The Mountains of California

Play Audio | Get the Book | Del.icio.us

THE MOUNTAINS OF CALIFORNIA

BY

JOHN MUIR

[Illustration: HOOFED LOCUSTS.]

1894

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I THE SIERRA NEVADA II THE GLACIERS III THE SNOW IV A NEAR VIEW OF THE HIGH SIERRA V THE PASSES VI THE GLACIER LAKES VII THE GLACIER MEADOWS VIII THE FORESTS IX THE DOUGLAS SQUIRREL X A WIND-STORM IN THE FORESTS XI THE RIVER FLOODS XII SIERRA THUNDER-STORMS XIII THE WATER-OUZEL XIV THE WILD SHEEP XV IN THE SIERRA FOOT-HILLS XVI THE BEE-PASTURES

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

HOOFED LOCUSTS MOUNT TAMALPAIS--NORTH OF THE GOLDEN GATE MOUNT SHASTA, LOOKING SOUTHWEST MOUNT HOOD MOUNT RAINIER FROM PARADISE VALLEY--NISQUALLY GLACIER MAP OF THE YOSEMITE VALLEY MAP OF THE YOSEMITE VALLEY, SHOWING PRESENT RESERVATION BOUNDARY VIEW OF THE MONO PLAIN FROM THE FOOT OF BLOODY CANON LAKE TENAYA, ONE OF THE YOSEMITE FOUNTAINS THE DEATH OF A LAKE LAKE STARR KING VIEW IN THE SIERRA FOREST EDGE OF THE TIMBER LINE ON MOUNT SHASTA VIEW IN THE MAIN PINE BELT OF THE SIERRA FOREST NUT PINE THE GROVE FORM LOWER MARGIN OF THE MAIN PINE BELT, SHOWING OPEN CHARACTER OF WOODS SUGAR PINE ON EXPOSED RIDGE YOUNG SUGAR PINE BEGINNING TO BEAR CONES FOREST OF SEQUOIA, SUGAR PINE, AND DOUGLAS SPRUCE PINUS PONDEROSA SILVER PINE 210 FEET HIGH INCENSE CEDAR IN ITS PRIME FOREST OF GRAND SILVER FIRS VIEW OF FOREST OF THE MAGNIFICENT SILVER FIR SILVER-FIR FOREST GROWING ON MORAINES OF THE HOFFMAN AND TENAYA GLACIERS JUNIPER, OR RED CEDAR STORM-BEATEN HEMLOCK SPRUCE, FORTY FEET HIGH GROUP OF ERECT DWARF PINES A DWARF PINE OAK GROWING AMONG YELLOW PINES TRACK OF DOUGLAS SQUIRREL ONCE DOWN AND UP A PINE-TREE WHEN SHOWING OFF TO A SPECTATOR SEEDS, WINGS, AND SCALE OF SUGAR PINE TRYING THE BOW A WIND-STORM IN THE CALIFORNIA FORESTS WATER-OUZEL DIVING AND FEEDING ONE OF THE LATE-SUMMER FEEDING-GROUNDS OF THE OUZEL OUZEL ENTERING A WHITE CURRENT THE OUZEL AT HOME YOSEMITE BIRDS, SNOW-BOUND AT THE FOOT OF INDIAN CANON SNOW-BOUND ON MOUNT SHASTA HEAD OF THE MERINO RAM HEAD OF ROCKY MOUNTAIN WILD SHEEP CROSSING A CANON STREAM WILD SHEEP JUMPING OVER A PRECIPICE INDIANS HUNTING WILD SHEEP A BEE-RANCH IN LOWER CALIFORNIA WILD BEE GARDEN IN THE SAN GABRIEL VALLEY.--WHITE SAGE A BEE-RANCH ON A SPUR OF THE SAN GABRIEL RANGE.--CARDINAL FLOWER WILD BUCKWHEAT.--A BEE-RANCH IN THE WILDERNESS A BEE-PASTURE ON THE MORAINE DESERT.--SPANISH BAYONET A BEE-KEEPER'S CABIN

CHAPTER I

THE SIERRA NEVADA

Go where you may within the bounds of California, mountains are ever in sight, charming and glorifying every landscape. Yet so simple and massive is the topography of the State in general views, that the main central portion displays only one valley, and two chains of mountains which seem almost perfectly regular in trend and height: the Coast Range on the west side, the Sierra Nevada on the east. These two ranges coming together in curves on the north and south inclose a magnificent basin, with a level floor more than 400 miles long, and from 35 to 60 miles wide. This is the grand Central Valley of California, the waters of which have only one outlet to the sea through the Golden Gate. But with this general simplicity of features there is great complexity of hidden detail. The Coast Range, rising as a grand green barrier against the ocean, from 2000 to 8000 feet high, is composed of innumerable forest-crowned spurs, ridges, and rolling hill-waves which inclose a multitude of smaller valleys; some looking out through long, forest-lined vistas to the sea; others, with but few trees, to the Central Valley; while a thousand others yet smaller are embosomed and concealed in mild, round-browed hills, each, with its own climate, soil, and productions.

Making your way through the mazes of the Coast Range to the summit of any of the inner peaks or passes opposite San Francisco, in the clear springtime, the grandest and most telling of all California landscapes is outspread before you. At your feet lies the great Central Valley glowing golden in the sunshine, extending north and south farther than the eye can reach, one smooth, flowery, lake-like bed of fertile soil. Along its eastern margin rises the mighty Sierra, miles in height, reposing like a smooth, cumulous cloud in the sunny sky, and so gloriously colored, and so luminous, it seems to be not clothed with light, but wholly composed of it, like the wall of some celestial city. Along the top, and extending a good way down, you see a pale, pearl-gray belt of snow; and below it a belt of blue and dark purple, marking the extension of the forests; and along the base of the range a broad belt of rose-purple and yellow, where lie the minor's gold-fields and the foot-hill gardens. All these colored belts blending smoothly make a wall of light ineffably fine, and as beautiful as a rainbow, yet firm as adamant.

Next Page