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clumps of bracken and chapparal which often line its winding trout-stream, we have on either side of us scenes always grand and always varying.
The great white walls of quartz are stained in many colours by the water and the weather, pierced by deep and narrow gorges, and seamed by projecting ledges ; here they fall straight down into the valley with an outline clear and unbroken throughout; there their sheer faces give place, half-way down, to steep sloping screes, the result of the fall of many of their topmost points : here a great pinnacle stands out in front of them, towering like a giant sentinel erect above the valley ; there their summits are broken into rounded heads rising one behind and above the other, or are jagged and irregular in outline, like the walls of some ruined castle. At some points their rugged buttresses thrust themselves out almost into the middle of the valley; at others they recede into spacious amphitheatres of rock, over whose sides tumbles headlong a lofty cataract, or on whose ledges tall trees have found soil enough in which to grow up, shade above shade, a woody theatre of stateliest view.'
In looking on the many conspicuous points that rise above the valley, and on the waterfalls that tumble down its cliffs, one cannot but regret that they have not been allowed to retain their original Indian names, some of which are connected with the Indian legends of the valley, while others are the names of objects suggested to the native mind by the appearance of the different cliffs or cascades. Thus the great rock, piled up to the clouds,' which stands at the entrance of the valley, bears now the name 'El Capitan, but it was known to the Indians as * Tutockanula,' a legendary and deified chieftain of the valley : the South Dome' was known as “Tis-sa-ack,' Tutockanula's lover: the ‘Bridal Veil Fall’ (the Califor
THE YO-SEMITÉ VALLEY.
nian Staubbach, for it is of the same height and of the same form as the European fall of that name), was the ‘Po-ho-no,' or Spirit of the Night Wind. The ‘Py-wyack,' or Crystal Water, has been transformed into the unmeaning 'Vernal Fall:' the rock arches, which recalled to the Indian the shape of the cover of his child's cradle, and were accordingly called “To-coy-æ,' are known as the Royal Arches; the great pyramidal rocks which looked to him like giant representations of his pile of acorns stored up for winter, and which he called Pooseenah Chuckka (Large Acorn Cache), are now the Cathedral Rocks;' and the three rounded mountain-heads, one above the other, which, to his mind, seemed as if they were leaping over each other, and to which he gave the expressive name 'Pom-pom-pasus' (the Leap-frog Mountains), have been tamed down into the prosaic "Three Brothers. But the poor Indians have long ago given up their say in the matter; some half-dozen are still in the valley, and still construct their acorn caches; but they are dressed in a halfEuropean style, look perfectly spiritless, and, like the names of their mountains, have been tamed down by civilisation, and deprived of much of their meaning and their interest.
We leave the valley by its western end; but instead of turning over the southern ridge towards Mariposa, we cross the valley and wind up over the equally lofty wooded ridges on the northern side. A day's ride brings us to Crane Flat, where we have time to see another grove
of the Mammoth Trees, smaller in number than that at Mariposa, before turning into a rough log shanty for the night. The next day takes us down to Coulterville, on the edge of the San Joaquin plain, once a mining-town of some importance, but recently 'gone plumb down’ as we are told, and looking in consequence rather decayed.
From Coulterville to Stockton is a distance of seventyfive miles over the same hot, dry, and dusty plains which we traversed on the way to Mariposa. The houses in this San Joaquin valley are few and far between. What there are, are of wood, rough and untidy-looking; except in little settlements such as Knight's Ferry, where a number of peach-gardens gladden our dusty eyes, no neat farmgarden surrounds the homely ranch; the roads are bad in summer and impassable in winter; the inns are dusty and uncomfortable, and often filled up by miners in dirty blouses, or teamsters in great jack-boots: the traveller here must expect to meet no landed aristocracy, and must leave behind him his ideas of country inns: content to ‘rough it,' he will find welcome, interest, and amusement; not content, he may avoid the San Joaquin Valley, but he will also have to forego the Yo-semité.
TAHOE, THE NAPA VALLEY, AND SAN JOSÉ.
TAHOE, THE NAPA VALLEY, AND SAN JOSÉ.
Of those who from California bend their steps to England, probably nine out of ten follow the straight and short route of the Pacific Railroad. But our route homewards is to be viâ Panama and Valparaiso, and we shall consequently miss the six days' journey from San Francisco to New York, which is represented by different persons under such very different lights, some comparing it to a continuous pic-nic,' others of a more gloomy temperament declaring it to be a "continuous purgatory.' We shall find it worth our while, however, to travel along the line for some short distance, for within two hundred miles of San Francisco lies one of its best portions—its ascent and passage of the Sierra Nevada.
We take the cars’ at Stockton, and as far as Sacramento travel along a dead level over rich plains, now bare, dry, and dusty in most parts, but a month ago covered with a golden harvest. Soon after leaving Sacramento the line commences to ascend, and at a distance of 105 miles from that place it crosses the central ridge of the Sierra Nevada, at a height of 7,040 ft. above the sea-level. As the train winds up the slopes of the Sierra, now turning round the projecting shoulder of a deep ravine, now crossing by a lofty wooden bridge over a mountain torrent, the views down the deep wooded gorges, or up to the Sierra peaks, are often very fine.
The rate of travel on the way up-twelve miles an hour -gives ample opportunity of seeing all that is to be seen; and, for the further enjoyment of the views, there is attached to the end of the train a long open truck, with the tall' title of Observation Car,' from which the traveller can gaze without interruption of window-frames and partitions.
Half-way up the Sierra the line passes close to a great gold-washing spot, where the process of washing down tons upon tons of a hill-side by means of powerful jets of water forced through strong pipes, can be seen at work. The auriferous earth, after being washed down by the hydraulic hose, is conducted into sluices; during its passage through these the particles of gold are precipitated to the bottom by gravitation, or by forming an amalgam with beds of quicksilver, which are placed in various parts of the sluices.
The railway-line up the Sierra seems to have been well planned, for there is no gradient throughout its course with a steeper rise than 1 in 43; and this is a more gradual incline than many on the Alpine railways of Europe, or on the Indian line from Bombay to Calcutta. The roadway seems sufficiently firm, considering the leisurely pace at which the trains are meant to travel over it; but the rails are merely kept in their places on the sleepers by being pierced with large flat-headed nails; and the wooden trellis-work bridges which span many of the ravines look decidedly fragile, and creak ominously when a train rolls across them. The cars' are well fitted-up, not divided into compartments, and with a passage running down their whole length; but their vibration is too great when the train is in motion to allow of this passage being much used as a walking-space.
The refreshment-rooms at the various stations along the