 
large enough for saw-logs. 

Mills have been built in the most accessible 
canons of the higher ranges, and sufficient 
lumber of an inferior kind is made to supply 
most of the local demand. The principal lum 
ber trees of Nevada are the white pine (Pinus 
flexilis), foxtail pine, and Douglas spruce, or 
"red pine," as it is called here. Of these the 
first named is most generally distributed, being 
found on all the higher ranges throughout the 
State. In botanical characters it is nearly 
allied to the Weymouth, or white, pine of the 
Eastern States, and to the sugar and moun 
tain pines of the Sierra. In open situations 
it branches near the ground and tosses out 
175 



STEEP TRAILS 

long down-curving limbs all around, often 
gaining in this way a very strikingly pictur 
esque habit. It is seldom found lower than 
nine thousand feet above the level of the sea, 
but from this height it pushes upward over 
the roughest ledges to the extreme limit of 
tree growth about eleven thousand feet. 

On the Hot Creek, White Pine, and Golden 
Gate ranges we find a still hardier and more 
picturesque species, called the foxtail pine, 
from its long dense leaf-tassels. About a foot 
or eighteen inches of the ends of the branches 
are densely packed with stiff outstanding nee 
dles, which radiate all around like an electric 
fox- or squirrel-tail. The needles are about an 
inch and a half long, slightly curved, elastic, 
and glossily polished, so that the sunshine sift 
ing through them makes them burn with a 
fine silvery luster, while their number and 
elastic temper tell delightfully in the singing 
winds. 

This tree is preeminently picturesque, far 
surpassing not only its companion species of 
the mountains in this respect, but also the 
most noted of the lowland oaks and elms. 
Some stand firmly erect, feathered with radiant 
tail tassels down to the ground, forming slen 
der, tapering towers of shining verdure; others 
with two or three specialized branches pushed 

176 



NEVADA S TIMBER BELT 

out at right angles to the trunk and densely 
clad with the tasseled sprays, take the form 
of beautiful ornamental crosses. Again, in 
the same woods you find trees that are made 
up of several boles united near the ground, and 
spreading in easy curves at the sides in a plane 
parallel to the axis of the mountain, with the 
elegant tassels hung in charming order be 
tween them, the whole making a perfect harp, 
ranged across the main wind-lines just where 
they may be most effective in the grand storm 
harmonies. And then there is an infinite vari 
ety of arching forms, standing free or in groups, 
leaning away from or toward each other in 
curious architectural structures, innumer 
able tassels drooping under the arches and 
radiating above them, the outside glowing in 
the light, masses of deep shade beneath, giving 
rise to effects marvelously beautiful, while 
on the roughest ledges of crumbling limestone 
are lowly old giants, five or six feet in diameter, 
that have braved the storms of more than a 
thousand years. But, whether old or young, 
sheltered or exposed to the wildest gales, this 
tree is ever found to be irrepressibly and ex 
travagantly picturesque, offering a richer and 
more varied series of forms to the artist than 
any other species I have yet seen. 

One of the most interesting mountain excur- 

177 



STEEP TRAILS 

sions I have made in the State was up through 
a thick spicy forest of these trees to the top 
of the highest summit of the Troy Range, 
about ninety miles to the south of Hamilton. 
The day was full of perfect Indian-summer 
sunshine, calm and bracing. Jays and Clarke 
crows made a pleasant stir in the foothill 
pines and junipers; grasshoppers danced in 
the hazy light, and rattled on the wing in pure 
glee, reviving suddenly from the torpor of a 
frosty October night to exuberant summer 
joy. The squirrels were working industri 
ously among the falling nuts; ripe willows and 
aspens made gorgeous masses of color on the 
russet hillsides and along the edges of the 
small streams that threaded the higher ravines; 
and on the smooth sloping uplands, beneath 
the foxtail pines and firs, the ground was cov 
ered with brown grasses, enriched with sun 
flowers, columbines, and larkspurs and patches 
of linosyris, mostly frost-nipped and gone to 
seed, yet making fine bits of yellow and purple 
in the general brown. 

At a height of about ninety-five hundred 
feet we passed through a magnificent grove 
of aspens, about a hundred acres in extent, 
through which the mellow sunshine sifted in 
ravishing splendor, showing every leaf to be 
as beautiful in color as the wing of a butter- 
178 



NEVADA S TIMBER BELT 

fly, and making them tell gloriously against 
the evergreens. These extensive groves of 
aspen are a marked feature of the Nevada 
woods. Some of the lower mountains are cov 
ered with them, giving rise to remarkably 
beautiful effects in general views waving, 
trembling masses of pale, translucent green 
in spring and summer, yellow and orange in 
autumn, while in winter, after every leaf has 
fallen, the white bark of the boles and branches 
seen in mass seems like a cloud of mist that 
has settled close down on the mountain, con 
forming to all its hollows and ridges like a 
mantle, yet Toughened on the surface with 
innumerable ascending spires. 

Just above the aspens we entered a fine, 
close growth of foxtail pine, the tallest and 
most evenly planted I had yet seen. It ex 
tended along a waving ridge tending north and 
south and down both sides with but little in 
terruption for a distance of about five miles. 
The trees were mostly straight in the bole, and 
their shade covered the ground in the densest 
places, leaving only small openings to the 
sun. A few of the tallest specimens measured 
over eighty feet, with a diameter of eighteen 
inches; but many of the younger trees, grow 
ing in tufts, were nearly fifty feet high, with a 
diameter of only five or six inches, while their 

179 



STEEP TRAILS 

slender shafts were hidden from top to bottom 
by a close, fringy growth of tasseled branch- 
lets. A few white pines and balsam firs occur 
here and there, mostly around the edges of 
sunny openings, where they enrich the ah* 
with their rosiny fragrance, and bring out the 
peculiar beauties of the predominating foxtails 
by contrast. 

Birds find grateful homes here grouse, 
chickadees, and linnets, of which we saw 
large flocks that had a delightfully enlivening 
effect. But the woodpeckers are remarkably 
rare. Thus far I have noticed only one species, 
the golden- winged; and but few of the streams 
are large enough or long enough to attract the 
blessed ousel, so common in the Sierra. 

On Wheeler s Peak, the dominating sum 
mit of the Snake Mountains, I found all the 
conifers I had seen on the other ranges of the 
State, excepting the foxtail pine, which I have 
not observed further east than the White Pine 
range, but in its stead the beautiful Rocky 
Mountain spruce. First, as in the other 
ranges, we find the juniper and nut pine; then, 
higher, the white pine and balsam fir; then the 
Douglas spruce and this new Rocky Moun 
tain spruce, which is common eastward from 
here, though this range is, as far as I have ob 
served, its western limit. It is one of the larg- 

180 



NEVADA S TIMBER BELT 

est and most important of Nevada conifers, 
attaining a height of from sixty to eighty feet 
and a diameter of nearly two feet, while now 
and then an exceptional specimen may be found 
in shady dells a hundred feet high or more. 

The foliage is bright yellowish and bluish 
green, according to exposure and age, growing 
all around the branchlets, though inclined to 
turn upward from the under sides, like that 
of the plushy firs of California, making re 
markably handsome fernlike plumes. While 
yet only mere saplings five or six inches thick 
at the ground, they measure fifty or sixty feet 
in height and are beautifully clothed with 
broad, level, fronded plumes down to the base, 
preserving a strict arrowy outline, though a 
few of the larger branches shoot out in free 
exuberance, relieving the spire from any un- 
picturesque stiffness of aspect, while the coni 
cal summit is crowded with thousands of rich 
brown cones to complete its beauty. 

We made the ascent of the peak just after 
the first storm had whitened its summit and 
brightened the atmosphere. The foot-slopes 
are like those of the Troy range, only more 
evenly clad with grasses. After tracing a long, 
rugged ridge of exceedingly hard quartzite, 
said to be veined here and there with gold, 
we came to the North Dome, a noble sum- 

181 



STEEP TRAILS 

mit rising about a thousand feet above the 
timber-line, its slopes heavily tree-clad all 
around, but most perfectly on the north. Here 
the Rocky Mountain spruce forms the bulk 
of the forest. The cones were ripe; most of 
them had shed their winged seeds, and the 
shell-like scales were conspicuously spread, 
making rich masses of brown from the tops 
of the fertile trees down halfway to the ground, 
cone touching cone in lavish clusters. A single 
branch that might be carried in the hand 
would be found to bear a hundred or more. 

Some portions of the wood were almost im 
penetrable, but in general we found no diffi 
culty in mazing comfortably on over fallen logs 
and under the spreading boughs, while here 
and there we came to an opening sufficiently 
spacious for standpoints, where the trees 
around their margins might be seen from top 
to bottom. The winter sunshine streamed 
through the clustered spires, glinting and 
breaking into a fine dust of spangles on the 
spiky leaves and beads of amber gum, and 
bringing out the reds and grays and yellows 
of the lichened boles which had been freshened 
by the late storm; while the tip of every spire 
looking up through the shadows was dipped 
in deepest blue. 

The ground was strewn with burs and 

182 



NEVADA S TIMBER BELT 

needles and fallen trees; and, down in the dells, 
on the north side of the dome, where strips of 
aspen are imbedded in the spruces, every 
breeze sent the ripe leaves flying, some lodging 
in the spruce boughs, making them bloom 
again, while the fresh snow beneath looked 
like a fine painting. 

Around the dome and well up toward the 
summit of the main peak, the snow-shed was 
well marked with tracks of the mule deer and 
the pretty stitching and embroidery of field 
mice, squirrels, and grouse; and on the way 
back to camp I came across a strange track, 
somewhat like that of a small bear, but more 
spreading at the toes. It proved to be that of a 
wolverine. In my conversations with hunters, 
both Indians and white men assure me that 
there are no bears in Nevada, notwithstand 
ing the abundance of pine-nuts, of which they 
are so fond, and the accessibility of these basin 
ranges from their favorite haunts in the Sierra 
Nevada and Wahsatch Mountains. The mule 
deer, antelope, wild sheep, wolverine, and two 
species of wolves are all of the larger animals 
that I have seen or heard of in the State. 



XV 

GLACIAL PHENOMENA IN NEVADA 1 

THE monuments of the Ice Age in the Great 
Basin have been greatly obscured and broken, 
many of the more ancient of them having 
perished altogether, leaving scarce a mark, 
however faint, of their existence a condi 
tion of things due not alone to the long-con 
tinued action of post-glacial agents, but also 
in great part to the perishable character of 
the rocks of which they were made. The bot 
toms of the main valleys, once grooved and 
planished like the glacier pavements of the 
Sierra, lie buried beneath sediments and detri 
tus derived from the adjacent mountains, and 
now form the arid sage plains; characteristic 
U-shaped canons have become V-shaped by 
the deepening of their bottoms and straight 
ening of their sides, and decaying glacier head 
lands have been undermined and thrown down 
in loose taluses, while most of the moraines 
and striae and scratches have been blurred 
or weathered away. Nevertheless, enough re 
mains of the more recent and the more enduring 

1 Written at Eureka, Nevada, in November, 1878. 
[Editor.] 

184 



GLACIAL PHENOMENA IN NEVADA 

phenomena to cast a good light well back upon 
the conditions of the ancient ice-sheet that 
covered this interesting region, and upon the 
system of distinct glaciers that loaded the 
tops of the mountains and filled the canons 
long after the ice-sheet had been broken up. 

The first glacial traces that I noticed in the 
basin are on the Wassuck, Augusta, and To- 
yabe ranges, consisting of ridges and canons, 
whose trends, contours, and general sculpture 
are hi great part specifically glacial, though 
deeply blurred by subsequent denudation. 
These discoveries were made during the sum 
mer of 1876-77. And again, on the 17th of 
last August, while making the ascent of Mount 
Jefferson, the dominating mountain of the 
Toquima range, I discovered an exceedingly 
interesting group of moraines, canons with V- 
shaped cross sections, wide neVe* amphitheatres, 
moutonneed rocks, glacier meadows, and one 
glacier lake, all as fresh and telling as if the 
glaciers to which they belonged had scarcely 
vanished. 

The best preserved and most regular of the 
moraines are two laterals about two hundred 
feet in height and two miles long, extending 
from the foot of a magnificent canon valley 
on the north side of the mountain and trend 
ing first in a northerly direction, then curving 

185 



STEEP TRAILS 

around to the west, while a well-characterized 
terminal moraine, formed by the glacier to 
wards the close of its existence, unites them 
near their lower extremities at a height of 
eighty-five hundred feet. Another pair of 
older lateral moraines, belonging to a glacier 
of which the one just mentioned was a tribu 
tary, extend in a general northwesterly direc 
tion nearly to the level of Big Smoky Valley, 
about fifty-five hundred feet above sea-level. 

Four other canons, extending down the 
eastern slopes of this grand old mountain into 
Monito Valley, are hardly less rich in glacial 
records, while the effects of the mountain- 
shadows in controlling and directing the move 
ments of the residual glaciers to which all these 
phenomena belonged are everywhere delight 
fully apparent in the trends of the canons 
and ridges, and in the massive sculpture of 
the neVe" wombs at their heads. This is a very 
marked and imposing mountain, attracting 
the eye from a great distance. It presents a 
smooth and gently curved outline against the 
sky, as observed from the plains, and is whit 
ened with patches of enduring snow. The 
summit is made up of irregular volcanic tables, 
the most extensive of which is about two and 
a half miles long, and like the smaller ones 
is broken abruptly down on the edges by the 

186 



GLACIAL PHENOMENA IN NEVADA 

action of the ice. Its height is approximately 
eleven thousand three hundred feet above the 
sea. 

A few days after making these interesting 
discoveries, I found other well-preserved gla 
cial traces on Arc Dome, the culminating sum 
mit of the Toyabe Range. On its northeastern 
slopes there are two small glacier lakes, and 
the basins of two others which have recently 
been filled with down-washed detritus. One 
small residual glacier lingered until quite re 
cently beneath the coolest shadows of the 
dome, the moraines and n6v-fountains of 
which are still as fresh and unwasted as many 
of those lying at the same elevation on the 
Sierra ten thousand feet while older and 
more wasted specimens may be traced on all 
the adjacent mountains. The sculpture, too, 
of all the ridges and summits of this section 
of the range is recognized at once as glacial, 
some of the larger characters being still easily 
readable from the plains at a distance of fif 
teen or twenty miles. 

The Hot Creek Mountains, lying to the 
east of the Toquima and Monito ranges, 
reach the culminating point on a deeply ser 
rate ridge at a height of ten thousand feet 
above the sea. This ridge is found to be made 
up of a series of imposing towers and pinnacles 

187 



STEEP TRAILS 

which have been eroded from the solid mass of 
the mountain by a group of small residual 
glaciers that lingered in their shadows long 
after the larger ice rivers had vanished. On 
its western declivities are found a group of 
well-characterized moraines, canons, and roches 
moutonnfas, all of which are unmistakably 
fresh and telling. The moraines in particular 
could hardly fail to attract the eye of any 
observer. Some of the short laterals of the 
glaciers that drew their fountain snows from 
the jagged recesses of the summit are from 
one to two hundred feet in height, and scarce 
at all wasted as yet, notwithstanding the 
countless storms that have fallen upon them, 
while cool rills flow between them, watering 
charming gardens of arctic plants saxi 
frages, larkspurs, dwarf birch, ribes, and par- 
nassia, etc. beautiful memories of the Ice 
Age, representing a once greatly extended 
flora. 

In the course of explorations made to the 
eastward of here, between the 38th and 40th 
parallels, I observed glacial phenomena equally 
fresh and demonstrative on all the higher 
mountains of the White Pine, Golden Gate, 
and Snake ranges, varying from those already 
described only as determined by differences of 
elevation, relations to the snow-bearing winds, 

188 



GLACIAL PHENOMENA IN NEVADA 

and the physical characteristics of the rock- 
formations. 

On the Jeff Davis group of the Snake Range, 
the dominating summit of which is nearly 
thirteen thousand feet hi elevation, and the 
highest ground in the basin, every marked fea 
ture is a glacier monument peaks, valleys, 
ridges, meadows, and lakes. And because here 
the snow-fountains lay at a greater height, 
while the rock, an exceedingly hard quartz- 
ite, offered superior resistance to post-glacial 
agents, the ice-characters are on a larger scale, 
and are more sharply defined than any we 
have noticed elsewhere, and it is probably 
here that the last lingering glacier of the basin 
was located. The summits and connecting 
ridges are mere blades and points, ground 
sharp by the glaciers that descended on both 
sides to the main valleys. From one stand 
point I counted nine of these glacial channels 
with their moraines sweeping grandly out to 
the plains to deep sheer- walled n6v-fountains 
at their heads, making a most vivid picture 
of the last days of the Ice Period. 

I have thus far directed attention only to 
the most recent and appreciable of the phe 
nomena; but it must be borne in mind that 
less recent and less obvious traces of glacial 
action abound on all the ranges throughout 

189 



STEEP TRAILS 

the entire basin, where the fine striae and 
grooves have been obliterated, and most of 
the moraines have been washed away, or so 
modified as to be no longer recognizable, and 
even the lakes and meadows, so characteristic 
of glacial regions, have almost entirely van 
ished. For there are other monuments, far 
more enduring than these, remaining tens of 
thousands of years after the more perishable 
records are lost. Such are the canons, ridges, 
and peaks themselves, the glacial peculiari 
ties of whose trends and contours cannot be 
hid from the eye of the skilled observer until 
changes have been wrought upon them far 
more destructive than those to which these 
basin ranges have yet been subjected. 

It appears, therefore, that the last of the 
basin glaciers have but recently vanished, and 
that the almost innumerable ranges trending 
north and south between the Sierra and the 
Wahsatch Mountains were loaded with glaciers 
that descended to the adjacent valleys during 
the last glacial period, and that it is to this 
mighty host of ice-streams that all the more 
characteristic of the present features of these 
mountain-ranges are due. 

But grand as is this vision delineated in 
these old records, this is not all; for there is 
not wanting evidence of a still grander glacia- 

190 



GLACIAL PHENOMENA IN NEVADA 

tion extending over all the valleys now form 
ing the sage plains as well as the mountains. 
The basins of the main valleys alternating 
with the mountain-ranges, and which contained 
lakes during at least the closing portion of 
the Ice Period, were eroded wholly, or in part, 
from a general elevated tableland, by immense 
glaciers that flowed north and south to the 
ocean. The mountains as well as the valleys 
present abundant evidence of this grand origin. 
The flanks of all the interior ranges are seen 
to have been heavily abraded and ground 
away by the ice acting in a direction parallel 
with their axes. This action is most strikingly 
shown upon projecting portions where the 
pressure has been greatest. These are shorn 
off in smooth planes and bossy outswelling 
curves, like the outstanding portions of canon- 
walls. Moreover, the extremities of the ranges 
taper out like those of dividing ridges which 
have been ground away by dividing and con 
fluent glaciers. Furthermore, the horizontal 
sections of separate mountains, standing iso 
lated hi the great valleys, are lens-shaped like 
those of mere rocks that rise in the channels 
of ordinary canon glaciers, and which have 
been overflowed or past-flowed, while in many 
of the smaller valleys roches moutonnees occur 
in great abundance. 

191 



STEEP TRAILS 

Again, the mineralogical and physical char 
acters of the two ranges bounding the sides of 
many of the valleys indicate that the valleys 
were formed simply by the removal of the 
material between the ranges. And again, the 
rim of the general basin, where it is elevated, 
as for example on the southwestern portion, 
instead of being a ridge sculptured on the sides 
like a mountain-range, is found to be com 
posed of many short ranges, parallel to one 
another, and to the interior ranges, and so 
modeled as to resemble a row of convex lenses 
set on edge and half buried beneath a general 
surface, without manifesting any dependence 
upon synclinal or anticlinal axes a series 
of forms and relations that could have resulted 
only from the outflow of vast basin glaciers 
on their courses to the ocean. 

I cannot, however, present all the evidence 
here bearing upon these interesting questions, 
much less discuss it in all its relations. I will, 
therefore, close this letter with a few of the 
more important generalizations that have 
grown up out of the facts that I have observed. 
First, at the beginning of the glacial period 
the region now known as the Great Basin was 
an elevated tableland, not furrowed as at 
present with mountains and valleys, but com 
paratively bald and featureless. 

192 



GLACIAL PHENOMENA IN NEVADA 

Second, this tableland, bounded on the east 
and west by lofty mountain-ranges, but com 
paratively open on the north and south, was 
loaded with ice, which was discharged to the 
ocean northward and southward, and in its 
flow brought most, if not all, the present in 
terior ranges and valleys into relief by erosion. 

Third, as the glacial winter drew near its 
close the ice vanished from the lower portions 
of the basin, which then became lakes, into 
which separate glaciers descended from the 
mountains. Then these mountain glaciers van 
ished in turn, after sculpturing the ranges 
into their present condition. 

Fourth, the few immense lakes extending 
over the lowlands, in the midst of which many 
of the interior ranges stood as islands, be 
came shallow as the ice vanished from the 
mountains, and separated into many distinct 
lakes, whose waters no longer reached the 
ocean. Most of these have disappeared by the 
filling of their basins with detritus from the 
mountains, and now form sage plains and "al 
kali flats." 

The transition from one to the other of these 
various conditions was gradual and orderly: 
first, a nearly simple tableland; then a grand 
mer de glace shedding its crawling silver cur 
rents to the sea, and becoming gradually more 

193 



STEEP TRAILS 

wrinkled as unequal erosion roughened its 
bed, and brought the highest peaks and ridges 
above the surface; then a land of lakes, an 
almost continuous sheet of water stretching 
from the Sierra to the Wahsatch, adorned with 
innumerable island mountains; then a slow 
desiccation and decay to present conditions 
of sage and sand. 



XVI 

NEVADA S DEAD TOWNS * 

NEVADA is one of the very youngest and 
wildest of the States; nevertheless it is already 
strewn with ruins that seem as gray and silent 
and time-worn as if the civilization to which 
they belonged had perished centuries ago. 
Yet, strange to say, all these ruins are results 
of mining efforts made within the last few 
years. Wander where you may throughout 
the length and breadth of this mountain- 
barred wilderness, you everywhere come upon 
these dead mining towns, with their tall chim 
ney-stacks, standing forlorn amid broken walls 
and furnaces, and machinery half buried in 
sand, the very names of many of them already 
forgotten amid the excitements of later dis 
coveries, and now known only through tradi 
tion tradition ten years old. 

While exploring the mountain-ranges of the 
State during a considerable portion of three 
summers, I think that I have seen at least five 
of these deserted towns and villages for every 
one in ordinary life. Some of them were prob- 

1 Date and place of writing not given. Published in the 
San Francisco Evening Bulletin, January 15, 1879. [Editor.] 

195 



STEEP TRAILS 

ably only camps built by bands of prospec 
tors, and inhabited for a few months or years, 
while some specially interesting canon was 
being explored, and then carelessly abandoned 
for more promising fields. But many were 
real towns, regularly laid out and incorpo 
rated, containing well-built hotels, churches, 
school-houses, post-offices, and jails, as well 
as the mills on which they all depended; and 
whose well-graded streets were filled with 
lawyers, doctors, brokers, hangmen, real-estate 
agents, etc., the whole population numbering 
several thousand. 

A few years ago the population of Hamil 
ton is said to have been nearly eight thousand; 
that of Treasure Hill, six thousand; of Sher- 
mantown, seven thousand; of Swansea, three 
thousand. All of these were incorporated towns 
with mayors, councils, fire departments, and 
daily newspapers. Hamilton has now about 
one hundred inhabitants, most of whom are 
merely waiting in dreary inaction for some 
thing to turn up. Treasure Hill has about half 
as many, Shermantown one family, and Swan 
sea none, while on the other hand the grave 
yards are far too full. 

In one canon of the Toyabe range, near 
Austin, I found no less than five dead towns 
without a single inhabitant. The streets and 

196 



NEVADA S DEAD TOWNS 

blocks of "real estate" graded on the hillsides 
are rapidly falling back into the wilderness. 
Sage-brushes are growing up around the forges 
of the blacksmith shops, and lizards bask on 
the crumbling walls. 

While traveling southward from Austin 
down Big Smoky Valley, I noticed a remark 
ably tall and imposing column, rising like a 
lone pine out of the sage-brush on the edge of 
a dry gulch. This proved to be a smokestack 
of solid masonry. It seemed strangely out of 
place in the desert, as if it had been trans 
ported entire from the heart of some noisy 
manufacturing town and left here by mistake. 
I learned afterwards that it belonged to a set 
of furnaces that were built by a New York 
company to smelt ore that never was found. 
The tools of the workmen are still lying in 
place beside the furnaces, as if dropped in 
some sudden Indian or earthquake panic and 
never afterwards handled. These imposing 
ruins, together with the desolate town, lying 
a quarter of a mile to the northward, present 
a most vivid picture of wasted effort. Coyotes 
now wander unmolested through the brushy 
streets, and of all the busy throng that so lav 
ishly spent their tune and money here only 
one man remains a lone bachelor with one 
suspender. 

197 



STEEP TRAILS 

Mining discoveries and progress, retrogres 
sion and decay, seem to have been crowded 
more closely against each other here than on 
any other portion of the globe. Some one of 
the band of adventurous prospectors who 
came from the exhausted placers of California 
would discover some rich ore how much or 
little mattered not at first. These specimens 
fell among excited seekers after wealth like 
sparks in gunpowder, and in a few days the 
wilderness was disturbed with the noisy clang 
of miners and builders. A little town would 
then spring up, and before anything like a 
careful survey of any particular lode would be 
made, a company would be formed, and expen 
sive mills built. Then, after all the machinery 
was ready for the ore, perhaps little, or none at 
all, was to be found. Meanwhile another dis 
covery was reported, and the young town was 
abandoned as completely as a camp made for a 
single night ; and so on, until some really valuable 
lode was found, such as those of Eureka, Austin, 
Virginia, etc., which formed the substantial 
groundwork for a thousand other excitements. 

Passing through the dead town of Schell- 
bourne last month, I asked one of the few lin 
gering inhabitants why the town was built. 
"For the mines," he replied. "And where are 
the mines?" "On the mountains back here." 

198 



NEVADA S DEAD TOWNS 

"And why were they abandoned?" I asked. 
"Are they exhausted?" "Oh, no," he replied, 
"they are not exhausted; on the contrary, 
they have never been worked at all, for un 
fortunately, just as we were about ready to 
open them, the Cherry Creek mines were dis 
covered across the valley in the Egan range, and 
everybody rushed off there, taking what they 
could with them houses, machinery, and all. 
But we are hoping that somebody with money 
and speculation will come and revive us yet." 
The dead mining excitements of Nevada 
were far more intense and destructive in their 
action than those of California, because the 
prizes at stake were greater, while more skill 
was required to gain them. The long trains 
of gold-seekers making their way to California 
had ample time and means to recover from 
their first attacks of mining fever while crawl 
ing laboriously across the plains, and on their 
arrival on any portion of the Sierra gold belt, 
they at once began to make money. No mat 
ter in what gulch or canon they worked, some 
measure of success was sure, however unskill 
ful they might be. And though while making 
ten dollars a day they might be agitated by 
hopes of making twenty, or of striking their 
picks against hundred- or thousand-dollar 
nuggets, men of ordinary nerve could still 

199 



STEEP TRAILS 

work on with comparative steadiness, and 
remain rational. 

But in the case of the Nevada miner, he 
too often spent himself in years of weary search 
without gaining a dollar, traveling hundreds 
of miles from mountain to mountain, burdened 
with wasting hopes of discovering some hidden 
vein worth millions, enduring hardships of 
the most destructive kind, driving innumer 
able tunnels into the hillsides, while his as 
sayed specimens again and again proved 
worthless. Perhaps one in a hundred of these 
brave prospectors would " strike it rich," while 
ninety-nine died alone in the mountains or 
sank out of sight in the corners of saloons, in 
a haze of whiskey and tobacco smoke. 

The healthful ministry of wealth is blessed; 
and surely it is a fine thing that so many are 
eager to find the gold and silver that he hid 
in the veins of the mountains. But in the 
search the seekers too often become insane, 
and strike about blindly in the dark like rav 
ing madmen. Seven hundred and fifty tons 
of ore from the original Eberhardt mine on 
Treasure Hill yielded a million and a half dol 
lars, the whole of this immense sum having 
been obtained within two hundred and fifty 
feet of the surface, the greater portion within 
one hundred and forty feet. Other ore-masses 

200 



NEVADA S DEAD TOWNS 

were scarcely less marvelously rich, giving rise 
to one of the most violent excitements that 
ever occurred in the history of mining. All 
kinds of people shoemakers, tailors, farmers, 
etc., as well as miners left their own right 
work and fell in a perfect storm of energy upon 
the White Pine Hills, covering the ground like 
grasshoppers, and seeming determined by the 
very violence of their efforts to turn every 
stone to silver. But with few exceptions, these 
mining storms pass away about as suddenly 
as they rise, leaving only ruins to tell of the 
tremendous energy expended, as heaps of giant 
boulders in the valley tell of the spent power 
of the mountain floods. 

In marked contrast with this destructive 
unrest is the orderly deliberation into which 
miners settle in developing a truly valuable 
mine. At Eureka we were kindly led through 
the treasure chambers of the Richmond and 
Eureka Consolidated, our guides leisurely lead 
ing the way from level to level, calling atten 
tion to the precious ore-masses which the work 
men were slowly breaking to pieces with their 
picks, like navvies wearing away the day in a 
railroad cutting; while down at the smelting 
works the bars of bullion were handled with 
less eager haste than the farmer shows in gath 
ering his sheaves. 

201 



STEEP TRAILS 

The wealth Nevada has already given to 
the world is indeed wonderful, but the only 
grand marvel is the energy expended in its 
development. The amount of prospecting 
done in the face of so many dangers and sacri 
fices, the innumerable tunnels and shafts bored 
into the mountains, the mills that have been 
built these would seem to require a race of 
giants. But, in full view of the substantial 
results achieved, the pure waste manifest in 
the ruins one meets never fails to produce a 
saddening effect. 

The dim old ruins of Europe, so eagerly 
sought after by travelers, have something 
pleasing about them, whatever their histori 
cal associations; for they at least lend some 
beauty to the landscape. Their picturesque 
towers and arches seem to be kindly adopted 
by nature, and planted with wild flowers and 
wreathed with ivy; while their rugged angles 
are soothed and freshened and embossed with 
green mosses, fresh life and decay mingling in 
pleasing measures, and the whole vanishing 
softly like a ripe, tranquil day fading into night. 
So, also, among the older ruins of the East there 
is a fitness felt. They have served their time, 
and like the weather-beaten mountains are wast 
ing harmoniously. The same is in some degree 
true of the dead mining towns of Calif ornia. 



NEVADA S DEAD TOWNS 

But those lying to the eastward of the Sierra 
throughout the ranges of the Great Basin 
waste in the dry wilderness like the bones of 
cattle that have died of thirst. Many of them 
do not represent any good accomplishment, 
and have no right to be. They are monuments 
of fraud and ignorance sins against science. 
The drifts and tunnels in the rocks may per 
haps be regarded as the prayers of the pros 
pector, offered for the wealth he so earnestly 
craves; but, like prayers of any kind not in 
harmony with nature, they are unanswered. 
But, after all, effort, however misapplied, is 
better than stagnation. Better toil blindly, 
beating every stone in turn for grains of gold, 
whether they contain any or not, than lie 
down in apathetic decay. 

The fever period is fortunately passing away. 
The prospector is no longer the raving, wan 
dering ghoul of ten years ago, rushing in ran 
dom lawlessness among the hills, hungry and 
footsore; but cool and skillful, well supplied 
with every necessary, and clad in his right 
mind. Capitalists, too, and the public in gen 
eral, have become wiser, and do not take fire 
so readily from mining sparks; while at the 
same time a vast amount of real work is being 
done, and the ratio between growth and de 
cay is constantly becoming better. 



XVII 

PUGET SOUND 

WASHINGTON TERRITORY, recently admitted * 
into the Union as a State, lies between latitude 
46 and 49 and longitude 117 and 125, form 
ing the northwest shoulder of the United 
States. The majestic range of the Cascade 
Mountains naturally divides the State into 
two distinct parts, called Eastern and West 
ern Washington, differing greatly from each 
other in almost every way, the western sec 
tion being less than half as large as the eastern, 
and, with its copious rains and deep fertile soil, 
being clothed with forests of evergreens, while 
the eastern section is dry and mostly treeless, 
though fertile in many parts, and producing 
immense quantities of wheat and hay. Few 
States are more fertile and productive in one 
way or another than Washington, or more 
strikingly varied in natural features or re 
sources. 

Within her borders every kind of soil and cli 
mate may be found the densest woods and 
dryest plains, the smoothest levels and roughest 

1 November 11, 1889; Muir s description probably was 
written toward the end of the same year. [Editor.] 

204 



PUGET SOUND 

mountains. She is rich in square miles (some 
seventy thousand of them) , in coal, timber, and 
iron, and in sheltered inland waters that ren 
der these resources advantageously accessible. 
She also is already rich in busy workers, who 
work hard, though not always wisely, hack 
ing, burning, blasting their way deeper into 
the wilderness, beneath the sky, and beneath 
the ground. The wedges of development are 
being driven hard, and none of the obstacles 
or defenses of nature can long withstand the 
onset of this immeasurable industry. 

Puget Sound, so justly famous the world 
over for the surpassing size and excellence and 
abundance of its timber, is a long, many- 
fingered arm of the sea reaching southward 
from the head of the Strait of Juan de Fuca 
into the heart of the grand forests of the west 
ern portion of Washington, between the Cas 
cade Range and the mountains of the coast. 
It is less than a hundred miles in length, but so 
numerous are the branches into which it divides, 
and so many its bays, harbors, and islands, that 
its entire shore-line is said to measure more 
than eighteen hundred miles. Throughout its 
whole vast extent ships move in safety, and 
find shelter from every wind that blows, the 
entire mountain-girt sea forming one grand 
unrivaled harbor and center for commerce. 

205 



STEEP TRAILS 

The forest trees press forward to the water 
around all the windings of the shores in most 
imposing array, as if they were courting their 
fate, coming down from the mountains far 
and near to offer themselves to the axe, thus 
making the place a perfect paradise for the 
lumberman. To the lover of nature the scene 
is enchanting. Water and sky, mountain and 
forest, clad in sunshine and clouds, are com 
posed in landscapes sublime in magnitude, yet 
exquisitely fine and fresh, and full of glad, 
rejoicing life. The shining waters stretch away 
into the leafy wilderness, now like the reaches 
of some majestic river and again expanding 
into broad roomy spaces like mountain lakes, 
their farther edges fading gradually and blend 
ing with the pale blue of the sky. The wooded 
shores with an outer fringe of flowering bushes 
sweep onward in beautiful curves around bays, 
and capes, and jutting promontories innumer 
able; while the islands, with soft, waving out 
lines, lavishly adorned with spruces and cedars, 
thicken and enrich the beauty of the waters; 
and the white spirit mountains looking down 
from the sky keep watch and ward over all, 
faithful and changeless as the stars. 

All the way from the Strait of Juan de Fuca 
up to Olympia, a hopeful town situated at the 
head of one of the farthest- reaching of the 

206 



PUGET SOUND 

fingers of the Sound, we are so completely in 
land and surrounded by mountains that it is 
hard to realize that we are sailing on a branch 
of the salt sea. We are constantly reminded 
of Lake Tahoe. There is the same clearness 
of the water in calm weather without any 
trace of the ocean swell, the same picturesque 
winding and sculpture of the shore-line and 
flowery, leafy luxuriance; only here the trees 
are taller and stand much closer together, and 
the backgrounds are higher and far more 
extensive. Here, too, we find greater variety 
amid the marvelous wealth of islands and 
inlets, and also in the changing views de 
pendent on the weather. As we double cape 
after cape and round the uncounted islands, 
new combinations come to view in endless 
variety, sufficient to fill and satisfy the lover 
of wild beauty through a whole life. 

Oftentimes in the stillest weather, when all 
the winds sleep and no sign of storms is felt 
or seen, silky clouds form and settle over all 
the land, leaving in sight only a circle of water 
with indefinite bounds like views in mid-ocean; 
then, the clouds lifting, some islet will be pre 
sented standing alone, with the tops of its 
trees dipping out of sight in pearly gray 
fringes; or, lifting higher, and perhaps letting 
in a ray of sunshine through some rift over- 
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STEEP TRAILS 

head, the whole island will be set free and 
brought forward in vivid relief amid the gloom, 
a girdle of silver light of dazzling brightness 
on the water about its shores, then darkening 
again and vanishing back into the general 
gloom. Thus island after island may be seen, 
singly or in groups, coming and going from 
darkness to light like a scene of enchantment, 
until at length the entire cloud ceiling is rolled 
away, and the colossal cone of Mount Rainier 
is seen in spotless white looking down over the 
forests from a distance of sixty miles, but so 
lofty and so massive and clearly outlined as 
to impress itself upon us as being just back of 
a strip of woods only a mile or two in breadth. 
For the tourist sailing to Puget Sound from 
San Francisco there is but little that is at all 
striking in the scenery within reach by the 
way until the mouth of the Strait of Juan de 
Fuca is reached. The voyage is about four 
days in length and the steamers keep within 
sight of the coast, but the hills fronting the 
sea up to Oregon are mostly bare and uninvit 
ing, the magnificent redwood forests stretch 
ing along this portion of the California coast 
seeming to keep well back, away from the 
heavy winds, so that very little is seen of them; 
while there are no deep inlets or lofty moun 
tains visible to break the regular monotony. 

208 



PUGET SOUND 

Along the coast of Oregon the woods of spruce 
and fir come down to the shore, kept fresh and 
vigorous by copious rains, and become denser 
and taller to the northward until, rounding 
Cape Flattery, we enter the Strait of Fuca, 
where, sheltered from the ocean gales, the for 
ests begin to hint the grandeur they attain in 
Puget Sound. Here the scenery in general 
becomes exceedingly interesting; for now we 
have arrived at the grand mountain-walled 
channel that forms the entrance to that mar 
velous network of inland waters that extends 
along the margin of the continent to the north 
ward for a thousand miles. 

This magnificent inlet was named for Juan 
de Fuca, who discovered it in 1592 while seek 
ing a mythical strait, supposed to exist some 
where in the north, connecting the Atlantic 
and Pacific. It is about seventy miles long, 
ten or twelve miles wide, and extends to the 
eastward in a nearly straight line between 
the south end of Vancouver Island and the 
Olympic Range of mountains on the main 
land. 

Cape Flattery, the western termination of 
the Olympic Range, is terribly rugged and 
jagged, and in stormy weather is utterly in 
accessible from the sea. Then the ponderous 
rollers of the deep Pacific thunder amid its 

209 



STEEP TRAILS 

caverns and cliffs with the foam and uproar 
of a thousand Yosemite waterfalls. The bones 
of many a noble ship lie there, and many a 
sailor. It would seem unlikely that any living 
thing should seek rest in such a place, or find 
it. Nevertheless, frail and delicate flowers 
bloom there, flowers of both the land and the 
sea; heavy, ungainly seals disport in the swell 
ing waves, and find grateful retreats back in 
the inmost bores of its storm-lashed caverns; 
while in many a chink and hollow of the high 
est crags, not visible from beneath, a great 
variety of water-fowl make homes and rear 
their young. 

But not always are the inhabitants safe, 
even in such wave-defended castles as these, 
for the Indians of the neighboring shores ven 
ture forth in the calmest summer weather in 
their frail canoes to spear the seals in the nar 
row gorges amid the grinding, gurgling din of 
the restless waters. At such times also the 
hunters make out to scale many of the appar 
ently inaccessible cliffs for the eggs and young 
of the gulls and other water-birds, occasionally 
losing their lives in these perilous adventures, 
which give rise to many an exciting story told 
around the camp-fires at night when the storms 
roar loudest. 

Passing through the strait, we have the 

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PUGET SOUND 

Olympic Mountains close at hand on the right, 
Vancouver Island on the left, and the snowy 
peak of Mount Baker straight ahead in the 
distance. During calm weather, or when the 
clouds are lifting and rolling off the mountains 
after a storm, all these views are truly magni 
ficent. Mount Baker is one of that wonderful 
series of old volcanoes that once flamed along 
the summits of the Sierras and Cascades from 
Lassen to Mount St. Elias. Its fires are sleep 
ing now, and it is loaded with glaciers, streams 
of ice having taken the place of streams of 
glowing lava. Vancouver Island presents a 
charming variety of hill and dale, open sunny 
spaces and sweeps of dark forest rising in swell 
beyond swell to the high land in the distance. 
But the Olympic Mountains most of all 
command attention, seen tellingly near and 
clear in all their glory, rising from the water s 
edge into the sky to a height of six or eight 
thousand feet. They bound the strait on the 
south side throughout its whole extent, form 
ing a massive sustained wall, flowery and 
bushy at the base, a zigzag of snowy peaks 
along the top, which have ragged-edged fields 
of ice and snow beneath them, enclosed in 
wide amphitheaters opening to the waters of 
the strait through spacious forest-filled valleys 
enlivened with fine, dashing streams. These 
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valleys mark the courses of the Olympic gla 
ciers at the period of their greatest extension, 
when they poured their tribute into that por 
tion of the great northern ice-sheet that over- 
swept the south end of Vancouver Island and 
filled the strait with flowing ice as it is now 
filled with ocean water. 

The steamers of the Sound usually stop at 
Esquimalt on their way up, thus affording 
tourists an opportunity to visit the interesting 
town of Victoria, the capital of British Colum 
bia. The Victoria harbor is too narrow and 
difficult of access for the larger class of ships; 
therefore a landing has to be made at Esqui 
malt. The distance, however, is only about 
three miles, and the way is delightful, wind 
ing on through a charming forest of Douglas 
spruce, with here and there groves of oak and 
madrone, and a rich undergrowth of hazel, dog 
wood, willow, alder, spiraea, rubus, huckle 
berry, and wild rose^ Pretty cottages occur at 
intervals along the road, covered with honey 
suckle, and many an upswelling rock, freshly 
glaciated and furred with yellow mosses and 
lichen, telling interesting stories of the icy past. 

Victoria is a quiet, handsome, breezy town, 
beautifully located on finely modulated ground 
at the mouth of the Canal de Haro, with charm 
ing views in front, of islands and mountains 

212 



PUGET SOUND 

and far-reaching waters, ever changing in the 
shifting lights and shades of the clouds and 
sunshine. In the background there are a mile 
or two of field and forest and sunny oak open 
ings; then comes the forest primeval, dense 
and shaggy and well-nigh impenetrable. 

Notwithstanding the importance claimed 
for Victoria as a commercial center and the 
capital of British Columbia, it has a rather 
young, loose-jointed appearance. The gov 
ernment buildings and some of the business 
blocks on the main streets are well built and 
imposing in bulk and architecture. These are 
far less interesting and characteristic, however, 
than the mansions set in the midst of spacious 
pleasure-grounds and the lovely home cot 
tages embowered in honeysuckle and climb 
ing roses. One soon discovers that this is no 
Yankee town. The English faces and the way 
that English is spoken alone would tell that; 
while in business quarters there is a staid dig 
nity and moderation that is very noticeable, 
and a want of American push and hurrah. 
Love of land and of privacy in homes is made 
manifest in the residences, many of which 
are built in the middle of fields and orchards 
or large city blocks, and in the loving care 
with which these home-grounds are planted. 
They are very beautiful. The fineness of the 

213 



STEEP TRAILS 

climate, with its copious measure of warm 
moisture distilling in dew and fog, and gentle, 
bathing, laving rain, give them a freshness 
and floweriness that is worth going far to see. 

Victoria is noted for its fine drives, and 
every one who can should either walk or drive 
around the outskirts of the town, not only 
for the fine views out over the water but to 
see the cascades of bloom pouring over the 
gables of the cottages, and the fresh wild woods 
with their flowery, fragrant underbrush. Wild 
roses abound almost everywhere. One species, 
blooming freely along the woodland paths, is 
from two to three inches in diameter, and more 
fragrant than any other wild rose I ever saw 
excepting the sweetbriar. This rose and three 
species of spiraea fairly fill the air with fra 
grance after a shower. And how brightly then 
do the red berries of the dogwood shine out 
from the warm yellow-green of leaves and 
mosses ! 

But still more interesting and significant 
are the glacial phenomena displayed here 
abouts. All this exuberant tree, bush, and 
herbaceous vegetation, cultivated or wild, is 
growing upon moraine beds outspread by 
waters that issued from the ancient glaciers 
at the time of their recession, and scarcely at 
all moved or in any way modified by post- 
214 



PUGET SOUND 

glacial agencies. The town streets and the 
roads are graded in moraine material, among 
scratched and grooved rock-bosses that are 
as unweathered and telling as any to be found 
in the glacier-channels of Alaska. The harbor 
also is clearly of glacial origin. The rock islets 
that rise here and there, forming so marked a 
feature of the harbor, are unchanged roches 
moutonnees, and the shores are grooved, 
scratched, and rounded, and in every way as 
glacial in all their characteristics as those of a 
newborn glacial lake. 

Most visitors to Victoria go to the stores of 
the Hudson s Bay Company, presumably on 
account of the romantic associations, or to 
purchase a bit of fur or some other wild-In- 
dianish trinket as a memento. At certain sea 
sons of the year, when the hairy harvests are 
gathered in, immense bales of skins may be 
seen in these unsavory warehouses, the spoils 
of many thousand hunts over mountain and 
plain, by lonely river and shore. The skins 
of bears, wolves, beavers, otters, fishers, mar 
tens, lynxes, panthers, wolverine, reindeer, 
moose, elk, wild goats, sheep, foxes, squirrels, 
and many others of our "poor earth-born 
companions and fellow-mortals" may here be 
found. 

Vancouver is the southmost and the largest 

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of the countless islands forming the great ar 
chipelago that stretches a thousand miles to 
the northward. Its shores have been known a 
long time, but little is known of the lofty moun 
tainous interior on account of the difficulties 
in the way of explorations lake, bogs, and 
shaggy tangled forests. It is mostly a pure, 
savage wilderness, without roads or clearings, 
and silent so far as man is concerned. Even 
the Indians keep close to the shore, getting a 
living by fishing, dwelling together in villages, 
and traveling almost wholly by canoes. White 
settlements are few and far between. Good 
agricultural lands occur here and there on the 
edge of the wilderness, but they are hard to 
clear, and have received but little attention 
thus far. Gold, the grand attraction that lights 
the way into all kinds of wildernesses and 
makes rough places smooth, has been found, 
but only in small quantities, too small to make 
much motion. Almost all the industry of the 
island is employed upon lumber and coal, in 
which, so far as known, its chief wealth lies. 

Leaving Victoria for Port Townsend, after 
we are fairly out on the free open water, Mount 
Baker is seen rising solitary over a dark 
breadth of forest, making a glorious show in 
its pure white raiment. It is said to be about 
eleven thousand feet high, is loaded with gla- 

X 216 



PUGET SOUND 

ciers, some of which come well down into the 
woods, and never, so far as I have heard, has 
been climbed, though in all probability it is 
not inaccessible. The task of reaching its base 
through the dense woods will be likely to prove 
of greater difficulty than the climb to the 
summit. 

In a direction a little to the left of Mount 
Baker and much nearer, may be seen the island 
of San Juan, famous in the young history of 
the country for the quarrels concerning its 
rightful ownership between the Hudson s Bay 
Company and Washington Territory, quar 
rels which nearly brought on war with Great 
Britain. Neither party showed any lack of 
either pluck or gunpowder. General Scott was 
sent out by President Buchanan to negotiate, 
which resulted in a joint occupancy of the 
island. Small quarrels, however, continued 
to arise until the year 1874, when the peppery 
question was submitted to the Emperor of 
Germany for arbitration. Then the whole 
island was given to the United States. 

San Juan is one of a thickset cluster of is 
lands that fills the waters between Vancouver 
and the mainland, a little to the north of Vic 
toria. In some of the intricate channels be 
tween these islands the tides run at times like 
impetuous rushing rivers, rendering naviga- 

217 



STEEP TRAILS 

tion rather uncertain and dangerous for the 
small sailing-vessels that ply between Victoria 
and the settlements on the coast of British 
Columbia and the larger islands. The water is 
generally deep enough everywhere, too deep 
in most places for anchorage, and, the winds 
shifting hither and thither or dying away al 
together, the ships, getting no direction from 
their helms, are carried back and forth or are 
caught in some eddy where two currents meet 
and whirled round and round to the dismay 
of the sailors, like a chip in a river whirlpool. 

All the way over to Port Townsend the 
Olympic Mountains well maintain their mas 
sive, imposing grandeur, and present their 
elaborately carved summits in clear relief, 
many of which are out of sight in coming up 
the strait on account of our being too near 
the base of the range. Turn to them as often 
as we may, our admiration only grows the 
warmer the longer we dwell upon them. The 
highest peaks are Mount Constance and Mount 
Olympus, said to be about eight thousand feet 
high. 

In two or three hours after leaving Vic 
toria, we arrive at the handsome little town 
of Port Townsend, situated at the mouth of 
Puget Sound, on the west side. The residen 
tial portion of the town is set on the level top 

218 



PUGET SOUND 

of the bluff that bounds Port Townsend Bay, 
while another nearly level space of moderate 
extent, reaching from the base of the bluff to 
the shore-line, is occupied by the business 
portion, thus making a town of two separate 
and distinct stories, which are connected by 
long, ladder-like flights of stairs. In the streets 
of the lower story, while there is no lack of 
animation, there is but little business noise as 
compared with the amount of business trans 
acted. This in great part is due to the scarcity 
of horses and wagons. Farms and roads back 
in the woods are few and far between. Nearly 
all the tributary settlements are on the coast, 
and communication is almost wholly by boats, 
canoes, and schooners. Hence country stages 
and farmers wagons and buggies, with the 
whir and din that belong to them, are wanting. 
This being the port of entry, all vessels have 
to stop here, and they make a lively show about 
the wharves and in the bay. The winds stir 
the flags of every civilized nation, while the 
Indians in their long-beaked canoes glide 
about from ship to ship, satisfying their curi 
osity or trading with the crews. Keen traders 
these Indians are, and few indeed of the sail 
ors or merchants from any country ever get 
the better of them in bargains. Curious groups 
of people may often be seen in the streets and 

219 



STEEP TRAILS 

stores, made up of English, French, Spanish, 
Portuguese, Scandinavians, Germans, Greeks, 
Moors, Japanese, and Chinese, of every rank 
and station and style of dress and behavior; 
settlers from many a nook and bay and island 
up and down the coast; hunters from the wil 
derness; tourists on their way home by the 
Sound and the Columbia River or to Alaska 
or California. 

The upper story of Port Townsend is charm 
ingly located, wide bright waters on one side, 
flowing evergreen woods on the other. The 
streets are well laid out and well tended, and 
the houses, with their luxuriant gardens about 
them, have an air of taste and refinement sel 
dom found in towns set on the edge of a wild 
forest. The people seem to have come here to 
make true homes, attracted by the beauty and 
fresh breezy healthfulness of the place as well 
as by business advantages, trusting to nat 
ural growth and advancement instead of rest 
less " booming " methods. They perhaps have 
caught some of the spirit of calm moderation 
and enjoyment from their English neighbors 
across the water. Of late, however, this sober 
tranquillity has begun to give way, some whiffs 
from the whirlwind of real-estate speculation 
up the Sound having at length touched the 
town and ruffled the surface of its calmness. 
220 



PUGET SOUND 

A few miles up the bay is Fort Townsend, 
which makes a pretty picture with the green 
woods rising back of it and the calm water in 
front. Across the mouth of the Sound lies the 
long, narrow Whidbey Island, named by Van 
couver for one of his lieutenants. It is about 
thirty miles in length, and is remarkable in 
this region of crowded forests and mountains 
as being comparatively open and low. The 
soil is good and easily worked, and a consid 
erable portion of the island has been under 
cultivation for many years. Fertile fields, 
open, parklike groves of oak, and thick masses 
of evergreens succeed one another in charming 
combinations to make this "the garden spot 
of the Territory." 

Leaving Port Townsend for Seattle and 
Tacoma, we enter the Sound and sail down 
into the heart of the green, aspiring forests, 
and find, look where we may, beauty ever 
changing, in lavish profusion. Puget Sound, 
"the Mediterranean of America" as it is some 
times called, is in many respects one of the 
most remarkable bodies of water in the world. 
Vancouver, who came here nearly a hundred 
years ago and made a careful survey of it, 
named the larger northern portion of it "Ad 
miralty Inlet" and one of the long, narrow 
branches "Hood s Canal," applying the name 
221 



STEEP TRAILS 

"Puget Sound" only to the comparatively 
small southern portion. The latter name, 
however, is now applied generally to the en 
tire inlet, and is commonly shortened by the 
people hereabouts to "The Sound." The nat 
ural wealth and commercial advantages of the 
Sound region were quickly recognized, and 
the cause of the activity prevailing here is not 
far to seek. Vancouver, long before civiliza 
tion touched these shores, spoke of it in terms 
of unstinted praise. He was sent out by the 
British government with the principal object 
in view of "acquiring accurate knowledge as 
to the nature and extent of any water com 
munication which may tend in any consider 
able degree to facilitate an intercourse for the 
purposes of commerce between the northwest 
coast and the country on the opposite side of 
the continent," vague traditions having long 
been current concerning a strait supposed to 
unite the two oceans. Vancouver reported 
that he found the coast from San Francisco 
to Oregon and beyond to present a nearly 
straight solid barrier to the sea, without open 
ings, and we may well guess the joy of the old 
navigator on the discovery of these waters 
after so long and barren a search to the south 
ward. 

His descriptions of the scenery Mounts 
222 



PUGET SOUND 

Baker, Rainier, St. Helen s, etc. were as 
enthusiastic as those of the most eager land 
scape-lover of the present day, when scenery 
is in fashion. He says in one place: "To de 
scribe the beauties of this region will, on some 
future occasion, be a very grateful task for the 
pen of a skillful panegyrist. The serenity of 
the climate, the immeasurable pleasing land 
scapes, and the abundant fertility that un 
assisted nature puts forth, require only to be 
enriched by the industry of man with villages, 
mansions, cottages, and other buildings, to 
render it the most lovely country that can be 
imagined. The labor of the inhabitants would 
be amply rewarded in the bounties which na 
ture seems ready to bestow on cultivation." 
"A picture so pleasing could not fail to call 
to our remembrance certain delightful and 
beloved situations in old England." So warm, 
indeed, were the praises he sung that his state 
ments were received in England with a good 
deal of hesitation. But they were amply cor 
roborated by Wilkes and others who followed 
many years later. "Nothing," says Wilkes, 
"can exceed the beauty of these waters and 
their safety. Not a shoal exists in the Straits 
of Juan de Fuca, Admiralty Inlet, Puget 
Sound or Hood s Canal, that can in any way 
interrupt their navigation by a 74-gun ship. 

223 



STEEP TRAILS 

I venture nothing in saying there is no coun 
try in the world that possesses waters like 
these." And again, quoting from the United 
States Coast Survey, "For depth of water, 
boldness of approaches, freedom from hidden 
dangers, and the immeasurable sea of gigan 
tic timber coming down to the very shores, 
these waters are unsurpassed, unapproach 
able." 

The Sound region has a fine, fresh, clean 
climate, well washed both winter and summer 
with copious rains and swept with winds and 
clouds that come from the mountains and the 
sea. Every hidden nook in the depths of the 
woods is searched and refreshed, leaving no 
stagnant air; beaver meadows and lake-basins 
and low and willowy bogs, all are kept whole 
some and sweet the year round. Cloud and 
sunshine alternate in bracing, cheering suc 
cession, and health and abundance follow the 
storms. The outer sea-margin is sublimely 
dashed and drenched with ocean brine, the 
spicy scud sweeping at times far inland over 
the bending woods, the giant trees waving 
and chanting in hearty accord as if surely 
enjoying it all. 

Heavy, long-continued rains occur in the 
winter months. Then every leaf, bathed and 
brightened, rejoices. Filtering drops and cur- 

224 



PUGET SOUND 

rents through all the shaggy undergrowth of the 
woods go with tribute to the small streams, and 
these again to the larger. The rivers swell, but 
there are no devastating floods; for the thick 
felt of roots and mosses holds the abounding 
waters in check, stored in a thousand thous 
and fountains. Neither are there any violent 
hurricanes here. At least, I never have heard 
of any, nor have I come upon their tracks. 
Most of the streams are clear and cool always, 
for their waters are filtered through deep beds 
of mosses, and flow beneath shadows all the 
way to the sea. Only the streams from the 
glaciers are turbid and muddy. On the slopes 
of the mountains where they rush from their 
crystal caves, they carry not only small par 
ticles of rock-mud, worn off the sides and bot 
toms of the channels of the glaciers, but grains 
of sand and pebbles and large boulders tons 
in weight, rolling them forward on their way 
rumbling and bumping to their appointed 
places at the foot of steep slopes, to be built 
into rough bars and beds, while the smaller 
material is carried farther and outspread in 
flats, perhaps for coming wheat-fields and gar 
dens, the finest of it going out to sea, floating 
on the tides for weeks and months ere it finds 
rest on the bottom. 

Snow seldom falls to any great depth on the 

225 



STEEP TRAILS 

lowlands, though it comes in glorious abun 
dance on the mountains. And only on the 
mountains does the temperature fall much 
below the freezing-point. In the warmest sum 
mer weather a temperature of eighty-five de 
grees or even more occasionally is reached, but 
not for long at a tune, as such heat is speed 
ily followed by a breeze from the sea. The 
most charming days here are days of perfect 
calm, when all the winds are holding their 
breath and not a leaf stirs. Then the surface 
of the Sound shines like a silver mirror over 
all its vast extent, reflecting its lovely islands 
and shores; and long sheets of spangles flash 
and dance in the wake of every swimming 
seabird and boat. The sun, looking down on 
the tranquil landscape, seems conscious of the 
presence of every living thing on which he is 
pouring his blessings, while they in turn, with 
perhaps the exception of man, seem conscious 
of the presence of the sun as a benevolent 
father and stand hushed and waiting. 



XVIII 

THE FORESTS OF WASHINGTON 

WHEN we force our way into the depths of 
the forests, following any of the rivers back 
to their fountains, we find that the bulk of the 
woods is made up of the Douglas spruce (Pseu- 
dotsuga Douglasii), named in honor of David 
Douglas, an enthusiastic botanical explorer 
of early Hudson s Bay times. It is not only a 
very large tree but a very beautiful one, with 
lively bright-green drooping foliage, handsome 
pendent cones, and a shaft exquisitely straight 
and regular. For so large a tree it is astonish 
ing how many find nourishment and space to 
grow on any given area. The magnificent 
shafts push their spires into the sky close to 
gether with as regular a growth as that of a 
well-tilled field of grain. And no ground has 
been better tilled for the growth of trees than 
that on which these forests are growing. For 
it has been thoroughly ploughed and rolled 
by the mighty glaciers from the mountains, 
and sifted and mellowed and outspread in 
beds hundreds of feet in depth by the broad 
streams that issued from their fronts at the 
time of their recession, after they had long 
covered all the land. 

227 



STEEP TRAILS 

The largest tree of this species that I have 
myself measured was nearly twelve feet in 
diameter at a height of five feet from the 
ground, and, as near as I could make out under 
the circumstances, about three hundred feet 
in length. It stood near the head of the Sound 
not far from Olympia. I have seen a few others, 
both near the coast and thirty or forty miles 
back in the interior, that were from eight to 
ten feet in diameter, measured above their 
bulging insteps; and many from six to seven 
feet. I have heard of some that were said to 
be three hundred and twenty-five feet in height 
and fifteen feet in diameter, but none that I 
measured were so large, though it is not at 
all unlikely that such colossal giants do exist 
where conditions of soil and exposure are sur 
passingly favorable. The average size of all 
the trees of this species found up to an eleva 
tion on the mountain-slopes of, say, two thou 
sand feet above sea-level, taking into account 
only what may be called mature trees two 
hundred and fifty to five hundred years of age, 
is perhaps, at a vague guess, not more than a 
height of one hundred and seventy-five or 
two hundred feet and a diameter of three 
feet; though, of course, throughout the richest 
sections the size is much greater. \ ^ 

In proportion to its weight when dry, the 



THE FORESTS OF WASHINGTON 

timber from this tree is perhaps stronger than 
that of any other conifer in the country. It is 
tough and durable and admirably adapted in 
every way for shipbuilding, piles, and heavy 
timbers in general. But its hardness and lia 
bility to warp render it much inferior to white 
or sugar pine for fine work. In the lumber- 
markets of California it is known as "Oregon 
pine 7 and is used almost exclusively for spars, 
bridge-timbers, heavy planking, and the frame 
work of houses. 

The same species extends northward in 
abundance through British Columbia and 
southward through the coast and middle re 
gions of Oregon and California. It is also a 
common tree in the canons and hollows of 
the Wahsatch Mountains in Utah, where it 
is called "red pine" and on portions of the 
Rocky Mountains and some of the short 
ranges of the Great Basin. Along the coast of 
California it keeps company with the redwood 
wherever it can find a favorable opening. On 
the western slope of the Sierra, with the yel 
low pine and incense cedar, it forms a pretty 
well-defined belt at a height of from three 
thousand to six thousand feet above the sea, 
and extends into the San Gabriel and San 
Bernardino Mountains in southern Califor 
nia. But, though widely distributed, it is only 

229 



STEEP TRAILS 

in these cool, moist northlands that it reaches 
its finest development, tall, straight, elastic, 
and free from limbs to an immense height, 
growing down to tide-water, where ships of 
the largest size may lie close alongside and 
load at the least possible cost. 

Growing with the Douglas we find the white 
spruce, or "Sitka pine," as it is sometimes 
called. This also is a very beautiful and ma 
jestic tree, frequently attaining a height of 
two hundred feet or more and a diameter of 
five or six feet. It is very abundant in south 
eastern Alaska, forming the greater part of the 
best forests there. Here it is found mostly 
around the sides of beaver-dam and other 
meadows and on the borders of the streams, 
especially where the ground is low. One tree 
that I saw felled at the head of the Hop-Ranch 
meadows on the upper Snoqualmie River, 
though far from being the largest I have seen, 
measured a hundred and eighty feet in length 
and four and a half in diameter, and was two 
hundred and fifty-seven years of age. 

In habit and general appearance it resembles 
the Douglas spruce, but it is somewhat less 
slender and the needles grow close together 
all around the branchlets and are so stiff and 
sharp-pointed on the younger branches that 
they cannot well be handled without gloves. 

230 



THE FORESTS OF WASHINGTON 

The timber is tough, close-grained, white, and 
looks more like pine that any other of the 
spruces. It splits freely, makes excellent shin 
gles and in general use in house-building takes 
the place of pine. I have seen logs of this spe 
cies a hundred feet long and two feet in dia 
meter at the upper end. It was named in honor 
of the old Scotch botanist Archibald Menzies, 
who came to this coast with Vancouver in 
1792. J 

The beautiful hemlock spruce with its warm 
yellow-green foliage is also common in some 
portions of these woods. It is tall and slender 
and exceedingly graceful in habit before old 
age comes on, but the timber is inferior and 
is seldom used for any other than the rough 
est work, such as wharf -building. 

The Western arbor-vitse 2 (Thuja gigantea) 
grows to a size truly gigantic on low rich 
ground. Specimens ten feet in diameter and 
a hundred and forty feet high are not at all 
rare. Some that I have heard of are said to 
be fifteen and even eighteen feet thick. Clad 
in rich, glossy plumes, with gray lichens cov 
ering their smooth, tapering boles, perfect trees 

1 [This tree, now known to botanists as Picea sitchensis, 
was named Abies Menziesii by Lindley in 1833.] 

2 Also known as "canoe cedar," and described in Jep- 
son s Silva of California under the more recent specific name 
Thuja plicata. [Editor.] 

231 



STEEP TRAILS 

of this species are truly noble objects and well 
worthy the place they hold in these glorious 
forests. It is of this tree that the Indians make 
their fine canoes. 

Of the other conifers that are so happy as to 
have place here, there are three firs, three or 
four pines, two cypresses, a yew, and another 
spruce, the Abies Pattoniana. 1 This last is per 
haps the most beautiful of all the spruces, but, 
being comparatively small and growing only 
far back on the mountains, it receives but 
little attention from most people. Nor is there 
room in a work like this for anything like a 
complete description of it, or of the others I 
have just mentioned. Of the three firs, one 
(Picea grandis), 2 grows near the coast and is 
one of the largest trees in the forest, some 
times attaining a height of two hundred and 
fifty feet. The timber, however, is inferior in 
quality and not much sought after while so 
much that is better is within reach. One of the 
others (P. amabilis, var. nobilis) forms mag 
nificent forests by itself at a height of about 
three thousand to four thousand feet above 
the sea. The rich plushy, plumelike branches 
grow in regular whorls around the trunk, and 
on the topmost whorls, standing erect, are the 

1 Now classified as Tsuga mertensiana Sarg. [Editor.] 

2 Now Abies grandis Lindley. [Editor.] 

232 



THE FORESTS OF WASHINGTON 

large, beautiful cones. This is far the most 
beautiful of all the firs. In the Sierra Nevada 
it forms a considerable portion of the main 
forest belt on the western slope, and it is there 
that it reaches its greatest size and greatest 
beauty. The third species (P. subalpina) forms, 
together with Abies Pattoniana, the upper 
edge of the timber-line on the portion of the 
Cascades opposite the Sound. A thousand 
feet below the extreme limit of tree-growth 
it occurs in beautiful groups amid parklike 
openings where flowers grow in extravagant 
profusion. 

The pines are nowhere abundant in the 
State. The largest, the yellow pine (Pinus 
ponderosa), occurs here and there on margins 
of dry gravelly prairies, and only in such sit 
uations have I yet seen it in this State. The 
others (P. monticola and P. contorta) are 
mostly restricted to the upper slopes of the 
mountains, and though the former of these 
two attains a good size and makes excellent 
lumber, it is mostly beyond reach at present 
and is not abundant. One of the cypresses 
(Cupressus Lawsoniana) 1 grows near the coast 
and is a fine large tree, clothed like the arbor- 
vit86 in a glorious wealth of flat, feathery 

1 Chamcecyparis lawsoniana Parl. (Port Orford cedar) in 
Jepson s Silva. [Editor.] 

233 



STEEP TRAILS 

branches. The other is found here and there 
well up toward the edge of the timber-line. 
This is the fine Alaska cedar (C. Nootkatensis), 
the lumber from which is noted for its dura 
bility, fineness of grain, and beautiful yellow 
color, and for its fragrance, which resembles 
that of sandal-wood. The Alaska Indians 
make their canoe-paddles of it and weave 
matting and coarse cloth from the fibrous 
brown bark. 

Among the different kinds of hardwood trees 
are the oak, maple, madrona, birch, alder, and 
wild apple, while large cottonwoods are com 
mon along the rivers and shores of the num 
erous lakes. 

The most striking of these to the traveler 
is the Menzies arbutus, or madrona, as it is 
popularly called in California. Its curious red 
and yellow bark, large thick glossy leaves, and 
panicles of waxy-looking greenish-white urn- 
shaped flowers render it very conspicuous. 
On the boles of the younger trees and on all 
the branches, the bark is so smooth and seam 
less that it does not appear as bark at all, but 
rather the naked wood. The whole tree, with 
the exception of the larger part of the trunk, 
looks as though it had been thoroughly peeled. 
It is found sparsely scattered along the shores 
of the Sound and back in the forests also on 

234 



THE FORESTS OF WASHINGTON 

open margins, where the soil is not too wet, 
and extends up the coast on Vancouver Island 
beyond Nanaimo. But in no part of the State 
does it reach anything like the size and beauty 
of proportions that it attains in California, 
few trees here being more than ten or twelve 
inches in diameter and thirty feet high. It 
is, however, a very remarkable-looking object, 
standing there like some lost or runaway na 
tive of the tropics, naked and painted, beside 
that dark mossy ocean of northland conifers. 
Not even a palm tree would seem more out of 
place here. 

The oaks, so far as my observation has 
reached, seem to be most abundant and to grow 
largest on the islands of the San Juan and 
Whidbey Archipelago. One of the three species 
of maples that I have seen is only a bush that 
makes tangles on the banks of the rivers. Of 
the other two one is a small tree, crooked and 
moss-grown, holding out its leaves to catch 
the light that filters down through the close- 
set spires of the great spruces. It grows almost 
everywhere throughout the entire extent of 
the forest until the higher slopes of the moun 
tains are reached, and produces a very pic 
turesque and delightful effect; relieving the 
bareness of the great shafts of the evergreens, 
without being close enough in its growth to 

235 



STEEP TRAILS 

hide them wholly, or to cover the bright mossy 
carpet that is spread beneath all the dense parts 
of the woods. 

The other species is also very picturesque 
and at the same time very large, the largest 
tree of its kind that I have ever seen anywhere. 
Not even in the great maple woods of Canada 
have I seen trees either as large or with so 
much striking, picturesque character. It is 
widely distributed throughout western Wash 
ington, but is never found scattered among 
the conifers in the dense woods. It keeps to 
gether mostly in magnificent groves by itself 
on the damp levels along the banks of streams 
or lakes where the ground is subject to over 
flow. In such situations it attains a height 
of seventy-five to a hundred feet and a diam 
eter of four to eight feet. The trunk sends 
out large limbs toward its neighbors, laden 
with long drooping mosses beneath and rows 
of ferns on their upper surfaces, thus making 
a grand series of richly ornamented interlacing 
arches, with the leaves laid thick overhead, 
rendering the underwood spaces delightfully 
cool and open. Never have I seen a finer for 
est ceiling or a more picturesque one, while 
the floor, covered with tall ferns and rubus and 
thrown into hillocks by the bulging roots, 
matches it well. The largest of these maple 

236 



THE FORESTS OF WASHINGTON 

groves that I have yet found is on the right 
bank of the Snoqualmie River, about a mile 
above the falls. The whole country hereabouts 
is picturesque, and interesting in many ways, 
and well worthy a visit by tourists passing 
through the Sound region, since it is now 
accessible by rail from Seattle. 

Looking now at the forests in a comprehen 
sive way, we find in passing through them 
again and again from the shores of the Sound 
to their upper limits, that some portions are 
much older than others, the trees much larger, 
and the ground beneath them strewn with 
immense trunks in every stage of decay, re 
presenting several generations of growth, 
everything about them giving the impression 
that these are indeed the " forests primeval," 
while in the younger portions, where the ele 
vation of the ground is the same as to the sea- 
level and the species of trees are the same as 
well as the quality of the soil, apart from the 
moisture which it holds, the trees seem to be 
and are mostly of the same age, perhaps from 
one hundred to two or three hundred years, 
with no gray-bearded, venerable patriarchs 
forming tall, majestic woods without any 
grandfathers. 

When we examine the ground we find that 
it is as free from those mounds of brown crum- 

237 



STEEP TRAILS 

bling wood and mossy ancient fragments as 
are the growing trees from very old ones. Then, 
perchance, we come upon a section farther 
up the slopes towards the mountains that has 
no trees more than fifty years old, or even 
fifteen or twenty years old. These last show 
plainly enough that they have been devas 
tated by fire, as the black, melancholy monu 
ments rising here and there above the young 
growth bear witness. Then, with this fiery, 
suggestive testimony, on examining those sec 
tions whose trees are a hundred years old or 
two hundred, we find the same fire-records, 
though heavily veiled with mosses and lichens, 
showing that a century or two ago the forests 
that stood there had been swept away in some 
tremendous fire at a time when rare condi 
tions of drouth made their burning possible. 
Then, the bare ground sprinkled with the 
winged seeds from the edges of the burned 
district, a new forest sprang up, nearly every 
tree starting at the same time or within a few 
years, thus producing the uniformity of size 
we find in such places; while, on the other hand, 
in those sections of ancient aspect containing 
very old trees both standing and fallen, we 
find no traces of fire, nor from the extreme 
dampness of the ground can we see any possi 
bility of fire ever running there. 

238 



THE FORESTS OF WASHINGTON 

Fire, then, is the great governing agent in 
forest-distribution and to a great extent also 
in the conditions of forest-growth. Where fer 
tile lands are very wet one half the year and 
very dry the other, there can be no forests at 
all. Where the ground is damp, with drouth 
occurring only at intervals of centuries, fine 
forests may be found, other conditions being 
favorable. But it is only where fires never run 
that truly ancient forests of pitchy coniferous 
trees may exist. When the Washington for 
ests are seen from the deck of a ship out in the 
middle of the Sound, or even from the top of 
some high, commanding mountain, the woods 
seem everywhere perfectly solid. And so in 
fact they are in general found to be. The larg 
est openings are those of the lakes and prai 
ries, the smaller of beaver-meadows, bogs, and 
the rivers; none of them large enough to make 
a distinct mark in comprehensive views. 

Of the lakes there are said to be some thirty 
in King s County alone; the largest, Lake 
Washington, being twenty-six miles long and 
four miles wide. Another, which enjoys the 
duckish name of Lake Squak, is about ten 
miles long. Both are pure and beautiful, ly 
ing imbedded in the green wilderness. The 
rivers are numerous and are but little affected 
by the weather, flowing with deep, steady 

239 



STEEP TRAILS 

currents the year round. They are short, how 
ever, none of them drawing their sources from 
beyond the Cascade Range. Some are navi 
gable for small steamers on their lower courses, 
but the openings they make in the woods are 
very narrow, the tall trees on their banks lean 
ing over in some places, making fine shady 
tunnels. 

The largest of the prairies that I have seen 
lies to the south of Tacoma on the line of the 
Portland and Tacoma Railroad. The ground 
is dry and gravelly, a deposit of water-washed 
cobbles and pebbles derived from moraines 
conditions which readily explain the absence 
of trees here and on other prairies adjacent 
to Yelm. Berries grow in lavish abundance, 
enough for man and beast with thousands of 
tons to spare. The woods are full of them, 
especially about the borders of the waters and 
meadows where the sunshine may enter. No 
where in the north does Nature set a more 
bountiful table. There are huckleberries of 
many species, red, blue, and black, some of 
them growing close to the ground, others on 
bushes eight to ten feet high; also salal berries, 
growing on a low, weak-stemmed bush, a spe 
cies of gaultheria, seldom more than a foot 
or two high. This has pale pea-green glossy 
leaves two or three inches long and half an 

240 



THE FOKESTS OF WASHINGTON 

inch wide and beautiful pink flowers, urn- 
shaped, .that make a fine, rich show. The 
berries are black when ripe, are extremely 
abundant, and, with the huckleberries, form 
an important part of the food of the Indians, 
who beat them into paste, dry them, and store 
them away for winter use, to be eaten with 
their oily fish. The salmon-berry also is very 
plentiful, growing in dense prickly tangles. 
The flowers are as large as wild roses and of 
the same color, and the berries measure nearly 
an inch in diameter. Besides these there are 
gooseberries, currants, raspberries, blackber 
ries, and, in some favored spots, strawberries. 
The mass of the underbrush of the woods is 
made up in great part of these berry-bearing 
bushes, together with white-flowered spiraea 
twenty feet high, hazel, dogwood, wild rose, 
honeysuckle, symphoricarpus, etc. But in the 
depths of the woods, where little sunshine can 
reach the ground, there is but little under 
brush of any kind, only a very light growth 
of huckleberry and rubus and young maples 
in most places. The difficulties encountered 
by the explorer in penetrating the wilderness 
are presented mostly by the streams and bogs, 
with their tangled margins, and the fallen 
timber and thick carpet of moss covering all 
the ground. 

241 



STEEP TRAILS 

Notwithstanding the tremendous energy 
displayed in lumbering and the grand scale 
on which it is being carried on, and the num 
ber of settlers pushing into every opening in 
search of farmlands, the woods of Washington 
are still almost entirely virgin and wild, with 
out trace of human touch, savage or civilized. 
Indians, no doubt, have ascended most of the 
rivers on their way to the mountains to hunt 
the wild sheep and goat to obtain wool for 
their clothing, but with food hi abundance on 
the coast they had little to tempt them into 
the wilderness, and the monuments they have 
left in it are scarcely more conspicuous than 
those of squirrels and bears; far less so than 
those of the beavers, which in damming the 
streams have made clearings and meadows 
which will continue to mark the landscape for 
centuries. Nor is there much in these woods 
to tempt the farmer or cattle-raiser. A few 
settlers established homes on the prairies or 
open borders of the woods and in the valleys 
of the Chehalis and Cowlitz before the gold 
days of California. Most of the early immi 
grants from the Eastern States, however, set 
tled in the fertile and open Willamette Valley 
of Oregon. Even now, when the search for 
land is so keen, with the exception of the bot 
tom lands around the Sound and on the lower 

242 



THE FORESTS OF WASHINGTON 

reaches of the rivers, there are comparatively 
few spots of cultivation in western Washing 
ton. On every meadow or opening of any kind 
some one will be found keeping cattle, plant 
ing hop-vines, or raising hay, vegetables, and 
patches of grain. All the large spaces avail 
able, even back near the summits of the Cas 
cade Mountains, were occupied long ago. The 
newcomers, building their cabins where the 
beavers once built theirs, keep a few cows and 
industriously seek to enlarge their small mea 
dow patches by chopping, girdling, and burn 
ing the edge of the encircling forest, gnawing 
like beavers, and scratching for a living among 
the blackened stumps and logs, regarding the 
trees as their greatest enemies a sort of 
larger pernicious weed immensely difficult to 
get rid of. 

But all these are as yet mere spots, making 
no visible scar in the distance and leaving the 
grand stretches of the forest as wild as they 
were before the discovery of the continent. For 
many years the axe has been busy around the 
shores of the Sound and chips have been fall 
ing in perpetual storm like flakes of snow. The 
best of the timber has been cut for a distance 
of eight or ten miles from the water and to a 
much greater distance along the streams deep 
enough to float the logs. Railroads, too, have 

243 



STEEP TRAILS 

been built to fetch in the logs from the best 
bodies of timber otherwise inaccessible except 
at great cost. None of the ground, however, 
has been completely denuded. Most of the 
young trees have been left, together with the 
hemlocks and other trees undesirable in kind 
or in some way defective, so that the neigh 
boring trees appear to have closed over the 
gaps made by the removal of the larger and 
better ones, maintaining the general contin 
uity of the forest and leaving no sign on the 
sylvan sea, at least as seen from a distance. 

In felling the trees they cut them off usu 
ally at a height of six to twelve feet above the 
ground, so as to avoid cutting through the 
swollen base, where the diameter is so much 
greater. In order to reach this height the 
chopper cuts a notch about two inches wide 
and three or four deep and drives a board into 
it, on which he stands while at work. In case 
the first notch, cut as high as he can reach, is 
not high enough, he stands on the board that 
has been driven into the first notch and cuts 
another. Thus the axeman may often be seen 
at work standing eight or ten feet above the 
ground. If the tree is so large that with his 
long-handled axe the chopper is unable to 
reach to the farther side of it, then a second 
chopper is set to work, each cutting halfway 

244 



THE FORESTS OF WASHINGTON 

across. And when the tree is about to fall, 
warned by the faint crackling of the strained 
fibers, they jump to the ground, and stand 
back out of danger from flying limbs, while 
the noble giant that had stood erect hi glori 
ous strength and beauty century after cen 
tury, bows low at last and with gasp and groan 
and booming throb falls to earth. 

Then with long saws the trees are cut into 
logs of the required length, peeled, loaded upon 
wagons capable of carrying a weight of eight 
or ten tons, hauled by a long string of oxen 
to the nearest available stream or railroad, and 
floated or carried to the Sound. There the 
logs are gathered into booms and towed by 
steamers to the mills, where workmen with 
steel spikes in their boots leap lightly with 
easy poise from one to another and by means 
of long pike-poles push them apart and, select 
ing such as are at the time required, push them 
to the foot of a chute and drive dogs into the 
ends, when they are speedily hauled in by the 
mill machinery alongside the saw-carriage and 
placed and fixed in position. Then with sounds 
of greedy hissing and growling they are rushed 
back and forth like enormous shuttles, and in 
an incredibly short time they are lumber and 
are aboard the ships lying at the mill wharves. 

Many of the long, slender boles so abundant 

245 



STEEP TRAILS 

in these woods are saved for spars, and so ex 
cellent is their quality that they are in demand 
in almost every shipyard of the world. Thus 
these trees, felled and stripped of their leaves 
and branches, are raised again, transplanted 
and set firmly erect, given roots of iron and a 
new foliage of flapping canvas, and sent to 
sea. On they speed in glad, free motion, cheer 
ily waving over the blue, heaving water, re 
sponsive to the same winds that rocked them 
when they stood at home in the woods. After 
standing in one place all then- lives they now, 
like sight-seeing tourists, go round the world, 
meeting many a relative from the old home 
forest, some like themselves, wandering free, 
clad in broad canvas foliage, others planted 
head downward in mud, holding wharf plat 
forms aloft to receive the wares of all nations. 
The mills of Puget Sound and those of the 
redwood region of California are said to be the 
largest and most effective lumber-makers in 
the world. Tacoma alone claims to have eleven 
sawmills, and Seattle about as many; while 
at many other points on the Sound, where the 
conditions are particularly favorable, there 
are immense lumbering establishments, as at 
Ports Blakely, Ma rl i^on, Discovery, Gamble, 
Ludlow, etc., with a capacity all together of 
over three million feet a day. Nevertheless, 

246 



THE FORESTS OF WASHINGTON 

the observer coining up the Sound sees not 
nor hears anything of this fierce storm of steel 
that is devouring the forests, save perhaps 
the shriek of some whistle or the columns of 
smoke that mark the position of the mills. All 
else seems as sferene and unscathed as the 
silent watching mountains. 



XIX 

PEOPLE AND TOWNS OF PUGET SOUND 

As one strolls in the woods about the logging- 
camps, most of the lumbermen are found to 
be interesting people to meet, kind and oblig 
ing and sincere, full of knowledge concerning 
the bark and sapwood and heartwood of the 
trees they cut, and how to fell them without 
unnecessary breakage, on ground where they 
may be most advantageously sawed into logs 
and loaded for removal. The work is hard, 
and all of the older men have a tired, some 
what haggard appearance. Their faces are 
doubtful in color, neither sickly nor quite 
healthy-looking, and seamed with deep wrin 
kles like the bark of the spruces, but with no 
trace of anxiety. Their clothing is full of rosin 
and never wears out. A little of everything in 
the woods is stuck fast to these loggers, and 
their trousers grow constantly thicker with 
age. In all their movements and gestures they 
are heavy and deliberate like the trees above 
them, and they walk with a swaying, rocking 
gait altogether free from quick, jerky fussiness, 
for chopping and log-rolling have quenched all 
that. They are also slow of -speech, as if partly 

248 



TOWNS OF PUGET SOUND 

out of breath, and when one tries to draw them 
out on some subject away from logs, all the 
fresh, leafy, outreaching branches of the mind 
seem to have been withered and killed with 
fatigue, leaving their lives little more than 
dry lumber. Many a tree have these old axe 
men felled, but, round-shouldered and stooping, 
they too are beginning to lean over. Many 
of their companions are already beneath the 
moss, and among those that we see at work 
some are now dead at the top (bald), leafless, 
so to speak, and tottering to their fall. 

A very different man, seen now and then 
at long intervals but usually invisible, is the 
free roamer of the wilderness hunter, pros 
pector, explorer, seeking he knows not what. 
Lithe and sinewy, he walks erect, making his 
way with the skill of wild animals, all his senses 
in action, watchful and alert, looking keenly 
at everything in sight, his imagination well 
nourished in the wealth of the wilderness, 
coming into contact with free nature in a 
thousand forms, drinking at the fountains of 
things, responsive to wild influences, as trees 
to the winds. Well he knows the wild animals 
his neighbors, what fishes are in the streams, 
what birds in the forests, and where food may 
be found. Hungry at times and weary, he has 
corresponding enjoyment in eating and rest- 

249 



STEEP TRAILS 

ing, and all the wilderness is home. Some of 
these rare, happy rovers die alone among the 
leaves. Others half settle down and change 
in part into farmers; each, making choice of 
some fertile spot where the landscape attracts 
him, builds a small cabin, where, with few 
wants to supply from garden or field, he hunts 
and farms in turn, going perhaps once a year 
to the settlements, until night begins to draw 
near, and, like forest shadows, thickens into 
darkness and his day is done. In these Wash 
ington wilds, living alone, all sorts of men may 
perchance be found poets, philosophers, and 
even full-blown transcendentalists, though you 
may go far to find them. 

Indians are seldom to be met with away 
from the Sound, excepting about the few out 
lying hop-ranches, to which they resort in 
great numbers during the picking-season. Nor 
in your walks in the woods will you be likely 
to see many of the wild animals, however far 
you may go, with the exception of the Douglas 
squirrel and the mountain goat. The squirrel is 
everywhere, and the goat you can hardly fail 
to find if you climb any of the high mountains. 
The deer, once very abundant, may still be 
found on the islands and along the shores of 
the Sound, but the large gray wolves render 
their existence next to impossible at any con- 

250 



TOWNS OF PUGET SOUND 

siderable distance back in the woods of the 
mainland, as they can easily run them down 
unless they are near enough to the coast to 
make their escape by plunging into the water 
and swimming to the islands off shore. The elk 
and perhaps also the moose still exist in the 
most remote and inaccessible solitudes of the 
forest, but their numbers have been greatly re 
duced of late, and even the most experienced 
hunters have difficulty in finding them. Of 
bears there are two species, the black and the 
large brown, the former by far the more com 
mon of the two. On the shaggy bottom-lands 
where berries are plentiful, and along the rivers 
while salmon are going up to spawn, the black 
bear may be found, fat and at home. Many 
are killed every year, both for their flesh and 
skins. The large brown species likes higher 
and opener ground. He is a dangerous animal, 
a near relative of the famous grizzly, and wise 
hunters are very fond of letting him alone. 

The towns of Puget Sound are of a very 
lively, progressive, and aspiring kind, fortu 
nately with abundance of substance about 
them to warrant their ambition and make 
them grow. Like young sapling sequoias, 
they are sending out their roots far and near 
for nourishment, counting confidently on lon 
gevity and grandeur of stature. Seattle and 

251 



STEEP TRAILS 

x 

Tacoma are at present far in the lead of all 
others in the race for supremacy, and these 
two are keen, active rivals, to all appearances 
well matched. Tacoma occupies near the head 
of the Sound a site of great natural beauty. 
It is the terminus of the Northern Pacific 
Railroad, and calls itself the "City of Des 
tiny." Seattle is also charmingly located 
about twenty miles down the Sound from 
Tacoma, on Elliott Bay. It is the terminus of 
the Seattle, Lake-Shore, and Eastern Railroad, 
now in process of construction, and calls it 
self the " Queen City of the Sound" and the 
" Metropolis of Washington." What the pop 
ulations of these towns number I am not able 
to say with anything like exactness. They 
are probably about the same size and they 
each claim to have about twenty thousand 
people; but their figures are so rapidly chang 
ing, and so often mixed up with counts that 
refer to the future that exact measurements of 
either of these places are about as hard to 
obtain as measurements of the clouds of a 
growing storm. Their edges run back for miles 
into the woods among the trees and stumps 
and brush which hide a good many of the 
houses and the stakes which mark the lots; 
so that, without being as yet very large towns, 
they seem to fade away into the distance. 

252 



TOWNS OF PUGET SOUND 

But, though young and loose-jointed, they 
are fast taking on the forms and manners of 
old cities, putting on airs, as some would say, 
like boys in haste to be men. They are already 
towns "with all modern improvements, first- 
class in every particular," as is said of hotels. 
They have electric motors and lights, paved 
broadways and boulevards, substantial busi 
ness blocks, schools, churches, factories, and 
foundries. The lusty, titanic clang of boiler- 
making may be heard there, and plenty of the 
languid music of pianos mingling with the 
babel noises of commerce carried on in a hun 
dred tongues. The main streets are crowded 
with bright, wide-awake lawyers, ministers, 
merchants, agents for everything under the 
sun; ox-drivers and loggers in stiff, gummy 
overalls; back-slanting dudes, well-tailored and 
shiny; and fashions and bonnets of every 
feather and color bloom gayly in the noisy 
throng and advertise London and Paris. Vig 
orous life and strife are to be seen everywhere. 
The spirit of progress is in the ah*. Still it is 
hard to realize how much good work is being 
done here of a kind that makes for civilization 
the enthusiastic, exulting energy displayed 
in the building of new towns, railroads, and 
mills, in the opening of mines of coal and iron 
and the development of natural resources in 

253 



STEEP TRAILS 

general. To many, especially in the Atlantic 
States, Washington is hardly known at all. 
It is regarded as being yet a far wild west 
a dim, nebulous expanse of woods by those 
who do not know that railroads and steamers 
have brought the country out of the wilderness 
and abolished the old distances. It is now near 
to all the world and is in possession of a share 
of the best of all that civilization has to offer, 
while on some of the lines of advancement it 
is at the front. 

Notwithstanding the sharp rivalry between 
different sections and towns, the leading men 
mostly pull together for the general good and 
glory, building, buying, borrowing, to push 
the country to its place; keeping arithmetic 
busy in counting population present and to 
come, ships, towns, factories, tons of coal and 
iron, feet of lumber, miles of railroad, Ameri 
cans, Scandinavians, Irish, Scotch, and Ger 
mans being joined together in the white heat 
of work like religious crowds in tune of re 
vival who have forgotten sectarianism. It is a 
fine thing to see people in hot earnest about 
anything; therefore, however extravagant and 
high the brag ascending from Puget Sound, 
in most cases it is likely to appear pardonable 
and more. 

Seattle was named after an old Indian chief 

254 



TOWNS OF PUGET SOUND 

who lived in this part of the Sound. He was 
very proud of the honor and lived long enough 
to lead his grandchildren about the streets. 
The greater part of the lower business portion 
of the town, including a long stretch of wharves 
and warehouses built on piles, was destroyed 
by fire a few months ago, 1 with immense loss. 
The people, however, are in no wise discour 
aged, and ere long the loss will be gain, inas 
much as a better class of buildings, chiefly of 
brick, are being erected in place of the in 
flammable wooden ones, which, with com 
paratively few exceptions, were built of pitchy 
spruce. 

With their own scenery so glorious ever on 
show, one would at first thought suppose that 
these happy Puget Sound people would never 
go sightseeing from home like less favored 
mortals. But they do all the same. Some go 
boating on the Sound or on the lakes and 
rivers, or with their families make excursions 
at small cost on the steamers. Others will 
take the train to the Franklin and Newcastle 
or Carbon River coal-mines for the sake of 
the thirty- or forty-mile rides through the 
woods, and a look into the black depths of the 
underworld. Others again take the steamers 
for Victoria, Fraser River, or Vancouver, the 

1 1889. 
255 



STEEP TRAILS 

new ambitious town at the terminus of the 
Canadian Railroad, thus getting views of the 
outer world in a near foreign country. One 
of the regular summer resorts of this region 
where people go for fishing, hunting, and the 
healing of diseases, is the Green River Hot 
Springs, in the Cascade Mountains, sixty-one 
miles east of Tacoma, on the line of the North 
ern Pacific Railroad. Green River is a small 
rocky stream with picturesque banks, and 
derives its name from the beautiful pale-green 
hue of its waters. 

Among the most interesting of all the sum 
mer rest and pleasure places is the famous 
"Hop Ranch " on the upper Snoqualmie River, 
thirty or forty miles eastward from Seattle. 
Here the dense forest opens, allowing fine free 
views of the adjacent mountains from a long 
stretch of ground which is half meadow, half 
prairie, level and fertile, and beautifully diver 
sified with outstanding groves of spruces and 
alders and rich flowery fringes of spiraea and 
wild roses, the river meandering deep and 
tranquil through the midst of it. On the por 
tions most easily cleared some three hun 
dred acres of hop- vines have been planted and 
are now in full bearing, yielding, it is said, at 
the rate of about a ton of hops to the acre. 
They are a beautiful crop, these vines of the 

256 



TOWNS OF PUGET SOUND 

north, pillars of verdure in regular rows, seven 
feet apart and eight or ten feet in height; the 
long, vigorous shoots sweeping round in fine, 
wild freedom, and the light, leafy cones hang 
ing in loose, handsome clusters. 

Perhaps enough of hops might be raised in 
Washington for the wants of all the world, 
but it would be impossible to find pickers to 
handle the crop. Most of the picking is done 
by Indians, and to this fine, clean, profitable 
work they come in great numbers in their 
canoes, old and young, of many different 
tribes, bringing wives and children and house 
hold goods, in some cases from a distance of 
five or six hundred miles, even from far Alaska. 
Then they too grow rich and spend their 
money on red cloth and trinkets. About a 
thousand Indians are required as pickers at 
the Snoqualmie ranch alone, and a lively and 
merry picture they make in the field, arrayed 
in bright, showy calicoes, lowering the rustling 
vine-pillars with incessant song-singing and 
fun. Still more striking are their queer camps 
on the edges of the fields or over on the river- 
bank, with the firelight shining on their wild, 
jolly faces. But woe to the ranch should fire 
water get there! 

But the chief attractions here are not found 
in the hops, but in trout-fishing and bear- 

257 



STEEP TRAILS 

hunting, and in the two fine falls on the river. 
Formerly the trip from Seattle was a hard one, 
over corduroy roads; now it is reached in a 
few hours by rail along the shores of Lake 
Washington and Lake Squak, through a fine 
sample section of the forest and past the brow 
of the main Snoqualmie Fall. From the hotel 
at the ranch village the road to the fall leads 
down the right bank of the river through the 
magnificent maple woods I have mentioned 
elsewhere, and fine views of the fall may be 
had on that side, both from above and below. 
It is situated on the main river, where it 
plunges over a sheer precipice, about two 
hundred and forty feet high, in leaving the 
level meadows of the ancient lake-basin. In 
a general way it resembles the well-known 
Nevada Fall in Yosemite, having the same 
twisted appearance at the top and the free 
plunge in numberless comet-shaped masses 
into a deep pool seventy-five or eighty yards 
in diameter. The pool is of considerable depth, 
as is shown by the radiating well-beaten foam 
and mist, which is of a beautiful rose color at 
times, of exquisite fineness of tone, and by the 
heavy waves that lash the rocks in front of it. 
Though to a Californian the height of this 
fall would not seem great, the volume of water 
is heavy, and all the surroundings are delight- 

258 



TOWNS OF PUGET SOUND 

ful. The maple forest, of itself worth a long 
journey, the beauty of the river-reaches above 
and below, and the views down the valley 
afar over the mighty forests, with all its lovely 
trimmings of ferns and flowers, make this one 
of the most interesting falls I have ever seen. 
The upper fall is about seventy-five feet high, 
with bouncing rapids at head and foot, set 
in a romantic dell thatched with dripping 
mosses and ferns and embowered in dense 
evergreens and blooming bushes, the distance 
to it from the upper end of the meadows being 
about eight miles. The road leads through 
majestic woods with ferns ten feet high be 
neath some of the thickets, and across a grav 
elly plain deforested by fire many years ago. 
Orange lilies are plentiful, and handsome shin 
ing mats of the kinnikinic, sprinkled with 
bright scarlet berries. 

From a place called "Hunt s," at the end of 
the wagon-road, a trail leads through lush, drip 
ping woods (never dry) to Thuja and Mertens, 
Menzies, and Douglas spruces. The ground 
is covered with the best moss-work of the 
moist lands of the north, made up mostly of 
the various species of hypnum, with some 
liverworts, marchantia, jungermannia, etc., in 
broad sheets and bosses, where never a dust- 
particle floated, and where all the flowers, 
259 



STEEP TRAILS 

fresh with mist and spray, are wetter than 
water-lilies. The pool at the foot of the fall 
is a place surpassingly lovely to look at, with 
the enthusiastic rush and song of the falls, the 
majestic trees overhead leaning over the brink 
like listeners eager to catch every word of the 
white refreshing waters, the delicate maiden 
hairs and aspleniums with fronds outspread 
gathering the rainbow sprays, and the myr 
iads of hooded mosses, every cup fresh and 
shining. 



XX 

AN ASCENT OF MOUNT RAINIER 

AMBITIOUS climbers, seeking adventures 
and opportunities to test their strength and 
skill, occasionally attempt to penetrate the 
wilderness on the west side of the Sound, and 
push on to the summit of Mount Olympus. 
But the grandest excursion of all to be made 
hereabouts is to Mount Rainier, to climb to 
the top of its icy crown. The mountain is very 
high, 1 fourteen thousand four hundred feet, 
and laden with glaciers that are terribly rough 
ened and interrupted by crevasses and ice- 
cliffs. Only good climbers should attempt to 
gain the summit, led by a guide of proved 
nerve and endurance. A good trail has been 
cut through the woods to the base of the 
mountain on the north; but the summit of 
the mountain never has been reached from 
this side, though many brave attempts have 
been made upon it. 

1 A careful re-determination of the height of Rainier, 
made by Professor A. G. McAdie in 1905, gave an altitude 
of 13,394 feet. The Standard Dictionary wrongly describes 
it as "the highest peak (13,363 feet) within the United 
States." The United States Baedeker and railroad literature 
overstate its altitude by more than a hundred feet. [Editor.] 

261 



STEEP TRAILS 

Last summer I gained the summit from the 
south side, in a day and a half from the tim 
ber-line, without encountering any desperate 
obstacles that could not in some way be passed 
in good weather. I was accompanied by Keith, 
the artist, Professor Ingraham, and five am 
bitious young climbers from Seattle. We were 
led by the veteran mountaineer and guide 
Van Trump, of Yelm, who many years before 
guided General Stevens in his memorable 
ascent, and later Mr. Bailey, of Oakland. With 
a cumbersome abundance of campstools and 
blankets we set out from Seattle, traveling 
by rail as far as Yelm Prairie, on the Tacoma 
and Oregon road. Here we made our first camp 
and arranged with Mr. Longmire, a farmer 
in the neighborhood, for pack and saddle ani 
mals. The noble King Mountain was in full 
view from here, glorifying the bright, sunny 
day with his presence, rising in godlike ma 
jesty over the woods, with the magnificent 
prairie as a foreground. The distance to the 
mountain from Yelm in a straight line is per 
haps fifty miles; but by the mule and yellow- 
jacket trail we had to follow it is a hundred 
miles. For, notwithstanding a portion of this 
trail runs in the air, where the wasps work 
hardest, it is far from being an air-line as com 
monly understood. 

262 



AN ASCENT OF MOUNT RAINIER 

By night of the third day we reached the 
Soda Springs on the right bank of the Nis- 
qually, which goes roaring by, gray with mud, 
gravel, and boulders from the caves of the 
glaciers of Rainier, now close at hand. The 
distance from the Soda Springs to the Camp 
of the Clouds is about ten miles. The first 
part of the way lies up the Nisqually Canon, 
the bottom of which is flat in some places and 
the walls very high and precipitous, like those 
of the Yosemite Valley. The upper part of 
the canon is still occupied by one of the Nis 
qually glaciers, from which this branch of the 
river draws its source, issuing from a cave in 
the gray, rock-strewn snout. About a mile 
below the glacier we had to ford the river, 
which caused some anxiety, for the current 
is very rapid and carried forward large boul 
ders as well as lighter material, while its savage 
roar is bewildering. 

At this point we left the canon, climbing 
out of it by a steep zigzag up the old lateral 
moraine of the glacier, which was deposited 
when the present glacier flowed past at this 
height, and is about eight hundred feet high. 
It is now covered with a superb growth of 
Picea amabilis; l so also is the corresponding 

1 Doubtless the red silver fir, now classified as Abies ama 
bilis. [Editor.] 

263 



STEEP TRAILS 

portion of the right lateral. From the top of 
the moraine, still ascending, we passed for a 
mile or two through a forest of mixed growth, 
mainly silver fir, Patton spruce, and mountain 
pine, and then came to the charming park 
region, at an elevation of about five thousand 
feet above sea-level. Here the vast continu 
ous woods at length begin to give way under 
the dominion of climate, though still at this 
height retaining their beauty and giving no 
sign of stress of storm, sweeping upward in 
belts of varying width, composed mainly of one 
species of fir, sharp and spiry in form, leav 
ing smooth, spacious parks, with here and 
there separate groups of trees standing out in 
the midst of the openings like islands in a lake. 
Every one of these parks, great and small, is 
a garden filled knee-deep with fresh, lovely 
flowers of every hue, the most luxuriant and 
the most extravagantly beautiful of all the 
alpine gardens I ever beheld in all my moun 
tain-top wanderings. 

We arrived at the Cloud Camp at noon, but 
no clouds were in sight, save a few gauzy 
ornamental wreaths adrift in the sunshine. 
Out of the forest at last there stood the moun 
tain, wholly unveiled, awful in bulk and ma 
jesty, filling all the view like a separate, new 
born world, yet withal so fine and so beautiful 

264 



AN ASCENT OF MOUNT RAINIER 

it might well fire the dullest observer to des 
perate enthusiasm. Long we gazed in silent 
admiration, buried in tall daisies and anem 
ones by the side of a snowbank. Higher we 
could not go with the animals and find food 
for them and wood for our own camp-fires, 
for just beyond this lies the region of ice, 
with only here and there an open spot on 
the ridges in the midst of the ice, with dwarf 
alpine plants, such as saxifrages and drabas, 
which reach far up between the glaciers, and 
low mats of the beautiful bryanthus, while 
back of us were the gardens and abundance 
of everything that heart could wish. Here 
we lay all the afternoon, considering the lilies 
and the lines of the mountains with reference 
to a way to the summit. 

At noon next day we left camp and began 
our long climb. We were in light marching 
order, save one who pluckily determined to 
carry his camera to the summit. At night, 
after a long easy climb over wide and smooth 
fields of ice, we reached a narrow ridge, at an 
elevation of about ten thousand feet above 
the sea, on the divide between the glaciers of 
the Nisqually and the Cowlitz. Here we lay as 
best we could, waiting for another day, with 
out fire of course, as we were now many miles 
beyond the timber-line and without much to 

265 



STEEP TRAILS 

cover us. After eating a little hardtack, each 
of us leveled a spot to lie on among lava-blocks 
and cinders. The night was cold, and the 
wind coming down upon us in stormy surges 
drove gritty ashes and fragments of pumice 
about our ears while chilling to the bone. Very 
short and shallow was our sleep that night; 
but day dawned at last, early rising was easy, 
and there was nothing about breakfast to 
cause any delay. About four o clock we were 
off, and climbing began in earnest. We fol 
lowed up the ridge on which we had spent the 
night, now along its crest, now on either side, 
or on the ice leaning against it, until we came 
to where it becomes massive and precipitous. 
Then we were compelled to crawl along a 
seam or narrow shelf, on its face, which we 
traced to its termination in the base of the 
great ice-cap. From this point all the climb 
ing was over ice, which was here desperately 
steep but fortunately was at the same time 
carved into innumerable spikes and pillars 
which afforded good footholds, and we crawled 
cautiously on, warm with ambition and exer 
cise. 

At length, after gaining the upper extreme 
of our guiding ridge, we found a good place 
to rest and prepare ourselves to scale the 
dangerous upper curves of the dome. The 

266 



AN ASCENT OF MOUNT RAINIER 

surface almost everywhere was bare, hard, 
snowless ice, extremely slippery; and, though 
smooth in general, it was interrupted by a 
network of yawning crevasses, outspread like 
lines of defense against any attempt to win 
the summit. Here every one of the party took 
off his shoes and drove stout steel caulks about 
half an inch long into them, having brought 
tools along for the purpose, and not having 
made use of them until now so that the points 
might not get dulled on the rocks ere the 
smooth, dangerous ice was reached. Besides 
being well shod each carried an alpenstock, 
and for special difficulties we had a hundred 
feet of rope and an axe. 

Thus prepared, we stepped forth afresh, 
slowly groping our way through tangled lines 
of crevasses, crossing on snow bridges here and 
there after cautiously testing them, jumping 
at narrow places, or crawling around the ends 
of the largest, bracing well at every point with 
our alpenstocks and setting our spiked shoes 
squarely down on the dangerous slopes. It was 
nerve-trying work, most of it, but we made 
good speed nevertheless, and by noon all stood 
together on the utmost summit, save one who, 
his strength failing for a time, came up later. 

We remained on the summit nearly two 
hours, looking about us at the vast maplike 

267 



STEEP TRAILS 

views, comprehending hundreds of miles of 
the Cascade Range, with their black intermin 
able forests and white volcanic cones in glori 
ous array reaching far into Oregon; the Sound 
regjon also, and the great plains of eastern 
Washington, hazy and vague in the distance. 
Clouds began to gather. Soon of all the land 
only the summits of the mountains, St. Helen s, 
Adams, and Hood, were left in sight, forming 
islands in the sky. We found two well-formed 
and well-preserved craters on the summit, 
lying close together like two plates on a table 
with their rims touching. The highest point 
of the mountain is located between the cra 
ters, where their edges come in contact. Sul 
phurous fumes and steam issue from several 
vents, giving out a sickening smell that can 
be detected at a considerable distance. The 
unwasted condition of these craters, and, in 
deed, to a great extent, of the entire mountain, 
would tend to show that Rainier is still a com 
paratively young mountain. With the excep 
tion of the projecting lips of the craters and 
the top of a subordinate summit a short 
distance to the northward, the mountain is 
solidly capped with ice all around; and it is 
this ice-cap which forms the grand central 
fountain whence all the twenty glaciers of 
Rainier flow, radiating in every direction. 

268 



AN ASCENT OF MOUNT RAINIER 

The descent was accomplished without dis 
aster, though several of the party had narrow 
escapes. One slipped and fell, and as he shot 
past me seemed to be going to certain death. 
So steep was the ice-slope no one could move 
to help him, but fortunately, keeping his pres 
ence of mind, he threw himself on his face 
and digging his alpenstock into the ice, grad 
ually retarded his motion until he came to 
rest. Another broke through a slim bridge 
over a crevasse, but his momentum at the 
time carried him against the lower edge and 
only his alpenstock was lost in the abyss. 
Thus crippled by the loss of his staff, we had 
to lower him the rest of the way down the 
dome by means of the rope we carried. Fall 
ing rocks from the upper precipitous part of 
the ridge were also a source of danger, as they 
came whizzing past in successive volleys; but 
none told on us, and when we at length gained 
the gentle slopes of the lower ice-fields, we ran 
and slid at our ease, making fast, glad time, 
all care and danger past, and arrived at our 
beloved Cloud Camp before sundown. 

We were rather weak from want of nourish 
ment, and some suffered from sunburn, not 
withstanding the partial protection of glasses 
and veils; otherwise, all were unscathed and 
well. The view we enjoyed from the summit 

269 



STEEP TRAILS 

could hardly be surpassed in sublimity and 
grandeur; but one feels far from home so high 
in the sky, so much so that one is inclined 
to guess that, apart from the acquisition of 
knowledge and the exhilaration of climbing, 
more pleasure is to be found at the foot of 
mountains than on their frozen tops. Doubly 
happy, however, is the man to whom lofty 
mountain-tops are within reach, for the lights 
that shine there illumine all that lies below. 



XXI 

THE PHYSICAL AND CLIMATIC CHARACTERISTICS 
OF OREGON 

OREGON is a large, rich, compact section of 
the west side of the continent, containing 
nearly a hundred thousand square miles of 
deep, wet evergreen woods, fertile valleys, 
icy mountains, and high, rolling, wind-swept 
plains, watered by the majestic Columbia 
River and its countless branches. It is bounded 
on the north by Washington, on the east by 
Idaho, on the south by California and Nevada, 
and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. It is 
a grand, hearty, wholesome, foodful wilder 
ness and, like Washington, once a part of the 
Oregon Territory, abounds in bold, far-reach 
ing contrasts as to scenery, climate, soil, and 
productions. Side by side there is drouth on 
a grand scale and overflowing moisture; flinty, 
sharply cut lava-beds, gloomy and forbidding, 
and smooth, flowery lawns; cool bogs, ex 
quisitely plushy and soft, overshadowed by 
jagged crags barren as icebergs; forests seem 
ingly boundless and plains with no tree in 
sight; presenting a wide range of conditions, 
but as a whole favorable to industry. Natural 

271 



STEEP TRAILS 

wealth of an available kind abounds nearly 
everywhere, inviting the farmer, the stock- 
raiser, the lumberman, the fisherman, the 
manufacturer, and the miner, as well as the 
free walker in search of knowledge and wild- 
ness. The scenery is mostly of a comfortable, 
assuring kind, grand and inspiring without 
too much of that dreadful overpowering sub 
limity and exuberance which tend to discour 
age effort and cast people into inaction and 
superstition. 

Ever since Oregon was first heard of in the 
romantic, adventurous, hunting, trapping Wild 
West days, it seems to have been regarded 
as the most attractive and promising of all 
the Pacific countries for farmers. While yet 
the whole region as well as the way to it was 
wild, ere a single road or bridge was built, 
undaunted by the trackless thousand-mile 
distances and scalping, cattle-stealing Indians, 
long trains of covered wagons began to crawl 
wearily westward, crossing how many plains, 
rivers, ridges, and mountains, fighting the 
painted savages and weariness and famine. 
Setting out from the frontier of the old West 
in the spring as soon as the grass would 
support their cattle, they pushed on up the 
Platte, making haste slowly, however, that 
they might not be caught in the storms of win- 

272 



CHARACTERISTICS OF OREGON , 

ter ere they reached the promised land. They 
crossed the Rocky Mountains to Fort Hall; 
thence followed down the Snake River for 
three or four hundred miles, their cattle limp 
ing and failing on the rough lava plains; swim 
ming the streams too deep to be forded, mak 
ing boats out of wagon-boxes for the women 
and children and goods, or where trees could 
be had, lashing together logs for rafts. Thence, 
crossing the Blue Mountains and the plains 
of the Columbia, they followed the river to 
the Dalles. Here winter would be upon them, 
and before a wagon-road was built across the 
Cascade Mountains the toil-worn emigrants 
would be compelled to leave their cattle and 
wagons until the following summer, and, in the 
mean time, with the assistance of the Hudson s 
Bay Company, make their way to the Willam 
ette Valley on the river with rafts and boats. 

How strange and remote these trying times 
have already become! They are now dim as 
if a thousand years had passed over them. 
Steamships and locomotives with magical 
influence have well-nigh abolished the old dis 
tances and dangers, and brought forward the 
New West into near and familiar companion 
ship with the rest of the world. 

Purely wild for unnumbered centuries, a 
paradise of oily, salmon-fed Indians, Oregon 

273 



STEEP TRAILS 

is now roughly settled in part and surveyed, 
its rivers and mountain-ranges, lakes, valleys, 
and plains have been traced and mapped in 
a general way, civilization is beginning to take 
root, towns are springing up and flourishing 
vigorously like a crop adapted to the soil, and 
the whole kindly wilderness lies invitingly 
near with all its wealth open and ripe for use. 

In sailing along the Oregon coast one sees 
but few more signs of human occupation than 
did Juan de Fuca three centuries ago. The 
shore bluffs rise abruptly from the waves, 
forming a wall apparently unbroken, though 
many short rivers from the coast range of 
mountains and two from the interior have 
made narrow openings on their way to the 
sea. At the mouths of these rivers good har 
bors have been discovered for coasting ves 
sels, which are of great importance to the 
lumbermen, dairymen, and farmers of the coast 
region. But little or nothing of these appear 
in general views, only a simple gray wall nearly 
straight, green along the top, and the forest 
stretching back into the mountains as far as 
the eye can reach. 

Going ashore, we find few long reaches of 
sand where one may saunter, or meadows, 
save the brown and purple meadows of the 
sea, overgrown with slippery kelp, swashed and 

274 



BK-fl 








r 



111 






CHARACTERISTICS OF OREGON 

swirled in the restless breakers. The abrupt 
ness of the shore allows the massive waves 
that have come from far over the broad Paci 
fic to get close to the bluffs ere they break, and 
the thundering shock shakes the rocks to 
their foundations. No calm comes to these 
shores. Even in the finest weather, when the 
ships off shore are becalmed and their sails 
hang loose against the mast, there is always a 
wreath of foam at the base of these bluffs. 
The breakers are ever in bloom and crystal 
brine is ever in the air. 

A scramble along the Oregon sea-bluffs 
proves as richly exciting to lovers of wild 
beauty as heart could wish. Here are three 
hundred miles of pictures of rock and water in 
black and white, or gray and white, with more 
or less of green and yellow, purple and blue. 
The rocks, glistening in sunshine and foam, 
are never wholly dry many of them marvels 
of wave-sculpture and most imposing in bulk 
and bearing, standing boldly forward, monu 
ments of a thousand storms, types of perma 
nence, holding the homes and places of refuge 
of multitudes of seafaring animals hi their 
keeping, yet ever wasting away. How grand 
the songs of the waves about them, every wave 
a fine, hearty storm in itself, taking its rise 
on the breezy plains of the sea, perhaps thou- 

275 



STEEP TRAILS 

sands of miles away, traveling with majestic, 
slow-heaving deliberation, reaching the end 
of its journey, striking its blow, bursting into 
a mass of white and pink bloom, then falling 
spent and withered to give place to the next 
in the endless procession, thus keeping up the 
glorious show and glorious song through all 
times and seasons forever! 

Terribly impressive as is this cliff and wave 
scenery when the skies are bright and kindly 
sunshine makes rainbows in the spray, it is 
doubly so in dark, stormy nights, when, 
crouching in some hollow on the top of some 
jutting headland, we may gaze- and listen un 
disturbed in the heart of it. Perhaps now and 
then we may dimly see the tops of the high 
est breakers, looking ghostly in the gloom; 
but when the water happens to be phosphores 
cent, as it oftentimes is, then both the sea 
and the rocks are visible, and the wild, exult 
ing, up-dashing spray burns, every particle of 
it, and is combined into one glowing mass of 
white fire; while back hi the woods and along 
the bluffs and crags of the shore the storm-wind 
roars, and the rain-floods, gathering strength 
and coming from far and near, rush wildly 
down every gulch to the sea, as if eager to join 
the waves in their grand, savage harmony; 
deep calling unto deep in the heart of the 

276 



CHARACTERISTICS OF OREGON 

great, dark night, making a sight and a song 
unspeakably sublime and glorious. 

In the pleasant weather of summer, after 
the rainy season is past and only occasional 
refreshing showers fall, washing the sky and 
bringing out the fragrance of the flowers and 
the evergreens, then one may enjoy a fine, 
free walk all the way across the State from 
the sea to the eastern boundary on the Snake 
River. Many a beautiful stream we should 
cross in such a walk, singing through forest 
and meadow and deep rocky gorge, and many 
a broad prairie and plain, mountain and val 
ley, wild garden and desert, presenting land 
scape beauty on a grand scale and in a thou 
sand forms, and new lessons without number, 
delightful to learn. Oregon has three moun 
tain-ranges which run nearly parallel with the 
coast, the most influential of which, in every 
way, is the Cascade Range. It is about six 
thousand to seven thousand feet in average 
height, and divides the State into two main 
sections called Eastern and Western Oregon, 
corresponding with the main divisions of 
Washington; while these are again divided, 
but less perfectly, by the Blue Mountains and 
the Coast Range. The eastern section is about 
two hundred and thirty miles wide, and is 
made up in great part of the treeless plains 

277 



STEEP TRAILS 

of the Columbia, which are green and flowery 
in spring, but gray, dusty, hot, and forbidding 
in summer. Considerable areas, however, on 
these plains, as well as some of the valleys 
countersunk below the general surface along 
the banks of the streams, have proved fertile 
and produce large crops of wheat, barley, hay, 
and other products. 

In general views the western section seems 
to be covered with one vast, evenly planted 
forest, with the exception of the few snow- 
clad peaks of the Cascade Range, these peaks 
being the only points in the landscape that 
rise above the timber-line. Nevertheless, em 
bosomed in this forest and lying in the great 
trough between the Cascades and coast moun 
tains, there are some of the best bread-bearing 
valleys to be found in the world. The largest 
of these are the Willamette, Umpqua, and 
Rogue River Valleys. Inasmuch as a consid 
erable portion of these main valleys was tree 
less, or nearly so, as well as surpassingly fer 
tile, they were the first to attract settlers; and 
the Willamette, being at once the largest and 
nearest to tide water, was settled first of all, 
and now contains the greater portion of the 
population and wealth of the State. 

The climate of this section, like the corre 
sponding portion of Washington, is rather 

278 



CHARACTERISTICS OF OREGON 

damp and sloppy throughout the winter 
months, but the summers are bright, ripening 
the wheat and allowing it to be garnered in 
good condition. Taken as a whole, the weather 
is bland and kindly, and like the forest trees 
the crops and cattle grow plump and sound 
in it. So also do the people; children ripen well 
and grow up with limbs of good size and fiber 
and, unless overworked in the woods, live to a 
good old age, hale and hearty. 

But, like every other happy valley in the 
world, the sunshine of this one is not without 
its shadows. Malarial fevers are not unknown 
in some places, and untimely frosts and rains 
may at long intervals in some measure dis 
appoint the hopes of the husbandman. Many 
a tale, good-natured or otherwise, is told con 
cerning the overflowing abundance of the 
Oregon rains. Once an English traveler, as the 
story goes, went to a store to make some pur 
chases and on leaving found that rain was fall 
ing; therefore, not liking to get wet, he stepped 
back to wait till the shower was over. Seeing 
no signs of clearing, he soon became impatient 
and inquired of the storekeeper how long he 
thought the shower would be likely to last. 
Going to the door and looking wisely into the 
gray sky and noting the direction of the wind, 
the latter replied that he thought the shower 

279 



STEEP TRAILS 

would probably last about six months, an 
opinion that of course disgusted the fault 
finding Briton with the "blawsted country," 
though in fact it is but little if at all wetter or 
cloudier than his own. 

No climate seems the best for everybody. 
Many there be who waste their lives in a vain 
search for weather with which no fault may 
be found, keeping themselves and their fami 
lies in constant motion, like floating seaweeds 
that never strike root, yielding compliance to 
every current of news concerning countries 
yet untried, believing that everywhere, any 
where, the sky is fairer and the grass grows 
greener than where they happen to be. Be 
fore the Oregon and California railroad was 
built, the overland journey between these 
States across the Siskiyou Mountains in the 
old-fashioned emigrant wagon was a long and 
tedious one. Nevertheless, every season dis 
satisfied climate-seekers, too wet and too dry, 
might be seen plodding along through the dust 
in the old " 49 style," making their way one 
half of them from California to Oregon, the 
other half from Oregon to California. The 
beautiful Sisson meadows at the base of Mount 
Shasta were a favorite halfway resting-place, 
where the weary cattle were turned out for a 
few days to gather strength for better climates, 

280 



CHARACTERISTICS OF OREGON 

and it was curious to hear those perpetual 
pioneers comparing notes and seeking infor 
mation around the camp-fires. 

"Where are you from?" some Oregonian 
would ask. 

"The Joaquin." 

"It s dry there, ain t it?" 

"Well, I should say so. No rain at all in 
summer and none to speak of in winter, and 
I m dried out. I just told my wife I was on 
the move again, and I m going to keep moving 
till I come to a country where it rains once in 
a while, like it does in every reg lar white man s 
country; and that, I guess, will be Oregon, if 
the news be true." 

"Yes, neighbor, you s heading in the right 
direction for rain," the Oregonian would say. 
"Keep right on to Yamhill and you ll soon 
be damp enough. It rains there more than 
twelve months in the year; at least, no saying 
but it will. I ve just come from there, plumb 
drowned out, and I told my wife to jump into 
the wagon and we would start out and see if 
we could n t find a dry day somewhere. Last 
fall the hay was out and the wood was out, 
and the cabin leaked, and I made up my mind 
to try California the first chance." 

"Well, if you be a horned toad or coyote," 
the seeker of moisture would reply, "then 

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maybe you can stand it. Just keep right on 
by the Alabama Settlement to Tulare and 
you can have my place on Big Dry Creek and 
welcome. You ll be drowned there mighty 
seldom. The wagon spokes and tires will rat 
tle and tell you when you come to it." 

"All right, partner, we ll swap square, you 
can have mine in Yamhill and the rain thrown 
in. Last August a painter sharp came along 
one day wanting to know the way to Willam 
ette Falls, and I told him: Young man, just 
wait a little and you ll find falls enough with 
out going to Oregon City after them. The 
whole dog-gone Noah s flood of a country will 
be a fall and melt and float away some day. " 
And more to the same effect. 

But no one need leave Oregon in search of 
fair weather. The wheat and cattle region of 
eastern Oregon and Washington on the upper 
Columbia plains is dry enough and dusty 
enough more than half the year. The truth 
is, most of these wanderers enjoy the freedom 
of gypsy life and seek not homes but camps. 
Having crossed the plains and reached the 
ocean, they can find no farther west within 
reach of wagons, and are therefore compelled 
now to go north and south between Mexico 
and Alaska, always glad to find an excuse for 
moving, stopping a few months or weeks here 

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CHARACTERISTICS OF OREGON 

and there, the time being measured by the 
size of the camp-meadow, conditions of the 
grass, game, and other indications. Even 
their so-called settlements of a year or two, 
when they take up land and build cabins, are 
only another kind of camp, in no common 
sense homes. Never a tree is planted, nor do 
they plant themselves, but like good soldiers 
in time of war are ever ready to march. Their 
journey of life is indeed a journey with very 
matter-of-fact thorns in the way, though not 
wholly wanting in compensation. 

One of the most influential of the motives 
that brought the early settlers to these shores, 
apart from that natural instinct to scatter and 
multiply which urges even sober salmon to 
climb the Rocky Mountains, was their de 
sire to find a country at once fertile and win- 
terless, where their flocks and herds could 
find pasture all the year, thus doing away with 
the long and tiresome period of haying and 
feeding necessary in the eastern and old west 
ern States and Territories. Cheap land and 
good land there was in abundance in Kansas, 
Nebraska, Minnesota, and Iowa; but there the 
labor of providing for animals of the farm 
was very great, and much of that labor was 
crowded together into a few summer months, 
while to keep cool in summers and warm in 

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the icy winters was well-nigh impossible to 
poor farmers. 

Along the coast and throughout the greater 
part of western Oregon in general, snow sel 
dom falls on the lowlands to a greater depth 
than a few inches, and never lies long. Grass 
is green all winter. The average tempera 
ture for the year in the Willamette Valley is 
about 52, the highest and lowest being about 
100 and 20, though occasionally a much 
lower temperature is reached. 

The average rainfall is about fifty or fifty- 
five inches in the Willamette Valley, and along 
the coast seventy-five inches, or even more 
at some points figures that bring many a 
dreary night and day to mind, however fine 
the effect on the great evergreen woods and 
the fields of the farmers. The rainy season 
begins in September or October and lasts until 
April or May. Then the whole country is sol 
emnly soaked and poulticed with the gray, 
streaming clouds and fogs, night and day, with 
marvelous constancy. Towards the beginning 
and end of the season a good many bright days 
occur to break the pouring gloom, but whole 
months of rain, continuous, or nearly so, are 
not at all rare. Astronomers beneath these 
Oregon skies would have a dull time of it. Of 
all the year only about one fourth of the days 

284 



CHARACTERISTICS OF OREGON 

are clear, while three fourths have more or less 
of fogs, clouds, or rain. 

The fogs occur mostly in the fall and spring. 
They are grand, far-reaching affairs of two 
kinds, the black and the white, some of the lat 
ter being very beautiful, and the infinite deli 
cacy and tenderness of their touch as they linger 
to caress the tall evergreens is most exquisite. 
On farms and highways and in streets of towns, 
where work has to be done, there is nothing 
picturesque or attractive in any obvious way 
about the gray, serious-faced rain-storms. 
Mud abounds. The rain seems dismal and 
heedless and gets in everybody s way. Every 
face is turned from it, and it has but few 
friends who recognize its boundless beneficence. 
But back in the untrodden woods where no 
axe has been lifted, where a deep, rich carpet 
of brown and golden mosses covers all the 
ground like a garment, pressing warmly about 
the feet of the trees and rising in thick folds 
softly and kindly over every fallen trunk, 
leaving no spot naked or uncared-for, there the 
rain is welcomed, and every drop that falls 
finds a place and use as sweet and pure as it 
self. An excursion into the woods when the 
rain harvest is at its height is a noble pleasure, 
and may be safely enjoyed at small expense, 
though very few care to seek it. Shelter is 

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easily found beneath the great trees in some 
hollow out of the wind, and one need carry 
but little provision, none at all of a kind that 
a wetting would spoil. The colors of the woods 
are then at their best, and the mighty hosts 
of the forest, every needle tingling in the blast, 
wave and sing in glorious harmony. 

" T were worth ten years of peaceful life, one glance at 
this array." 

The snow that falls in the lowland woods is 
usually soft, and makes a fine show coming 
through the trees in large, feathery tufts, 
loading the branches of the firs and spruces 
and cedars and weighing them down against 
the trunks until they look slender and sharp 
as arrows, while a strange, muffled silence 
prevails, giving a peculiar solemnity to every 
thing. But these lowland snowstorms and 
their effects quickly vanish; every crystal melts 
in a day or two, the bent branches rise again, 
and the rain resumes its sway. 

While these gracious rains are searching the 
roots of the lowlands, corresponding snows are 
busy along the heights of the Cascade Moun 
tains. Month after month, day and night the 
heavens shed their icy bloom in stormy, meas 
ureless abundance, filling the grand upper foun 
tains of the rivers to last through the summer. 

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CHARACTERISTICS OF OREGON 

Awful then is the silence that presses down over 
the mountain forests. All the smaller streams 
vanish from sight, hushed and obliterated. 
Young groves of spruce and pine are bowed 
down as by a gentle hand and put to rest, 
not again to see the light or move leaf or limb 
until the grand awakening of the springtime, 
while the larger animals and most of the birds 
seek food and shelter in the foothills on the 
borders of the valleys and plains. 

The lofty volcanic peaks are yet more heav 
ily snow-laden. To their upper zones no sum 
mer comes. They are white always. From 
the steep slopes of the summit the new-fallen 
snow, while yet dry and loose, descends in 
magnificent avalanches to feed the glaciers, 
making meanwhile the most glorious manifes 
tations of power. Happy is the man who may 
get near them to see and hear. In some shel 
tered camp nest on the edge of the timber- 
line one may lie snug and warm, but after the 
long shuffle on snowshoes we may have to 
wait more than a month ere the heavens open 
and the grand show is unveiled. In the mean 
time, bread may be scarce, unless with care 
ful forecast a sufficient supply has been pro 
vided and securely placed during the summer. 
Nevertheless, to be thus deeply snowbound 
high in the sky is not without generous com- 

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pensation for all the cost. And when we at 
length go down the long white slopes to the 
levels of civilization, the pains vanish like 
snow in sunshine, while the noble and exalting 
pleasures we have gained remain with us to 
enrich our lives forever. 

The fate of the high-flying mountain snow- 
flowers is a fascinating study, though little 
may we see of their works and ways while 
their storms go on. The glinting, swirling 
swarms fairly thicken the blast, and all the 
air, as well as the rocks and trees, is as one 
smothering mass of bloom, through the midst 
of which at close intervals come the low, in 
tense thunder-tones of the avalanches as they 
speed on their way to fill the vast fountain 
hollows. Here they seem at last to have found 
rest. But this rest is only apparent. Gradu 
ally the loose crystals by the pressure of their 
own weight are welded together into clear ice, 
and, as glaciers, march steadily, silently on, 
with invisible motion, in broad, deep currents, 
grinding their way with irresistible energy to 
the warmer lowlands, where they vanish in 
glad, rejoicing streams. 

In the sober weather of Oregon lightning 
makes but little show. Those magnificent 
thunder-storms that so frequently adorn and 
glorify the sky of the Mississippi Valley are 

288 



CHARACTERISTICS OF OREGON 

wanting here. Dull thunder and lightning 
may occasionally be seen and heard, but the 
imposing grandeur of great storms marching 
over the landscape with streaming banners 
and a network of fire is almost wholly un 
known. 

Crossing the Cascade Range, we pass from 
a green to a gray country, from a wilderness 
of trees to a wilderness of open plains, level 
or rolling or rising here and there into hills 
and short mountain spurs. Though well sup 
plied with rivers in most of its main sections, 
it is generally dry. The annual rainfall is 
only from about five to fifteen inches, and the 
thin winter garment of snow seldom lasts more 
than a month or two, though the temperature 
in many places falls from five to twenty-five 
degrees below zero for a short time. That the 
snow is light over eastern Oregon, and the 
average temperature not intolerably severe, is 
shown by the fact that large droves of sheep, 
cattle, and horses live there through the winter 
without other food or shelter than they find 
for themselves on the open plains or down in 
the sunken valleys and gorges along the 
streams. 

When we read of the mountain-ranges of 
Oregon and Washington with detailed descrip 
tions of their old volcanoes towering snow- 

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laden and glacier-laden above the clouds, one 
may be led to imagine that the country is 
far icier and whiter and more mountainous 
than it is. Only in winter are the Coast and 
Cascade Mountains covered with snow. Then 
as seen from the main interior valleys they 
appear as comparatively low, bossy walls 
stretching along the horizon and making a 
magnificent display of their white wealth. 
The Coast Range in Oregon does not perhaps 
average more than three thousand feet in 
height. Its snow does not last long, most of 
its soil is fertile all the way to the summits, 
and the greater part of the range may at some 
time be brought under cultivation. The im 
mense deposits on the great central uplift of 
the Cascade Range are mostly melted off 
before the middle of summer by the compara 
tively warm winds and rains from the coast, 
leaving only a few white spots on the highest 
ridges, where the depth from drifting has been 
greatest, or where the rate of waste has been 
diminished by specially favorable conditions 
as to exposure. Only the great volcanic cones 
are truly snow-clad all the year, and these 
are not numerous and make but a small por 
tion of the general landscape. 

As we approach Oregon from the coast in 
summer, no hint of snowy mountains can be 

290 



CHARACTERISTICS OF OREGON 

seen, and it is only after we have sailed into 
the country by the Columbia, or climbed some 
one of the commanding summits, that the 
great white peaks send us greeting and make 
telling advertisements of themselves and of 
the country over which they rule. So, also, in 
coming to Oregon from the east the country 
by no means impresses one as being surpass 
ingly mountainous, the abode of peaks and 
glaciers. Descending the spurs of the Rocky 
Mountains into the basin of the Columbia, we 
see hot, hundred-mile plains, roughened here 
and there by hills and ridges that look hazy 
and blue in the distance, until we have pushed 
well to the westward. Then one white point 
after another comes into sight to refresh the 
eye and the imagination; but they are yet a 
long way off, and have much to say only to 
those who know them or others of their kind. 
How grand they are, though insignificant- 
looking on the edge of the vast landscape! 
What noble woods they nourish, and emerald 
meadows and gardens! What springs and 
streams and waterfalls sing about them, and 
to what a multitude of happy creatures they 
give homes and food! 

The principal mountains of the range are 
Mounts Pitt, Scott, and Thielson, Diamond 
Peak, the Three Sisters, Mounts Jefferson, 
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Hood, St. Helen s, Adams, Rainier, Aix, and 
Baker. Of these the seven first named belong to 
Oregon, the others to Washington. They rise 
singly at irregular distances from one another 
along the main axis of the range or near it, with 
an elevation of from about eight thousand to 
fourteen thousand four hundred feet above 
the level of the sea. From few points in the 
valleys may more than three or four of them 
be seen, and of the more distant ones of these 
only the tops appear. Therefore, speaking 
generally, each of the lowland landscapes of 
the State contains only one grand snowy 
mountain. 

The heights back of Portland command 
one of the best general views of the forests and 
also of the most famous of the great moun 
tains both of Oregon and Washington. Mount 
Hood is in full view, with the summits of 
Mounts Jefferson, St. Helen s, Adams, and 
Rainier in the distance. The city of Portland 
is at our feet, covering a large area along both 
banks of the Willamette, and p with its fine 
streets, schools, churches, mills, shipping, 
parks, and gardens, makes a telling picture 
of busy, aspiring civilization in the midst of 
the green wilderness in which it is planted. 
The river is displayed to fine advantage in 
the foreground of our main view, sweeping 

292 



CHARACTERISTICS OF OREGON 

in beautiful curves around rich, leafy islands, 
its banks fringed with willows. 

A few miles beyond the Willamette flowb 
the renowned Columbia, and the confluence 
of these two great rivers is at a point only 
about ten miles below the city. Beyond the 
Columbia extends the immense breadth of 
the forest, one dun, black, monotonous field, 
with only the sky, which one is glad to see 
is not forested, and the tops of the majestic 
old volcanoes to give diversity to the view. 
That sharp, white, broad-based pyramid on 
the south side of the Columbia, a few degrees 
to the south of east from where you stand, is 
the famous Mount Hood. The distance to 
it in a straight line is about fifty miles. Its 
upper slopes form the only bare ground, bare 
as to forests, in the landscape in that direction. 
It is the pride of Oregonians, and when it is 
visible is always pointed out to strangers as 
the glory of the country, the mountain of 
mountains. It is one of the grand series of 
extinct volcanoes extending from Lassen s 
Butte l to Mount Baker, a distance of about 
six hundred miles, which once flamed like 
gigantic watch-fires along the coast. Some of 
them have been active in recent times, but 
no considerable addition to the bulk of Mount 

1 Lassen Peak on recent maps. [Editor.] 
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Hood has been made for several centuries, as 
is shown by the amount of glacial denudation 
it has suffered. Its summit has been ground 
to a point, which gives it a rather thin, pinched 
appearance. It has a wide-flowing base, how 
ever, and is fairly well proportioned. Though 
it is eleven thousand feet high, it is too far off 
to make much show under ordinary condi 
tions in so extensive a landscape. Through a 
great part of the summer it is invisible on 
account of smoke poured into the sky from 
burning woods, logging-camps, mills, etc., and 
in winter for weeks at a tune, or even months, 
it is in the clouds. Only in spring and early 
summer and in what there may chance to be 
of bright weather in winter is it or any of its 
companions at all clear or telling. From the 
Cascades on the Columbia it may be seen at 
a distance of twenty miles or thereabouts, or 
from other points up and down the river, and 
with the magnificent foreground it is very im 
pressive. It gives the supreme touch of gran 
deur to all the main Columbia views, rising 
at every turn, solitary, majestic, awe-inspiring, 
the ruling spirit of the landscape. But, like 
mountains everywhere, it varies greatly in 
impressiveness and apparent height at differ 
ent times and seasons, not alone from dif 
ferences as to the dimness or transparency of 

294 



CHARACTERISTICS OF OREGON 

the air. Clear, or arrayed in clouds, it changes 
both in size and general expression. Now it 
looms up to an immense height and seems to 
draw near in tremendous grandeur and beauty, 
holding the eyes of every beholder in devout 
and awful interest. Next year or next day, 
or even in the same day, you return to the 
same point of view, perhaps to find that the 
glory has departed, as if the mountain had 
died and the poor dull, shrunken mass of rocks 
and ice had lost all power to charm. 

Never shall I forget my first glorious view 
of Mount Hood one calm evening in July, 
though I had seen it many times before this. 
I was then sauntering with a friend across the 
new Willamette bridge between Portland and 
East Portland for the sake of the river views, 
which are here very fine in the tranquil sum 
mer weather. The scene on the water was a 
lively one. Boats of every description were 
gliding, glinting, drifting about at work or 
play, and we leaned over the rail from time 
to time, contemplating the gay throng. Sev 
eral lines of ferry-boats were making regular 
trips at intervals of a few minutes, and river 
steamers were coming and going from the 
wharves, laden with all sorts of merchandise, 
raising long diverging swells that made all the 
light pleasure-craft bow and nod in hearty 

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salutation as they passed. The crowd was 
being constantly increased by new arrivals 
from both shores, sailboats, rowboats, racing- 
shells, rafts, were loaded with gayly dressed 
people, and here and there some adventurous 
man or boy might be seen as a merry sailor 
on a single plank or spar, apparently as deep 
hi enjoyment as were any on the water. It 
seemed as if all the town were coming to the 
river, renouncing the cares and toils of the 
day, determined to take the evening breeze 
into their pulses, and be cool and tranquil ere 
going to bed. 

Absorbed hi the happy scene, given up to 
dreamy, random observation of what lay 
immediately before me, I was not conscious 
of anything occurring on the outer rim of the 
landscape. Forest, mountain, and sky were 
forgotten, when my companion suddenly 
directed my attention to the eastward, shout 
ing, "Oh, look! look!" in so loud and excited 
a tone of voice that passers-by, saunterers like 
ourselves, were startled and looked over the 
bridge as if expecting to see some boat upset. 
Looking across the forest, over which the mel 
low light of the sunset was streaming, I soon 
discovered the source of my friend s excite 
ment. There stood Mount Hood in all the 
glory of the alpenglow, looming immensely 

296 



CHARACTERISTICS OF OREGON 

high, beaming with intelligence, and so im 
pressive that one was overawed as if suddenly 
brought before some superior being newly 
arrived from the sky. 

The atmosphere was somewhat hazy, but 
the mountain seemed neither near nor far. 
Its glaciers flashed in the divine light. The 
rugged, storm-worn ridges between them and 
the snowfields of the summit, these perhaps 
might have been traced as far as they were in 
sight, and the blending zones of color about 
the base. But so profound was the general 
impression, partial analysis did not come into 
play. The whole mountain appeared as one 
glorious manifestation of divine power, en 
thusiastic and benevolent, glowing like a 
countenance with ineffable repose and beauty, 
before which we could only gaze in devout and 
lowly admiration. 

The far-famed Oregon forests cover all the 
western section of the State, the mountains 
as well as the lowlands, with the exception of 
a few gravelly spots and open spaces in the 
central portions of the great cultivated val 
leys. Beginning on the coast, where their 
outer ranks are drenched and buffeted by 
wind-driven scud from the sea, they press on 
in close, majestic ranks over the coast moun 
tains, across the broad central valleys, and 

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STEEP TRAILS 

over the Cascade Range, broken and halted 
only by the few great peaks that rise like 
islands above the sea of evergreens. 

In descending the eastern slopes of the Cas 
cades the rich, abounding, triumphant exu 
berance of the trees is quickly subdued; they 
become smaller, grow wide apart, leaving dry 
spaces without moss covering or underbrush, 
and before the foot of the range is reached, 
fail altogether, stayed by the drouth of the 
interior almost as suddenly as on the western 
margin they are stayed by the sea. Here and 
there at wide intervals on the eastern plains 
patches of a small pine (Pinus contorta) are 
found, and a scattering growth of juniper, used 
by the settlers mostly for fence-posts and fire 
wood. Along the stream-bottoms there is 
usually more or less of cottonwood and willow, 
which, though yielding inferior timber, is yet 
highly prized in this bare region. On the Blue 
Mountains there is pine, spruce, fir, and larch 
in abundance for every use, but beyond this 
range there is nothing that may be called a 
forest in the Columbia River basin, until we 
reach the spurs of the Rocky Mountains; and 
these Rocky Mountain forests are made up 
of trees which, compared with the giants of 
the Pacific Slope, are mere saplings. 



XXII 

THE FORESTS OF OREGON AND THEIR 
INHABITANTS 

LIKE the forests of Washington, already 
described, those of Oregon are in great part 
made up of the Douglas spruce, 1 or Oregon 
pine (Abies Douglasii). A large number of 
mills are at work upon this species, especially 
along the Columbia, but these as yet have 
made but little impression upon its dense 
masses, the mills here being small as compared 
with those of the Puget Sound region. The 
white cedar, or Port Orford cedar (Cupressus 
Lawsoniana, or Chamcecyparis Lawsoniana), is 
one of the most beautiful of the evergreens, and 
produces excellent lumber, considerable quan 
tities of which are shipped to the San Fran 
cisco market. It is found mostly about Coos 
Bay, along the Coquille River, and on the 
northern slopes of the Siskiyou Mountains, 
and extends down the coast into California. 
The silver firs, the spruces, and the colossal 
arbor-vitse, or white cedar 2 (Thuja gigantea), 
described in the chapter on Washington, are 

1 Pseudotsuga taxifolia. Brit. [Editor.] 

2 Thuja plicata Don. [Editor.] 

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also found here in great beauty and perfec 
tion, the largest of these (Picea grandis, 
Loud.; Abies grandis, Lindl.) being confined 
mostly to the coast region, where it attains a 
height of three hundred feet, and a diameter 
of ten or twelve feet. Five or six species of 
pines are found in the State, the most impor 
tant of which, both as to lumber and as to the 
part they play in the general wealth and 
beauty of the forests, are the yellow and sugar 
pines (Pinus ponderosa and P. Lambertiana). 
The yellow pine is most abundant on the east 
ern slopes of the Cascades, forming there the 
main bulk of the forest in many places. It is 
also common along the borders of the open 
spaces in Willamette Valley. In the southern 
portion of the State the sugar pine, which is the 
king of all the pines and the glory of the Sierra 
forests, occurs in considerable abundance in 
the basins of the Umpqua and Rogue Rivers, 
and it was in the Umpqua Hills that this noble 
tree was first discovered by the enthusiastic 
botanical explorer David Douglas, in the year 
1826. 

This is the Douglas for whom the noble 
Douglas spruce is named, and many a fair 
blooming plant also, which will serve to keep 
his memory fresh and sweet as long as beauti 
ful trees and flowers are loved. The Indians 

300 



THE FORESTS OF OREGON 

of the lower Columbia River watched him 
with lively curiosity as he wandered about in 
the woods day after day, gazing intently on 
the ground or at the great trees, collecting 
specimens of everything he saw, but, unlike 
all the eager fur-gathering strangers they had 
hitherto seen, caring nothing about trade. And 
when at length they came to know him better, 
and saw that from year to year the growing 
things of the woods and prairies, meadows 
and plains, were his only object of pursuit, 
they called him the "Man of Grass/ a title 
of which he was proud. 

He was a Scotchman and first came to this 
coast in the spring of 1825 under the auspices 
of the London Horticultural Society, landing 
at the mouth of the Columbia after a long, 
dismal voyage of eight months and fourteen 
days. During this first season he chose Fort 
Vancouver, belonging to the Hudson s Bay 
Company, as his headquarters, and from there 
made excursions into the glorious wilderness 
in every direction, discovering many new 
species among the trees as well as among 
the rich underbrush and smaller herbaceous 
vegetation. It was while making a trip to 
Mount Hood this year that he discovered the 
two largest and most beautiful firs in the 
world (Picea amabilis and P. nobilis now 

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called Abies), and from the seeds which he 
then collected and sent home tall trees are 
now growing in Scotland. 

In one of his trips that summer, in the 
lower Willamette Valley, he saw in an Indian s 
tobacco-pouch some of the seeds and scales of 
a new species of pine, which he learned were 
gathered from a large tree that grew far to 
the southward. Most of the following season 
was spent on the upper waters of the Colum 
bia, and it was not until September that he 
returned to Fort Vancouver, about the tune 
of the setting-in of the winter rains. Never 
theless, bearing in mind the great pine he had 
heard of, and the seeds of which he had seen, 
he made haste to set out on an excursion to 
the headwaters of the Willamette in search 
of it; and how he fared on this excursion and 
what dangers and hardships he endured is 
best told in his own journal, part of which I 
quote as follows : 

October 26th, 1826. Weather dull. Cold and 
cloudy. When my friends in England are made 
acquainted with my travels I fear they will think 
that I have told them nothing but my miseries. . . . 
I quitted my camp early in the morning to survey 
the neighboring country, leaving my guide to take 
charge of the horses until my return in the evening. 
About an hour s walk from the camp I met an 
Indian, who on perceiving me instantly strung his 
302, 



THE FORESTS OF OREGON 

bow, placed on his left arm a sleeve of raccoon skin 
and stood on the defensive. Being quite sure that 
conduct was prompted by fear and not by hostile 
intentions, the poor fellow having probably never 
seen such a being as myself before, I laid my gun 
at my feet on the ground and waved my hand for 
him to come to me, which he did slowly and with 
great caution. I then made him place his bow and 
quiver of arrows beside my gun, and striking a 
light gave him a smoke out of my own pipe and 
a present of a few beads. With my pencil I made 
a rough sketch of the cone and pine tree which I 
wanted to obtain and drew his attention to it, when 
he instantly pointed with his hand to the hills 
fifteen or twenty miles distant towards the south; 
and when I expressed my intention of going thither, 
cheerfully set about accompanying me. At midday 
I reached my long-wished-for pines and lost no 
time in examining them and endeavoring to collect 
specimens and seeds. New and strange things sel 
dom fail to make strong impressions and are there 
fore frequently overrated; so that, lest I should 
never see my friends in England to inform them 
verbally of this most beautiful and immensely 
grand tree, I shall here state the dimensions of the 
largest I could find among several that had been 
blown down by the wind. At three feet from the 
ground its circumference is fifty-seven feet, nine 
inches; at one hundred and thirty-four feet, seven 
teen feet five inches; the extreme length two hun 
dred and forty-five feet. ... As it was impossible 
either to climb the tree or hew it down, I endeavored 
to knock off the cones by firing at them with ball, 
when the report of my gun brought eight Indians, 

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all of them painted with red earth, armed with 
bows, arrows, bone-tipped spears, and flint knives. 
They appeared anything but friendly. I explained 
to them what I wanted and they seemed satisfied 
and sat down to smoke; but presently I saw one of 
them string his bow and another sharpen his flint 
knife with a pair of wooden pincers and suspend it 
on the wrist of his right hand. Further testimony 
of their intentions was unnecessary. To save my 
self by flight was impossible, so without hesitation 
I stepped back about five paces, cocked my gun, 
drew one of the pistols out of my belt, and holding 
it in my left hand, the gun in my right, showed 
myself determined to fight for my life. As much 
as possible I endeavored to preserve my coolness, 
and thus we stood looking at one another without 
making any movement or uttering a word for per 
haps ten minutes, when one at last, who seemed to 
be the leader, gave a sign that they wished for some 
tobacco; this I signified they should have if they 
fetched a quantity of cones. They went off immedi 
ately in search of them, and no sooner were they all 
out of sight than I picked up my three cones and 
some twigs of the trees and made the quickest pos 
sible retreat, hurrying back to my camp, which I 
reached before dusk. The Indian who last under 
took to be my guide to the trees I sent off before 
gaining my encampment, lest he should betray me. 
How irksome is the darkness of night to one under 
such circumstances. I cannot speak a word to my 
guide, nor have I a book to divert my thoughts, 
which are continually occupied with the dread lest 
the hostile Indians should trace me hither and make 
an attack. I now write lying on the grass with my 

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THE FORESTS OF OREGON 

gun cocked beside me, and penning these lines by 
the light of my Columbian candle, namely, an ignited 
piece of rosin-wood. 

Douglas named this magnificent species 
Pinus Lambertiana, in honor of his friend Dr. 
Lambert, of London. This is the noblest pine 
thus far discovered in the forests of the world, 
surpassing all others not only in size but in 
beauty and majesty. Oregon may well be 
proud that its discovery was made within 
her borders, and that, though it is far more 
abundant in California, she has the largest 
known specimens. In the Sierra the finest 
sugar pine forests lie at an elevation of about 
five thousand feet. In Oregon they occupy 
much lower ground, some of the trees being 
found but little above tide-water. 

No lover of trees will ever forget his first 
meeting with the sugar pine. In most coni 
ferous trees there is a sameness of form and 
expression which at length becomes wearisome 
to most people who travel far in the woods. 
But the sugar pines are as free from conven 
tional forms as any of the oaks. No two are 
so much alike as to hide their individuality 
from any observer. Every tree is appreciated 
as a study in itself and proclaims in no uncer 
tain terms the surpassing grandeur of the spe 
cies. The branches, mostly near the summit, 

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are sometimes nearly forty feet long, feathered 
richly all around with short, leafy branchlets, 
and tasselled with cones a foot and a half long. 
And when these superb arms are outspread, 
radiating in every direction, an immense crown- 
like mass is formed which, poised on the no 
ble shaft and filled with sunshine, is one of 
the grandest forest objects conceivable. But 
though so wild and unconventional when full- 
grown, the sugar pine is a remarkably regular 
tree in youth, a strict follower of coniferous 
fashions, slim, erect, tapering, symmetrical, 
every branch in place. At the age of fifty or 
sixty years this shy, fashionable form begins 
to give way. Special branches are thrust out 
away from the general outlines of the trees 
and bent down with cones. Henceforth it be 
comes more and more original and indepen 
dent in style, pushes boldly aloft into the 
winds and sunshine, growing ever more stately 
and beautiful, a joy and inspiration to every 
beholder. 

Unfortunately, the sugar pine makes excel 
lent lumber. It is too good to live, and is 
already passing rapidly away before the wood 
man s axe. Surely out of all of the abound 
ing forest-wealth of Oregon a few specimens 
might be spared to the world, not as dead 
lumber, but as living trees. A park of moderate 
306 



THE FORESTS OF OREGON 

extent might be set apart and protected for 
public use forever, containing at least a few 
hundreds of each of these noble pines, spruces, 
and firs. Happy will be the men who, having 
the power and the love and benevolent forecast 
to do this, will do it. They will not be forgot 
ten. The trees and their lovers will sing their 
praises, and generations yet unborn will rise 
up and call them blessed. 

Dotting the prairies and fringing the edges 
of the great evergreen forests we find a con 
siderable number of hardwood trees, such as 
the oak, maple, ash, alder, laurel, madrone, 
flowering dogwood, wild cherry, and wild 
apple. The white oak (Quercus Garryana) is 
the most important of the Oregon oaks as a 
timber tree, but not nearly so beautiful as 
Kellogg s oak (Q. Kelloggii). The former is 
found mostly along the Columbia River, par 
ticularly about the Dalles, and a consider 
able quantity of useful lumber is made from 
it and sold, sometimes for eastern white oak, 
to wagon-makers. Kellogg s oak is a magnifi 
cent tree and does much for the picturesque 
beauty of the Umpqua and Rogue River Val 
leys where it abounds. It is also found in aK 
the Yosemite valleys of the Sierra, and its 
acorns form an important part of the food 
of the Digger Indians. In the Siskiyou Moun- 

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tains there is a live oak (Q. chrysolepis), wide- 
spreading and very picturesque in form, but 
not very common. It extends southward along 
the western flank of the Sierra and is there 
more abundant and much larger than in Ore 
gon, oftentimes five to eight feet hi diameter. 

The maples are the same as those in Wash 
ington, already described, but I have not seen 
any maple groves here equal in extent or hi 
the size of the trees to those on the Snoqual- 
mie River. 

The Oregon ash is now rare along the stream- 
banks of western Oregon, and it grows to a 
good size and furnishes lumber that is for 
some purposes equal to the white ash of the 
Western States. 

NuttalPs flowering dogwood makes a brave 
display with its wealth of showy involucres 
hi the spring along cool streams. Specimens 
of the flowers may be found measuring eight 
inches in diameter. 

The wild cherry (Prunus emarginataj var. 
mollis) is a small, handsome tree seldom more 
than a foot hi diameter at the base. It makes 
valuable lumber and its black, astringent 
fruit furnishes a rich resource as food for 
the birds. A smaller form is common in the 
Sierra, the fruit of which is eagerly eaten by 
the Indians and hunters hi tune of need. 

308 



THE FORESTS OF OREGON 

The wild apple (Pyrus rivularis) is a fine, 
hearty, handsome little tree that grows well in 
rich, cool soil along streams and on the edges of 
beaver-meadows from California through Ore 
gon and Washington to southeastern Alaska. 
In Oregon it forms dense, tangled thickets, 
some of them almost impenetrable. The largest 
trunks are nearly a foot in diameter. When in 
bloom it makes a fine show with its abundant 
clusters of flowers, which are white and fra 
grant. The fruit is very small and savagely 
acid. It is wholesome, however, and is eaten by 
birds, bears, Indians, and many other adven 
turers, great and small. 

Passing from beneath the shadows of the 
woods where the trees grow close and high, 
we step into charming wild gardens full of 
lilies, orchids, heath worts, roses, etc., with 
colors so gay and forming such sumptuous 
masses of bloom, they make the gardens of 
civilization, however lovingly cared for, seem 
pathetic and silly. Around the great fire- 
mountains, above the forests and beneath the 
snow, there is a flowery zone of marvelous 
beauty planted with anemones, erythroniums, 
daisies, bryanthus, kalmia, vaccinium, cassiope, 
saxifrages, etc., forming one continuous gar 
den fifty or sixty miles in circumference, and 
so deep and luxuriant and closely woven it 

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seems as if Nature, glad to find an opening, 
were economizing space and trying to see how 
many of her bright-eyed darlings she can get 
together in one mountain wreath. 

Along the slopes of the Cascades, where 
the woods are less dense, especially about the 
headwaters of the Willamette, there are miles 
of rhododendron, making glorious outbursts 
of purple bloom, and down on the prairies in 
rich, damp hollows the blue-flowered camas- 
sia grows in such profusion that at a little 
distance its dense masses appear as beautiful 
blue lakes imbedded in the green, flowery 
plains; while all about the streams and the 
lakes and the beaver-meadows and the mar 
gins of the deep woods there is a magnificent 
tangle of gaultheria and huckleberry bushes 
with their myriads of pink bells, reinforced 
with hazel, cornel, rubus of many species, 
wild plum, cherry, and crab apple; besides 
thousands of charming bloomers to be found 
in all sorts of places throughout the wilder 
ness whose mere names are refreshing, such 
as linnsea, menziesia, pyrola, chimaphila, brodi- 
sea, smilacina, fritillaria, calochortus, trillium, 
clintonia, veratrum, cypripedium, goodyera, 
spiranthes, habenaria, and the rare and lovely 
"Hider of the North," Calypso borealis, to find 
which is alone a sufficient object for a jour- 

310 



THE FORESTS OF OREGON 

ney into the wilderness. And besides these 
there is a charming underworld of ferns and 
mosses flourishing gloriously beneath all the 
woods. 

Everybody loves wild woods and flowers 
more or less. Seeds of all these Oregon ever 
greens and of many of the flowering shrubs and 
plants have been sent to almost every coun 
try under the sun, and they are now growing 
in carefully tended parks and gardens. And 
now that the ways of approach are open one 
would expect to find these woods and gar 
dens full of admiring visitors reveling in their 
beauty like bees in a clover-field. Yet few 
care to visit them. A portion of the bark of 
one of the California trees, the mere dead 
skin, excited the wondering attention of thou 
sands when it was set up in the Crystal Pal 
ace in London, as did also a few peeled spars, 
the shafts of mere saplings from Oregon or 
Washington. Could one of these great silver 
firs or sugar pines three hundred feet high 
have been transplanted entire to that exhibi 
tion, how enthusiastic would have been the 
praises accorded to it! 

Nevertheless, the countless hosts waving 
at home beneath their own sky, beside their 
own noble rivers and mountains, and standing 
on a flower-enameled carpet of mosses thou- 

311 



STEEP TRAILS 

sands of square miles in extent, attract but 
little attention. Most travelers content them 
selves with what they may chance to see from 
car windows, hotel verandas, or the deck of 
a steamer on the lower Columbia clinging 
to the battered highways like drowning sail 
ors to a life-raft. When an excursion into the 
woods is proposed, all sorts of exaggerated 
or imaginary dangers are cpnjured up, filling 
the kindly, soothing wilderness with colds, 
fevers, Indians, bears, snakes, bugs, impass 
able rivers, and jungles of brush, to which is 
always added quick and sure starvation. 

As to starvation, the woods are full of food, 
and a supply of bread may easily be carried 
for habit s sake, and replenished now and then 
at outlying farms and camps. The Indians 
are seldom found in the woods, being confined 
mainly to the banks of the rivers, where the 
greater part of their food is obtained. More 
over, the most of them have been either buried 
since the settlement of the country or civilized 
into comparative innocence, industry, or harm 
less laziness. There are bears in the woods, 
but not in such numbers nor of such unspeak 
able ferocity as town-dwellers imagine, nor 
do bears spend their lives in going about the 
country like the devil, seeking whom they 
may devour. Oregon bears, like most others, 

312 



THE FORESTS OF OREGON 

have no liking for man either as meat or as 
society; and while some may be curious at 
times to see what manner of creature he is, 
most of them have learned to shun people as 
deadly enemies. They have been poisoned, 
trapped, and shot at until they have become 
shy, and it is no longer easy to make their 
acquaintance. Indeed, since the settlement 
of the country, notwithstanding far the greater 
portion is yet wild, it is difficult to find any of 
the larger animals that once were numerous 
and comparatively familiar, such as the bear, 
wolf, panther, lynx, deer, elk, and antelope. 

As early as 1843, while the settlers num 
bered only a few thousands, and before any 
sort of government had been organized, they 
came together and held what they called "a 
wolf meeting," at which a committee was 
appointed to devise means for the destruc 
tion of wild animals destructive to tame ones, 
which committee in due time begged to report 
as follows: 

It being admitted by all that bears, wolves, pan 
thers, etc., are destructive to the useful animals 
owned by the settlers of this colony, your commit 
tee would submit the following resolutions as the 
sense of this meeting, by which the community may 
be governed in carrying on a defensive and destruc 
tive war on all such animals : 
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STEEP TRAILS 1 

Resolved, 1st. That we deem it expedient for 
the community to take immediate measures for 
the destruction of all wolves, panthers and bears, 
and such pther animals as are known to be destruc 
tive to cattle, horses, sheep and hogs. 

2d. That a bounty of fifty cents be paid for 
the destruction of a small wolf, S3. 00 for a large 
wolf, $1.50 for a lynx, $2.00 for a bear and $5.00 
for a panther. 

This center of destruction was in the Wil 
lamette Valley. But for many years prior to 
the beginning of the operations of the "Wolf 
Organization" the Hudson s Bay Company 
had established forts and trading-stations over 
all the country, wherever fur-gathering In 
dians could be found, and vast numbers of 
these animals were killed. Their destruction 
has since gone on at an accelerated rate from 
year to year as the settlements have been ex 
tended, so that in some cases it is difficult to 
obtain specimens enough for the use of nat 
uralists. But even before any of these settle 
ments were made, and before the coming of 
the Hudson s Bay Company, there was very 
little danger to be met in passing through this 
wilderness as far as animals were concerned, 
and but little of any kind as compared with 
the dangers encountered in crowded houses 
and streets. 

When Lewis and Clark made their famous 

314 



THE FORESTS OF OREGON 

trip across the continent in 1804-05, when all 
the Rocky Mountain region was wild, as well 
as the Pacific Slope, they did not lose a single 
man by wild animals, nor, though frequently 
attacked, especially by the grizzlies of the 
Rocky Mountains, were any of them wounded 
seriously. Captain Clark was bitten on the 
hand by a wolf as he lay asleep; that was one 
bite among more than a hundred men while 
traveling through eight to nine thousand miles 
of savage wilderness. They could hardly have 
been so fortunate had they stayed at home. 
They wintered on the edge of the Clatsop 
plains, on the south side of the Columbia 
River near its mouth. In the woods on that 
side they found game abundant, especially 
elk, and with the aid of the friendly Indians 
who furnished salmon and "wapatoo" (the 
tubers of Sagittaria variabilis), they were in 
no danger of starving. 

But on the return trip in the spring they 
reached the base of the Rocky Mountains 
when the range was yet too heavily snow- 
laden to be crossed with horses. Therefore 
they had to wait some weeks. This was at 
the head of one of the northern branches of 
Snake River, and, their scanty stock of provi 
sions being nearly exhausted, the whole party 
was compelled to live mostly on bears and 

315 - 



STEEP TRAILS 

dogs; deer, antelope, and elk, usually abun 
dant, were now scarce because the region had 
been closely hunted over by the Indians before 
their arrival. 

Lewis and Clark had killed a number of 
bears and saved the skins of the more interest 
ing specimens, and the variations they found 
in size, color of the hair, etc., made great dif 
ficulty in classification. Wishing to get the 
opinion of the Chopumish Indians, near one 
of whose villages they were encamped, con 
cerning the various species, the explorers un 
packed their bundles and spread out for ex 
amination all the skins they had taken. The 
Indian hunters immediately classed the white, 
the deep and the pale grizzly red, the grizzly 
dark-brown in short, all those with the 
extremities of the hair of a white or frosty 
color without regard to the color of the ground 
or foil under the name of hoh-host. The 
Indians assured them that these were all of 
the same species as the white bear, that they 
associated together, had longer nails than the 
others, and never climbed trees. On the other 
hand, the black skins, those that were black 
with white hairs intermixed or with a white 
breast, the uniform bay, the brown, and the 
light reddish-brown, were classed under the 
name yack-ah, and were said to resemble each 

316 



THE FORESTS J)F OREGON 

other in being smaller and having shorter nails, 
in climbing trees, and being so little vicious 
that they could be pursued with safety. 

Lewis and Clark came to the conclusion 
that all those with white-tipped hair found by 
them in the basin of the Columbia belonged 
to the same species as the grizzlies of the upper 
Missouri; and that the black and reddish- 
brown, etc., of the Rocky Mountains belong 
to a second species equally distinct from the 
grizzly and the black bear of the Pacific Coast 
and the East, which never vary in color. 

As much as possible should be made by the 
ordinary traveler of these descriptions, for he 
will be likely to see very little of any species 
for himself; not that bears no longer exist 
here, but because, being shy, they keep out of 
the way. In order to see them and learn their 
habits one must go softly and alone, lingering 
long in the fringing woods on the banks of the 
salmon streams, and in the small openings 
in the midst of thickets where berries are most 
abundant. 

As for rattlesnakes, the other grand dread 
of town-dwellers when they leave beaten roads, 
there are two, or perhaps three, species of them 
in Oregon. But they are nowhere to be found 
in great numbers. In western Oregon they are 
hardly known at all. In all my walks in the 
317 



STEEP TRAILS 

Oregon forest I have never met a single speci 
men, though a few have been seen at long 
intervals. 

When the country was first settled by the 
whites, fifty years ago, the elk roamed through 
the woods and over the plains to the east of 
the Cascades in immense numbers; now 
they are rarely seen except by experienced 
hunters who know their haunts in the deepest 
and most inaccessible solitudes to which they 
have been driven. So majestic an animal 
forms a tempting mark for the sportsman s 
rifle. Countless thousands have been killed 
for mere amusement and they already seem 
to be nearing extinction as rapidly as the 
buffalo. The antelope also is vanishing from 
the Columbia plains before the farmers and 
cattle-men. Whether the moose still lingers 
in Oregon or Washington I am unable to say. 

On the highest mountains of the Cascade 
Range the wild goat roams in comparative 
security, few of his enemies caring to go so far 
in pursuit and to hunt on ground so high and 
so "dangerous. He is a brave, sturdy, shaggy 
mountaineer of an animal, enjoying the free 
dom and security of crumbling ridges and 
overhanging cliffs above the glaciers, often 
times beyond the reach of the most daring 
hunter. They seem to be as much at home on 

318 



THE FORESTS OF OREGON 

the ice and snow-fields as on the crags, making 
their way in flocks from ridge to ridge on the 
great volcanic mountains by crossing the gla 
ciers that lie between them, traveling in single 
file guided by an old experienced leader, like 
a party of climbers on the Alps. On these ice- 
journeys they pick their way through networks 
of crevasses and over bridges of snow with ad 
mirable skill, and the mountaineer may sel 
dom do better in such places than to follow 
their trail, if he can. In the rich alpine gar 
dens and meadows they find abundance of 
food, venturing sometimes well down in the 
prairie openings on the edge of the timber- 
line, but holding themselves ever alert and 
watchful, ready to flee to their highland cas 
tles at the faintest alarm. When their summer 
pastures are buried beneath the winter snows, 
they make haste to the lower ridges, seeking 
the wind-beaten crags and slopes where the 
snow cannot lie at any great depth, feeding 
at times on the leaves and twigs of bushes 
when grass is beyond reach. 

The wild sheep is another admirable alpine 
rover, but comparatively rare in the Oregon 
mountains, choosing rather the drier ridges 
to the southward on the Cascades and to the 
eastward among the spurs of the Rocky Moun 
tain chain. 

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STEEP TRAILS 

Deer give beautiful animation to the forests, 
harmonizing finely in their color and move 
ments with the gray and brown shafts of the 
trees and the swaying of the branches as they 
stand in groups at rest, or move gracefully 
and noiselessly over the mossy ground about 
the edges of beaver-meadows and flowery 
glades, daintily culling the leaves and tips of 
the mints and aromatic bushes on which they 
feed. There are three species, the black-tailed, 
white-tailed, and mule deer; the last being 
restricted in its range to the open woods and 
plains to the eastward of the Cascades. They 
are nowhere very numerous now, killing for 
food, for hides, or for mere wanton sport, hav 
ing well-nigh exterminated them in the more 
accessible regions, while elsewhere they are 
too often at the mercy of the wolves. 

Gliding about in their shady forest homes, 
keeping well out of sight, there is a multitude 
of sleek fur-clad animals living and enjoying 
their clean, beautiful lives. How beautiful 
and interesting they are is about as difficult 
for busy mortals to find out as if their homes 
were beyond sight in the sky. Hence the 
stories of every wild hunter and trapper are 
eagerly listened to as being possibly true, or 
partly so, however thickly clothed in succes 
sive folds of exaggeration and fancy. Unsatis- 

320 



THE FORESTS OF OREGON 

fying as these accounts must be, a tourist s 
frightened rush and scramble through the 
woods yields far less than the hunter s wildest 
stories, while in writing we can do but little 
more than to give a few names, as they come 
to mind, beaver, squirrel, coon, fox, mar 
ten, fisher, otter, ermine, wildcat, only this 
instead of full descriptions of the bright-eyed 
furry throng, their snug home nests, their 
fears and fights and loves, how they get their 
food, rear their young, escape their enemies, 
and keep themselves warm and well and ex 
quisitely clean through all the pitiless weather. 
For many years before the settlement of 
the country the fur of the beaver brought a 
high price, and therefore it was pursued with 
weariless ardor. Not even in the quest for gold 
has a more ruthless, desperate energy been 
developed. It was in those early beaver-days 
that the striking class of adventurers called 
"free trappers" made their appearance. Bold, 
enterprising men, eager to make money, and 
inclined at the same time to relish the license 
of a savage life, would set forth with a few 
traps and a gun and a hunting-knife, content 
at first to venture only a short distance up 
the beaver-streams nearest to the settlements, 
and where the Indians were not likely to mo 
lest them. There they would set their traps, 

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STEEP TRAILS 

while the buffalo, antelope, deer, etc., fur 
nished a royal supply of food. In a few months 
their pack-animals would be laden with thou 
sands of dollars worth of fur. 

Next season they would venture farther, 
and again farther, meanwhile growing rapidly 
wilder, getting acquainted with the Indian 
tribes, and usually marrying among them. 
Thenceforward no danger could stay them 
in their exciting pursuit. Wherever there were 
beaver they would go, however far or wild, 
the wilder the better, provided their scalps 
could be saved. Oftentimes they were com 
pelled to set their traps and visit them by 
night and lie hid during the day, when oper 
ating in the neighborhood of hostile Indians. 
Not then venturing to make a fire or shoot 
game, they lived on the raw flesh of the beaver, 
perhaps seasoned with wild cresses or berries. 
Then, returning to the trading-stations, they 
would spend their hard earnings in a few weeks 
of dissipation and "good time," and go again 
to the bears and beavers, until at length a bul 
let or arrow would end all. One after another 
would be missed by some friend or trader at 
the autumn rendezvous, reported killed by 
the Indians, and forgotten. Some men of 
this class have, from superior skill or fortune, 
escaped every danger, lived to a good old age, 

322 



THE FORESTS OF OREGON 

and earned fame, and, by their knowledge of 
the topography of the vast West then unex 
plored, have been able to render important 
service to the country ; but most of them laid 
their bones in the wilderness after a few short, 
keen seasons. So great were the perils that be 
set them, the average length of the life of a 
"free trapper 7 has been estimated at less than 
five years. From the Columbia waters beaver 
and beaver men have almost wholly passed 
away, and the men once so striking a part of 
the view have left scarcely the faintest sign of 
their existence. On the other hand, a thou 
sand meadows on the mountains tell the story 
of the beavers, to remain fresh and green for 
many a century, monuments of their happy, 
industrious lives. 

But there is a little airy, elfin animal in these 
woods, and in all the evergreen woods of the 
Pacific Coast, that is more influential and 
interesting than even the beaver. This is the 
Douglas squirrel (Sciurus Douglasi). Go where 
you will throughout all these noble forests, you 
everywhere find this little squirrel the master- 
existence. Though only a few inches long, so 
intense is his fiery vigor and restlessness, he 
stirs every grove with wild life, and makes 
himself more important than the great bears 
that shuffle through the berry tangles beneath 

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him. Every tree feels the sting of his sharp 
feet. Nature has made him master-forester, 
and committed the greater part of the conif 
erous crops to his management. Probably 
over half of all the ripe cones of the spruces, 
firs, and pines are cut off and handled by this 
busy harvester. Most of them are stored away 
for food through the winter and spring, but a 
part are pushed into shallow pits and covered 
loosely, where some of the seeds are no doubt 
left to germinate and grow up. All the tree 
squirrels are more or less birdlike in voice 
and movements, but the Douglas is preemi 
nently so, possessing every squirrelish attri 
bute, fully developed and concentrated. He is 
the squirrel of squirrels, flashing from branch 
to branch of his favorite evergreens, crisp and 
glossy and sound as a sunbeam. He stirs the 
leaves like a rustling breeze, darting across 
openings in arrowy lines, launching in curves, 
glinting deftly from side to side in sudden 
zigzags, and swirling in giddy loops and spirals 
around the trunks, now on his haunches, now 
on his head, yet ever graceful and performing 
all his feats of strength and skill without ap 
parent effort. One never tires of this bright 
spark of life, the brave little voice crying in 
the wilderness. His varied, piney gossip is as 
savory to the air as balsam to the palate. 

324 



THE FORESTS OF OREGON 

Some of his notes are almost flutelike in 
softness, while others prick and tingle like 
thistles. He is the mockingbird of squirrels, 
barking like a dog, screaming like a hawk, 
whistling like a blackbird or linnet, while 
hi bluff, audacious noisiness he is a jay. A 
small thing, but filling and animating all the 
woods. 

Nor is there any lack of wings, notwith 
standing few are to be seen on short, noisy 
rambles. The ousel sweetens the shady glens 
and canons where waterfalls abound, and 
every grove or forest, however silent it may 
seem when we chance to pay it a hasty visit, 
has its singers, thrushes, linnets, warblers, 
while hummingbirds glint and hover about 
the fringing masses of bloom around stream 
and meadow openings. But few of these will 
show themselves or sing their songs to those 
who are ever in haste and getting lost, going in 
gangs formidable in color and accoutrements, 
laughing, hallooing, breaking limbs off the 
trees as they pass, awkwardly struggling 
through briery thickets, entangled like blue 
bottles in spider-webs, and stopping from time 
to time to fire off their guns and pistols for 
the sake of the echoes, thus frightening all the 
life about them for miles. It is this class of 
hunters and travelers who report that there 

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are "no birds in the woods or game animals 
of any kind larger than mosquitoes." 

Besides the singing-birds mentioned above, 
the handsome Oregon grouse may be found 
in the thick woods, also the dusky grouse and 
Franklin s grouse, and in some places the 
beautiful mountain partridge, or quail. The 
white-tailed ptarmigan lives on the lofty snow 
peaks above the timber, and the prairie- 
chicken and sage-cock on the broad Columbia 
plains from the Cascade Range back to the 
foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The bald 
eagle is very common along the Columbia 
River, or wherever fish, especially salmon, are 
plentiful, while swans, herons, cranes, pelicans, 
geese, ducks of many species, and water-birds 
in general abound in the lake region, on the 
main streams, and along the coast, stirring 
the waters and sky into fine, lively pictures, 
greatly to the delight of wandering lovers of 
wildness. 



XXIII 

THE RIVERS OF OREGON 

TURNING from the woods and their inhabi 
tants to the rivers, we find that while the for 
mer are rarely seen by travelers beyond the 
immediate borders of the settlements, the 
great river of Oregon draws crowds of visitors, 
and is never without enthusiastic admirers 
to sound its praises. Every summer since the 
completion of the first overland railroad, tour 
ists have been coming to it in ever increasing 
numbers, showing that in general estimation 
the Columbia is one of the chief attractions 
of the Pacific Coast. And well it deserves the 
admiration so heartily bestowed upon it. The 
beauty and majesty of its waters, and the 
variety and grandeur of the scenery through 
which it flows, lead many to regard it as the 
most interesting of all the great rivers of the 
continent, notwithstanding the claims of the 
other members of the family to which it be 
longs and which nobody can measure the 
Fraser, McKenzie, Saskatchewan, the Mis 
souri, Yellowstone, Platte, and the Colorado, 
with their glacier and geyser fountains, their 
famous canons, lakes, forests, and vast flow- 

327 



STEEP TRAILS 

ery prairies and plains. These great rivers and 
the Columbia are intimately related. All draw 
their upper waters from the same high foun 
tains on the broad, rugged uplift of the Rocky 
Mountains, their branches interlacing like the 
branches of trees. They sing their first songs 
together on the heights; then, collecting their 
tributaries, they set out on their grand jour 
ney to the Atlantic, Pacific, or Arctic Ocean. 

The Columbia, viewed as one from the sea 
to the mountains, is like a rugged, broad- 
topped, picturesque old oak about six hun 
dred miles long and nearly a thousand miles 
wide measured across the spread of its upper 
branches, the main limbs gnarled and swollen 
with lakes and lakelike expansions, while in 
numerable smaller lakes shine like fruit among 
the smaller branches. The main trunk extends 
back through the Coast and Cascade Moun 
tains in a general easterly direction for three 
hundred miles, when it divides abruptly into 
two grand branches which bend off to the 
northeastward and southeastward. 

The south branch, the longer of the two, 
called the Snake, or Lewis, River, extends into 
the Rocky Mountains as far as the Yellow 
stone National Park, where its head tribu 
taries interlace with those of the Colorado, 
Missouri, and Yellowstone. The north branch, 

328 



THE RIVERS OF OREGON 

still called the Columbia, extends through 
Washington far into British territory, its high 
est tributaries reaching back through long 
parallel spurs of the Rockies between and 
beyond the headwaters of the Fraser, Atha 
basca, and Saskatchewan. Each of these main 
branches, dividing again and again, spreads 
a network of channels over the vast compli 
cated mass of the great range throughout a 
section nearly a thousand miles in length, 
searching every fountain, however small or 
great, and gathering a glorious harvest of crys 
tal water to be rolled through forest and plain 
in one majestic flood to the sea, reinforced on 
the way by tributaries that drain the Blue 
Mountains and more than two hundred miles 
of the Cascade and Coast Ranges. Though 
less than half as long as the Mississippi, it is 
said to carry as much water. The amount of 
its discharge at different seasons, however, has 
never been exactly measured, but in time of 
flood its current is sufficiently massive and 
powerful to penetrate the sea to a distance of 
fifty or sixty miles from shore, its waters being 
easily recognized by the difference in color 
and by the drift of leaves, berries, pine cones, 
branches, and trunks of trees that they carry. 
That so large a river as the Columbia, mak 
ing a telling current so far from shore, should 

329 



STEEP TRAILS 

remain undiscovered while one exploring ex 
pedition after another sailed past seems re 
markable, even after due allowance is made 
for the cloudy weather that prevails here 
abouts and the broad fence of breakers drawn 
across the bar. During the last few centuries, 
when the maps of the world were in great part 
blank, the search for new worlds was a fash 
ionable business, and when such large game 
was no longer to be found, islands lying un 
claimed in the great oceans, inhabited by use 
ful and profitable people to be converted or 
enslaved, became attractive objects; also new 
ways to India, seas, straits, El Dorados, 
fountains of youth, and rivers that flowed over 
golden sands. 

Those early explorers and adventurers were 
mostly brave, enterprising, and, after their 
fashion, pious men. In their clumsy sailing- 
vessels they dared to go where no chart or 
lighthouse showed the way, where the set of 
the currents, the location of sunken outlying 
rocks and shoals, were all unknown, facing 
fate and weather, undaunted however dark 
the signs, heaving the lead and thrashing the 
men to their duty and trusting to Providence. 
When a new shore was found on which they 
could land, they said their prayers with su 
perb audacity, fought the natives if they cared 

330 



THE RIVERS OF OREGON 

to fight, erected crosses, and took possession 
in the names of their sovereigns, establishing 
claims, such as they were, to everything in 
sight and beyond, to be quarreled for and bat 
tled for, and passed from hand to hand in 
treaties and settlements made during the 
intermissions of war. 

The branch of the river that bears the name 
of Columbia all the way to its head takes its 
rise in two lakes about ten miles in length that 
lie between the Selkirk and main ranges of the 
Rocky Mountains in British Columbia, about 
eighty miles beyond the boundary-line. They 
are called the Upper and Lower Columbia 
Lakes. Issuing from these, the young river 
holds a nearly straight course for a hundred 
and seventy miles in a northwesterly direction 
to a plain called "Boat Encampment," receiv 
ing many beautiful affluents by the way from 
the Selkirk and main ranges, among which 
are the Beaver-Foot, Blackberry, Spill-e-Mee- 
Chene, and Gold Rivers. At Boat Encamp 
ment it receives two large tributaries, the 
Canoe River from the northwest, a stream 
about a hundred and twenty miles long; and 
the Whirlpool River from the north, about a 
hundred and forty miles in length. 

The Whirlpool River takes its rise near the 
summit of the main axis of the range on the 

331 



STEEP TRAILS 

fifty-fourth parallel, and is the northmost of 
all the Columbia waters. About thirty miles 
above its confluence with the Columbia it 
flows through a lake called the Punch-Bowl, 
and thence it passes between Mounts Hooker 
and Brown, said to be fifteen thousand and 
sixteen thousand feet high, making magnifi 
cent scenery; though the height of the moun 
tains thereabouts has been considerably over 
estimated. From Boat Encampment the river, 
now a large, clear stream, said to be nearly 
a third of a mile in width, doubles back on its 
original course and flows southward as far 
as its confluence with the Spokane hi Wash 
ington, a distance of nearly three hundred 
miles in a direct line, most of the way through 
a wild, rocky, picturesque mass of mountains, 
charmingly forested with pine and spruce 
though the trees seem strangely small, like 
second growth saplings, to one familiar with 
the western forests of Washington, Oregon, 
and California. 

About forty-five miles below Boat Encamp 
ment are the Upper Dalles, or Dalles de Mort, 
and thirty miles farther the Lower Dalles, 
where the river makes a magnificent uproar 
and interrupts navigation. About thirty miles 
below the Lower Dalles the river expands into 
Upper Arrow Lake, a beautiful sheet of water 

332 



THE RIVERS OF OREGON 

forty miles long and five miles wide, straight 
as an arrow and with the beautiful forests of 
the Selkirk range rising from its east shore, 
and those of the Gold range from the west. 
At the foot of the lake are the Narrows, a few 
miles in length, and after these rapids are 
passed, the river enters Lower Arrow Lake, 
which is like the Upper Arrow, but is even 
longer and not so straight. 

A short distance below the Lower Arrow the 
Columbia receives the Kootenay River, the 
largest affluent thus far on its course and 
said to be navigable for small steamers for a 
hundred and fifty miles. It is an exceedingly 
crooked stream, heading beyond the upper 
Columbia lakes, and, in its mazy course, flow 
ing to all points of the compass, it seems lost 
and baffled in the tangle of mountain spurs 
and ridges it drains. Measured around its 
loops and bends, it is probably more than five 
hundred miles in length. It is also rich in 
lakes, the largest, Kootenay Lake, being up 
wards of seventy miles in length with an aver 
age width of five miles. A short distance below 
the confluence of the Kootenay, near the 
boundary-line between Washington and Brit 
ish Columbia, another large stream comes in 
from the east, Clarke s Fork, or the Flathead 
River. Its upper sources are near those of the 

333 



STEEP TRAILS 

Missouri and South Saskatchewan, and in 
its course it flows through two large and beau 
tiful lakes, the Flathead and the Pend d Oreille. 
All the lakes we have noticed thus far would 
make charming places of summer resort; but 
Pend d Oreille, besides being surpassingly 
beautiful, has the advantage of being easily 
accessible, since it is on the main line of the 
Northern Pacific Railroad in the Territory 
of Idaho. In the purity of its waters it reminds 
one of Tahoe, while its many picturesque 
islands crowned with evergreens, and its wind 
ing shores forming an endless variety of bays 
and promontories lavishly crowded with spirey 
spruce and cedar, recall some of the best of 
the island scenery of Alaska. 

About thirty-five miles below the mouth 
of Clark s Fork the Columbia is joined by the 
Ne-whoi-al-pit-ku River from the northwest. 
Here too are the great Chaudire, or Kettle, 
Falls on the main river, with a total descent 
of about fifty feet. Fifty miles farther down, 
the Spokane River, a clear, dashing stream, 
comes in from the east. It is about one hun 
dred and twenty miles long, and takes its rise 
in the beautiful Lake Coeur d Alene, in Idaho, 
which receives the drainage of nearly a hundred 
miles of the western slopes of the Bitter Root 
Mountains, through the St. Joseph and Coeur 

334 



THE RIVERS OF OREGON 

d Alne Rivers. The lake is about twenty 
miles long, set in the midst of charming scen 
ery, and, like Pend d Oreille, is easy of access 
and is already attracting attention as a sum 
mer place for enjoyment, rest, and health. 

The famous Spokane Falls are in Washing 
ton, about thirty miles below the lake, where 
the river is outspread and divided and makes 
a grand descent from a level basaltic plateau, 
giving rise to one of the most beautiful as well 
as one of the greatest and most available of 
water-powers in the State. The city of the 
same name is built on the plateau along both 
sides of the series of cascades and falls, which, 
rushing and sounding through the midst, give 
singular beauty and animation. The young 
city is also rushing and booming. It is founded 
on a rock, leveled and prepared for it, and its 
streets require no grading or paving. As a 
power to whirl the machinery of a great city 
and at the same time to train the people to a 
love of the sublime and beautiful as displayed 
in living water, the Spokane Falls are unri 
valled, at least as far as my observation has 
reached. Nowhere else have I seen such les 
sons given by a river in the streets of a city, 
such a glad, exulting, abounding outgush, 
crisp and clear from the mountains, dividing, 
falling, displaying its wealth, calling aloud in 

335 



STEEP TRAILS 

the midst of the busy throng, and making 
glorious offerings for every use of utility or 
adornment. 

From the mouth of the Spokane the Colum 
bia, now out of the woods, flows to the west 
ward with a broad, stately current for a hun 
dred and twenty miles to receive the Okina- 
gan, a large, generous tributary a hundred and 
sixty miles long, coming from the north and 
drawing some of its waters from the Cascade 
Range. More than half its course is through a 
chain of lakes, the largest of which at the head 
of the river is over sixty miles in length. From 
its confluence with the Okinagan the river 
pursues a southerly course for a hundred and 
fifty miles, most of the way through a dreary, 
treeless, parched plain to meet the great south 
fork. The Lewis, or Snake, River is nearly a 
thousand miles long and drains nearly the 
whole of Idaho, a territory rich in scenery, 
gold mines, flowery, grassy valleys, and des 
erts, while some of the highest tributaries 
reach into Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada. 
Throughout a great part of its course it is 
countersunk in a black lava plain and shut 
in by mural precipices a thousand feet high, 
gloomy, forbidding, and unapproachable, al 
though the gloominess of its canon is relieved 
in some manner by its many falls and springs, 

336 



THE RIVERS OF OREGON 

some of the springs being large enough to ap 
pear as the outlets of subterranean rivers. They 
gush out from the faces of the sheer black walls 
and descend foaming with brave roar and 
beauty to swell the flood below. 

From where the river skirts the base of the 
Blue Mountains its surroundings are less for 
bidding. Much of the country is fertile, but 
its canon is everywhere deep and almost in 
accessible. Steamers make their way up as 
far as Lewiston, a hundred and fifty miles, and 
receive cargoes of wheat at different points 
through chutes that extend down from the 
tops of the bluffs. But though the Hudson s 
Bay Company navigated the north fork to its 
sources, they depended altogether on pack- 
animals for the transportation of supplies and 
furs between the Columbia and Fort Hall on 
the head of the south fork, which shows how 
desperately unmanageable a river it must be. 

A few miles above the mouth of the Snake 
the Yakima, which drains a considerable por 
tion of the Cascade Range, enters from the 
northwest. It is about a hundred and fifty 
miles long, but carries comparatively little 
water, a great part of what it sets out with 
from the base of the mountains being con 
sumed in irrigated fields and meadows in pass 
ing through the settlements along its course, 

337 



STEEP TRAILS 

and by evaporation on the parched desert 
plains. The grand flood of the Columbia, now 
from half a mile to a mile wide, sweeps on to 
the westward, holding a nearly direct course 
until it reaches the mouth of the Willamette, 
where it turns to the northward and flows 
fifty miles along the main valley between the 
Coast and Cascade Ranges ere it again resumes 
its westward course to the sea. In all its course 
from the mouth of the Yakima to the sea, a 
distance of three hundred miles, the only con 
siderable affluent from the northward is the 
Cowlitz, which heads in the glaciers of Mount 
Rainier. 

From the south and east it receives the 
Walla- Walla and Umatilla, rather short and 
dreary-looking streams, though the plains 
they pass through have proved fertile, and 
their upper tributaries in the Blue Moun 
tains, shaded with tall pines, firs, spruces, and 
the beautiful Oregon larch (Larix brew/olid), 
lead into a delightful region. The John Day 
River also heads in the Blue Mountains, and 
flows into the Columbia sixty miles below the 
mouth of the Umatilla. Its valley is in great 
part fertile, and is noted for the interesting 
fossils discovered in it by Professor Condon 
in sections cut by the river through the over 
lying lava-beds. 

338 



THE RIVERS OF OREGON 

The Deschutes River comes in from the 
south about twenty miles below the John Day. 
It is a large, boisterous stream , draining the 
eastern slope of the Cascade Range for nearly 
two hundred miles, and from the great num 
ber of falls on the main trunk, as well as on 
its many mountain tributaries, well deserves 
its name. It enters the Columbia with a grand 
roar of falls and rapids, and at times seems 
almost to rival the main stream in the volume 
of water it carries. Near the mouth of the 
Deschutes are the Falls of the Columbia, 
where the river passes a rough bar of lava. 
The descent is not great, but the immense vol 
ume of water makes a grand display. During 
the flood-season the falls are obliterated and 
skillful boatmen pass over them in safety; while 
the Dalles, some six or eight miles below, may be 
passed during low water but are utterly impas 
sable in flood-time. At the Dalles the vast river 
is jammed together into a long, narrow slot of 
unknown depth cut sheer down in the basalt. 

This slot, or trough, is about a mile and a 
half long and about sixty yards wide at the 
narrowest place. At ordinary times the river 
seems to be set on edge and runs swiftly but 
without much noisy surging with a descent 
of about twenty feet to the mile. But when 
the snow is melting on the mountains the 

339 



STEEP TRAILS 

river rises here sixty feet, or even more during 
extraordinary freshets, and spreads out over 
a great breadth of massive rocks through 
which have been cut several other gorges run 
ning parallel with the one usually occupied. 
All these inferior gorges now come into use, 
and the huge, roaring torrent, still rising and 
spreading, at length overwhelms the high 
jagged rock walls between them, making a 
tremendous display of chafing, surging, shat 
tered currents, counter-currents, and hollow 
whirls that no words can be made to describe. 
A few miles below the Dalles the storm-tossed 
river gets itself together again, looks like 
water, becomes silent, and with stately, tran 
quil deliberation goes on its way, out of the 
gray region of sage and sand into the Oregon 
woods. Thirty-five or forty miles below the 
Dalles are the Cascades of the Columbia, 
where the river in passing through the moun 
tains makes another magnificent display of 
foaming, surging rapids, which form the first 
obstruction to navigation from the ocean, a 
hundred and twenty miles distant. This ob 
struction is to be overcome by locks, which 
are now being made. 

Between the Dalles and the Cascades the 
river is like a lake a mile or two wide, lying 
in a valley, or canon, about three thousand feet 
340 



THE RIVERS OP OREGON 

deep. The walls of the canon lean well back 
in most places, and leave here and there small 
strips, or bays, of level ground along the wa 
ter s edge. But towards the Cascades, and 
for some distance below them, the immediate 
banks are guarded by walls of columnar ba 
salt, which are worn in many places into a 
great variety of bold and picturesque forms, 
such as the Castle Rock, the Rooster Rock, 
the Pillars of Hercules, Cape Horn, etc., while 
back of these rise the sublime mountain-walls, 
forest-crowned and fringed more or less from 
top to base with pine, spruce, and shaggy 
underbrush, especially in the narrow gorges and 
ravines, where innumerable small streams 
come dancing and drifting down, misty and 
white, to join the mighty river. Many of 
these falls on both sides of the canon of the 
Columbia are far larger and more interesting 
in every way than would be guessed from the 
slight glimpses one gets of them while sailing 
past on the river, or from the car windows. 
The Multnomah Falls are particularly inter 
esting, and occupy fern-lined gorges of marvel 
ous beauty in the basalt. They are said to be 
about eight hundred feet in height and, at 
times of high water when the mountain snows 
are melting, are well worthy of a place beside 
the famous falls of the Yosemite Valley. 
341 



STEEP TRAILS 

According to an Indian tradition, the river 
of the Cascades once flowed through the ba 
salt beneath a natural bridge that was broken 
down during a mountain war, when the old 
volcanoes, Hood and St. Helen s, on opposite 
sides of the river, hurled rocks at each other, 
thus forming a dam. That the river has been 
dammed here to some extent, and within a 
comparatively short period, seems probable, 
to say the least, since great numbers of sub 
merged trees standing erect may be found 
along both shores, while, as we have seen, the 
whole river for thirty miles above the Cas 
cades looks like a lake or mill-pond. On the 
other hand, it is held by some that the sub 
merged groves were carried into their places 
by immense landslides. 

Much of interest in this connection must 
necessarily be omitted for want of space. 
About forty miles below the Cascades the 
river receives the Willamette, the last of its 
great tributaries. It is navigable for ocean 
vessels as far as Portland, ten miles above its 
mouth, and for river steamers a hundred 
miles farther. The Falls of the Willamette 
are fifteen miles above Portland, where the 
river, coming out of dense woods, breaks its 
way across a bar of black basalt and falls 
forty feet in a passion of snowy foam, showing 

342 



THE RIVERS OF OREGON 

to fine advantage against its background of 
evergreens. 

Of the fertility and beauty of the Willam 
ette all the world has heard. It lies between 
the Cascade and Coast Ranges, and is bounded 
on the south by the Calapooya Mountains, a 
cross-spur that separates it from the valley of 
the Umpqua. 

It was here the first settlements for agri 
culture were made and a provisional govern 
ment organized, while the settlers, isolated 
in the far wilderness, numbered only a few 
thousand and were laboring under the oppo 
sition of the British Government and the 
Hudson s Bay Company. Eager desire in the 
acquisition of territory on the part of these 
pioneer state-builders was more truly bound 
less than the wilderness they were in, and their 
unconscionable patriotism was equaled only 
by their belligerence. For here, while nego 
tiations were pending for the location of the 
northern boundary, originated the celebrated 
"Fifty-four forty or fight," about as reasonable 
a war-cry as the "North Pole or fight." Yet 
sad was the day that brought the news of the 
signing of the treaty fixing their boundary 
along the forty-ninth parallel, thus leaving 
the little land-hungry settlement only a mere 
quarter-million of miles! 

343 



STEEP TRAILS 

As the Willamette is one of the most food- 
ful of valleys, so is the Columbia one of the 
most foodful of rivers. During the fisher s 
harvest-time salmon from the sea come in 
countless millions, urging their way against 
falls, rapids, and shallows, up into the very 
heart of the Rocky Mountains, supplying 
everybody by the way with most bountiful 
masses of delicious food, weighing from twenty 
to eighty pounds each, plump and smooth 
like loaves of bread ready for the oven. The 
supply seemed inexhaustible, as well it might. 
Large quantities were used by the Indians as 
fuel, and by the Hudson s Bay people as manure 
for their gardens at the forts. Used, wasted, 
canned and sent in shiploads to all the world, 
a grand harvest was reaped every year while 
nobody sowed. Of late, however, the salmon 
crop has begun to fail, and millions of young 
fry are now sown like wheat in the river every 
year, from hatching-establishments belonging 
to the Government. 

All of the Oregon waters that win their way 
to the sea are tributary to the Columbia, save 
the short streams of the immediate coast, and 
the Umpqua and Rogue Rivers in southern 
Oregon. These both head in the Cascade 
Mountains and find their way to the sea 
through gaps in the Coast Range, and both 

344 



THE RIVERS OF OREGON 

drain large and fertile and beautiful valleys. 
Rogue River Valley is peculiarly attractive. 
With a fine climate, and kindly, productive 
soil, the scenery is delightful. About the main, 
central open portion of the basin, dotted with 
picturesque groves of oak, there are many 
smaller valleys charmingly environed, the 
whole surrounded in the distance by the Sis- 
kiyou, Coast, Umpqua, and Cascade Moun 
tains. Besides the cereals nearly every sort of 
fruit flourishes here, and large areas are being 
devoted to peach, apricot, nectarine, and vine 
culture. To me it seems above all others the 
garden valley of Oregon and the most delight 
ful place for a home. On the eastern rim of 
the valley, in the Cascade Mountains, about 
sixty miles from Medford in a direct line, is 
the remarkable Crater Lake, usually regarded 
as the one grand wonder of the region. It lies 
in a deep, sheer-walled basin about seven thou 
sand feet above the level of the sea, supposed 
to be the crater of an extinct volcano. 

Oregon as it is to-day is a very young coun 
try, though most of it seems old. Contem 
plating the Columbia sweeping from forest to 
forest, across plain and desert, one is led to 
say of it, as did Byron of the ocean, 

" Such as Creation s dawn beheld, thou rollest now." 
345 



STEEP TRAILS 

How ancient appear the crumbling basaltic 
monuments along its banks, and the gray 
plains to the east of the Cascades! Neverthe 
less, the river as well as its basin in anything 
like their present condition are comparatively 
but of yesterday. Looming no further back 
in the \ geological records than the Tertiary- 
Period, the Oregon of that tune looks alto 
gether strange in the few suggestive glimpses 
we may get of it forests in which palm trees 
wave their royal crowns, and strange animals 
roaming beneath them or about the reedy 
margins of lakes, the oreodon, the lophiodon, 
and several extinct species of the horse, the 
camel, and other animals. 

Then came the fire period with its darkening 
showers of ashes and cinders and its vast 
floods of molten lava, making quite another 
Oregon from the fair and fertile land of the 
preceding era. And again, while yet the vol 
canic fires show signs of action in the smoke 
and flame of the higher mountains, the whole 
region passes under the dominion of ice, and 
from the frost and darkness and death of the 
Glacial Period, Oregon has but recently 
emerged to the kindly warmth and life of 
to-day. 



XXIV 

THE GRAND CANON OF THE COLORADO 

HAPPY nowadays is the tourist, with earth s 
wonders, new and old, spread invitingly open 
before him, and a host of able workers as his 
slaves making everything easy, padding plush 
about him, grading roads for him, boring 
tunnels, moving hills out of his way, eager, 
like the Devil, to show him all the kingdoms 
of the world and their glory and foolishness, 
spiritualizing travel for him with lightning and 
steam, abolishing space and time and almost 
everything else. Little children and tender, 
pulpy people, as well as storm-seasoned ex 
plorers, may now go almost everywhere in 
smooth comfort, cross oceans and deserts 
scarce accessible to fishes and birds, and, 
dragged by steel horses, go up high mountains, 
riding gloriously beneath starry showers of 
sparks, ascending like Elijah in a whirlwind 
and chariot of fire. 

First of the wonders of the great West to 
be brought within reach of the tourist were 
the Yosemite and the Big Trees, on the com 
pletion of the first transcontinental railway; 
next came the Yellowstone and icy Alaska, 

347 



STEEP TRAILS 

by the northern roads; and last the Grand 
Canon of the Colorado, which, naturally the 
hardest to reach, has now become, by a branch 
of the Santa Fe", the most accessible of all. 

Of course, with this wonderful extension of 
steel ways through our wildness there is loss 
as well as gain. Nearly all railroads are bor 
dered by belts of desolation. The finest wil 
derness perishes as if stricken with pestilence. 
Bird and beast people, if not the dryads, are 
frightened from the groves. Too often the 
groves also vanish, leaving nothing but ashes. 
Fortunately, nature has a few big places be 
yond man s power to spoil the ocean, the 
two icy ends of the globe, and the Grand 
Canon. 

When I first heard of the Santa F6 trains 
running to the edge of the Grand Canon of 
Arizona, I was troubled with thoughts of the 
disenchantment likely to follow. But last 
winter, when I saw those trains crawling along 
through the pines of the Coconino Forest and 
close up to the brink of the chasm at Bright 
Angel, I was glad to discover that in the 
presence of sucft stupendous scenery they are 
nothing. The locomotives and trains are mere 
beetles and caterpillars, and the noise they 
make is as little disturbing as the hooting of 
an owl in the lonely woods. 

348 




THE GRAND CANON AT O NEILL S POINT 



THE GRAND CANON* 

In a dry, hot, monotonous forested plateau, 
seemingly boundless, you come suddenly and 
without warning upon the abrupt edge of a 
gigantic sunken landscape of the wildest, most 
multitudinous features, and those features, 
sharp and angular, are made out of flat beds of 
limestone and sandstone forming a spiry, jag 
ged, gloriously colored mountain-range coun 
tersunk in a level gray plain. It is a hard job 
to sketch it even in scrawniest outline; and, 
try as I may, not in the least sparing myself, 
I cannot tell the hundredth part of the won 
ders of its features the side-canons, gorges, 
alcoves, cloisters, and amphitheaters of vast 
sweep and depth, carved in its magnificent 
walls; the throng of great architectural rocks 
it contains resembling castles, cathedrals, 
temples, and palaces, towered and spired and 
painted, some of them nearly a mile high, yet 
beneath one s feet. All this, however, is less 
difficult than to give any idea of the impres 
sion of wild, primeval beauty and power one 
receives in merely gazing from its brink. The 
view down the gulf of color and over the run 
of its wonderful wall, more than any other 
view I know, leads us to think of our earth as 
a star with stars swimming in light, every 
radiant spire pointing the way to the heavens. 

But it is impossible to conceive what the 

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canon is, or what impression it makes, from 
descriptions or pictures, however good. Nat 
urally it is untellable even to those who have 
seen something perhaps a little like it on a 
small scale in this same plateau region. One s 
most extravagant expectations are indefi 
nitely surpassed, though one expects much 
from what is said of it as "the biggest chasm 
on earth" "so big is it that all other big 
things Yosemite, the Yellowstone, the Pyra 
mids, Chicago all would be lost if tumbled 
into it." Naturally enough, illustrations as to 
size are sought for among other canons like or 
unlike it, with the common result of worse con 
founding confusion. The prudent keep silence. 
It was once said that the "Grand Canon could 
put a dozen Yosemites in its vest pocket." 

The justly famous Grand Canon of the 
Yellowstone is, like the Colorado, gorgeously 
colored and abruptly countersunk in a pla 
teau, and both are mainly the work of water. 
But the Colorado s canon is more than a thou 
sand times larger, and as a score or two of new 
buildings of ordinary size would not appre 
ciably change the general view of a great city, 
so hundreds of Yellowstones might be eroded 
in the sides of the Colorado Canon without 
noticeably augmenting its size or the richness 
of its sculpture. 

350 



THE GRAND CANON 

But it is not true that the great Yosemite 
rocks would be thus lost or hidden. Nothing 
of their kind in the world, so far as I know, 
rivals El Capitan and Tissiack, much less 
dwarfs or in any way belittles them. None 
of the sandstone or limestone precipices of 
the canon that I have seen or heard of ap 
proaches in smooth, flawless strength and 
grandeur the granite face of El Capitan or 
the Tenaya side of Cloud s Rest. These co 
lossal cliffs, types of permanence, are about 
three thousand and six thousand feet high; 
those of the canon that are sheer are about 
half as high, and are types of fleeting change; 
while glorious-domed Tissiack, noblest of 
mountain buildings, far from being over 
shadowed or lost in this rosy, spiry canon 
company, would draw every eye, and, in 
serene majesty, "aboon them a " she would 
take her place castle, temple, palace, or 
tower. Nevertheless a noted writer, com 
paring the Grand Canon in a general way 
with the glacial Yosemite, says: "And the 
Yosemite ah, the lovely Yosemite! Dumped 
down into the wilderness of gorges and moun 
tains, it would take a guide who knew of its 
existence a long time to find it." This is strik 
ing, and shows up well above the levels of com 
monplace description ; but it is confusing, and 

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STEEP TRAILS 

has the fatal fault of not being true. As well 
try to describe an eagle by putting a lark in 
it. "And, the lark ah, the lovely lark! 
Dumped down the red, royal gorge of the 
eagle, it would be hard to find." Each in its 
own place is better, singing at heaven s gate, 
and sailing the sky with the clouds. 

Every feature of Nature s big face is beau 
tiful, height and hollow, wrinkle, furrow, 
and line, and this is the main master-furrow 
of its kind on our continent, incomparably 
greater and more impressive than any other 
yet discovered, or likely to be discovered, now 
that all the great rivers have been traced to 
their heads. 

The Colorado River rises in the heart of the 
continent on the dividing ranges and ridges 
between the two oceans, drains thousands of 
snowy mountains through narrow or spacious 
valleys, and thence through canons of every 
color, sheer-walled and deep, all of which 
seem to be represented in this one grand canon 
of canons. 

It is very hard to give anything like an ade 
quate conception of its size; much more of 
its color, its vast wall-sculpture, the wealth 
of ornate architectural buildings that fill it, 
or, most of all, the tremendous impression it 
makes. According to Major Powell, it is about 

352 



THE GRAND CANON 

two hundred and seventeen miles long, from 
five to fifteen miles wide from rim to rim, and 
from about five thousand to six thousand feet 
deep. So tremendous a chasm would be one 
of the world s greatest wonders even if, like 
ordinary canons cut in sedimentary rocks, it 
were empty and its walls were simple. But 
instead of being plain, the walls are so deeply 
and elaborately carved into all sorts of re 
cesses alcoves, cirques, amphitheaters, and 
side-canons that, were you to trace the run 
closely around on both sides, your journey 
would be nearly a thousand miles long. Into 
all these recesses the level, continuous beds 
of rock in ledges and benches, with their vari 
ous colors, run like broad ribbons, marvelously 
beautiful and effective even at a distance of 
ten or twelve miles. And the vast space these 
glorious walls inclose, instead of being empty, 
is crowded with gigantic architectural rock- 
forms gorgeously colored and adorned with 
towers and spires like works of art. 

Looking down from this level plateau, we 
are more impressed with a feeling of being on 
the top of everything than when looking from 
the summit of a mountain. From side to side 
of the vast gulf, temples, palaces, towers, and 
spires come soaring up in thick array half a 
mile or nearly a mile above their sunken, hid- 

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STEEP TRAILS 

den bases, some to a level with our standpoint, 
but none higher. And in the inspiring morning 
light all are so fresh and rosy-looking that they 
seem new-born; as if, like the quick-growing 
crimson snow-plants of the California woods, 
they had just sprung up, hatched by the 
warm, brooding, motherly weather. 

In trying to describe the great pines and 
sequoias of the Sierra, I have often thought 
that if one of these trees could be set by itself 
in some city park, its grandeur might there be 
impressively realized; while in its home for 
ests, where all magnitudes are great, the weary, 
satiated traveler sees none of them truly. It 
is so with these majestic rock structures. 

Though mere residual masses of the plateau, 
they are dowered with the grandeur and re 
pose of mountains, together with the finely 
chiseled carving and modeling of man s tem 
ples and palaces, and often, to a considerable 
extent, with their symmetry. Some, closely 
observed, look like ruins; but even these stand 
plumb and true, and show architectural forms 
loaded with lines strictly regular and decora 
tive, and all are arrayed in colors that storms 
and time seem only to brighten. They are 
not placed in regular rows hi line with the 
river, but "a through ither," as the Scotch 
say, in lavish, exuberant crowds, as if nature 

354 



THE GRAND CANON 

in wildest extravagance held her bravest 
structures as common as gravel-piles. Yon 
der stands a spiry cathedral nearly five thou 
sand feet in height, nobly symmetrical, with 
sheer buttressed walls and arched doors and 
windows, as richly finished and decorated with 
sculptures as the great rock temples of India 
or Egypt. Beside it rises a huge castle with 
arched gateway, turrets, watch-towers, ram 
parts, etc., and to right and left palaces, obe 
lisks, and pyramids fairly fill the gulf, all colos 
sal and all lavishly painted and carved. Here 
and there a flat-topped structure may be seen, 
or one imperfectly domed; but the prevailing 
style is ornate Gothic, with many hints of 
Egyptian and Indian. 

Throughout this vast extent of wild archi 
tecture nature s own capital city there 
seem to be no ordinary dwellings. All look like 
grand and important public structures, except 
perhaps some of the lower pyramids, broad- 
based and sharp-pointed, covered with down- 
flowing talus like loosely set tents with hollow, 
sagging sides. The roofs often have disinte 
grated rocks heaped and draggled over them, 
but in the main the masonry is firm and laid 
in regular courses, as if done by square and 
rule. 

Nevertheless they are ever changing: their 
355 



STEEP TRAILS 

tops are now a dome, now a flat table or a 
spire, as harder or softer strata are reached 
in their slow degradation, while the sides, with 
all their fine moldings, are being steadily un 
dermined and eaten away. But no essential 
change in style or color is thus effected. From 
century to century they stand the same. What 
seems confusion among the rough earthquake- 
shaken crags nearest one comes to order as 
soon as the main plan of the various structures 
appears. Every building, however compli 
cated and laden with ornamental lines, is at 
one with itself and every one of its neighbors, 
for the same characteristic controlling belts 
of color and solid strata extend with wonder 
ful constancy for very great distances, and 
pass through and give style to thousands of 
separate structures, however their smaller 
characters may vary. 

Of all the various kinds of ornamental work 
displayed carving, tracery on cliff-faces, 
moldings, arches, pinnacles none is more 
admirably effective or charms more than the 
webs of rain-channeled taluses. Marvelously 
extensive, without the slightest appearance of 
waste or excess, they cover roofs and dome- 
tops and the base of every cliff, belt each spire 
and pyramid and massy, towering temple, 
and in beautiful continuous lines go sweeping 

356 



THE GRAND CANON 

along the great walls in and out around all 
the intricate system of side-canons, amphi 
theaters, cirques, and scallops into which they 
are sculptured. From one point hundreds 
of miles of this fairy embroidery may be 
traced. It is all so fine and orderly that it 
would seem that not only had the clouds and 
streams been kept harmoniously busy in the 
making of it, but that every raindrop sent 
like a bullet to a mark had been the sub 
ject of a separate thought, so sure is the out 
come of beauty through the stormy centuries. 
Surely nowhere else are there illustrations so 
striking of the natural beauty of desolation 
and death, so many of nature s own mountain 
buildings wasting in glory of high desert air 
going to dust. See how steadfast in beauty 
they all are in their going. Look again and 
again how the rough, dusty boulders and sand 
of disintegration from the upper ledges wreathe 
hi beauty the next and next below with these 
wonderful taluses, and how the colors are finer 
the faster the waste. We oftentimes see Nature 
giving beauty for ashes as in the flowers of a 
prairie after fire but here the very dust and 
ashes are beautiful. 

Gazing across the mighty chasm, we at last 
discover that it is not its great depth nor 
length, nor yet these wonderful buildings, that 

357 



STEEP TRAILS 

most impresses us. It is its immense width, 
sharply defined by precipitous walls plunging 
suddenly down from a flat plain, declaring in 
terms instantly apprehended that the vast 
gulf is a gash hi the once unbroken plateau, 
made by slow, orderly erosion and removal 
of huge beds of rocks. Other valleys of ero 
sion are as great hi all their dimensions 
some are greater but none of these produces 
an effect on the imagination at once so quick 
and profound, coming without study, given 
at a glance. Therefore by far the greatest and 
most influential feature of this view from 
Bright Angel or any other of the canon views 
is the opposite wall. Of the one beneath our 
feet we see only fragmentary sections in cirques 
and amphitheaters and on the sides of the 
out- jutting promontories between them, while 
the other, though far distant, is beheld in all 
its glory of color and noble proportions the 
one supreme beauty and wonder to which the 
eye is ever turning. For while charming with 
its beauty it tells the story of the stupendous 
erosion of the canon the foundation of the 
unspeakable impression made on everybody. 
It seems a gigantic statement for even nature 
to make, all hi one mighty stone word, appre 
hended at once like a burst of light, celestial 
color its natural vesture, coming in glory to 

358 



THE GRAND CANON 

mind and heart as to a home prepared for it 
from the very beginning. Wildness so godful, 
cosmic, primeval, bestows a new sense of 
earth s beauty and size. Not even from high 
mountains does the world seem so wide, so 
like a star in glory of light on its way through 
the heavens. 

I have observed scenery-hunters of all sorts 
getting first views of yosemites, glaciers, White 
Mountain ranges, etc. Mixed with the en 
thusiasm which such scenery naturally excites, 
there is often weak gushing, and many splut 
ter aloud like little waterfalls. Here, for a few 
moments at least, there is silence, and all are 
hi dead earnest, as if awed and hushed by an 
earthquake perhaps until the cook cries 
"Breakfast!" or the stable-boy "Horses are 
ready!" Then the poor unfortunates, slaves 
of regular habits, turn quickly away, gasping 
and muttering as if wondering where they 
had been and what had enchanted them. 

Roads have been made from Bright Angel 
Hotel through the Coconino Forest to the 
ends of outstanding promontories, command 
ing extensive views up and down the canon. 
The nearest of them, three or four miles east 
and west, are McNeil s Point and Rowe s 
Point; the latter, besides commanding the 
eternally interesting canon, gives wide-sweep- 

359 



STEEP TRAILS 

ing views southeast and west over the dark 
forest roof to the San Francisco and Mount 
Trumbull volcanoes the bluest of moun 
tains over the blackest of level woods. 

Instead of thus riding hi dust with the crowd, 
more will be gained by going quietly afoot 
along the run at different times of day and 
night, free to observe the vegetation, the fos 
sils in the rocks, the seams beneath overhang 
ing ledges once inhabited by Indians, and to 
watch the stupendous scenery in the chang 
ing lights and shadows, clouds, showers, and 
storms. One need not go hunting the so- 
called "points of interest." The verge any 
where, everywhere, is a point of interest be 
yond one s wildest dreams. 

As yet, few of the promontories or throng 
of mountain buildings hi the canon are named. 
Nor among such exuberance of forms are 
names thought of by the bewildered, hurried 
tourist. He would be as likely to think of 
names for waves in a storm. The Eastern 
and Western Cloisters, Hindu Amphitheater, 
Cape Royal, Powell s Plateau, Grand View 
Point, Point Sublime, Bissell and Moran 
Points, the Temple of Set, Vishnu s Temple, 
Shiva s Temple, Twin Temples, Tower of 
Babel, Hance s Column these fairly good 
names given by Button, Holmes, Moran, and 

360 



THE GRAND CANON 

others are scattered over a large stretch of the 
canon wilderness. 

All the canon rock-beds are lavishly painted, 
except a few neutral bars and the granite notch 
at the bottom occupied by the river, which 
makes but little sign. It is a vast wilderness 
of rocks in a sea of light, colored and glowing 
like oak and maple woods in autumn, when 
the sun-gold is richest. I have just said that 
it is impossible to learn what the canon is 
like from descriptions and pictures. Powell s 
and Button s descriptions present magnificent 
views not only of the canon but of all the grand 
region round about it; and Holmes s drawings, 
accompanying Button s report, are wonder 
fully good. Surely faithful and loving skill 
can go no farther in putting the multitudinous 
decorated forms on paper. But the colors, the 
living, rejoicing colors, chanting morning and 
evening in chorus to heaven! Whose brush 
or pencil, however lovingly inspired, can give 
us these? And if paint is of no effect, what 
hope lies in pen-work? Only this: some may 
be incited by it to go and see for themselves. 

No other range of mountainous rock-work 
of anything like the same extent have I seen 
that is so strangely, boldly, lavishly colored. 
The famous Yellowstone Canon below the 
falls comes to mind; but, wonderful as it is, 

361 



STEEP TRAILS 

and well deserved as is its fame, compared with 
this it is only a bright rainbow ribbon at the 
roots of the pines. Each of the series of level, 
continuous beds of carboniferous rocks of the 
canon has, as we have seen, its own charac 
teristic color. The summit limestone-beds are 
pale yellow; next below these are the beauti 
ful rose-colored cross-bedded sandstones; next 
there are a thousand feet of brilliant red sand 
stones; and below these the red wall limestones, 
over two thousand feet thick, rich massy red, 
the greatest and most influential of the series, 
and forming the main color-fountain. Be 
tween these are many neutral-tinted beds. 
The prevailing colors are wonderfully deep 
and clear, changing and blending with vary 
ing intensity from hour to hour, day to day, 
season to season; throbbing, wavering, glow 
ing, responding to every passing cloud or 
storm, a world of color in itself, now burning 
in separate rainbow bars streaked and blotched 
with shade, now glowing in one smooth, all- 
pervading ethereal radiance like the alpen- 
glow, uniting the rocky world with the heavens. 
The dawn, as in all the pure, dry desert 
country is ineffably beautiful; an4 when the 
first level sunbeams sting the domes and 
spires, with what a burst of power the big, 
wild days begin! The dead and the living, 

362 



THE GRAND CANON 

rocks and hearts alike, awake and sing the 
new-old song of creation. All the massy head 
lands and salient angles of the walls, and the 
multitudinous temples and palaces, seem to 
catch the light at once, and cast thick black 
shadows athwart hollow and gorge, bringing 
out details as well as the main massive fea 
tures of the architecture; while all the rocks, 
as if wild with life, throb and quiver and glow 
in the glorious sunburst, rejoicing. Every 
rock temple then becomes a temple of music; 
every spire and pinnacle an angel of light and 
song, shouting color hallelujahs. 

As the day draws to a close, shadows, won 
drous, black, and thick, like those of the morn 
ing, fill up the wall hollows, while the glowing 
rocks, their rough angles burned off, seem soft 
and hot to the heart as they stand submerged 
in purple haze, which now fills the canon like 
a sea. Still deeper, richer, more divine grow 
the great walls and temples, until in the su 
preme flaming glory of sunset the whole canon 
is transfigured, as if all the life and light of 
centuries of sunshine stored up and condensed 
in the rocks was now being poured forth as 
from one glorious fountain, flooding both 
earth and sky. 

Strange to say, in the full white effulgence 
of the midday hours the bright colors grow 

363 



STEEP TRAILS 

dim and terrestrial in common gray haze; and 
the rocks, after the manner of mountains, 
seem to crouch and drowse and shrink to less 
than half their real stature, and have nothing 
to say to one, as if not at home. But it is fine 
to see how quickly they come to life and grow 
radiant and communicative as soon as a band 
of white clouds come floating by. As if shout 
ing for joy, they seem to spring up to meet 
them in hearty salutation, eager to touch 
them and beg their blessings. It is just in the 
midst of these dull midday hours that the 
canon clouds are born. 

A good storm-cloud full of lightning and rain 
on its way to its work on a sunny desert day 
is a glorious object. Across the canon, oppo 
site the hotel, is a little tributary of the Colo 
rado called Bright Angel Creek. A fountain- 
cloud still better deserves the name "Angel 
of the Desert Wells " clad in bright plum 
age, carrying cool shade and living water to 
countless animals and plants ready to perish, 
noble in form and gesture, seeming able for 
anything, pouring life-giving, wonder-working 
floods from its alabaster fountains, as if some 
sky-lake had broken. To every gulch and 
gorge on its favorite ground is given a passion 
ate torrent, roaring, replying to the rejoicing 
lightning stones, tons in weight, hurrying 

364 



THE GRAND CANON 

away as if frightened, showing something of 
the way Grand Canon work is done. Most of 
the fertile summer clouds of the canon are 
of this sort, massive, swelling cumuli, growing 
rapidly, displaying delicious tones of purple 
and gray in the hollows of their sun-beaten 
houses, showering favored areas of the heated 
landscape, and vanishing in an hour or two. 
Some, busy and thoughtful-looking, glide 
with beautiful motion along the middle of 
the canon in flocks, turning aside here and 
there, lingering as if studying the needs of 
particular spots, exploring side-canons, peering 
into hollows like birds seeking nest-places, or 
hovering aloft on outspread wings. They scan 
all the red wilderness, dispensing their bless 
ings of cool shadows and rain where the need 
is the greatest, refreshing the rocks, their off 
spring as well as the vegetation, continuing 
their sculpture, deepening gorges and sharp 
ening peaks. Sometimes, blending all together, 
they weave a ceiling from rim to rim, per 
haps opening a window here and there for 
sunshine to stream through, suddenly lighting 
some palace or temple and making it flare in 
the rain as if on fire. 

Sometimes, as one sits gazing from a high, 
jutting promontory, the sky all clear, showing 
not the slightest wisp or penciling, a bright 

365 



STEEP TRAILS 

band of cumuli will appear suddenly, coming 
up the canon in single file, as if tracing a well- 
known trail, passing in review, each in turn 
darting its lances and dropping its shower, 
making a row of little vertical rivers in the 
air above the big brown one. Others seem to 
grow from mere points, and fly high above the 
canon, yet following its course for a long time, 
noiseless, as if hunting, then suddenly darting 
lightning at unseen marks, and hurrying on. 
Or they loiter here and there as if idle, like 
laborers out of work, waiting to be hired. 

Half a dozen or more showers may often 
times be seen falling at once, while far the 
greater part of the sky is in sunshine, and not 
a raindrop comes nigh one. These thunder- 
showers from as many separate clouds, look 
ing like wisps of long hair, may vary greatly 
in effects. The pale, faint streaks are showers 
that fail to reach the ground, being evapo 
rated on the way down through the dry, thirsty 
air, like streams in deserts. Many, on the other 
hand, which in the distance seem insignifi 
cant, are really heavy rain, however local; 
these are the gray wisps well zigzagged with 
lightning. The darker ones are torrent rain, 
which on broad, steep slopes of favorable con 
formation give rise to so-called " cloud-bursts " ; 
and wonderful is the commotion they cause. 

366 



THE GRAND CANON 

The gorges and gulches below them, usually 
dry, break out in loud uproar, with a sudden 
downrush of muddy, boulder-laden floods. 
Down they all go in one simultaneous gush, 
roaring like lions rudely awakened, each of 
the tawny brood actually kicking up a dust 
at the first onset. 

During the winter months snow falls over 
all the high plateau, usually to a considerable 
depth, whitening the rim and the roofs of the 
canon buildings. But last winter, when I 
arrived at Bright Angel in the middle of Janu 
ary, there was no snow in sight, and the 
ground was dry, greatly to my disappointment, 
for I had made the trip mainly to see the 
canon hi its winter garb. Soothingly I was 
informed that this was an exceptional sea 
son, and that the good snow might arrive 
at any time. After waiting a few days, I 
gladly hailed a broad-browed cloud coming 
grandly on from the west in big promising 
blackness, very unlike the white sailors of the 
summer skies. Under the lee of a rim-ledge, 
with another snow-lover, I watched its move 
ments as it took possession of the canon and 
all the adjacent region in sight. Trailing its 
gray fringes over the spiry tops of the great 
temples and towers, it gradually settled lower, 
embracing them all with ineffable kindness 
367 



STEEP TRAILS 

and gentleness of touch, and fondled the little 
cedars and pines as they quivered eagerly in 
the wind like young birds begging their moth 
ers to feed them. The first flakes and crystals 
began to fly about noon, sweeping straight 
up the middle of the canon, and swirling in 
magnificent eddies along the sides. Gradually 
the hearty swarms closed their ranks, and all 
the canon was lost in gray gloom except a 
short section of the wall and a few trees be 
side us, which looked glad with snow in their 
needles and about their feet as they leaned 
out over the gulf. Suddenly the storm opened 
with magical effect to the north over the 
canon of Bright Angel Creek, inclosing a sun 
lit mass of the canon architecture, spanned 
by great white concentric arches of cloud like 
the bows of a silvery aurora. Above these and 
a little back of them was a series of upboiling 
purple clouds, and high above all, in the back 
ground, a range of noble cumuli towered aloft 
like snow-laden mountains, their pure pearl 
bosses flooded with sunshine. The whole no 
ble picture, calmly glowing, was framed in thick 
gray gloom, which soon closed over it; and 
the storm went on, opening and closing until 
night covered all. 

Two days later, when we were on a jutting 
point about eighteen miles east of Bright Angel 

368 



THE GRAND CANON 

and one thousand feet higher, we enjoyed 
another storm of equal glory as to cloud effects, 
though only a few inches of snow fell. Before 
the storm began we had a magnificent view 
of this grander upper part of the canon and 
also of the Coconino Forest and the Painted 
Desert. The march of the clouds with their 
storm banners flying over this sublime land 
scape was unspeakably glorious, and so also 
was the breaking up of the storm next morn 
ing the mingling of silver-capped rock, sun 
shine, and cloud. 

Most tourists make out to be in a hurry 
even here; therefore their days or hours would 
be best spent on the promontories nearest the 
hotel. Yet a surprising number go down the 
Bright Angel Trail to the brink of the inner 
gloomy granite gorge overlooking the river. 
Deep canons attract like high mountains; the 
deeper they are, the more surely are we drawn 
into them. On foot, of course, there is no dan 
ger whatever, and, with ordinary precautions, 
but little on animals. In comfortable tourist 
faith, unthinking, unfearing, down go men, 
women, and children on whatever is offered, 
horse, mule, or burro, as if saying with Jean 
Paul, "fear nothing but fear" not without 
reason, for these canon trails down the stair 
ways of the gods are less dangerous than they 



STEEP TRAILS 

seem, less dangerous than home stairs. The 
guides are cautious, and so are the experi 
enced, much-enduring beasts. The scrawniest 
Rosinantes and wizened-rat mules cling hard 
to the rocks endwise or sidewise, like lizards 
or ants. From terrace to terrace, climate to 
climate, down one creeps in sun and shade, 
through gorge and gully and grassy ravine, 
and, after a long scramble on foot, at last be 
neath the mighty cliffs one comes to the grand, 
roaring river. 

To the mountaineer the depth of the canon, 
from five thousand to six thousand feet, will 
not seem so very wonderful, for he has often 
explored others that are about as deep. But 
the most experienced will be awestruck by the 
vast extent of strange, countersunk scenery, 
the multitude of huge rock monuments of 
painted masonry built up in regular courses 
towering above, beneath, and round about 
him. By the Bright Angel Trail the last fif 
teen hundred feet of the descent to the river 
has to be made afoot down the gorge of Indian 
Garden Creek. Most of the visitors do not 
like this part, and are content to stop at the 
end of the horse-trail and look down on the 
dull-brown flood from the edge of the Indian 
Garden Plateau. By the new Hance Trail, 
excepting a few daringly steep spots, you can 

370 



THE GRAND CANON 

ride all the way to the river, where there is a 
good spacious camp-ground in a mesquite 
grove. This trail, built by brave Hance, be 
gins on the highest part of the rim, eight 
thousand feet above the sea, a thousand feet 
higher than the head of Bright Angel Trail, 
and the descent is a little over six thousand 
feet, through a wonderful variety of climate 
and life. Often late in the fall, when frosty 
winds are blowing and snow is flying at one 
end of the trail, tender plants are blooming in 
balmy summer weather at the other. The trip 
down and up can be made afoot easily in a 
day. In this way one is free to observe the 
scenery and vegetation, instead of merely 
clinging to his animal and watching its steps. 
But all who have time should go prepared to 
camp awhile on the river-bank, to rest and 
learn something about the plants and animals 
and the mighty flood roaring past. In cool, 
shady amphitheaters at the head of the trail 
there are groves of white silver fir and Doug 
las spruce, with ferns and saxifrages that 
recall snowy mountains; below these, yellow 
pine, nut pine, juniper, hop-hornbeam, ash, 
maple, holly-leaved berberis, cowania, spiraea, 
dwarf oak, and other small shrubs and trees. 
In dry gulches and on taluses and sun-beaten 
crags are sparsely scattered yuccas, cactuses, 

371 



STEEP TRAILS 

agave, etc. Where springs gush from the rocks 
there are willow thickets, grassy flats, and 
bright, flowery gardens, and in the hottest 
recesses the delicate abronia, mesquite, woody 
compositse, and arborescent cactuses. 

The most striking and characteristic part 
of this widely varied vegetation are the cac- 
tacese strange, leafless, old-fashioned plants 
with beautiful flowers and fruit, in every way 
able and admirable. While grimly defending 
themselves with innumerable barbed spears, 
they offer both food and drink to man and 
beast. Their juicy globes and disks and fluted 
cylindrical columns are almost the only desert 
wells that never go dry, and they always seem 
to rejoice the more and grow plumper and 
juicier the hotter the sunshine and sand. Some 
are spherical, like rolled-up porcupines, crouch 
ing in rock-hollows beneath a mist of gray 
lances, unmoved by the wildest winds. Others, 
standing as erect as bushes and trees or tall 
branchless pillars crowned with magnificent 
flowers, their prickly armor sparkling, look 
boldly abroad over the glaring desert, making 
the strangest forests ever seen or dreamed of. 
Cereus giganteus, the grim chief of the desert 
tribe, is often thirty or forty feet high in south 
ern Arizona. Several species of tree yuccas 
in the same deserts, laden in early spring with 

372 



THE GRAND CANON 

superb white lilies, form forests hardly less 
wonderful, though here they grow singly or 
in small lonely groves. The low, almost stem- 
less Yucca baccata, with beautiful lily flowers 
and sweet banana-like fruit, prized by the 
Indians, is common along the canon-rim, 
growing on lean, rocky soil beneath mountain- 
mahogany, nut pines, and junipers, beside 
dense flowery mats of Spiraea ccespitosa and 
the beautiful pinnate-leaved Spircea mille- 
folia. The nut pine (Pinus edulis) scattered 
along the upper slopes and roofs of the canon 
buildings, is the principal tree of the strange 
dwarf Coconino Forest. It is a picturesque 
stub of a pine about twenty-five feet high, 
usually with dead, lichened limbs thrust 
through its rounded head, and grows on crags 
and fissured rock tables, braving heat and 
frost, snow and drought, and continuing pa 
tiently, faithfully fruitful for centuries. In 
dians and insects and almost every desert bird 
and beast come to it to be fed. 

To civilized people from corn and cattle and 
wheat-field countries the canon at first sight 
seems as uninhabitable as a glacier crevasse, 
utterly silent and barren. Nevertheless it is 
the home of a multitude of our fellow-mortals, 
men as well as animals and plants. Centu 
ries ago it was inhabited by tribes of Indians, 

373 ; 



STEEP TRAILS 

who, long before Columbus saw America, 
built thousands of stone houses in its crags, 
and large ones, some of them several stories 
high, with hundreds of rooms, on the mesas 
of the adjacent regions. Their cliff-dwellings, 
almost numberless, are still to be seen in the 
canon, scattered along both sides from top 
to bottom and throughout its entire length, 
built of stone and mortar in seams and fis 
sures like swallows 7 nests, or on isolated ridges 
and peaks. The ruins of larger buildings are 
found on open spots by the river, but most of 
them aloft on the brink of the wildest, giddi 
est precipices, sites evidently chosen for safety 
from enemies, and seemingly accessible only 
to the birds of the air. Many caves were also 
used as dwelling-places, as were mere seams 
on cliff-fronts formed by unequal weathering 
and with or without outer or side walls; and 
some of them were covered with colored 
pictures of animals. The most interesting of 
these cliff-dwellings had pathetic little ribbon- 
like strips of garden on narrow terraces, where 
irrigating-water could be carried to them 
most romantic of sky-gardens, but eloquent of 
hard times. 

In recesses along the river and on the first 
plateau flats above its gorge were fields and 
gardens of considerable size, where irrigating- 
374 



THE GRAND CANON 

ditches may still be traced. Some of these an 
cient gardens are still cultivated by Indians, 
descendants of cliff-dwellers, who raise corn, 
squashes, melons, potatoes, etc., to reinforce 
the produce of the many wild food-furnishing 
plants nuts, beans, berries, yucca and cactus 
fruits, grass and sunflower seeds, etc. and the 
flesh of animals deer, rabbits, lizards, etc. 
The canon Indians I have met here seem to 
be living much as did their ancestors, though 
not now driven into rock-dens. They are able, 
erect men, with commanding eyes, which noth 
ing that they wish to see can escape. They 
are never in a hurry, have a strikingly meas 
ured, deliberate, bearish manner of moving 
the limbs and turning the head, are capable 
of enduring weather, thirst, hunger, and over 
abundance, and are blessed with stomachs 
which triumph over everything the wilderness 
may offer. Evidently their lives are not bitter. 
The largest of the canon animals one is 
likely to see is the wild sheep, or Rocky Moun 
tain bighorn, a most admirable beast, with 
limbs that never fail, at home on the most 
nerve-trying precipices, acquainted with all 
the springs and passes and broken-down jump- 
able places in the sheer ribbon cliffs, bound 
ing from crag to crag in easy grace and con 
fidence of strength, his great horns held high 
375 



STEEP TRAILS 

above his shoulders, wild red blood beating and 
hissing through every fiber of him like the 
wind through a quivering mountain pine. 

Deer also are occasionally met in the canon, 
making their way to the river when the wells 
of the plateau are dry. Along the short spring 
streams beavers are still busy, as is shown by 
the cottonwood and willow timber they have 
cut and peeled, found in all the river drift- 
heaps. In the most barren cliffs and gulches 
there dwell a multitude of lesser animals, well- 
dressed, clear-eyed, happy little beasts 
wood rats, kangaroo rats, gophers, wood mice, 
skunks, rabbits, bob-cats, and many others, 
gathering food, or dozing in their sun-warmed 
dens. Lizards, too, of every kind and color 
are here enjoying life on the hot cliffs, and 
making the brightest of them brighter. 

Nor is there any lack of feathered people. 
The golden eagle may be seen, and the osprey, 
hawks, jays, hummingbirds, the mourning 
dove, and cheery familiar singers the black- 
headed grosbeak, robin, bluebird, Townsend s 
thrush, and many warblers, sailing the sky 
and enlivening the rocks and bushes through 
all the canon wilderness. 

Here at Hance s river-camp or a few miles 
above it brave Powell and his brave men 
passed their first night in the canon on their 
376 



THE GRAND CANON 

adventurous voyage of discovery thirty-three 1 
years ago. They faced a thousand dangers, 
open or hidden, now in their boats gladly 
sliding down swift, smooth reaches, now rolled 
over and over in back-combing surges of rough, 
roaring cataracts, sucked under in eddies, 
swimming like beavers, tossed and beaten like 
castaway drift stout-hearted, undaunted, do 
ing their work through it all. After a month 
of this they floated smoothly out of the dark, 
gloomy, roaring abyss into light and safety two 
hundred miles below. As the flood rushes past 
us, heavy-laden with desert mud, we natur 
ally think of its sources, its countless silvery 
branches outspread on thousands of snowy 
mountains along the crest of the continent, 
and the life of them, the beauty of them, their 
history and romance. Its topmost springs are 
far north and east in Wyoming and Colorado, 
on the snowy Wind River, Front, Park, and 
Sawatch Ranges, dividing the two ocean 
waters, and the Elk, Wahsatch, Uinta, and 
innumerable spurs streaked with streams, 
made famous by early explorers and hunters. 
It is a river of rivers the Du Chesne, San 
Rafael, Yampa, Dolores, Gunnison, Coche- 

1 Muir wrote this description in 1902; Major J. W. Powell 
made his descent through the canon, with small boats, in 
1869. [Editor.] r 

377 



STEEP TRAILS 

topa, Uncompahgre, Eagle, and Roaring 
Rivers, the Green and the Grand, and scores 
of others with branches innumerable, as mad 
and glad a band as ever sang on mountains, 
descending in glory of foam and spray from 
snow-banks and glaciers through their rocky 
moraine-dammed, beaver-dammed channels. 
Then, all emerging from dark balsam and pine 
woods and coming together, they meander 
through wide, sunny park valleys, and at 
length enter the great plateau and flow in 
deep canons, the beginning of the system 
culminating in this grand canon of canons. 

Our warm canon camp is also a good place 
to give a thought to the glaciers which still 
exist at the heads of the highest tributaries. 
Some of them are of considerable size, espe 
cially those on the Wind River and Sawatch 
ranges in Wyoming and Colorado. They are 
remnants of a vast system of glaciers which 
recently covered the upper part of the Colo 
rado basin, sculptured its peaks, ridges, and 
valleys to their present forms, and extended 
far out over the plateau region how far I 
cannot now say. It appears, therefore, that, 
however old the main trunk of the Colorado 
may be, all its widespread upper branches 
and the landscapes they flow through are 
new-born, scarce at all changed as yet hi any 

378 



THE GRAND CANON 

important feature since they first came to 
light at the close of the Glacial Period. 

The so-called Grand Colorado Plateau, of 
which the Grand Canon is only one of the well- 
proportioned features, extends with a breadth 
of hundreds of miles from the flanks of the 
Wahsatch and Park Mountains to the south 
of the San Francisco Peaks. Immediately to 
the north of the deepest part of the canon it 
rises in a series of subordinate plateaus, diver 
sified with green meadows, marshes, bogs, 
ponds, forests, and grovy park valleys, a fav 
orite Indian hunting-ground, inhabited by 
elk, deer, beaver, etc. But -far the greater 
part of the plateau is good sound desert, rocky, 
sandy, or fluffy with loose ashes and dust, 
dissected in some places into a labyrinth of 
stream-channel chasms like cracks in a dry 
clay-bed, or the narrow slit crevasses of gla 
ciers blackened with lava-flows, dotted with 
volcanoes and beautiful buttes, and lined with 
long continuous escarpments a vast bed 
of sediments of an ancient sea-bottom, still 
nearly as level as when first laid down after 
being heaved into the sky a mile or two high. 

Walking quietly about in the alleys and by 
ways of the Grand Canon city, we learn some 
thing of the way it was made; and all must 
admire effects so great from means apparently 

379 



STEEP TRAILS 

so simple; rain striking light hammer-blows 
or heavier in streams, with many rest Sun 
days; soft air and light, gentle sappers and 
miners, toiling forever; the big river sawing 
the plateau asunder, carrying away the eroded 
and ground waste, and exposing the edges of 
the strata to the weather; rain torrents saw 
ing cross-streets and alleys, exposing the strata 
in the same way in hundreds of sections, the 
softer, less resisting beds weathering and re 
ceding faster, thus undermining the harder 
beds, which fall, not only in small weathered 
particles, but in heavy sheer-cleaving masses, 
assisted down from tune to time by kindly 
earthquakes, rain torrents rushing the fallen 
material to the river, keeping the wall rocks 
constantly exposed. Thus the canon grows 
wider and deeper. So also do the side-canons 
and amphitheaters, while secondary gorges 
and cirques gradually isolate masses of the 
promontories, forming new buildings, all of 
which are being weathered and pulled and 
shaken down while being built, showing de 
struction and creation as one. We see the 
proudest temples and palaces in stateliest 
attitudes, wearing their sheets of detritus as 
royal robes, shedding off showers of red and 
yellow stones like trees in autumn shedding 
their leaves, going to dust like beautiful days 

380 



THE GRAND CANON 

to night, proclaiming as with the tongues of 
angels the natural beauty of death. 

Every building is seen to be a remnant of 
once continuous beds of sediments, sand 
and slime on the floor of an ancient sea, and 
filled with the remains of animals, and ev 
ery particle of the sandstones and limestones 
of these wonderful structures to be derived 
from other landscapes, weathered and rolled 
and ground in the storms and streams of other 
ages. And when we examine the escarpments, 
hills, buttes, and other monumental masses 
of the plateau on either side of the canon, we 
discover that an amount of material has been 
carried off in the general denudation of the 
region compared with which even that carried 
away in the making of the Grand Canon is 
as nothing. Thus each wonder in sight be 
comes a window through which other wonders 
come to view. In no other part of this conti 
nent are the wonders of geology, the records 
of the world s auld lang syne, more widely 
opened, or displayed in higher piles. The whole 
canon is a mine of fossils, in which five thou 
sand feet of horizontal strata are exposed in 
regular succession over more than a thousand 
square miles of wall-space, and on the adja 
cent plateau region there is another series of 
beds twice as thick, forming a grand geological 

381 



STEEP TRAILS 

library a collection of stone books cover 
ing thousands of miles of shelving, tier on 
tier, conveniently arranged for the student. 
And with what wonderful scriptures are their 
pages filled myriad forms of successive 
floras and faunas, lavishly illustrated with 
colored drawings, carrying us back into the 
midst of the life of a past infinitely remote. 
And as we go on and on, studying this old, old 
life in the light of the life beating warmly 
about us, we enrich and lengthen our own. 



THE END 



INDEX 



INDEX 



Animals, wild, danger from, 

312-17. 
Antelope, 41. 
Apple, wild (Pyrus rivularis), 

309. 
Apples, wild and cultivated, 

15, 16. 
Arbor- vitse, Western, 231, 

232. 

Arbutus, Menzies, 234, 235. 
Arc Dome, 187. 
Arrow Lakes, 332, 333. 
Ash, Oregon, 308. 
Ash Creek Glacier, 97, 98. 
Aspen, 178, 179. 

Banana, 137. 

Bathing, in Great Salt Lake, 

121-25. 

Bear, black, 251. 
Bear, brown, 251. 
Bears, of Mt. Shasta, 39, 40; 

and bees, 40; trails in the 

San Gabriel Mts., 153; 

absence in Nevada, 183; 

of Oregon, 312-14; Lewis 

and Clark on species of, 

316, 317. 
Beaver, in Oregon, 321-23; 

at the Grand Canon, 

376. 

Bees, 38-40. 
Berries, of Washington, 240, 

241. 
Big Smoky Valley, 186, 197. 



Big Spring of the Sacramento, 

87. 
Birds, of Mt. Shasta, 41; of 

the Troy Range, Nevada, 

180; of Oregon, 325, 326; 

of the Grand Canon, 376. 
Blue Mts., 298. 
Boat Encampment, 331, 332. 
Bremer Meadows, 92. 

Cactuses, 371, 372. 
Calochortus Nuttallii, 134. 
Calypso borealis, 310. 
Camassia, 310. 
Canoe River, 331. 
Cape Flattery, 209, 210. 
Cape Horn, Columbia River, 

341. 
Cascade Mts., 268, 286-92, 

298. 
Cascades of the Columbia, 

340-42. 

Cedar, Alaska, 234. 
Cedar, canoe, 231 note. 
Cedar, white or Port Orford, 

299. 

Cereus giganteus, 372. 
Chaudiere Falls, 334. 
Cherry, wild (Prunus emargi- 

nata, var. mollis), 308. 
Cinder Cone, 54, 55. 
City Creek, 106, 108, 117. 
Clark, Capt. William, 314- 

17. 
Clarke s Fork, 333. 



385 



INDEX 



Climate, individual tastes in, 
280-82. 

Cloud s Rest, 23, 24, 27, 28. 

Coast Range, 290. 

Coconino Forest, 373. 

Colorado River, 352; Powell s 
voyage, 376, 377; course, 
377, 378; geology, 378-82. 

Columbia Lakes, 331. 

Columbia River, 293; ma 
jesty, 327, 328; branches, 
328, 329; discharge, 329; 
discovery, 330; course and 
tributaries, 331-45; salmon 
harvest, 344; geology, 345, 
346. 

Congar, Dr., 137, 138. 

Coulterville, 19. 

Cowlitz River, 338. 

Crater Lake, 345. 

Culture, vs. wildness, 3-18. 

Cypress (Chamcecyparis law- 
soniana), 233 and note. 

Dalles, the, 332, 339, 340. 

Darlingtonia, 86, 87. 

Deer, of Mt. Shasta, 39; 

about Puget Sound, 250; 

of Oregon, 320. 
Deer, mule, 92, 320. 
De Fuca, Juan, 209. 
Deschutes River, 339. 
Dogwood, Nuttall s flowering, 

308. 
Douglas, David, 227, 300-05. 

Eaton Canon, 147-49. 
Eaton Creek, 148. 
Elk, 41, 251, 318. 
Erythronium grandiflorum, 

129-31. 
Eureka, 201. 



Fall, a, 21, 22. 

Fall River, 101, 102. 

Falls of the Columbia, 339. 

Fay, Jerome, 60, 61, 67-80. 

Fir (Abies grandis), 232 and 
note, 300. 

Fir (Picea amdbilis, var. 
nobilis), 232, 233. 

Fir (Picea subalpina), 233. 

Fir, balsam, 180. 

Flathead River, 333. 

Flowers, of Mt. Shasta, 31- 
33, 38; of Utah, 108, 126- 
35; of Oregon, 309, 310; of 
the Grand Canon, 371- 
73. 

Forests, of Nevada, 164-83; 
of Washington, 227-47; 
fire a governing agent in 
distribution and growth, 
238, 239; of Oregon, 297- 
309. See also Trees. 

Fort Townsend, 221. 

Fritillaria pudica, 129-31. 

Fuca, Juan de, 209. 

Fumaroles, on Mt. Shasta, 
72-78. 

Gaultheria, 240, 241. 
Glaciation, about Yosemite, 

24, 26-28; at Mt. Shasta, 

33-36; in Nevada, 184- 

94; of the Olympic Mts., 

212; of Vancouver Island, 

214, 215. 
Glaciers: Ash Creek, 97, 98; 

McCloud, 97-99; Mud, 99; 

Whitney, 51, 63, 67, 87-89; 

of Mt. Rainier, 261, 263; 

of the tributaries of the 

Colorado, 378. 
Goat, wild, 318, 319. 



INDEX 



Grand Canon of the Colorado, 
stupendous nature of, 348- 
50; compared with Yo- 
semite, 351, 352; size, 
352, 353; wild architecture, 
353-57; immense width, 
358; silence of visitors, 359; 
view-points, 359, 360; ter 
minology, 360; colors, 361, 
362; at dawn and at sunset, 
362, 363; at midday, 363, 
364; thunder-showers, 364- 
67; snow, 367-69; Bright 
Angel Trail, 369, 370; 
Hance Trail, 370, 371; 
vegetation, 371-73; cliff- 
dwellers, 373, 374; modern 
Indians, 375; animal life, 
375, 376; Powell s explora 
tion, 376, 377; geology, 
378-82. 

Granite Mt., 166. 

Great Basin, glacial phe 
nomena of, 184-94. 

Great Salt Lake, 105; bath 
ing in, 121-25; seen from a 
mountain-top, 133. 

Green River, 256. 

Green River Hot Springs, 
256. 

Half Dome. See Tissiack. 
Hemlock spruce, 231. 
Honey-bees, 38, 40. 
Hop Ranch, 25&-S9. 
Hopeton, 19. 
Hops, 256, 257. 
Hot Creek Mts., 187, 188. 
Hot Springs, Mt. Shasta, 72- 

78. 
Hudson s Bay Company, 215, 

217, 314, 337, 343, 344. 



Hunting and hunters, 44-46. 
Hunt s, 259. 

Illilouette, 27, 28. 

Indians, of the Shasta region, 
41-44, 55; Modocs, 42, 43, 
94-96; and pine-nuts, 169- 
74; other food, 172; of Pu- 
get Sound, 209,250; Seattle, 
254, 255; hop-picking, 257; 
Douglas s adventure, 302- 
04; of Oregon, 312; on the 
species of bears, 316; tra 
dition of the Cascades of 
the Columbia, 342; in the 
Grand Canon, 373-75. 

Ingraham, Prof., 262. 

Irrigation, 148. 

Jeff Davis Mts., 189. 
John Day River, 638. 
Jordan, the river, Utah, 106, 

107, 119. 
Juan de Fuca, Strait of, 208, 

209. 

Keith, William, 262. 
Kettle Falls, 334. 
King Mt., 262. 
Klamath Lake, Lower, 92. 
Kootenay Lake, 333. 
Kootenay River, 333. 

Lake Cceur d Alene, 334, 

335. 

Lake Squak, 239. 
Lake Tenaya, 26-28. 
Lake Washington, 239. 
Lassen s Butte, 53 and note, 

54, 55, 101-03. 
Lava, cave formed by, 44; 

at Lassen s Butte, 55. 



387 



INDEX 



Lava Beds, 54, 90-97. 
Lewis and Clark, 314-17. 
Lewis River. See Snake River. 
Lilies, of Utah, 126-35. 
Linnsea, 86. 
Longmire, Mr., 262. 
Los Angeles, 136. 
Lumbering, in Washington, 

242-47. 
Lumbermen, 248, 249. 

McAdie, Prof. A.G., 261 note, 
McCloud Glacier, 97-99. 
McCloud River, 42, 43, 58, 

99-101; big spring of, 99, 

100. 

Madrona, 234, 235. 
Maples, of Washington, 235, 

236; of Oregon, 308. 
Menzies, Archibald, 231. 
Mining, decay of, in Nevada, 

197-203. 
Mirror Lake, 20. 
Modoc War, 94-96. 
Monito Valley, 186. 
Mormons, love of flowers, 

108, 110, 134; the women, 

109, 110, 134, 135; influ 
ence of polygamy, 110- 
12; children, 112; Brigham 
Young, 117, 118; human 
kindness, 125; saved from 
famine by lily bulbs, 134; 
Lily Young, 135. 

Mt. Baker, 211, 216, 217. 
Mt. Bremer, 91. 
Mt. Brown, 332. 
Mt. Constance, 218. 
Mt. Hood, 293-97. 
Mt. Hooker, 332. 
Mt. Jefferson, Nevada, 185- 
87. 



Mt. Moriah, 166. 

Mt. Olympus, Washington, 
218. 

Mt. Rainier, 208, 261-70. 

Mt. San Antonio, 146. 

Mt. Shasta, altitude, 29, 30; 
views of, 30, 31; zones on, 
31, 32; geology, 33-36, 
52-56; flowers, 38; insects, 
38, 39; mammals, 39-41; 
birds, 41; human inhabit 
ants, 41-50; hunting about, 
49, 50; excursions on, 51; 
forest, 51, 52; ascent, 52, 
53; gases and vapor, 53; 
view from summit, 53-56; 
two snowstorm adventures 
on, 57-81 ; the Hot Springs, 
72-78; rambles on and 
about, 82-104. 

Mt. Watkins, 24, 27. 

Mt. Whitney, 29, 30. 

Mountain-climbing, for all 
sorts of people, 46-48. 

Mud Glacier, 99. 

Muir s Peak, 87. 

Multnomah Falls, 341. 

Nevada, seems one vast 
desert, 154; agriculture, 
1 54-63 ; forests, 164-83 ; 
larger animals, 183; glacial 
phenomena, 184-94; dead 
towns, 195-203. 

Nevada Fall, 28. 

Nisqually Canon, 263. 

North Dome, Nevada, 181-83. 

Oak, Kellogg s, 307. 
Oak, live, 308. 

Oak, white (Quercus Garry- 
ana), 307. 



388 



INDEX 



Okinagan River, 336. 

Olyrnpia, 206. 

Olympic Mts., 211, 218. 

Oquirrh Mts., 121, 127, 128; 
storm and sunset, 114- 
19; flowers, 128-33; view 
from, 132, 133. 

Orange-culture, 138-42. 

Oregon, woods along shore, 
209; topography, 271, 272, 
277, 278; settlement, 272- 
273; shore scenery, 274- 
76; climate, 278-89; moun 
tains, 289-98; forests, 297- 
312; flowers,309, 310; mam 
mals, 312-25; rattlesnakes, 
317; birds, 325, 326; rivers, 
327-46; geology, 345, 346. 

Ousel, water, 43, 325. 

Pasadena, 137, 141, 142. 

Pend d Oreille Lake, 334. 

Pine, dwarf (Pinus albi- 
caulis), 32. 

Pine, foxtail, 175-80. 

Pine, nut, 167-74, 373. 

Pine, Oregon. See Spruce, 
Douglas. 

Pine, sugar, 19, 300; discov 
ery, 302-05; character, 305, 
306; and the lumberman, 
306, 307. 

Pine, white (Pinus flexilis), 
175, 176, 180. 

Pine, yellow, 102, 233, 300. 

Pinon, 167-74. 

Pinus contorta, 233. 

Pinus monticola, 233. 

Pitch, an Indian, 135. 

Pitt River, 99, 101, 102. 

Pluto s Cave, 89. 

Port Townsend, 218-21. 



Portland, Ore., 292. 

Powell, Major John W., 352, 

376, 377. 
Pseudotsuga macrocarpa, 153 

note. 
Puget Sound, 205-26; people 

and towns of, 248-60. 

Rat, wood, 41, 150. 
Rattlesnakes, 152, 317. 
Rhododendron, 310. 
Rogue River, 344. 
Rogue River Valley, 345. 
Rose, wild, 214. 

Sacramento River, Big 

Spring of, 87. 
Salal, 240, 241. 
Salmon, 344. 
Salmon-berry, 241. 
Salt Lake. See Great Salt 

Lake. 
Salt Lake City, situation, 

105, 106; description, 106- 

09; the people, 109-12. 
San Gabriel Mts., 137, 145- 

53. 

San Gabriel Valley, 136-44. 
San Juan Island, 217. 
San Pasqual Rancho, 141. 
San Pitch, the Lily of, 135. 
Santa Monica, 136. 
Schellbourne, 198, 199. 
Seattle, 246, 251-55. 
Seattle, Indian chief, 254, 

255. 

Sego, 134. 
Shasta River, 99. 
Shasta Valley, 41, 54. 
Sheep, domestic, culture of, 

16, 17. 
Sheep, mountain, wool of, 



389 



INDEX 



4-11, 17, 18; size, 17, 18; 

of Mt. Shasta, 39, 66, 90- 

92; in the Oquirrh Mts., 

132; in Oregon, 319; of the 

Grand Canon, 375. 
Sheep Rock, 44, 89, 90. 
Shorb, J. De Earth, 138, 139. 
Sisson, 59, 66, 79, 80. 
Sisson s, 49, 51, 59, 67. 
Snake Mts., 180-83, 188, 189. 
Snake River, 328, 336. 
Snoqualmie Fall, 258, 259. 
Snoqualmie River, 237, 256, 

258, 259. 
Snowstorms, two adventures 

on Mt. Shasta, 57-81. 
Soda Springs, near Mt. Rai 
nier, 263. 

Sothern s Station, 87. 
South Dome. See Tissiack. 
Spokane Falls, 335. 
Spokane River, 334. 
Spruce. See Fir. 
Spruce (Tsuga Mertensiana), 

232 and note. 

Spruce, Douglas, 227-30, 299. 
Spruce, hemlock, 231. 
Spruce, Rocky Mountain, 175, 

180-83. 
Spruce, white, or Sitka pine, 

230, 231. 

Squirrel, Douglas, 66, 323-25. 
Storm, a grand, 114-18. 
Strait of Juan de Fuca, 208, 

209. 

Strawberry Meadows, 37, 49. 
Strawberry Valley, 30, 54, 

70, 80, 81, 86, 101. 
Sunset, a glorious, 118, 119. 



Tacoma, 246, 252, 253. 
Tenaya Canon, 20-27. 



Tenaya Creek, 24, 25. 

Tenaya Fall, 21. 

Tissiack, or Half Dome, or 
South Dome, 20, 21, 24, 27, 
28, 351. 

Toquima Mts., 185-87. 

Towns, deserted, 195-203. 

Toyabe Range, 161, 185, 187. 

Trappers, 321-23. 

Trees, of Mt. Shasta, 31, 32; 
of the Oquirrh Mts., 132; 
of Nevada, 166-83; of 
Washington, 227-36; of 
Oregon, 298-309; of the 
Grand Canon of the Colo 
rado, 371-73. See also For 
ests. 

Troy Range, 178. 

Tule Lake, 90, 92, 93. 

Tulip, Mariposa, 134. 

Turlock, 19. 

Umatilla River, 338. 
Umpqua Hills, 300. 
Umpqua River, 344. 
Utah, observations in, 105- 

35. 
Utah Lake, 133. 

Van Bremer brothers, 91, 
92. 

Vancouver, George, 221, 222; 
quoted, 223. 

Vancouver Island, 211-16. 

Van Trump, guide, 262. 

Victoria, B.C., 212-15. 

Volcanoes and volcanic phe 
nomena, Mt. Shasta, 33- 
36, 52-56; Indians fear 
of, 43, 55; Lassen Peak 
and Cinder Cone, 53 and 
note, 54, 55, 101-03; cra- 



390 



INDEX 



ters in the Shasta region, 
56; danger of eruption, 56; 
Mt. Baker, 211; Mt. Rai 
nier, 268; in Oregon, 346. 

Wahsatch Mts., 105; storm 
and sunset, 114-19. 

Walla- Walla River, 338. 

Washington, Territory and 
State, topography and re 
sources, 204, 205; observa 
tions in, 205-70; forests, 
227-47; lakes and rivers, 
239, 240; prairies, 240; 
berries, 240, 241; lumber 
ing, 242-47; farming and 
cattle-raising, 242, 243; 
people, 248-50; animal life, 
250, 251; towns, 251-55; 
excursions, 255-60. 

Water-ousel, 43, 325. 

Wheeler s Peak, 166, 180- 
83. 



Whidbey Island, 221. 
Whirlpool River, 331, 332. 
White Pine Hills, 201. 
Whitney Glacier, 51, 63, 67, 

87-89. 

Wildness, vs. culture, 3-18. 
Wilkes, Charles, quoted, 223. 
Willamette River, 292, 295, 

296, 342. 
Willamette Valley, 284, 314, 

343, 344. 
Wolverine, 183. 
Wolves, 313-15. 

Yakima River, 337. 

Yelm Prairie, 262. 

Yosemite, a winter walk 
about, 19-28; compared 
with the Grand Canon, 
351, 352. 

Young, Brigham, 117. 

Young, Lily, 135. 

Yuccas, 372, 373. 



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