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The Pacific coast scenic tour: from Southern California to Alaska, the Canadian Pacific Railway, Yellowstone… Finck, Henry Theophilus, 1854-1926 1891

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The University of British Columbia Library
11 739
Author of " Romantic Love and Personal Beauty," " Chopin and Other
Musical Essays "
1891 COPYRIGHT, l890k
Books on California and Alaska exist in abundance,
if not superabundance; but the intervening States of
Oregon and Washington have been comparatively
neglected in a way which seems surprising when we
consider the remarkable scenic and climatic attractions
of those States, their industrial resources, and the great
future which doubtless lies before them. The present
volume is an attempt to give a general and impartial
view of the whole Pacific Coast, from San Diego to
Sitka. Covering such a vast territory, it cannot, of
course, make any pretensions to exhaustiveness, but is
simply an endeavor to reproduce the local color of each
State, by describing a few typical and important localities in each. I have naturally chosen the most favorable specimens, as every author or other mortal does in
showing samples of a thing with which he is in love.
I am in love with the Pacific Coast, because after living
on it eleven years, at various times, and twelve years
on the Atlantic Coast, I have found the scenery so
much grander and the climate so much more delightful
and exhilarating on the western side of our continent
than on the eastern: and climate and scenery, in my
opinion, make up fully one-half of human happiness.
Scenery, indeed, requires some assthetic culture for its
appreciation, but climate affects all alike; and where
the sky is habitually overcast with clouds, and the air vm
humid and sultry, the millionaire suffers from habitual
depression of spirits just as much as the beggar.
If the enthusiasm which pervades these pages should
prove contagious to some of the readers, I do not fear
that any of them will chide me hereafter for having
induced them to emigrate to the West,—least of all,
those who are in comfortable circumstances and wish
to spend their last days amid bright and cheerful surroundings, and in a climate which favors longevity. It
is my solemn determination to build a chateau somewhere on the Pacific Coast for myself some day, — if I
can manage the "comfortable circumstances." Tourists, however, I must add, may possibly take the Pacific
Coast Scenic Tour described in this volume and come
back more or less disappointed. This will probably be
the case if they visit Southern California in July, the
Yosemite in October, Oregon and Washington in August, and Alaska before July or after September; for
they will then find the temperature uncomfortably high
in Southern California, and the water-falls reduced to a
minimum in the Yosemite; while in Oregon and Washington they will probably see nothing at all, on account
of the dense smoke from forest fires; and in Alaska
the mountains will be obscured by mist and rain. But
just as a prudent sight-seer does not visit Switzerland
except between the middle of June and the middle of
October, so we have a right to expect of him that he
wiE plan his trip to the Pacific Coast for the most favorable season. This may seem difficult, on account of the
great distance to be covered, and the variety of climatic
conditions; but as a matter of fact it is the easiest thing
in the world. Indeed, this trip can be taken in such a
way that each locality as described in succession in this PREFACE. ix
volume can be seen under the most favorable conditions
possible. If an excursion agent had planned the climate of the Pacific Coast, he could not have made things
more delightfully convenient for tourists. All you
have to do is to follow spring northwards. Leave the
East in the abominable winter months and spend a few
months in Southern California, which from January to
April is a paradise. If the Southern Pacific or Atlantic
and Pacific railroads are taken, there will be no danger
of a snow blockade, the temperature will be comfortable, and the scenic attractions abundant. Early in
May, when vegetation fades in Southern California, the
Yosemite should be visited to see its water-falls at their
best. San Francisco and Tahoe also are most attractive
in. May. Continuing northward, we find Oregon and
Washington still in their spring garb in June, while the
snow-peaks are not yet concealed by smoke. July and
August may be devoted to the sea-coast and to Alaska,
and in September the return trip may be made across
the Canadian Pacific, with its three mountain chains
and the National Park as its chief attractions; or the
Northern Pacific, which among its attractions includes
the Columbia Biver scenery, the snow-peaks of Oregon
and Washington, Lake Pend D'Oreille, and the Yellowstone National Park; or the Union Pacific, which
includes the Sierra Nevada, Lake Tahoe, the stupendous
scenery of the Bio Grande, Salt Lake City, Denver, and
the Eocky Mountains, — three routes between which it
is difficult to make a choice.
To complete the American Scenic Tour, we must of
course take in one of the Great Lakes, Niagara Falls,
the Thousand Islands and Bapids of the St. Lawrence,
Lakes Champlain and George, and the Hudson Eiver, — PREFACE.
scenes which have been too often described to be
touched upon here. I have seen parts of four continents, but am stiE looking for a tour equal to the one
outlined in this volume with the addition just named.
It includes the grandest water-falls, the largest lakes,
the finest river scenery and geysers, the most stupendous glaciers, and some of the most superb snow-peaks
and ranges in the whole world; while the Yosemite
and the Grand Canon are absolutely unique and without rivals anywhere.
Most of the illustrations in this volume are by courteous permission reproduced from photographs in the.
excellent collection of  Messrs.  Taber,  San Francisco,
Haynes, Yellowstone Park, B. C. Towne & Macalpin &.
Lamb, Portland, and Pierce & Blanchard, Los Angeles.
H. T. F.
I. Los Angeles County.
Across the Continent — A Storm in the Desert — A Contemptuous City
— Progress and Prospects — The Land Boom — Climate and Crops —
Ostrich-Farming — A Vineyard Terror — The Native Wines — Quail-
Hunting      1
II. Southern California in Winter.
A Collapsed " Boom | — Los Angeles To-day—Prospects for Immigration — Poultry and Cattle — Five Sources of Water for Irrigation —
Windmills, and Tunnels under River-Beds.    15
III. The Great American Paradise.
Value of Reservoirs — Winter in Southern California—Flowers and
Sunshine — Where Rain means "Better Weather"—Dry Air and
Sea-Breezes — Fogs and Frost — California for Invalids as compared
with Italy, Spain, and Africa—Rural Cities of the Future—The
Pacific Andalusia — Some Disadvantages — Gophers, Dust-Storms,
Drought — Enemies of the Orange and Vine ,,.,,,..    25
TV. The Home of the Orange.
The German Colony at Anaheim—Rabbit-Hunting in the Cactus Fields
— Cows and Oranges — The Best California Orange — Riverside and
its Model Orchards — Orange-Picking — A Wonderful Avenue —
Local Flavor in Oranges — An English Colony — How Prohibition
prohibits — Scenes between Riverside and San Diego    36
xi Xll
V. Oyer the Mexican Border.
San Diego and Coronado Beach —An Ideal Climate —An Artificial
Lake —How Towns are raised —The National Boundary — Donkeys versus Railroads — More Saloons than Houses — Limes versus
Lemons    £9
VI. Santa Catalina Island.
From San Diego to Los Angeles — Along the Coast—A Romantic Spot
—Lost in a Mustard Field — San Pedro — Floating Highlands — Sun
and Ocean Baths in Winter — Avalon Village — The Luxury of Existence— Flowers, Humming-Birds, and Poison Ivy — Rattlesnakes —
Hunting Wild Goats — Indian Relics — Abalone Shells and their
Hunters — Sport for Fishermen — A Submarine Garden — The Seals
at Home    55
VII. Santa Barbara and the Yosemite.
A Dam under a River-Bed — Beans and Culture — An iEsthetic Town
—Beautiful Gardens—Spanishtown and Chinatown—Mojave Desert
— On the Way to the Yosemite — A Fine Stage Ride — Floral Wonders— The Sierra Snow-Plant and Mariposa Lilies — Resemblance
to Oregon Scenery — Discovery of the Valley — The Yosemite and
Bridal Veil Falls — Rainbow Spray—El Capitan and Mirror Lake
— Origin of the Valley—Yosemite as a Lake — Glacier Point and
Other Excursions — The Big Trees in the Mariposa Grove    75
VIII. San Francisco and Chinatown.
Mountainous Character of the Pacific Coast—The Hills of San Francisco—Cable-Car Tobogganing—The Golden Gate and Cliff House
— Scenes in the Chinese Quarter—John's Table Delicacies — Lunch
in a Chinese Restaurant — An Honest Bookseller — Chinese Women
— Opium Dens—Behind the Scenes in a Chinese Theatre — The
Asiatic Trade — California Hotels, Restaurants, and Wines—Berkeley and the University—The Climate of San Francisco  108
IX. Lake Tahoe and Virginia City.
Climatic Paradoxes in San Francisco—A Long Ferry-Boat — Snow-
Sheds and Donner Lake — Truckee River — Logging and Fishing—
Tahoe City—Round Trip on a Boat —A Lake amidst Snow Mountains— A Cinnamon Bear —Butterflies, Snow, and a Blue Sky —
Large Trout, and how to catch them — Sunsets reflected in the Lake
— Other Color Phenomena — The Flume to Carson Valley — A Mountain Railway—Desolate Nevada Mountains — Mining under a City
— Gold Hill  126 CONTENTS. Xlll
X. Mt. Shasta and Crater Lake.
The Oregon and California Railroad — California's Grandest Mountain
—Isolated Peaks of the Cascade Range — Volcanic Remnants —
Sisson's —Indians at Home —Sources of the Sacramento — Effects
of Rain — Oregon's Numerous Rivers — Fish and Crawfish — Southern Oregon — A Mysterious Mountain Lake — The Oregon National
Park—The Willamette Valley — Oregon Wheat and Fruit  149
XL Portland and its Sea-Beaches.
4 Picturesque Situation — Five Snow-Peaks in Sight — Portland versus Los Angeles — Clearings — Chinese Anecdotes — Propitiating the
Gods — Appreciation of Female Beauty—Summer Resorts—Y aquina
Bay and Long Beach — Bathing in the North Pacific — Catching
Crabs at Low Tide — A Sad Accident — Clatsop Beach and Tillamook Head — An Exposed Lighthouse — In the Virgin Forest—
Oregon Mosses, Ferns, and Trees — Flowers and Berries  162
XII. Up and Down the Columbia River.
Vn Ungrateful Republic — The Columbia compared with Other Rivers
— Snow-Peaks — Salmon-Canneries — Astoria and the Mouth of the
River — Cape Horn and Rooster Rock — Water-Falls — The Cascade
— Salmon-Wheels—In the Highlands — The Last of the Mohicans
—Low and High Water — The Scenery and the Railroad — The
"Place of the Winds" — "Swift Water"—A River turned on
Edge  182
XIII. Oregon and Washington Snow Peaks.
iTrom Portland to Tacoma — Views of and from Mt. Hood — American Scenery — Advantages of Isolation—Ascent of Mt. St. Helens —
Masculine and Feminine Peaks — Tacoma and the Jungf rau — American Names for American Mountains — Indian Names — A Hop Valley
— Cascade Division of the Northern Pacific Railroad — Mt. Tacoma
— Its Fourteen Glaciers and Five Rivers 203
XIV. The American Mediterranean.
A Strange Fact—History of Tacoma — Advantages of its Situation —
Navigation —Forests and Saw-Mills — Splendors and Disadvantages
of Forest Fires — Coal-Fields of Washington — Scenic Features of
Puget Sound — Olympia — Seattle since the Fire — The Olympic
Mountains — Port Townsend  217 XIV
XV. A Week in Alaska.
A Great Salt-Water River — The Genuine American Switzerland —
Highest Snow-Mountain in the World — The Excursion Season —
Islands and Forests — Indian Traits — Alaskan Villages — Glacier
Bay — An Iceberg Factory 231
XVI. Across the Canadian Pacific
Advantages of an Autumnal Trip—English Aspect of Victoria — Vancouver a "Boom Town" — The Frazer River and Canon — Eagle
Pass — Reappearance of the Columbia River — Mountain-Side Forests
— Comparison with Switzerland—Construction of Snow-Sheds —
Banff and the National Park — The Bow River — Devil's Head Lake
— Sulphur Mountain — Winnipeg and Lake Superior  248
XVH. Through Yellowstone Park.
An Independent Journey on Horseback — Geysers and Paint-Pots —
Waiting for an Eruption —Yellowstone Canon and Falls — The Lake
and its Trout — A Tent Hotel—Mysterious Sounds 279
XVni. The Grand Canon of the Colorado.
From Los Angeles to Peach Spring — Desert Wind—An Arizona Village— Indians—Descensus Averno—Extraordinary Mountain Architecture — Silence and Desolation — A Bewitched Creek — Up the
Diamond Canon — The Grand Canon and the River — New Mexico
and Kansas «...,,,...,,,,... 294 LIST  OF ILLUSTEATIONS.
Mt. Hood Frontispiece
Ostrich Farm — Southern California    12
Fruit Farm in Southern California    22
Orange Grove — Southern California    42
North Dome — Yosemite Valley    96
Big Tree—Yosemite Valley  104
Seal Rocks — San Francisco  110
Lake Tahoe  132
Mt. Shasta  152
Crater Lake  158
Castle Rock—Columbia River  196
Great Dalles — Columbia River 202
Sitka  244
Fraser CaSon  254
The Selkhik Glacier  262
Canadian Pacific Hotel at Banff 268
Devil's Head Lake  272
Minerva Terrace—Yellowstone Park 282
Falls of the Yellowstone  292
The Grand Can^on of the Colorado 296  I
Twenty-three years ago, when the first transcontinental railway was commenced, the possibility of not
only its success, but of its very construction, was almost
universally doubted, and the San Francisco bankers who
advanced money for the enterprise had to do so secretly,
in order not to create a panic among their depositors.
To-day there are five transcontinental lines, or six, if we
count the Oregon Short Line separately, and the tourist
or invalid can pay his money and take his choice, according to the season, — the Canadian Pacific, Northern
Pacific, or Union Pacific in summer; the Atlantic and
Pacific or Southern Pacific in winter. The last-named
is less interesting scenically than some of the Northern
routes, but to invalids leaving the East in winter it presents the advantage of plunging at once in medias res,
so far as semi-tropical climate is concerned.
Of the southern United States, this side of the Mississippi, one gets a rather unfavorable impression from the
railway window, as the greater part of the distance from 2 LOS   ANGELES   COUNTY.
Washington to New Orleans, and some hundred miles
beyond, seems little else than one boundless swamp,
with moss-covered trees, an occasional low mountain
range, corn and cotton fields, and beggarly huts, as the
only scenic features. Montgomery seems a sleepy country village; and although New Orleans has sights worth
seeing, it requires courage and a taste for roughing it
in order to get at them; for the streets (naturally inclined to be muddy, because the city lies below the level
of the Mississippi) are so horribly paved that even a
New Yorker must lift up his hands and thank Heaven
that he does not live in such a city. Without any exaggeration, a Swiss stage-road in the midst of the mountains is not so rough and jolting an affair as the streetcar tracks in New Orleans; and what the roads are
beyond the paved streets may be inferred from the fact
that in January I found it absolutely impossible to reach
the City Park (where the Exposition was held some
years ago) on foot, from the terminus of the street cars.
Some of the gardens on the way were ornamented with
orange-trees laden with ripe fruit, but both trees and
fruit presented a sad contrast to the luxuriance I beheld
in Los Angeles three days later; and equally great was
the contrast between the moist, warm, enervating atmosphere of the Louisiana marshes, and the dry, cool, mountain and ocean breezes of Southern California.
If you leave New Orleans, say, on Wednesday noon,
you will be at Los Angeles on Saturday evening before
ten. A good supply of reading-matter is desirable, as
there is little to see for a day or two, except cactus
bushes, a few painted Indians, and bleak mountains,
some of them across the Mexican border. At El Paso,
which calls itself "the Paris of the Southwest," and LOS   ANGELES   COUNTY. 6
claims twelve thousand inhabitants, the train stops long
enough to afford a chance to drive across the river into
Mexican soil. The El Paso papers try hard to induce
the passengers in quest of health to stay there, and have
a very poor opinion of California. The Herald which I
bought, editorially described the " recent terrific rainstorms " in that State, and found it difficult to decide
which was a worse place for invalids, "Holland with
her damp marshes, or the Golden State." The editor
probably mixed up that State with Arizona; for on
arriving in California we discovered there had not been
a drop of rain for several weeks, while in Arizona we
found the deserts, as far as the eye could reach, one
vast plain of shining, semi-liquid mud, interspersed with
large temporary lakes. The rain poured down in blinding torrents and with true tropical violence, forming
channels several feet deep across the desert, and whirling aside thirty-feet iron rails like straws.
The spectacle of this rain-storm in the desert was so
weird and sublime that we gladly in return accepted the
fate of reaching Los Angeles twelve hours behind time;
for the train, owing to the numerous washouts and soft
places, could only creep along, and beyond Tucson we
had to wait five hours for daylight, as the engineer did
not dare to proceed farther in the dark. Such storms
and washouts are obviously frequent in this region, for
ties and rails are scattered all along the road for emergencies. Nature, provoked by the " soft thing' which
the Southern Pacific had in building this level road,
seems to have taken this means of getting square with
it. At Colton, California, the scenery becomes snow-
mountainous and interesting, and remains so as far as
During my first visit to Southern California, in 1887,
I was amused to notice the vast contempt with which
the fifty thousand inhabitants of the city of Los Angeles
looked down on the three hundred and fifty thousand
benighted denizens of a certain northern village known
as San Francisco, and on other places that have the
effrontery to grow rapidly, and to claim special advantages of climate, situation, and commerce. The Los
Angeles Herald informed its admiring readers that —
"Pasadena and Los Angeles will be one city in a
brief period, andTform a continuous municipality from
the Sierra Madre to the sea — an extent of thirty miles
in length by at least six in width, with five hundred
thousand people contained therein, and will be the capital of the richest State in the Union. The claim of
New York as the Empire State is already in dispute,
but the dispute wEl soon be settled by the pre-eminence
of South California."
It must be admitted that much had happened to justify this Los Angelic grandiloquence. Seventeen years
ago the City of Angeles had only ten thousand inhabitants, no street cars, and only one railway. To-day it
has at least sixty thousand inhabitants, electric street
cars, and more than half-a-dozen railways, with about
seventy-five daily trains* Orange-trees have increased
in the county from twenty-five thousand to a million or
more; grape-vines from three millions to twenty millions ; and other agricultural products in proportion.
Its very disadvantages have proved advantages to
Los Angeles. For instance, the fact that coal, like
wood, is expensive, made the city the first in the
country to adopt a general system of electric street-lighting.   It has seventeen masts one hundred and fifty feet LOS   ANGELES   COUNTY. 5
high, fourteen masts sixty feet high, and hundreds of
private lights. The electric railroad is also being rapidly extended. The cars run at the rate of ten or
twelve miles an hour, which can be increased to twenty
outside the city limits. The road's capacity is said to
be four times that of a horse road, and its cost only one-
half, while there is no torturing of poor horses in the
hot noonday sun. A ride or a walk along the streets of
Los Angeles conveys the impression that the city is quite
as large and as " metropolitan " as it claims to be ; the
natural bustle and activity being increased by the winter
visitors from the East.
In every country the smaller cities are apt to take
after the metropolis. Thus, Eouen constantly suggests
Paris; Linz, Vienna; the English cities, London, etc.
Similarly, Los Angeles suggests San Francisco in many
details, — the appearance of the stores, hotels, Chinese
shops, and the gardens, although the gardens have a
more decided semi-tropical aspect, and there is a general
appearance of more open-airness, if the word be permissible. The city is surrounded on all sides by high mountains and buried among groves and gardens. Orange,
lemon, "pepper," and fig trees adorn the gardens everywhere, side by side with many luxuriant shrubs and
flowers, dwarfed apologies for which are often seen in
Eastern gardens. In size and brilliancy of color these
California flowers are incomparable, but the same causes
which tend to give quinces, for instance, a less pronounced flavor than they have in the East, appear to
impair the fragrance of some flowers. This fact has
often been commented on, but I believe that too much
emphasis has been placed on it. Eepeated experiment
has convinced me that the verbena and heliotrope, and 6
perhaps the geranium, have a less delicious fragrance in
California than in New York, at least in October; but
the same is not true of roses and pinks and lilies; and
the countless varieties of wild flowers that adorn the
hill-sides in spring have a most intoxicating fragrance,
wherewith they allure so many bees that honey can be
sold at four cents a pound.
The present ambition of the Los Angeles people is to
surpass all the rest of the world in as many things as
possible. In one thing certainly they were pre-eminent, a few years ago,—in the number of real-estate
offices that decorated their town. Neither San Francisco nor any mining town ever had so many saloons
to the number of inhabitants as Los Angeles had
of these land offices; and the day after my arrival
I heard a mother scolding her baby for putting a handful of dirt in its mouth — doubtless because she thought
real estate was too valuable to be thus wasted in luxurious living. Almost every landowner, whether he had
a sign over his door or not, was willing to part with
some or all of his property for a consideration — not a
slight one, by any means; and the whole county was
affected with this epidemic, there being places of only
a few thousand inhabitants where corner lots were sold
almost at New York City prices.
One day, driving along a country road about twenty
miles from Los Angeles, I noticed half-a-dozen well-
dressed men resting under a tree. My companion informed me they were doubtless a syndicate looking
about for a place to locate a new town. At Fullerton,
a few miles from Anaheim, I saw one of these new
towns. It consisted of the framework of a large hotel
and of a few hundred yards of elegant cement sidewalk, A
not in front of the hotel, but in another part of the
" town." Elsewhere towns get pretty large before any
one begins to think of a sidewalk, even of the most
primitive kind; but the residents in Los Angeles County
of course would not be satisfied with a sidewalk in any
way inferior to that in front of Mr. Vandeibilt's house
in Fifth Avenue. I may add that since then Fullerton
has grown up into quite a little town.
Having built his sidewalk and his large hotel (with
real-estate office) in place of the saloon which usually is
the pioneer building in Western towns, the Southern
Californian begins to cast about for a supply of water; ||
not so much for domestic use — since wine is almost as
cheap as water — as for the irrigation of his garden and
fields. If a river or brook is near by, a water company
is formed, ditches are dug, and each shareholder, after
paying his dues, may have his water " on tap " whenever
he wants it. In the absence of a river, wells are made
to supply the water. Sometimes these wells are bored
horizontally into the mountain side, thus creating an
artificial spring; but, as a rule, the wells are vertical,
from eighty to five Eundred feet deep, or even more,
although at one hundred to two hundred feet the water
is generally obtained in abundance. A windmill is then
erected over the well, which pumps the water into a
large, high tank, whence it is easily conveyed to the
garden or field by hose. There is no lack of wind to
drive these mills; for the charm of Southern California's climate lies in this, that although the sky is commonly cloudless, and the sun warm, winter and summer,
there is almost always a brisk breeze to temper the
solar rays, and deprive them of their sting.
This is true especially of Los Angeles County, which 8
is situated between the deep sea and an imposing circular range of mountains, that send their breezes down
over the valley as soon as the ocean breezes cease; and
although at some seasons both these air-currents, near
their source, would be unpleasantly cold for invalids,
they are almost always mellowed and warmed by the
sun's rays before they reach the centre of the valley.
The morning — till about two o'clock — is the warmest
part of the day; but in the autumn the morning heat
is tempered by a daily fog, which remains till about ten
o'clock. It is not a depressing fog, and is rather enjoyed by the natives, as a temporary change from the
everlasting sunshine. In fact, sunny monotony is the
gravest charge that can be brought against the climate
of Southern California. In the autumn and spring a
few rainy days afford refreshing variety; but summer
and winter are alike in their cloudless skies, warm sunshine, and alternating mountain and ocean breezes. As
a physician at Anaheim remarked to me, the seasons do
not differ in character, but only in flavor, like the differences between severals kinds of apples. He also
informed me that, although the temperature sometimes
rises above a hundred in the shade, he has never
seen a case of sunstroke — thanks to the dryness of
the air and the almost incessant breezes. Yet, like
all southern climates, it fosters indolence, mental and
physical; and he would not recommend it, therefore,
to young persons, except for money-making purposes.
But for invalids and for elderly persons, it is the
best place in the world. The somnolence brooding
in the air (except in Switzerland I have never slept so
soundly in my life as here) would cure the worst case
of Wall Street insomnia; and the incessant sunshine LOS ANGELES COUNTY. 9
and constant life in the open air can hardly fail to add
ten years or more to the life of old men or women
who desert their over-heated and ill-ventilated Eastern
homes for the open air and winter sunshine of Los
Angeles County.
The general irrigation now resorted to, and the
numerous green oases which have in consequence
sprung up amid the deserts of prickly cactus, have
already exerted some influence on the climate, and there
is reason to believe that rain will be more abundant
in the future than it has been in the past. A potent
factor in producing this change will be the groves of
trees that are being planted everywhere. There are
some poplars and locusts and other trees that appear
to flourish tolerably well, but the two species that most
triumphantly defy sunshine, dust, and drought are the
red-pepper-tree and the Australian eucalyptus, both of
them beautiful to behold. The red-pepper-tree, with
its gracefully drooping branches, resembles a weeping
willow, but its growth is more luxuriant, its dimensions
larger, and it is adorned with bunches of beautiful
small red berries. The leaves, when bruised, have a
strongly pungent cayenne odor, whence the name of
the tree. The leaves and fruit of the eucalyptus have
a still more objectionable odor when crushed (very
much like assafoetida), but the tree has a most stately
appearance, and its marvellously rapid growth — a seed
becoming a large tree in a few years — causes it to be
raised on a large scale for fuel and for shady avenues.
But although Los Angeles County can raise the
Australian eucalyptus and the pepper-tree, there is a
point at which the climate draws the line further south.
Thus, the banana and the pineapple, although they can 10
be raised here, do not usually thrive well, and the same
is true of the almond. Yet the Los Angelenos do not
despair on that account, as they have a superabundance
of other fruits to fall back on. Of the vast and fruitful
orange and lemon orchards of this region every one has
read. Figs grow abundantly and are in good demand,
especially those of the Smyrna variety, which are now
displacing the others. The demand for California olive
oil is greater than the supply, and it is equal in quality
to the best Italian oil. English walnut-trees yield a
profitable crop. Peaches are so abundant that they are
fed to the cows, and some varieties (but not all) are
equal in flavor to the New Jersey and Delaware crop.
Ears of corn a foot long, with twenty rows to the ear,
can be seen in the market, side by side with gigantic
twenty-horse-power onions, and potatoes weighing from
two to five pounds. Sugar-beets are on exhibition,
weighing fifty pounds, and pumpkins of one hundred
and fifty to one hundred and seventy-five pounds.
Pumpkins, melons, tomatoes, and other creepers grow
wild, without any care, and may even become a weedy
nuisance. If a Chinaman eats a watermelon under a
tree along the road, the chances are that a crop of wild
melons will be found in that neighborhood the following
season; and on one farm I saw a volunteer tomato plant
which the owner said he had ploughed down twice, but
when I saw it, it measured at least twelve feet square,
and had thousands of small red fruit on it of the kind
which is only used for preserves, although, like the little
yellow ones, it is of a much more delicate flavor than
the large tomatoes, which alone, for some inscrutable
reason, are ever seen on our tables.
This list is very far from complete and is being con- LOS  ANGELES  COUNTY.
stantly extended; for California is still largely in an
experimental stage of development. The experiment
with ostrich-farming near Anaheim has resulted successfully, and other farms have been started near Los Angeles. I visited the original farm near Anaheim. The
keeper, an Englishman imported from Africa, showed
me a fine lot of healthy birds and some beautiful specimens of feathers, naming prices which, if they were
advertised by a New York house, would create a riot
among " bargain "-seeking women; for it is to be hoped
that women, having abandoned the vulgar fashion of
wearing stuffed bird-corpses on their hats, will return to
their old love, the delicate plumes of the ostrich, the
wearing of which involves no cruel massacre of innocents. And California has another kind of plume to
which the attention of women should be directed, the
product of what might be called the vegetable ostrich,
— pampas grass. Nothing more exquisite for a vase or
for a (fan-shaped) wall ornament could be imagined
than these bushy white (or colored) plumes, which in
Los Angeles County attain the height of thirty-six
inches, not including the stem. Formerly, when these
plumes were imported from South America, florists
charged a dollar or even a dollar and a half apiece for
them; now the retail price is twenty-five cents, and the
wholesale price three or four cents. Vast quantities are
being exported to Europe, and Southern California is
able to supply the demand of several continents, as the
pampas grass, like most plants, grows there like a weed.
A dark cloud has, however, lately risen, and is for the
moment casting an ominous shadow over the cheerful
prospects of California. All the products so far mentioned are, of course, subordinate in importance to the 12
grape crop; and the California grape-vine has been for
several years threatened by an enemy more dangerous,
because more obscure, than the phylloxera. A few years
ago some of the grape-vines in Los Angeles County suddenly began to die out. Among these were some of the
oldest vineyards, eighty years old or more. Indeed, the
old Mission grape was the first to be attacked. Then
followed other varieties, always in the same order in each
vineyard. The disease begins at the tip of the vines and
slowly spreads downwards, the roots being affected last.
The second season the crop is a comparative failure, and
the third the vineyard is a graveyard. One lady told
me she had dug up and used for fuel as many as eighty
thousand of her vines within a few years. The disease is
said to be not phylloxera nor mildew; nor have the chemical experts who have examined the vines been able to
throw any light on the matter, except by attributing the
decay to a kind of cellular degeneration. Various theories are being discussed, and the owners of the vineyards
meanwhile console themselves with the statement that a
similar mysterious disease affected the grapes of Sicily
and Madeira at one time, and disappeared after a few
years, allowing the young vines to grow as before.
What causes them to look with comparative indifference on this temporary (as they hope) interruption of
business is the fact that there has been an over-production of grapes, in consequence of which the price of
wine has fallen to unprofitable figures. An interruption
of a few years in this excessive production would raise
the prices, and thus pay for the losses now sustained.
In the meantime the wine-growers would do well to
ponder the fact that quality is of much more value, finan-N
cially and gastronomically, than quantity.     Labor is A
"Si^SS!' ■' "M£" W
scarce in harvest-time, and, to save trouble, too many of
the small growers neglect to pick out the green and
sour grapes, which therefore vitiate the juice of the
whole bunch; or else they intrust the cleaning of their
old barrels to ignorant Chinamen (the Indians have
all disappeared), with equally disastrous results. Too
many Eastern people have contracted absurd prejudices
against California wines, because chance threw some of
this sour wine into their cellars. But it may be safely
stated that the average California claret and white wine
and port are superior to the wine that may be bought
for the same money in France and Germany and elsewhere. The labels of famous French wines and Cognacs are for sale openly in the show-cases of country
stores in Los Angeles County! These honest folks
are practically compelled to use this stratagem. They
would much prefer to seE their best wines under California labels, in order to build up their reputation. And
if California wine-growers used the  same caution  as
those of Europe, this subterfuge would no longer be
necessary. I have tasted old Zinfandel equal to the
best French chateau wines, because made with the same
care, and it fetched almost as high a price in San Francisco as foreign wines.
Whatever may be the outcome of the present vineyard epidemic, Southern CaEfornia will have plenty of
other things to fall back upon. A few years ago it
looked as if all the crops were to be neglected, comparatively, and a specialty made of building hotels for
invalids and tourists. Among the special attractions for
tourists is quail-hunting in the foothills. The physician
already referred to kindly took me out on an afternoon
hunt.   We drove in a tough two-horse buggy, up and 14
down hill and along the dry bed of a brook, carefully
dodging the bristEng cactus bushes, which are apt to
make a deep impression on "tenderfoot' visitors, less
by the grotesque manner in which their fleshy leaves
are stuck on one another at odd angles than by their
fish-hook-Eke spines. These prickly leaves are so
arranged that nothing larger than a quail or a rabbit
can get under their protecting shadows. The dogs give
them a wide berth, and the quail can only be shot on
the wing if they are alarmed and fly from one group of
cactus bushes to another. The result of an hour's
buggy-hunting was nine quails, three pigeons, and two
rabbits. II.
In 1887 all the hotels in Los Angeles were overcrowded, the post-office almost unable to get through
with its business, the city growing like an asparagus
stalk after an April shower, and the demand for labor
so great that the workmen could practically dictate
their own terms. The smaller towns and would-be
towns had also caught the infection, and were buEding
huge hotels, cement sidewalks, and street-car lines; not
because it was supposed that towns of two thousand
inhabitants needed such things, but in order to be able
to advertise in the Eastern papers and in real-estate circulars that the place had street-car lines, cement sidewalks, and hotels " with all the modern conveniences."
Each town printed a special illustrated pamphlet in which
its unique attractions, as compared with all rivals, were
set forth, culminating in the claim that its township was
the "Italy of America" or of the West; whEe San
Diego brought matters to a climax by styling itself
" the Italy of Southern California."
In 1889, when I made my second visit to Los Angeles
15 16
County, I found everywhere evidences that the boom
had collapsed. The street-car lines in the small towns
barely paid expenses, though it was regarded as an act
of local patriotism to ride on them; and the cement
sidewalks, which had been prolonged far into the fields,
had failed to charm into existence the rows of houses
that had been looked for. In the metropolis itself, workmen were grumbling at insufficient employment, merchants clamored that their rents were fifty per cent too
high, many store windows were pasted with closing-out
notices, real-estate offices were no longer as abundant as
saloons, and the bookstores, more wretchedly supplied
than those of any town of ten thousand inhabitants in the
United States, were even selling the twenty-cent paper
novels at " cut rates." The newspapers of Northern California, of Oregon, Washington, and other Western States
as far east as Eansas, which had long been jealous of the
prosperity of Southern California, and desired a boom
of their own, crowed loudly over the " busted boom "
of Los Angeles, while the papers of that city, no longer
compelled by the pressure of real-estate advertisements
to add two or four extra pages to their issues, had daily
elaborate editorials to disprove the allegations of their
envious rivals.
An unprejudiced observer, interested only in the climate and the scenery, and not in the real estate, of
Southern California, could not but admit, from the signs
just noted, that these " envious rivals " were right in insisting that the boom had collapsed; but the inferences
drawn from this fact, that Southern California had been
overpraised, and that its road was to be down hill in
the future, were absurd. Southern California cannot
be overpraised, and, in my humble opinion, its pros- SOUTHERN   CALIFORNIA  IN  WINTER. 17
pects are brighter than those of any other portion of the
United States. To a large extent the late boom was
nothing but a huge gambling scheme, an epidemic of
wild land-speculation, which carried along in its rush
thousands of thoughtless victims, like the mad stampede for Oklahoma. Southern Californians knew better than others that the sudden rise in their land prices
were artificially stimulated and would be followed by a
reaction; but they were bound to make hay while the
sun shone, and found to their delight that the sun shone
longer in California than elsewhere, in the metaphorical
sense as well as in reality. At last the storm came, and
swept away many of the " tenderfeet," or late comers,
and their new buildings, whose debris is now lying
about, so to speak, and is pointed at as a terrible warning and lesson; but the only lesson it does teach is that
people should avoid real-estate gambling. The fragments of the ruins will soon be cleared away, and then
it will be found that, although many individuals have
suffered during the storm, the State as a whole has
been benefited by it.
In many cases the large, useless hotels built in the
small towns have already been secured at a bargain for
school buildings, and in the larger cities many public
works have been provided which, without the artificial
stimulus of the boom, would have been postponed to the
indefinite future; as, for instance, the long flume, costing almost a million of dollars, which now provides San
Diego and vicinity with abundant pure water, and will
do more to develop the resources of the county than
the discovery of several gold mines. Los Angeles
made the great mistake of not building a sewer to the
sea during flush times, and now suffers under the dis- 18
advantage of vitiated air, which, if not remedied, will
destroy its reputation as a health resort.
In other respects, Los Angeles is already recovering
from the effects of the collapse. Fine new buildings
are again going up, the streets are always animated, and
the cable-car tracks have been lately prolonged into the
picturesque hilly region behind the city, which affords
the finest imaginable sites for suburban cottages, with
superb views of the mountains, and a glimpse of the
Pacific Ocean^fourteen miles away. Though founded
in 1781, Los Angeles had less than five thousand inhabitants in 1860, and only thirteen thousand in 1880,
while to-day it has sixty thousand or more. Thirteen
years ago no railroad connected it with other parts of
the world, while to-day it is one of the greatest railroad
centres in the West. And as it still remains, what it
always was, unsurpassed by any city in the world for
climatic and scenic advantages, it has every reason to
look forward to a prosperous and brilliant future.
Southern California includes five counties, — Los
Angeles, Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Bernardino, and
San Diego, — embracing, as General N. A. Miles points
out, "a territory nearly the size of the State of New
York, and with natural resources of ten times its value."
This seems a big statement, but its truth can be realized,
without the use of figures, by considering that these five
counties are capable of supplying the United States with
aE the figs, raisins, prunes, wine, olives and olive oil,
oranges, lemons, nuts, and canned fruits that are now
imported from France, Italy, and Spain; most of them,
with proper care, equal in quality if not superior to the
imported articles. Although large quantities of all
these fruits are already raised, they are a mere trifle
compared with what the soil is capable of yielding to a
larger population. It has been proved over and over
again that ten to twenty acres of good irrigable land
are all that is needed to support a family, and there is
therefore room for hundreds of thousands of immigrants.
However, it is candidly admitted that Southern California is a land of more promise to the farmer who has
at his disposal a capital of a few thousand dollars than
to the emigrant who brings with him little but a team
and a pair of muscular arms; for improved land, with
bearing vines and fruit trees, costs from one hundred
to five hundred dollars an acre, while unimproved land,
though it may be had for one-fifth those prices (twenty
to one hundred dollars), yields no return for several
years, unless grain is raised; for all of the semi-tropical
fruits above named require from three or four to ten
years before a profitable crop is yielded.
And yet personal observation has led me to believe
that there are special opportunities in this region precisely for the farmer with limited means, if he is willing
to curb his ambition and content himself with dairy
farming and the raising of poultry on a large scale for
the market. The farmers now settled in Southern California are so ambitious to become orange, olive, or vineyard kings that they entirely neglect the farmyard, and
have hardly enough milk and butter and vegetables for
home consumption. It is almost impossible in any part
of Southern California to get a good piece of beef or
mutton, and chickens are imported by the carload from
Kansas and other " Eastern " States, and sold at absurdly
high prices at Los Angeles, although in this mild climate
it is easy to raise chickens all the year round, and I
have myself seen splendid broods of young ones grow 20
up in about half the time they need in the East to reach
a marketable size, the simple precaution being taken of
providing them with dry housing during rainy nights.
If this is not done, their growth is remarkably retarded,
and many of them become diseased, and, if not killed or
isolated, will infect a whole yardful of poultry.
Cattle-raising, too, must prove profitable in a region
where the animals can feed on the green foothills and
valleys all the "winter," and in summer eat the sun-
dried grass orclover which covers the whole country.
The wild, clover-like alfileria, which furnishes most of
this natural hay, grows in profusion along the roadsides
and in the meadows, and even fills up the empty patches
in the cactus fields. After the spring rains it attains a
height of ten to fifteen inches, with a dozen plants to
the square inch, and is so juicy and tender that one can
mow it down with a cane or with the hands; and a
week later it is as high as if it had never been cut.
It looks so luscious and sweet as to almost make one
long to be a cow or a sheep, in order to be really " in
clover I' for once. Again, the cultivated clover, or
Chilian alfalfa, if sufficiently irrigated, yields half-a-
dozen or more crops of hay a year, which makes the
sweetest butter and meat in the world. Yet the
Southern Californians, as I have just said, import most
of their butter and meat; consequently, if some farmers
should undertake to supply the local market with homemade products, fresher and cheaper, because with no
freight charges on them, they would have a sure source
of prosperity before them. It is probable that the
drought of 1863-64 discouraged the cattle business; but
there has been none since that time, and with the
present railway facilities and a reasonable foresight in SOUTHERN   CALIFORNIA IN WINTER. 21
storing hay, no disaster need be feared in the future.
Moreover, one of the best and cheapest kinds of cattle
food, pumpkins, as large as beer-barrels, can be raised
here by the thousand with hardly any trouble or expense. Sometimes they lie in a field so densely that
one might walk over it without touching the ground;
and I saw several fields in which hundreds of fine
pumpkins, for which the farmers had no use, owing to
the scarcity of cattle, were left to rot on the ground.
Before purchasing land in California of the South,
it is well that the investor should have made up his
mind in regard to what branch of agriculture he wishes
to devote himself. For although it is one of the
chief advantages of this soil that it can be made to produce most of the fruits of the temperate and semi-tropi>
cal, and some of the tropical zones, yet each township
or locality has its special adaptedness for this or that
product, and to ignore this is to labor under disadx
vantages. Thus, Eiverside and vicinity have been found
most favorable to the culture of the orange, because the
destructive scale-bug does not flourish here as it does
nearer to the coast. Of lemons, the finest specimens are
grown near the Mexican border, in San Diego County,
which also furnishes some of the best raisins and olives.
Santa Barbara County yields the finest pampas plumes
and the best walnuts, and Los Angeles County is still the
wine centre of the South, notwithstanding the ravages of
the mysterious vine disease. The conclusion, too, is
being gradually reached that for vineyards the foothills
are the best localities, since in Europe all the best vines
are raised on the hill-sides. Plants of a distinctly trop^
ical type, also, like tea, bananas, etc., might perhaps be
successfully raised on the lower foothills, which have 22
an immunity from the Eght frost that occasionally, in
winter and spring, visits the lowlands near the ocean.
And besides these facts, it is well to know that in the
same locaEty the soE often presents great differences,
so that in a twenty-acre field one half may be well
adapted for the orange or olive, while the other half
needs a different crop. Above all things, " tenderfeet'
should beware of buying land immediately after the
spring rains; for then the whole face of the country is
covered with a rich carpet of grass and flowers, so that
it is difficult to"~distinguish the good land from the sand-
bottomed site of a former river bed, useless for anything
but cactus.
Finally comes the most important of all questions, —
the for irrigation. Grain, if sown in winter or
early spring, ordinarily needs only the regular rains of
the season to reach maturitv, and there are localities
where many other crops can be raised without irrigation; but these are the exception, and as a general
thing the semi-tropical fruits which constitute the specialty of Southern California, need water for profitable
culture. So well is this now understood that it is a
favorite joke of the natives to say that if you pay for
the air and water, they wiE throw in the land gratis.
Fortunately there are no fewer than six sources from
which crops are supplied with water, if we include rain.
For smaE vegetable or flower gardens sufficient water
can be raised by means of windmills, which are kept in
brisk motion every afternoon by the sea-breeze in the
whole region within twenty or thirty miles of the ocean,
except during two or three of the " rainy months,"
when they are not needed. These mills also supply the
kitchen, and it is curious to note how cold the water   SOUTHERN   CALIFORNIA IN  WINTER. 23
remains in the large tanks exposed all day long to a
semi-tropical sun. Much of the water used in town and
orchard is supplied by artesian wells, which, however,
occur only in certain belts, especially in Los Angeles
and San Bernardino Counties, although none of these,
I believe, equal one dug in Sonoma County last winter,
which is one hundred and fifteen feet deep, cost only
two hundred dollars, and yields almost half a million
gallons every day.
Eivers of the size of the Sacramento, or those of Oregon, Southern California has none, but there are some
smaller rivers and a large number of creeks, fed by the
mountain snows, which are tapped in two ways for irrigating purposes, — on the surface and below the bed.
The surface water is often carried many miles in ditches ;
and wise is the community which lines its ditch at once
with cement, else in summer it loses almost two-thirds
of its water supply by absorption on the way. The
Santa Ana Eiver, which is quite a respectable stream in
winter, and after rains becomes a formidable torrent, liable to overflow its banks and change its channel (thereby
causing boundary disputes), is in summer tapped so
freely that its bed becomes dry, and not a drop reaches
the ocean.
Much more curious than this surface tapping, however, is the tunnelling, by means of which the water
which has buried itself beneath the sandy river bed, as
if to escape the merciless pillaging of the hot sun and
the greedy farmers, is brought to the surface again and
utilized. It is in this way that the Santa Ana Eiver is
despoiled of its last drop, and the value of this procedure may be estimated from the statement made by the
San Bernardino Times, that "the Ontario Land Com- 24
pany has driven a tunnel in under San Antonio Creek,
a distance of nearly eighteen hundred feet, at a cost of
about fifty-two thousand dollars, and they have about
two hundred and fifty inches of water, worth a quarter
of a million of dollars." As it hardly ever rains during
the summer, all the water thus drawn off the rivers in
the irrigating season comes from the springs and the
melting snows in the mountains. This is just about
sufficient for the present needs of the population; but
no fears need be entertained for the future, since, as the
rural population increases, it will become profitable to
expend large sums in building reservoirs in the canons
to store the abundant winter water which now runs to
waste in the ocean. In this way the mountains can be
made to yield an absolutely unlimited amount of water,
sufficient to support tens of millions; and the lesson
taught by the Johnstown disaster will prevent the dams
from being carelessly constructed. III.
That there could be no better way of investing capital than by building reservoirs is shown by the fact,
recently pointed out by the California State Board of
Trade, that ten years ago the lands of Frenso sold at
from three dollars to twenty dollars per acre, while now,
with water on it, the same land sells at from seventy-five
to seven hundred and fifty dollars per acre. Equally
great is the gain from an sesthetie point of view. Without
water, four-fifths of Southern California is a dreary cactus desert during the greater part of the year; with
water, it is a veritable garden grove. Nothing could be
more delightful than to watch the effect of water in this
magic climate, when the first rains fall in October or
November. Up to that period everything except the
irrigated garden and orchard oases wears a parched
yellow and brown aspect; but hardly has the rain pen-
25 26
etrated a few inches into the soil, when the grass turns
green, and before the eye has become accustomed to the
change, gaudy flowers, gradually increasing in variety
and abundance, spring up on all sides, even on land
which appeared to be pure sand, but which on closer
examination proves to be rich in decomposed vegetable
matter. The irrigated gardens have an abundance of
choice flowers aE the year round, and the garden of the
house where I lived, though without the slightest pretensions, had in full bloom, in January, petunias, calla
lilies, violets, honeysuckles, geraniums (six feet in
height), stock, California poppy, hyacinths, smilax,
heliotropes, nasturtiums, red, white, yellow, and green
roses, etc. In February a frost nipped the leaves of
the bananas, heliotropes, and nasturtiums, but in a few
days they were out again; and of the three or four subsequent frosts none was heavy enough to injure them,
while the other flowers mentioned grew uninjured all
the " winter." This was at Anaheim, twelve miles
from the sea and twenty-eight miles south of Los Angeles, and gives a better idea of the climate than columns
of statistics. Nor was it an exceptional year; for there
are orange-trees in the State over eighty years old, and
at the San Fernando Eey Mission olive-trees over a
hundred years old, proving that in all this period there
has been no frost sufficiently severe or prolonged to
injure these sensitive trees. In 1880 a little snow fell
in Los Angeles County — just' enough to astonish the
young folks, who had never before seen any; nor have
they seen any since. The only time when ice ever
forms (never more than a quarter of an inch in thickness) is immediately before sunrise, and hardly has the
sun risen above the horizon when it disappears again. THE GREAT  AMERICAN PARADISE. 27
To this short duration of the occasional frosts is
attributed the fact that they do not kiE the semi-tropical vegetation, as happens occasionally in Southern
Europe ; and at nine or ten o'clock the California farmers may be seen ploughing for their winter wheat, in
shirt-sleeves. Hence sufferers from pulmonary complaints who cannot endure cold will not know that the
thermometer ever reaches freezing-point if they remain
in bed till the sun has been out for half an hour. Immediately after sunset they will again need the protection of the house, or of a spring overcoat, as the
temperature at that time suddenly drops ten to thirty
degrees. But while the sun shines, they cannot afford
or desire to lose its rays for a single minute. It is the
very luxury of existence to walk, ride, or hunt in the
Southern California February sunshine. The oldest
inhabitants, used to it as they are, cannot help muttering every morning, " What a fine day!' January, February, March, and April, the very four months which
are the most disagreeable of the twelve in the East, are
here the most perfect: the sky of the deepest blue, the
air neither cold nor warm, exhilarating and laden with
the perfumes of orange blossoms and wild flowers.
There are, of course, some disagreeable days, but they
are few and far between, there being but twelve to
twenty rainy days in Los Angeles County during the
whole " rainy season " from November to May, so that
invalids hardly ever miss their sun-bath. Dr. C. B.
Bates mentions, in the Southern California Practitioner,
the case of a consumptive who kept a record of the
weather at Santa Barbara, and found that in a year
there were but fifteen days upon which he was confined
to the house, ten of them being rainy and five windy; 28
and another case of a lady who, without any other than
a brush shelter, spent all of eighteen months, except
nine nights, in the open air.
This wiE appear the more remarkable in view of a
certain peculiarity of Southern California rains. Elsewhere people often exclaim, "If we only had fine
weather in the daytime, I shouldn't care how much it
rained at night!" Here this wish is fulfilled, for most
of the rain falls at night. Some will be ready to cry
out against the " eternal monotony " of this sunshine;
but on arriving "on the ground they will find this objection purely theoretical, and will be only too glad
to know that they can make projects for work or pleasure, for picnics or excursions, weeks ahead, with an
almost absolute certainty of having fine weather. Still,
there are a few day-showers to break the " monotony,"
and they make up in profusion what they lack in frequency — a fascinating spectacle to the senses, and still
more to the imagination, which evokes pictures of prosperous grain-fields and lovely flower-meadows. Surely
that must be pronounced an ideal climate for an invalid
and valetudinarian where every rainy day, even during
the so-caEed rainy season, is regarded as a special dispensation of a kind Providence, is commented upon
in jubilant editorials by the journalists (who had for
some time predicted " better weather," i.e. rain), and is
recorded in telegraphic tables noting the daily rainfall
in every town, to the hundredth of an inch! And be it
admitted that there is ground for this jubilation; for in
three years out of ten the rainfaE is insufficient, and
then the crops suffer, except where irrigation is practised.
In-this immunity from rain-storms, Southern California THE  GREAT AMERICAN PARADISE.
possesses a great advantage over other winter resorts for
invalids, but it is only one out of half-a-dozen advantages which may here be briefly touched upon. The
first and most important is the dryness of the atmosphere, which favors the rapid radiation of the earth's
heat, so that the nights are always cool enough for refreshing sleep, even in midsummer; and sleep is the best
of all medicines. So dry is this air that strips of beef
can be jerked in it by simply letting them hang outdoors till desiccated. And the strangest part of it is
that the sea-breeze, which always blows during the
hottest hours of the day, is a dry wind, too — a circumstance which some have tried to account for by considering it a sort of undertow, or a wave of air which
came from the dry desert lands to the eastward, and
returns thither, absorbing but little moisture during its
brief contact with the ocean. But whatever the cause
of this dryness, it is a great hygienic factor, which this
region can play out as one of its highest trumps against
Florida and Italy. No enervating, malarial swamp
winds, no sultriness, such as often makes suicide a welcome thought in the East, will ever oppress any one
in this Western sanitarium, not even during the rainy
spells. Nor has California ever suffered from yellow
fever, like Florida, or from the cholera, which is a frequent menace in Spain, Italy, and Sicily. Again, on
the shores of the Mediterranean, in Europe as well as in
Africa, the invalid will find it almost impossible to obtain comfortable lodgings and proper food, except in the
large cities, while in California he can find home comforts in any village and many farmhouses in the midst
of the wildest scenery and purest air. Never will his
nostrils be offended here by the pestilential odors which 30
poison the air within a radius of several miles of Italian
and Spanish cities; nor will he ever be compelled by the
muddy condition of the streets to take his walks all
winter long on the roof of the hotel, as the proprietor of
the Continental at Tangier told me some of his invalid
winter-guests did. What a life compared with the
floral walks, the hunting, fishing, and picnicking on the
dry ground and under the blue, rainless sky of Los
Angeles or San Diego County! Surely, Southern California is destined to become the sanitarium, not only of
America, but of Europe as well.
What makes the fulfilment of this prophecy the more
probable is the circumstance that California is an all-
the-year-round sanitarium, and not one of the mere
winter resorts which compel the unwilling invalids to
pack up and seek a new clime, when May is gone. No
one would dream of spending the summer at Malaga,
Cannes, Naples, Palermo, Algiers, or Jacksonville, exposed to a sultry, malarial atmosphere, and the danger
of deadly epidemics; whereas California has countless
places where summer and winter are alike, or rather
alike unknown, the only season known being an eternal
spring. Many residents in' our Eastern and Middle
States have often wondered what has become of the
spring, which used to form one of our seasons. It has
followed the general tide of immigration, has gone West,
and may now be found in riotous exuberance along the
coast and the foothills of California. Not that all parts
of Southern California are as exempt from a summer
season as they are of winter. On the contrary, there
are many most desirable winter resorts which invalids
and tourists will be only too glad to abandon in June,
such as Riverside, and other places too far in the in- kk.
terior to get the benefit of the afternoon sea-breezes.
Even so near the sea as Los Angeles, it is by no means
pleasant to be exposed directly to the rays of the July
sun; yet, owing to the dryness of the atmosphere,—
which, moreover, increases as the heat increases, —100°
is not so oppressive here as 90° in New York. Besides, in the East there is no refuge from the all-pervading heat, except in a cellar; whereas here one needs
only to step in the shade to find relief, the difference
between the sunny and the shady side of a house running as high as 30°. Finally, as Southern California
has an average width of only forty miles, it takes only
an hour or two to reach the sea-coast, where it is always
pleasant; and cool mountain resorts are equally accessible everywhere, as can be seen by a glance at the map,
which is blackened by groups and chains of mountains,
attaining in the San Bernardino range a height of ovei
eleven thousand feet. No wonder that camping is the
favorite pastime of the Californian in summer, and not
only of the wealthy; for as the farmer does all his work
in winter, he can lie fallow in summer, like his somnolent fields, and pitch his tent along any beach or
canon he chooses; and camp-life is so inexpensive,
especially when rod and rifle are available, that the
poorest can indulge in this luxury during the warmest months.
Surely, when the human race cuts its wisdom teeth,
it will no longer crowd into dirty, noisy, malodorous
cities, but will seek health and fresh air all the year
round. Southern California will loom up more and
more as an ideal place for building up a vast city in the
country, so to speak, — a city in which each house will
be surrounded by ten or twenty acres of irrigated land, QO
capable of producing all the fruits and vegetables, eggs
and poultry, needed by the family, and shaded by one of
the fifty varieties of eucalyptus-trees already imported
from Australia, or by the spacious pepper-tree, and a
small orange, peach, and fig orchard. Such a city could
be built up in a few years, with shade and all. Elsewhere when people plant trees, they do so for the benefit of posterity; here a row of the eucalyptus will
grow in a few years large enough to afford abundance
of shade. Noiseless electric railways will traverse this
country town inT every direction, bringing the scattered
population to the business places and centres of amusement. But they will not crave the artificial excitements
of city life as they do now; for when there are no excursions to the sea or the mountains, the fascinating care of
the orange groves and flower gardens will absorb all the
leisure moments. What novel, what theatrical play,
could afford so much amusement as the daily irrigation
of a flower-bed, and noticing how the plants grow visibly
and in a few weeks develop into exotic wildernesses of
tropical and semi-tropical flowers of the most gorgeous
colors and unheard-of size ? Or watching a rose-bush
as it gradually intertwines itself among the branches of
an orange-tree, which some morning will present the
bewitching spectacle of a tree bearing red roses, white
orange blossoms, and golden oranges all at the same
time? Or sitting under this orange-tree in February,
listening to a mocking-bird perched on its branches,
and reading in your paper about the blizzards and storms
of the East, and the tornadoes and cyclones which
you know will never visit your home ? Why should our
novelists lay the scenes of their tales in Andalusia when
we have an Andalusia of our own here on the Pacific THE  GREAT  AMERICAN PARADISE. 33
Coast ? At one time it formed part of the so-called
Great American Desert, but in the next century it will
be known as the Great American Paradise.
Yet let not the coming population of the Pacific Andalusia fancy that they will be spared all the trials and
annoyances of life. Even Southern California has its
disadvantages, — quite enough to prevent it from degenerating into a Utopia. Thus you will some morning be
standing in your garden admiring your favorite banana
bush. Suddenly it wiE tremble and sink into the
ground a foot or two. Earthquakes are not unknown
in this region, but they don't " strike in one place " like
that. No, it was one of those irrepressible gophers, the
terror of the rural Californian. They will eat the roots
of your fruit trees and choicest flowers, regardless of
expense; and though cats and traps will catch them,
and irrigation drowns them, the neighboring fields
always furnish a fresh supply; and what is worse, their
subterranean passages from these fields serve as tunnels
which carry off your water, and make you pay twice as
much for irrigation as you would have needed but for
those holes. Then there are scale-bugs of all colors,
which attack your orange-trees and have to be sprayed
off; and a mysterious disease which kills your vines j
and small green insects which eat up your flowers and
buds so that you need a whole drug store to combat them.
Eabbits will eat your vegetables and grape-vines, and
the quails will feed on your grapes; and, to add insult
to injury, the Los Angeles sporting clubs have succeeded in passing a law which prevents you from shooting these birds at a time when it would do most to
protect your crops. However, if you are a sportsman,
you will forgive and observe this law, which enables 34
you at other times to shoot at a flock of quail in your
own vegetable garden, though you live in a town of
two or three thousand inhabitants.
The desolate appearance which all the unirrigated
parts of the country present after May must also be
reckoned among the disadvantages of this climate; for
a sensitive soul can hardly help feeling pity for the
drooping, parched vegetation, especially after having
noticed how eagerly it drinks in the first rain of the
autumn, with as much evident enjoyment as a Bavarian emptying his mug of beer at a draught. Nor can
one help admitting that the orange groves and eucalyptus avenues, delightful as they are, cannot entirely
atone for the absence of green forests; for Southern
California, except in the foothills, is as treeless as Spain—
which it resembles in so many other respects, — and a
single oak-tree has more than once furnished the nucleus
of a town. The higher mountains are as bare of trees
as the valleys, but this is compensated for by the consequent greater clearness and variety of the sculptured
outlines, and by the snows which fall during every
rainstorm, sometimes extending almost down to the
foothills. In the clear southern atmosphere these mountains, though they be fifty or sixty miles away, seem to
be almost within stone's throw; and as they are visible
everywhere, they constitute one of the greatest charms
of Southern California. Once in a while, however,
this view is spoiled for a day or two by one of those
desert winds and sand-storms which are the most annoying feature of this climate, and are known as the
Norther, or the " Santa Ana " wind, as the Anaheimers
caE it, in order to give a hated rival town a bad name.
Without being a hurricane, or even a gale, this wind THE GREAT AMERICAN PARADISE.
reaches a considerable velocity, is as dry and warm as if
it came from an oven, and raises clouds of dust which
obscure the sun and mountains as effectually as the
smoke of the forest fires does in Oregon, and a film of
which even lines the waters of the Pacific to a considerable distance from the shore. If I finaEy mention
that this dust, even when it lies quietly on the ground
two or three inches thick during seven or eight months
of the year, is by no means a desirable thing to have
about, I shall have mentioned all the serious blemishes
that I could discover on the face of this fair country;
and they are so insignificant compared with its attractions that I have given them the advantage of having
the last word in this chapter, confident that they cannot
essentially modify the opinion therein expressed as to
the future of Southern California. IV.
After enjoying the sights of Los Angeles, including
the palms and orange groves, the cable-car scenery, and
Chinatown, which have been often enough described, ii
wiE repay the tourist to devote a week or two to a
round trip through that part of the State which lies south
of Los Angeles as far as San Diego and Tia Juana on
the Mexican border. Take a ticket to Riverside, via
Orange, and stop over a day at Anaheim, which commands a speciaEy fine view of the snow-capped San
Gabriel range and the giant San Bernardino. Anaheim
is known as the " mother colony," having been founded
as early as 1858 by a party of fifty Germans from San
Francisco, in search of a pleasant site for homes and
good soE for raising Rhine wine. To-day the population is no longer exclusively German, nor is wine-making the chief industry; for Anaheim enjoys the sad
distino-tior- of being the place where the destructive vine
disease originated, and now there are few good vineyards
left in the vicinity, though the cellars of the hospitable
families are still well stocked with a Riesling that unmistakably betrays its legitimate descent from the celebrated Johannisberger stock on the Rhine. Undaunted
by their misfortune, the Anaheimers have dug out their
dead vines and planted in their place oranges, walnuts,
pampas plumes, and figs, which in a few years will bear
as rich fruit and as big profits as the former vineyards.
The fields and orchards are supplied with water through
a ditch from the Santa Ana River, sixteen miles long,
and lined all the way with willows. A drive along
this ditch is interesting, as is a visit to the ostrich farm,
two or three miles from the town. If a longer stay is
contemplated, there is excellent hunting of wild goose,
ducks, and other water-fowl, all the way from Anaheim
to the ocean, while in the cactus fields around the town
may be found quails and pigeons, and the sportive jack-
rabbit abounds. In hunting him, you not only satisfy
the craving for murder of some sort, which still lingers
as a relic of savagery in the gentlest human breast, but
you do a great service to the farmers, who are sometimes obliged in self-defence to organize rabbit drives,
at which two or three thousand of the long-eared, fleet-
footed robbers are killed.
Rabbit-hunting in cactus fields is a sport quite sui
f/eneris. The moment you catch a glimpse of Jack, he
is apt to catch a glimpse of you and dodge behind a cactus bush; and if you follow him too quickly but unwisely, you will suddenly find your nether limbs pierced
with a thousand fish-hook-pointed thorns, requiring an
hour or two of hard and bloody work for their extraction.    Unless you kill him on the spot he will crawl 38
into a cactus bush, where neither dog nor devil can
get at him. You know just where he is, but he might
as well be at the bottom of the Pacific so far as you are
concerned. But the loss is not great; for three out of
four of these rabbits are not fit to eat, and are therefore
usually chopped up for chicken food. Whether it is
that in their flight they run against a thorny cactus
leaf or that they carry off part of a load of shot, the
fact is that the meat is generally diseased, being filled
with a granular jelly-like substance like tapioca pudding. Tourists will do well to avoid hare when they
find it on a Los Angeles bill of fare, as there is little
reason to believe that the huge piles of jacks seen in
the market there have been carefully sorted. But there
is another much smaller rabbit, the cotton-tail, which
affords equally good sport, and which is always good to
eat; the younger ones tasting somewhat like chicken.
Near the towns they are shy, active dodgers, and hard
to shoot unless you sneak on them; but in less frequented hunting-grounds they graze complacently along
the roadsides and look upon passing buggies as calmly
as cows. Bang! goes the gun; Nero jumps out and
brings the victim; and in this way dozens can be bagged
in a few hours, before sunset, without once leaving the
buggy; so that even invalids and cripples can go rabbit-hunting in Southern California. But there are
stranger things stiE.
o o
Did you ever see a cow eat oranges off a tree ? That
was one of the sights I witnessed in Anaheim. Not
satisfied with the basketful of windfall seedlings which
she received every day, our Millie, like Eve, cast longing eyes on the fruit tree near her open stable, and one
day she broke loose and had a regular picnic before she THE  HOME  OF THE  ORANGE. 39
was discovered. Her daughter, too, a promising young
Jersey of six weeks, after one or two suspicious trials,
became very fond of oranges, and having eaten three or
four, would baah for more. The children of our Mexican neighbors, seeing all this fun, would come in to buy
some for themselves, and received a liberal dozen for
five cents.
These seedling oranges make delicious orangeade, and
have a certain value because they ripen later than the
finer sorts and produce larger crops; but they are rather
sour and thick-skinned, and therefore fetch only a dollar
or even seventy-five cents a box on the tree and two
dollars at Chicago, while the best budded variety brings
two dollars and a half to three dollars on the tree and
four dollars to four dollars and a half in Chicago. Consequently the seedlings are no longer set out to any
extent, while the demand for Washington-navel-trees
was so great last winter that the nurserymen could not
supply the demand, and young trees had to be imported
from Florida. The Washington-navel is by far the
best of all California oranges. It is a Brazilian orange,
imported in 1873, and seems specially adapted to the
climatic conditions of California. Riverside is its chief
home, and Riverside navels are so highly valued that
even in Los Angeles you get only three or four of them
for a quarter of a dollar. They are very large, and, like
the Spanish blood-oranges, almost always seedless, have
a thin skin (with a small, navel-like formation or even
a tiny orange at one end), and a sweet and most delicately flavored juice. I have squeezed as many as
twenty teaspoonfuls of juice out of a single one of these
oranges — a feat which I have never succeeded in accomplishing with a Florida orange.    (I may add in paren- 40
thesis that to eat an orange with a teaspoon is to lose
two-thirds of its flavor.)
The town of Orange, between Anaheim and Riverside, already gives warning of the neighborhood of the
State's orange centre. The station, in the springtime,
is piled up to the ceiling with boxes of oranges, and
near by a number of men are busily at work wiping the
golden fruit with wet rags and rolling it down inclined
boards to dry, preparatory to packing. The fruit is
generally bought on the trees by the packing companies,
who send roundHbheir men with ladders, and sacks suspended around their necks, from which the fruit is
transferred to boxes, to be repacked afterwards, the
bruised or imperfect ones being thrown out, so that
three boxes (of the seedlings at any rate) yield only
two for the market. Orange-picking is painted by the
imagination as the most poetic of all agricultural
employments, and nothing certainly could look more
picturesque than the boxes of luscious fruit scattered
through an orchard, under the dark-green, fragrant
trees; but the orange-tree, like the rose-bush that loves
to twine around it, bristles with thorns which cry for
blood, and make orange-picking about as exciting and
perilous a pursuit as rabbit-hunting amid the cactus
The town of Orange belonged till lately to Los
Angeles County (a separate Orange County was
formed last year with Santa Ana as its capital), but
before reaching Riverside we have entered San Bernardino County, the largest in the United States —
"about the size of the States of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, and Massachusetts combined." The
counties of Southern California are very much larger THE HOME  OF  THE  ORANGE. 41
than those of the central and northern part of the State,
and as the population increases they will doubtless be
further subdivided. But it is doubtful if San Bernardino County will be divided very soon, for the
greater part of it is comprised in the irredeemable
Mojave Desert. The region west of the Bernardino
range, however, is one of the most valuable in the
State, experience having shown that it is the chosen
home of the orange. Los Angeles County has many
fine and luxuriant orange groves, and more of them
than San Bernardino County; yet to see California
orange culture in its highest perfection, one must go to
Riverside. Nowhere else do the orchards seem so luxuriant and so well cultivated, or the fruit and trees so
glossy and clean. Here the oranges do not need cleaning with a rag, owing to the absence of the black scale
which elsewhere often gives the leaves and fruit a dirty
appearance. The white scale-bug, too, which destroys
the trees, has thus far spared Riverside groves, and in
the business street of the town a notice is posted warning purchasers of orange-trees not to import any from
infected counties. The orange is not indigenous to
California, as it is to Mexico and Florida; it does not
flourish here without some care, and becomes remunerative in proportion to the amount of care bestowed on
it. A glance at the well-ploughed, weedless, carefully
irrigated orchards of Riverside at once explains the
enormous profits realized by local growers; and an
incident that occurred at Anaheim throws further light
on the matter. Noticing a couple of malodorous freight-
cars on the side track, I asked a man what they contained. "Manure," he replied, "from the numerous
sheep corrals in the neighborhood, and bound for River- 42
side," adding that this had been found the best manure
for oranges, and that in a few years the Anaheimers,
who now foolishly sold their treasure, would be importing it from elsewhere at an exorbitant price. Rows of
cypress-trees are planted along the edge of every
orchard, and sometimes even traverse the orchard in
several places, to serve as windbreaks; for though there
are no hurricanes to provide against, the desert wind is
sometimes sufficiently boisterous to shake down bushels
of unripe fruit and break the heavily laden branches
unless thus protected.
The best way to see the Riverside orange groves, and
marvel at their extent, is to ride or walk along Magnolia
Avenue, doubtless the finest avenue in America. It is
laid out a distance of twelve miles, and seven miles are
now finished. Between the road and the houses on each
side are four rows of tall eucalyptus and spreading pepper-trees, and two rows of fan palms, ten to twenty feet
in height, and growing more beautiful every year. Nor
is this fine avenue a monopoly of carriage-owners; for
the poorest can enjoy its sights by paying ten cents for
a ride in the street cars, which have their track under a
row of pepper-trees, without interfering with the broad
carriage-drive. In this way Riverside spreads itself out,
covering a territory, orchards included, of fifty-four
square miles, and almost realizing the ideal of one of
those California " rural cities of the future," sketched in
the last chapter. The grounds of some of the elegant
villas which line this road are thrown open to the public, and one of them, which I examined, with its extensive stables, shady walks, hammocks, tennis grounds,
and notices of club meetings, and al-fresco teas, had an
aE of hospitality and sociability, recalling the life on
Southern plantations before the Civil War.    The large
adobe house, a relic of the Spanish occupation, was deli-
ciously cool on a warm day, and the owner said he did
not find it unhealthy.    He showed me through his extensive orchard, and with a large table-knife cut open
specimens of more than half-a-dozen different kinds of
budded oranges for me to taste.    They were all sweet
and juicy, but he had to admit himself that the differ-'
ences in flavor were not so pronounced as the differences
in the original homes of these varieties led one to expect.
California fruit-growers doubtless attempt too much in
seeking to raise oranges from so many different countries in the same field without losing their characteristic
flavor.    This difference in flavor is due to differences in
soil and climate, and can only be preserved and reproduced in a similar soil and climate.    As California fortunately has an infinite variety of climates and soil, it
is probable that the problem of raising Italian, Spanish,
Mexican, and Florida oranges all in the same State will
yet be solved, but not in one and the same orchard.
The Spanish blood-orange, for instance, the most delicately flavored of all oranges, is rarely seen in California;
and when I asked why, I was told that it was inclined
to sport and lose its  characteristics.    There is a fortune in store for the man who finds out under what conditions this variety flourishes in Spain, and seeks out a
similar locality for it at home.    Another excellent variety,  the  Florida  russet, I never saw on the Pacific
Coast.    Its appearance is against it, and it is difficult to
teach people to select their fruit for the palate rather
than the eye.
Riverside is a little too far inland to get much benefit
from the ocean breezes, but it is surrounded by moun- 44
tains, snow-capped till summer, which to some extent
atone for this disadvantage, and which make Riverside,
from a scenic point of view, one of the most attractive
places in the State. This, combined with its horticultural prosperity, causes it to grow rapidly, and among
the new comers and the old there are a large number
of English families, who, of course, endeavor to bring
their household gods and customs with them. Foremost among these is the fox-hunt; but as there are no
foxes to be hunted, the simple-minded plebeian jack-
rabbit has to take the place of his astute, bushy-tailed
colleague. There are no fences to jump or fields to
destroy, and everything is in plain sight; but as the
riding is much faster than in England, there is no lack
of excitement. To come home from one of these hunts
with a pair of rabbit ears in her hat is the chief pride of
the English damsels at Riverside. Besides, these ornaments take the place of a parasol, much needed here
sometimes. In midsummer, no doubt, Riverside is a
good place to get away from, but in winter it offers
special advantages to invalids, provided they are willing
to submit to being treated like children, in being told
what they may drink and what they may not. Riverside is a prohibition town. So I discovered at the hotel
when I asked for a pint of claret. I have never been
drunk in my life, and I find that a few glasses of pure
claret aid my digestion, and moreover I like it, and am
able to pay for it. Yet here I, who am supposed to be
a free citizen in a free country, am placed in a position where I cannot indulge in a harmless and useful
pleasure which concerns no one but myself, without
breaking the law. Of course I broke the law, as anybody but a fool or a coward ought to do.    A few words THE  HOME OF THE  ORANGE.
in private to the waiter, and the wine appeared on the
table. Of course, when I asked him how much it was,
he said he wouldn't charge for it, — he had merely
brought it " to oblige me " ; and of course I asked how
mueh he paid for it, and then left that amount, plus
a suitable fee, on the table. A resident with whom I
conversed subsequently on the subject gave me some
instances of capital withheld and capital withdrawn
from Riverside in consequence of the prohibition law,
which unfits it as a residence for people who like to be
free and law-respecting at the same time. A friend in
Los Angeles had previously explained to me how Pasadena was damaged by the local prohibition law (which I
believe has since been repealed), and gave an amusing
account of the visit of the city fathers to Mr. Raymond,
who continued to serve wine to his tourist and invalid
guests after the law had been passed. Mr. Raymond
quietly informed them that if they would not allow him
to run a first-class hotel in their town, he would puE
it down and rebuild it elsewhere. As the Raymond
is one of the largest hotels and chief resorts on the
Pacific Coast, the city fathers got alarmed, took their
leave, and never molested Mr. Raymond again.
One more instance: Until within a year or two the
owner of Catalina Island would not aEow any beer
or liquor to be sold to the thousands of campers on it;
whereupon, an enterprising man hired a barge, moored
it a hundred yards from the shore, put canvas over
it, filled it with drinkables, and hired a boy to ferry
his customers over and back. Mr. Shatto thereupon
refused to allow the steamer to land anything for this
man on his pier; but the latter got around this, too, by
simply having his beer-barrels lowered directly from the 46
steamer to his boat. These are illustrations of how
prohibition prohibits in California.
It is not necessary to stuff your pockets and valise
full of oranges on leaving Riverside for the South; for
you wiE find just as good fruit, and plenty of it, in San
Diego County. Backing up to a station called Citrus,
a few miles north of Riverside, you wait for the train
which leaves Barstow on the Atlantic and Pacific,
or Santa F£, Railway, for San Diego, and which, soon
after you have boarded it, enters the county of that
name, — a county not quite as large as San Bernardino,
but still, according to the guide-book, covering as much
ground as Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island,
and Delaware combined. It forms the southwestern
corner of the United States, and owes much of its local
color to the proximity of Mexico, or Lower California, —
a peninsula which a large number of educated people
in the East are in the habit of mistaking for " Southern
California." The branch of the Santa Fe* road referred
to is known as the California Southern Railroad. Between the Bernardino range and the ocean it traverses
a region where the spring vegetation, though almost as
abundant as in Los Angeles County, is not so luxuriant,
owing to the diminished rainfall. Three-fifths or more
of the vegetation which carpets the fields seems to consist of Composite, and the predominant color is yellow
— as if to hint at the fact, which has long since been
demonstrated, that there is more gold to be got out of
the surface of California soil than out of all its subterranean mines.
One never tires of looking at these gaudily colored
fields, especially when bordered by foothills, whose
green garb is ornamented with red, yellow, brown, and
ssp ■h
blue patches, like a " crazy-quilt," varying in shade and
atmospheric effect with the time of the day; or when,
as on this route, there is a background of high mountains, with their snow caps drawn half-way down their
treeless foreheads as late as May. The two chief mountains are too long-drawn-out to be imposing sculpturally, but the great mass of snow on them gains in
charm by contrast with the surrounding blue sky and
warm sunshine. The best point of view is from Perris,
the junction for the short branch road to San Jacinto.
Soon thereafter the Laguna is reached, also known
as Lake Elsinore; but if the tourist expects to see one
of those picturesque mountain lakes for which the
State is famous, he will be grievously disappointed.
The Laguna is a commonplace, dreary old pond, with
steep hills on one side and flat on the other. There
are ducks on it, but no cover to approach them. In
May, 1889, it was sixteen feet higher than two years previously, and it has a habit of getting very low till the
real estate on its banks has been claimed, whereupon it
roguishly rises and submerges it for a few years. But the
soil in the vicinity is credited with marvellous properties.
We now enter the region of Indian missions and
reservations, and expect to see some of the redskins
loitering about the stations, as they do at Yuma and
elsewhere; but not a single one is to be seen at any of
the towns. Those who make pilgrimages in the tracks
of novel heroines may find something to interest them
hereabouts with their " Ramona " as a guide ; but otherwise the region is dreary and desolate, its only apparent
attraction being the snow mountains just described.
A pleasant change is afforded by the passage through
the Temecula Canon, in which it is refreshing to fol- 48
low along a creek, though it be but a few inches deep
and two or three feet wide. It cools the air and lines
the bank with pretty bushes.
Presently smoke-like mists begin to rise from the
water, as if it were on fire; scattered pools with bulrushes and flocks of birds, and the russet color and rank
monotony of the vegetation, indicate the approach to
the ocean. A cool saline breeze strikes the cars; the
windows of the more sensitive passengers are lowered,
and at the same moment the Pacific comes into sight —
to many of the" tourists their first view of the king of
waters. But the outlook is limited, for a few miles at
sea hovers a fog-bank which looks as opaque and solid
as if a Erupp gun could make no impression on it. For
the rest of the way to San Diego the ocean is almost
constantly in sight, and new varieties of plants and
flowers occupy the attention. Conspicuous among the
flowers are a white morning-glory, larkspurs, and lupines
in several colors, the ice-plant with red flowers and
leaves that seem to be covered with icicles, and a flowering bush which at a distance resembles the alpenrose.
mm V.
Although San Diego has no lack of hotels, most of
the tourists cross the bay which separates the city from
the thirteen-mile-long peninsula known as Coronado
Beach, and take up their abode in the Coronado hotel,
covering more than seven acres, — the largest in Southern California, and second in size and elegance only to
the Del Monte at Monterey. Porpoises sport about the
ferry-boat, almost within arm's reach, and excite the appetite for sea-fishing. On the peninsula, a steam-dummy
connects with the ferry and conveys those passengers
for whom the coaches are too slow to the hotel. Coronado affords an excellent instance of what can be done
in this region with irrigation. A few years ago this
whole peninsula was a desert, while now there are numerous villas and stores, and good roads, and avenues of
young trees, which in a few years will afford welcome
shade. The hotel is surrounded by flower-beds as mon-
strous in proportion as itself, crowded with enormous
double stocks, petunias, large pansies, marguerites, etc.,
etc.:   and another  superb  flower-garden takes up the
49 50
interior court. Dining-room, parlors, and dance-hall
are sufficiently spacious for all emergencies, and simply
though tastefully decorated. It may seem a disadvantage that, owing to the position of the dance-hall, there
are few rooms facing the ocean; but as it is always cool
here, day and night, summer and winter, the site of
rooms is not so important a matter as on the Atlantic
No other part of California has so perfect a climate
as Coronado and San Diego, the mean difference in temperature between summer and winter being only 12.3°,
with an average of only five days a year when the thermometer rises above 85°; and, what is still more remarkable, only twelve days a year when it rises above 80°.
As only ten inches of rain fall in a year, — just one hundred inches less than at Sitka, the other extremity of our
Pacific Coast, — and clouds or fogs of more than a few
hours' duration are rare, it may be inferred that the sun
shines almost perpetually, even in winter. When an
invalid who proposes to make the Coronado his home
for awhile reads in the rules and regulations pasted
upon his door that a single fire costs a dollar, he is
relieved to be told that cold weather is as scarce as fuel,
and that, according to official government records, during the ten years from 1876 to 1885, there were only six
days on which the temperature fell below 35°, two on
which it fell to 32°, and none below that point! I had
also read somewhere that mud is practically unknown,
since the little rain that falls sinks into the soil immediately, so that it is safe to lie on the ground a few hours
after a shower. I was therefore surprised, on picking
up a local newspaper, to see an editorial headed " Too
Much Mud."   But on examination it proved to be a
political, not a meteorological article. On politics cE-
mate has no effect.
The Coronado beach is well adapted to bathing,
which is indulged in all the year round, there being only
about six degrees' difference in the temperature of the
water, winter and summer. When the ocean is too
rough, or the tide unfavorable, the bay affords a safe
bathing-ground, as at Fire Island. That the ocean is
rough sometimes is evinced by the sad havoc it has
made with the plank walks between the hotel and the
water, and, as at Coney Island, it seems to be encroaching on the hotel premises, and will soon thunder against
its very foundations. It is interesting to walk along the
beach towards Point Loma, on which a lighthouse is
picturesquely situated. Entertainment is afforded on
the way by the water-fowl, which stand inside of the
breakers waiting for a big foaming wave, into which they
plunge headlong, emerging calmly swimming on the
other side, with a fish struggling in the beak. Twenty
miles at sea, to the southwest, are the Coronado Islands,
the haunt of seals, occasionally visited by yachting parties. There is always something that appeals to the
imagination in the meeting of two countries, and the
fact that these islands belong to Mexico makes them
doubly interesting.
Twice a week or oftener opportunity is given the
guests at the Coronado to put foot on Mexican soil. A
steam-dummy, with open cars, starts from the hotel, goes
down the peninsula and up on the other side of the bay,
as far as National City, and then branches off, first to the
great Sweet Water Reservoir, and then to Tia Juana.
It would be difficult to imagine a more delightful excursion than this  seventy-mile  round trip in open cars. 52
The cool, fragrant air is free from dust, and the country
is so picturesque that one keeps on choosing one place
after another as an ideal site for a cottage and an orange
grove. On reaching the Sweet Water Reservoir, which
covers seven hundred acres, it is difficult to believe that
it is not a natural lake, so prettily and cosily does it rest
at the foot of the surrounding hills. Yet here, where
now the wild ducks disport themselves, stood several
farmhouses a few years ago, surrounded by green fields.
The dam which created this lake is about four hundred
feet long at the top and forty-six feet thick at the base,
built of solid rock; and the reservoir holds six billion
gallons, sufficient to supply National City and San Diego
with water for consumption and irrigation for three
years, though not another drop of rain should add to its
volume. A flume seven miles in length carries the
water to the two cities, which now, with abundant and
cheap water, can amend their arid, treeless appearance,
which at present is their least attractive feature.
After visiting Sweet Water Lake, the train faces about
and turns towards old " Aunt Jane," or Tia Juana, in
Mexico, passing through the town of Chula Vista, a
characteristic Southern California enterprise. A tract
of five thousand acres has been subdivided by a land
company into five-acre lots, with avenues and wide
streets through which the steam-motor passes, and ornamented with thousands of evergreen trees. These lots
are sold only to purchasers who will agree to build on
them houses costing not less than two thousand dollars
within six months from date of purchase; and by way
of providing models and starting the ball, the company
itself has erected a number of cottages. Such an attempt
to force a town by hot-house methods would fail any-
where else : here it will probably succeed.    Every time
the  train  stops,  a  handful  of real-estate  circulars is
thrown into each car, setting forth the unique advantages of that particular locality; while the fine appearance of the residences, with their lovely gardens and
orchards, contributes its share towards advertising the
region.    For the convenience of the scattered settlers,
the train-boy throws the daily papers into the yards from
the flying train.    Near the boundary line are some yellow pools, in one of which a water-snake darted out its
angry tongue at a whole carload of tourists and then
dived out of sight.    A few minutes more and we were
on Mexican soil; and though sufficient of the Mexican element lingers in Southern California to form  a
gradual transition, the change is distinctly perceptible.
Characteristically enough, the  first  thing I  saw after
leaving the train was a young burro, with silky hair and
no larger than a Newfoundland dog.    In Spanish countries, where the railroad ceases the donkey begins.    One
side of Tia Juana is American; the other, Mexican.   The
dividing line, where the Estados Unidos meet Mexico, is
occupied by a restaurant which bears the modest title of
I Delmonico."    Opposite is a cigar-store which has the
suggestive sign of " The last chance."    There are more
saloons in Tia Juana than buildings.    This may seem a
paradoxical statment, but it is true; for some of the
saloons are in tents, open in front, with a counter in the
centre and empty beer-barrels for seats.    The sight of
the town is the Custom-House, with its polite but pistolled officials, and the rooms filled with rifles which parties crossing the line had to leave behind to await their
return.    There are also a few curiosity stores, conducted
with a truly Spanish lack of enterprise.    Almost every 54
tourist wants to buy a memento of his hour in Mexico,
but there is nothing to be had except some very crude
pottery and a few tiny, hideous clay gods. Nor does the
proprietor's knowledge of English go beyond the ability
to say twenty cents or thirty cents.
Looking beyond Tia Juana, nothing is to be seen but
lone, low mountains, — not a house or hut anywhere,—
and we gladly return to civilization with the train. On
the way back, the conductor pointed out to me the place
where the famous Bonnie Brae lemons are grown. I
had previously eaten some at San Diego, and found them
large and juicy, with fewer seeds and a much less thick
and coarse skin than other California lemons. This
variety seems destined to retrieve the reputation of the
California lemon, which is not equal to that of the
orange, or of foreign lemons. But I doubt if any kind
of lemon will have much of a future in this country.
At San Francisco lemons are not valued nearly so highly
as Mexican limes, which are gradually taking their place.
The lime has a tougher skin than the lemon, and does
not break so easily in the squeezer. In fact, it can
be easily squeezed by hand; and besides, there is more
juice in a small lime than in a lemon twice its size and
twice or three times its cost. Its taste, after a few
trials, is more agreeable and piquant than that of, any
lemon, and I believe that Eastern cities will soon follow
the lead of San Francisco in this matter. The lemonade of the future will be made of limes. VI.
Eastern people have no idea how fast things grow
in California. Everybody, of course, has heard the
story of the farmer who in the morning planted watermelon seeds in his field, and in the evening found that
the vine had grown to his kitchen door and deposited
a ripe melon on the steps. But this is nothing compared with the way in which the cities grow. Thus, on
page 216 of Drs. Lindley and Widney's valuable work
on "California of the South," we read of "San Diego's
fifteen thousand inhabitants," while on page 218 (and
it surely cannot have taken more than a day or two to
write these two pages) they say that "San Diego is
growing with most wonderful rapidity. Its population
is doubtless twenty-five thousand." Most wonderful in-
deed!    San Diego did seem quite a lively place when I
p— ,%
saw it, although this may have been partly attributable
to its being the headquarters of the miners going to the
Santa Clara mines in Lower California. 'Tis an ill
wind, etc.; and the losses of these duped miners were
the gain of the San Diego merchants, who sold almost
a hundred thousand dollars' worth of .victuals and tools
to the gold-hunters. The temptation to follow the latter and get a glimpse of a genuine California mining-
camp was great; but on hearing of the hardships to be
endured, of the two hundred dollars' duty laid by the
Mexican government on a single wagon and team crossing the border, and the taxes on provisions equal to
their full value, which raised the cost of food in camp
to figures considered fabulous even by miners accustomed to starvation prices,—not to mention the tropical rains just then prevalent, which made tenting an invitation to catarrh, rheumatism, and pneumonia, — I
concluded to move northward sixty miles or so, and
spend a few weeks instead on Catalina Island.
Before leaving the Coronado I had an opportunity to
note a curious way of settling urban questions in California. It had long been in dispute whether or not
Coronado Beach belonged to San Diego, so it was determined to settle the matter on election day. There being
a law that no liquor may be sold in San Diego on- an
election day, the barkeeper at the Coronado hotel was
instructed to keep open, for which he was promptly
arrested. This was to compel the courts to decide the
question at issue. What the decision was, I do not
know, as I left the next morning. Retracing my steps
as far as Oceanside, I took the California Central direct
back to Los Angeles. This road continues to skirt the
ocean as far as San-Juan-by-the-Sea (a few miles from SANTA  CATALINA  ISLAND.
the famous San Juan Capistrano Mission), where the
tourist bids good-by to the Pacific, not to see it again till
he reaches San Francisco, unless he takes a branch road
to one of the numerous seaside resorts of Los Angeles
or to Santa Barbara.
San-Juan-by-the-Sea was called by Dana, in his " Two
Years before the Mast," " the only romantic spot in California," which is probably the most absurd statement
regarding California that has ever got into print. But
it certainly is one of the most charming points on the
coast for those who love solitude, and all tourists ought
to stop over at least between two trains and see it.
If they decide to spend the night at the "hotel," I
wish them better luck than befell me. Early in the
morning, having paid the (really) big sum of one dollar
for supper, lodging, and breakfast, I went down to the
beach, about half a mile from the station, across an immense field of wild mustard, buried completely in a sea
of fragrant yellow flowers waving over my head, and
then had to cross a lively little creek on a narrow plank,
— a creek which enjoys the satisfaction, rare in this
region, of reaching the ocean without being tapped, or
absorbed by the thirsty sun. The view from its mouth
contrasts delightfully with the uninterrupted, flat sandy
beach all the way up from San Diego. A high, precipitous rocky shore rises abruptly, and presents itself as a
bulwark against the restless waves. It leads up to hiEs
from which fine views may be enjoyed, and which give
room for daily varied rambles which one misses so much
at a flat place like Coronado Beach. As there is a fine
beach a short distance below, it would be a splendid
place for a hotel, and is already much frequented in
midsummer by campers.    When I was there, a deserted 58
hut was the only visible evidence of human agency,
and the solitude was emphasized by four monstrous
peEcans sitting motionless and majestic on an isolated
rock half a mile at sea. Below the precipice, where
the waves in low water tumble gently over the rocky
de*bris jutting far out into the sea, may be found quantities of shells, not dead and deserted specimens lying
bleaching on the beach, but shells and cockles alive and
wide awake, and moving about Eke Ettle pagodas with
wheels and clockwork.
On the way back to the station I cut off one of the tallest mustard plants, — bushes they might well be called, so
thick and tough are the stems at the base, — and asked
the station master how high he thought it was. He measured it and found it eleven feet in height! Then for
the first time I felt convinced that the narrative of an
Anaheimer, who told me how thirty years ago he once
got lost on horseback in a wild-mustard field on the fertile
soil near where Fullerton now stands, was not a " California story." To-day many of these fields of wild
mustard are mowed down, yielding a crop which is the
more profitable as there are no expenses for ploughing
and sowing. I cannot see why there should not also be
money in the castor bean, which, elsewhere cultivated
in gardens as an ornamental shrub, is here a weedy nuisance hard to exterminate when it once gains a foothold.
I have seen it grow as high as a second-story window
in Los Angeles, side by side with a fuchsia tree, so
to speak, stiE higher; while roses often cover a whole
house, roof and all, and would aspire to the moon if
there was a connecting link.
To reach Catalina Island we take the train at Los
Angeles for its old harbor town, San Pedro, whence a SANTA CATALLNA ISLAND. 59
steamer makes trips to the island three times a week.
San Pedro is considered good fishing-ground, has numerous duck-ponds in the vicinity, and appears to be
the headquarters of aE the sea-gulls on the Pacific, the
beach being completely fringed by them at times. The
chief article of import seems to be timber, the wharves
being covered with acres of boards and planks, brought
from Humboldt County and from Oregon and Puget
Sound. A part of the town lies in a hollow which
forms a complete kettle, and must be an ideal breeding-
place for typhoid fever. Hotel accommodations are
very primitive, but the Southern Pacific is completing
a hotel near the lighthouse, where the sea-breezes can
never fail. The little steamer Hermosa, specially built
for the traffic between San Pedro and Catalina, is new
and comfortable, but has the great fault of rolling on
the slightest provocation. However, the distance is but
twenty miles, so that even those inclined to seasickness
need not dread the passage. Santa Catalina Island is
the second in size and the most interesting of the large
number of islands which lie along the coast of California, beginning with the Coronado group, just below
San Diego, and ending with Santa Cruz and Santa
Rosa, off Santa Barbara. As it is the only one which
has steam connection with the mainland, it has for
many years been visited every summer by thousands of
campers, and the hotel erected there lately has added
to its popularity, although for sanitary and scenic reasons the site chosen for it is not the best that could
have been found. The island is visible from the mainland aE along Los Angeles County, even far in the
interior, as it has mountains which rise to a height of
about three thousand feet.   Indeed,  as the boat ap- 60
proaches, we see that it consists entirely of mountains,
being a sort of floating highlands, like a section of the
Coast Range rising abruptly out of the ocean, without
any gradual slopes or foothills ; presenting a solid front
of perpendicular rocks except in a few places where the
wall is broken by a little cove or harbor, with a pebbly
beach, as at Avalon, where the hotel stands. A study
of the map of Southern California leaves no doubt in the
mind that these islands at one time actually did form
a part of the Coast Range, being connected with each
other and constituting a peninsula extending from Point
Conception to below Coronado, with a wide channel or
sound between (like that which now extends for about
a thousand miles from Olympia to Sitka), and navigated
by the Pineugnas Indians, who in the time of the early
Spanish voyagers inhabited Catalina Island, and were
noted for their fine physique and skill in shipbuilding.
Though they are now widely separated and scattered,
these Channel Islands continue to affect the climate of
Southern California by breaking the force of the wild
Pacific waves and winds.
This fact can be vividly realized by climbing the hills
on Catalina till the Pacific is sighted, dashing its huge
billows against the naked rocks that rise perpendicularly
to two thousand feet or more above it, the home of
eagles that build their nests in these inaccessible heights,
— monstrous birds, measuring sometimes twelve feet
from wing to wing. In striking contrast to this turbulence on the west side is the calm of the eastern side,
which is hardly ever disturbed, even in stormy weather.
Here the campers and hotel guests bathe in the bay
every day in the year, the temperature of the sea-water
in August being about 66°, and only four degrees lower
in midwinter; while in Rhode Island, for example, the
difference between midwinter and midsummer temperature is about 35°! The Euro Siwo, or Japan current, three to four hundred miles in width, which
is deflected by the Aleutian Islands southward along
the coast of Washington and Oregon, becomes so far
cooled off by the time it reaches San Francisco as to
make sea-bathing in that neighborhood unpleasant even
in summer. But this current is deflected again by Point
Conception; and between the Channel Islands and the
mainland south of this cape there is a return ocean current from the south, which partly accounts for the
higher temperature of the water at Catalina, as well as
along the main shore of Southern California.
The temperature of the air on Catalina Island hardly
ever rises above 85°, and, thanks to the twenty miles of
water Which separate it from the mainland, it is never
visited by the hot, parching desert winds. Yet, though
thus surrounded by a vaporous sea, fog is almost unknown, being shut out by the mountains, and, what is
stranger still, the air is said to be drier than on shore.
With such conditions and with constant sea-breezes and
an immunity from dust as complete as on shipboard, it
is no wonder that Catalina is beginning to be looked
upon as standing to Southern California in the same
relation as Southern California does towards other
States. I met several invalids afflicted with rheumatic
or lung troubles who had failed to find relief at Los
Angeles or Santa Barbara, but found it at once on Catalina Island; and convalescents make more rapid recovery there than elsewhere. He must be fastidious indeed who is not satisfied with the climatic conditions of
this island, and notwithstanding its mountainous struc- 62
ture, I am convinced that before the end of another
decade it will be covered with hundreds of handsome
cottages and several hotels and supply villages. There
is room for a considerable number of health and pleasure seekers; for the island is about twenty-three miles
long, and from one to seven wide.
A few miles from its northern end, Catalina presents
a curious contrast to its usual appearance. Here the
mountains terminate abruptly, and the island becomes
reduced to a narrow isthmus, about half a mile wide, on
one side of which are the turbulent Pacific breakers, on
the other the calm sound. Here are the ruins of government barracks, erected during the Civil War and
now deserted, but no other signs of human habitation,
though a hotel will doubtless be erected before long.
The only way of reaching this interesting point is by
an occasional excursion on a little tug-boat stationed at
Avalon, the only village on the island at present. It
consists of the Hotel Metropole (what a name for a
hotel in such a position!) and a row of shanties, half
wood and half canvas, in which bread and provisions
and shells can be obtained. The hotel is built on the
site of an old Indian burial ground, which is not a
pleasant thought to those who know that invisible
ghosts in the shape of typhoid-fever germs have been
exhumed from European graveyards which had been
undisturbed for several hundred years. For this and
other reasons the hotel ought to be removed part way
up the hill, just south of Avalon, whence a fine view of
the island and the sound can be obtained.
But do not fancy that from the top of this hill, or the
higher one to which it leads, you will catch sight of the
iEimitable Pacific.    The higher you climb, the higher do M.
the mountains, that were previously hidden from sight
by the lower intervening crests, loom up and shut out
the view westward. But these curved ridges, rising one
behind the other, like seats in a cyclopean amphitheatre,
are in themselves a fascinating sight, especially in
spring, when the hill-sides are green with high grass and
abundant shrubbery. Looking down from this hill, we
can see the large fish swimming about in the crystalline
water, several hundred feet below us. To lie here on
the grass, in the balmy sunshine, taking in the view and
inhaling the ocean breeze, mingled with the floral perfumes that rise around you, is the very luxury of existence, and every deep draught of this air is a day added
to one's life. Thanks to the breeze, no shade is needed,
and thus all the healing virtues of the sun's rays can be
Should the labor of climbing this steep hill be
dreaded, equally romantic spots may be found by following up the canon or gulch which leads from the
hotel into the midst of the hills by a gradual but steady
ascent. The road follows a dry brook-bed, which probably once in a while becomes a torrent, though heavy
rains are rare here, even during the "rainy season."
An endless variety of shrubs and flowers lines this road,
becoming more rarely beautiful in color and shape the
higher we rise. Climbing up one of the side gulches, I
was frequently obliged to cut my way with my cane
through bowers most gracefully built by the poison ivy
(or oak), which is so abundant throughout California,
afflicting some people, if they only pass near it, with a
painful swelling of the face, while to others it is as
harmless as is real oak or ivy. From one of these lovely
bowers a humming-bird arose and darted up into the air 64
as fast and straight as a rocket, till almost out of sight;
then down again like a lump of lead; then circling in
a wide curve about me, humming all the time like a
spinning-wheel. To an observer who stands perfectly
motionless, these birds afford no end -of amusement by
their wonderful swiftness and curious caprices. Often,
when I watered my flowers during the winter, one of
them would hover over the stream from the hose, take
a foot-bath for a minute, then alight on an orange-tree
for a second, and return to the sport again and again.
They are very abundant in California, these butterflies
among birds, as if to atone for the rarity of real butterflies, which is one of the most curious defects of this
State; for one would think that a country so crowded
with wild flowers would be the very paradise of butterflies. Another kind of bird very abundant on Catalina
Island is the quail, which, even without the advantage
of color, vies with the humming-bird in beauty. Being
seldom hunted, the quail are much tamer than on the
mainland. One couple had a nest in a cactus bush not
more than a hundred yards behind the hotel, where they
remained undisturbed till a heartless young idiot from
Los Angeles kiEed them with his shotgun. Walking
up the canon, one or two pairs repeatedly ran along
leisurely in the middle of the roadbed, not a hundred
feet ahead of me. At other times I came within a few
yards of them before they saw me, for the ground in
many places is covered with a velvety kind of grass,
noiseless and delightful to walk upon. Far up the
gradually narrowing gulches we come upon patches of
lovely maiden-hair and other ferns, guiding us to tiny
brooklets of clear cool water. Water is not abundant
on the island so far as explored, and last summer only SANTA  CATALINA ISLAND.
one of the springs near Avalon — that which supplies
the village pipes — was alive. But it would be easy to
secure all the water desired by damming up one of the
The most serious drawback to the delightful rambles
on Catalina Island is that one always has to keep an eye
on the possibility of running across a " rattler." The first
evening of my two weeks' sojourn I was sitting on the
hotel piazza, drinking in the salubrious night air, when
the conversation of a group of men attracted my attention. Two of them were representatives of an English
syndicate who were trying to buy the island, and have
since succeeded, I believe, in bagging it for six hundred
thousand dollars*. The reason why one of these ubiquitous English syndicates (who seem to "want the earth"
at present) coveted Catalina Island, is, according to the
Los Angeles papers, to be found in the fact that it
abounds in silver ore, which, though not rich enough to
be worked in this country, where labor is so expensive,
might be carried as ballast in vessels returning to
England, and profitably reduced to metal there. The
agents were interviewing a resident as to the advantages
and disadvantages of the island, and one of them, inter
alia, asked about snakes. " Not a snake on the island,"
was the answer. This was such curious and interesting information that I jotted it down in my notebook.
Next morning after breakfast I took a walk up one of
the hills, and just after passing a little wooden building, I came across a young Englishman in a white
flannel suit, who was cautiously prying along the road
on both sides. " Lost anything ? " I asked. " No," was
the reply; "I am looking for rattlesnakes. Eilled one a
few days ago right here, and don't like them quite so 66
near my house." He was greatly amused when I told
him how his countrymen had been "stuffed" at the hotel
on the preceding evening. " The island swarms with
snakes," he said. "They have never been interfered
with, and have been allowed to multiply for several centuries, until they have become as abundant as ground-
squirrels. Only the other day a party moved their tent
away from a spot over on that hill because a snake
family had established a previous claim on the neighborhood. However, you need not be afraid of walking
along the canorror up the grassy sides of the hills, for
they avoid the grass and haunt only the naked rocky
hill-sides, exposed to the full glare of the sun, where
they can be easily seen."
I soon found that the simplest way to steer clear of
rattlers is to hunt for them. I spent several hours looking for them in the most likely places, because I wanted
to study the nature of the beast and get a few rattles,
but not one did I see. There is no doubt, however,
that they exist in large numbers, and the sooner they
are exterminated, the better for the future prospects of
the island as an all-the-year-round health resort. However, it must be said that there are few instances of men
having been killed by snakes in California, while the
dreaded scorpions, centipedes, and tarantulas are hardly
more dangerous than hornets. According to Dr. Weir
Mitchell, who has made a special study of this subject,
a rattlesnake bite in the extremities rarely causes death
in this country, and he has known of nine dogs being
bitten by as many different snakes, and but two died.
He considers them a much-maligned animal, and says
they have always seemed to him averse to striking.
This agrees with what the late T. S. Van Dyke says in SANTA  CATALINA ISLAND.
his "Southern California": "At least a dozen times I
have either been about to step directly on one, or have
stepped over it, or else have set my foot directly beside
it. In no case have I been struck at by them, though I
have made them strike very savagely at a stick." " Hunters take no precautions against them, and children run
bare-legged through the bush everywhere without thinking of them." Still, the nervous might carry in their
pocket some permanganate of potash, which Dr. Mitchell
considers the most potent external antidote, that has
saved many lives.
It might be worth while to introduce on Catalina
Island some of the " road-runners " so common on the
mainland, — a bird looking somewhat like a large pheasant, which runs along the roads, seldom rises on its
wings, and is said to live on snakes, lizards, centipedes,
and similar delicacies, and is nevertheless pronounced a
good gastronomic morsel by those who have the courage
to eat it. It might also be good business policy to
import a few of the Arizona cowboys, who, after making
the rattlers strike, catch them by the tail and swing
them like a whip till the head flies off. But cowboys are
objectionable neighbors on other grounds, and it would
be better, aE things considered, to give the freedom of
the village to a dozen pigs, who would soon make rattlers scarce about camp, and who might be allowed to
run wild and clean out the whole island.
There would be a precedent for this in the wild goats
which were turned loose by Vancouver on this and
other Pacific islands, a hundred years ago, and which
have now multiplied to thousands. These wild goats
form one of the most characteristic attractions of Catalina.    They are hunted on horseback, and are often seen 68
in large herds, feeding along the hillsides. It is not
very easy to get near enough for a shot, but still one or
two are generaEy brought back as the result of a morning's ride; and the next day there is always " venison
with jelly" on the hotel biE of fare. If it were a little
more juicy and less insipid in taste (the young ones only
are eaten), it might deserve that name. Barring an
occasional hunt, these wild goats lead an ideal life,
which the happiest mortal must envy them, — no wild
beasts to prey on them, and plenty of grass-grown hillsides to climb arid browse upon. They are more fortunate than their cousins, the wild goats and half-wild
sheep on the neighboring island of San Clemente, which,
though almost as large as Catalina, is more barren, and
is said to have no water at aE except the heavy morning
dews which the animals sip in with their breakfast of
wild clover. Imagine a goat living on dew-drops and
clover leaves! What becomes of Puck and the tomato-
can theory ?
To those who find goat-hunting on horseback too
arduous and risky a sport, Catalina offers a variety of
entertainments in its bathing facilities and the rare
opportunities for botanic, mineralogic, and archseologic
research, besides fishing, watching the pelicans and flying-fish, and visiting the seal rocks. Bathing in the
placid bay lacks the excitement given by plunges into
foaming breakers, and it must be admitted that small
pebbles do not make as agreeable a beach as sand. Yet
those who can swim will enjoy a bath here as much as
anywhere. There is a drawback in the thought that
only sixty miles to the south, at San Diego, a young
man, while in bathing a few years ago, suddenly disappeared, being doubtless carried off by a shark.   How- SANTA CATALINA   ISLAND. 69
ever, no shark has ever been known to eat more than
one man at a time, so that if several go in together, each
one has a fair chance of escape. Small sharks are occasionally seen in the bay of Avalon, but no accident has
ever happened. Bathers are occasionally stung by a
kind of animal called a stingaree, which causes a wound
that must be cauterized, and is said to be almost as dangerous as a rattlesnake bite. But then we cannot
expect to have everything arranged to suit us.
The charms of Catalina's flowers to lovers of beauty
and botany I have already referred to, but I must not
forget to mention that the thrill of delight on coming
across the first Mariposa lily will mark an epoch in their
experience. Amateur mineralogists may go prospecting
for silver ore. In some places they will find patches of
coal-black soil, besides igneous rocks in abundance, and
other evidences of former volcanic agency. But the
greatest treat awaits the archaeologist, who may dig in
the site of the graveyards, or the former village, part
way up the main canon, for Indian relics. The objects
most frequently found are the pestles and mortars of
various sizes, in which the squaws ground their grain
and acorns, and strings of shells. These shells were
used by the Indians as money, and Catalina Island
was the place where most of them were found. The
Yankee, who has succeeded the Indian at Avalon, still
makes money out of these shells. There are a number
of varieties strewn along the beach; but the largest and
most beautiful is the abalone shell, the inner surface of
which is often equal to the finest mother-of-pearl, while
the outer surface can be made equally attractive by
persistent polishing. The professional abalone-hunters,
who have their stores at Avalon and ship large quan- ii
tities to the East, to be made into buttons, jealous of
competition, will tell you unblushingly in spring that
these animals are only caught in the winter; but after
a low tide you may see them rowing in with a whole
boat-load of them. It is interesting to watch these men
at work. One of them plies the oars, and the other has
a long pole to stick under the unsuspecting abalone,
which he twists off the rock and hauls in; whereupon the
search for another begins. The Californians seem to
consider the abalone possibly useful as well as ornamental ; for there is a tradition (probably manufactured by
an ingenious Catalinian) that a Chinaman, one day
while bathing, put his foot under one of these shells,
and was held till miserably drowned by the returning
tide. If this story becomes known at Sacramento, a
law will probably be passed forbidding abalone-fishing.
Besides serving as a trap for Mongolians, the abalone
has also a gastronomic use; for it makes the finest soup
I have ever eaten, — superior to the best terrapin.
Of the fish which abound here the best flavored are
the large sardines, of which a whole boat-load is easily
caught with one haul of the net. There are literally
miles and millions of them along the coast, and it would
doubtless be a profitable industry to can them, although
the oil would have to be imported, for California olive
oil is too much in demand and too expensive to be used
for such a purpose. But there is a serious objection to
these sardines, — they spoil the fishing; for the large
fish have their Sardinian breakfast so handy that they
refuse to bite unless tempted by a special delicacy, such
as a piece of lobster. In April even this ruse often fails;
for then the water is filled with spawn, and when a fish
has spawn to eat, he turns up his nose even at lobster. SANTA  CATALINA ISLAND. 71
To one solely intent on catching the fish, it must be most
provoking to see hundreds of them, of all sizes, swimming about his tempting crawfish bait without paying
any more attention to it than if it were a pebble.
But the lover of nature can here enjoy scenes which
make him oblivious of the ignoble excitement of catching fish. Catalina Island has one of the most enchanting salt-water aquariums in the world. Row out into
the ocean a few hundred yards, and you will get a
glimpse of a submarine garden more wonderful than
anything to be seen on shore. The water is calm and
as clear as crystal, showing objects fifty or seventy feet
below as distinctly as if you could touch them. Kelp,
anemones, and seaweeds, green, purple, and yellowish,
and of various forms, wave about slowly in the current.
Abalone shells cling to the rocks, and jelly-fish float
along, expanding and contracting rythmically. The
waving seaweeds are covered everywhere with a bluish
mass looking like jelly. It is the spawn, the favorite
food of the hundreds of fish in sight, whose life, swimming calmly to and fro, seems to be a perpetual picnic,
like that of the goats on the green hill-sides. But they
have their enemies everywhere,— in the water, in the
air, and on shore. When the spawn is gone and the
sardines have migrated, the fisherman and the tourist
cast their hooks and pull in dozens in a morning;
although once or twice an hour they are surprised by a
twenty or thirty pound monster who swallows the hook
and simply walks away with it, heedless of the tiny line
which seeks to hold him. The chief excitement of
ocean fishing lies in this, that one never knows what
kind of fish one is going to land next. More than
twenty varieties are caught here, including rock-cod, 72
sheepshead, whitefish, barracuda, mackerel, etc. The
most fascinating of all is a bright red fish which haunts
the rocks, as beautiful as the Chinese goldfishes kept
in glass globes, but very much larger. It is almost
too beautiful to kill, but it has an ugly mouth, and
is good to eat, so up it comes en route to the frying-
The fisherman is the least formidable enemy of these
fish. The pelican and the seal are wholesale butchers
in comparison. JThe large pelicans, with their huge,
ugly bills, with which they can scoop up a dozen sardines or smelts at one fell swoop, are very abundant at
Catalina Island, but at the present rate of extermination by tourists they will soon be scarce. Their wing-
bones make good and novel pipe-stems, and their skin,
with the soft white and gray feathers, is ornamental;
and that settles their fate. They are very stupid birds,
and slow, and not a bit afraid of human beings, which
makes them easy victims. Tourists kill them from the
beach or on boats, and after skinning them, throw the
carcass overboard, where it is immediately pounced upon
and disputed by a dozen greedy gulls. The seals occasionally visit Avalon Bay on their fishing excursions,
ingeniously swimming a dozen abreast in a semicircle,
and driving the fish before them till they are cornered.
Sometimes the terrified fish, in their eager flight, jump
on the beach, where they may be picked up alive. No
one should fail to pay a visit to the seal rocks and see
these creatures 1 at home." The rocks are at the southern extremity of the island, about six miles from
Avalon, and can be reached by row-boat, or by the steam-
tug which almost daily takes down a party. A row-
boat is preferable, because the seals allow it to approach SANTA CATALINA ISLAND. 73
nearer than a puffing tug. On the way down observe
the splendid precipitous rocks, to the sides of which
some wild goats may occasionally be seen clinging like
flies. The boat passes projecting rocks and rugged
promontories, on which a few pelicans and seals are
basking; and between them are several large curved
beaches of smooth pebbles, three or four feet high, and
fifty feet wide, to which every winter's storms add a
foot or two. As we approach the southern end of the
island, the swell of the outer Pacific becomes perceptible, and at the same time the seal rocks rise up before
us. The hundreds of sea-lions lying on thein appear
to be fast asleep; but suddenly a sentinel raises up his
head, watches us a moment, and then utters a cry of
alarm. Immediately the whole army are awake, and
gradually assume an erect position, barking hoarsely as
we approach them. Among them are some formidable
monsters, large and heavy as oxen, and were they not
known to be perfectly harmless, it would seem a most
hazardous undertaking to row right up to them. With
every stroke of the oars they become more excited and
noisy, and finally, when we are within forty or fifty feet
of the rock, they plunge headlong and pell-mell into the
water. For a moment they are invisible, and then they
are seen collecting in a body in a sort of pool between
the rocks, sticking up their snake-like necks and heads,
and barking louder than ever, the younger ones bleating just like sheep. But gradually, as we move away
a little, and throw out our fishing-lines, they become
convinced that our intentions are honorable, and then,
with many a groan and snap at their neighbors, they
climb back clumsily to the summit of the rocks, the
biggest ones securing the best places.    Seal rocks are 74
always good fishing-ground; but why is it that the fish
do not learn to avoid places where they hear the loud
barking of their voracious enemies? In this respect
their instincts appear to faE them. vn.
There are two ways of reaching Santa Barbara from
Los Angeles (or San Francisco), — either on a coast
steamer or by the new railway branch from Saugus,
about twenty-five miles north of Los Angeles, which
was completed two or three years ago. For scenic
reasons the latter route is preferable, as it takes us
in succession over the lovely San Fernando Valley,
through a mountain canon, and lastly, for almost thirty
miles, along the edge of the ocean, thus exhibiting
Nature in her three principal phases. Near San Fernando, which is a pretty and inviting place, may be seen
one of the greatest curiosities in the State, showing what
strange methods are sometimes resorted to in Southern
75 76
California to secure water for irrigation. It is a granite
dam, fifty feet deep, which brings to the surface the
water of a subterranean river. Only three feet of the
dam are above ground, the rest being sunk down to
the bed-rock, so as to force up into the surface-pipes a
stream of water fifteen feet deep and forty feet wide. Another curiosity of San Fernando is a small boy who, while
the train stops, walks up and down with a basket on his
arm, shouting incessantly, " Nice sweet oranges, five for
a nickel, eight for a dime! "
Soon after leaving San Fernando the train plunges
into a canon, where we get a near view of the foothills and
mountains which had so often aroused our curiosity and
a desire to make their acquaintance. They are of the
most diverse forms and colors, now rugged, gray, and forbidding, and again femininely rounded, green, and handsome. At Newhall and beyond we greet the sight of
beautiful oak groves on the foothills, —real, natural, unir-
rigated shade trees, with cows resting under them. The
ocean is reached at Santa Buenaventura, which is getting to be a seaport doing a considerable export business
in grain, oil, pork, flaxseed, honey, and, above all, beans.
The region between this town and Santa Barbara is remarkably favorable to the growth of beans, 113,700
sacks having been raised in 1887, as compared to only
35,000 sacks of corn, the next highest item; and we
are not a bit surprised, therefore, to read in the guidebook that " Santa Barbara prides herself on being more
aesthetic and cultured than her somewhat plebeian sisters, San Diego and Los Angeles." Hereafter it will
be impossible to doubt the Boston-baked-beans theory.
There is unquestionably an air of refinement and good
taste about Santa Barbara which impresses one as favor- SANTA BARBARA AND  THE YOSEMITE. 77
ably as the scenic and climatic attractions. It is a substantially built, most picturesquely situated town of four
or five thousand inhabitants, traversed by a long, wide
business street in which are many elegant stores which
at once indicate it to be a great resort of tourists; and
what predisposes one especially in favor of this place is
the clean and noiseless asphalt paving of the streets,
which promises rest and refreshing sleep to the victims
of nervousness and insomnia,—a pavement which if introduced by legal enactment in every town and city in the
country, would reduce the income of physicians twenty-
five per cent. But as there are few but physicians who
know this fact, we of course hear very little about it.
The Arlington is one of the most comfortable and best
managed hotels in California, and from its cupola a good
view of the town and surroundings may be obtained.
To the west is the Pacific, bounded by the semicircular
harbor, which is invaded by a long pier, — the coolest
place in town. Then, in a wider semicircle, comes the
town, half buried amidst the Peruvian pepper and
other fine shade trees, extending up to the foothills,
behind which rise the green and gray snowless mountains.
Santa Barbara is not a commercial place, there being
no large ships in the harbor, and its trade only local.
More than any other place in Southern California it
gives the impression of being merely a town of quiet
homes and a pleasure and health resort for tourists and
invalids. Though Indian remains must be scarce by this
time, there are here, for the benefit of this class of visitors, a large number of curiosity stores, whose goods
are probably manufactured in San Francisco, like the
I Indian relics " and curios sold in Alaska.  The old Mis- 78
sion, however, is genuine, and attracts many visitors. A
pleasant resort is the free library, weE stocked, and the
reading-room, which is always cool, but has the objectionable feature of commanding so fine a view that it
requires a special effort to prevent the eyes from constantly wandering away from the pages of the books.
The gardens of Santa Barbara are probably the finest
and most varied in the State, and nowhere else did I find
myself so frequently obliged to stand stiE and peep over
fences at some new species or varieties of flowers or flowering shrubs an octrees. Persia itself can hardly excel
Santa Barbara in roses, three hundred varieties of which
are found here. " At one of our amyial rose fairs we
have seen one hundred and fifty-six varieties of roses,
aE cut from one garden that morning," says the Rev.
A. W. Jackson; in "Barbariana"; and the wonderful
cosmopolitanism of California soil and climate is indicated by the assertion that " trees native to Peru, Chili,
Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, North Africa,
South Africa, Southern and Central Europe, Southern
and Western Asia, and our own Southern and Northeastern States, are found growing in it side by side."
There are years when the thermometer does not rise
above 85° or sink below 35°, and for this climate Santa
Barbara is partly indebted to the four mountainous
islands (similar to Catalina) which Ee twenty miles or
more to the westward and shut out the cold trade winds.
Fogs, however, are abundant in spring, and there is an
occasional scorching day or two, or a dust-storm; but
these blemishes, as Mr. Jackson cheerfully remarks,
amount to no more than " the freckles on the face of a
young lady, who is beautiful and delightful notwithstanding."    Like every other town of over two thou- SANTA BARBARA AND THE YOSEMITE. 79
sand in this part of the State, Santa Barbara has its
Spanishtown and Chinatown, but with this difference,
that there is said to be a remnant here of the better class
of Spaniards who formerly owned the State and lived
in large adobe houses, while in other towns little now
remains but a handful of the poorer classes, aptly characterized as I Greasers." Though poor, they are not always
honest, according to report; and I have myself seen
young girls enticing a neighbor's chickens with a handful of wheat into their house, whence they never issued
again; and sometimes they catch them with fish-hooks.
The men make a precarious living by taking care of
cattle and horses or doing some agricultural work.
They speak a very corrupt Spanish, and live in a most
primitive way in one-room shanties raised a foot or two
above the ground. The children run about barefooted
all the year round, and the women are ignorant of the
uses of flannel, their dress consisting simply of a calico
wrapper: hence it is not surprising that, as a prominent physician informed me, a large proportion of
them succumb to the sudden changes of temperature,
and die of consumption,.—the very disease against
which this climate, with proper precautions, is so potent.
It is a significant fact that although an American
occasionally marries one of these Mexican women, it
hardly ever happens that an American woman marries
a Mexican. Thus disease, emigration to Mexico, and
intermarriage are gradually decimating the Mexicans,
and in two or three decades few wiE be left in Southern
California. It is a sign of the times that at Santa Barbara the Chinese are gradually invading Spanishtown.
Say what they will, the Californians at harvest time are
glad of all the Chinamen they can get; nor are there 80
many who refuse to patronize the Chinese vegetable man,
who is a feature of every place. Every morning he comes
round with a wagon-load of assorted vegetables which
he sells at such an absurdly low price that even farmers
find it more economical to buy than to raise their vegetables. Five or ten cents will supply a family of three
or four with choice vegetables for two meals; and the
man always throws in a bunch of celery or some other
thing which in the East would cost as much as is here
paid for the whole. But John can afford it. AE he
asks of life is Eis daily ration of rice, a portion of a
room to sleep in, and a brisk sea-breeze to fly his musical
kite, which he watches and listens to by the hour with
an expression of genuine enjoyment.
In coming to Santa Barbara, the last fifty miles were
made in the darkness, so that the saline breeze alone
gave evidence that for almost two hours the train skirts
the ocean. In returning, we take the morning train, to
connect at Saugus with the north-bound Los Angeles
train for Yosemite, and thus get a chance to enjoy this
ride along the ocean, which is very different from the
stretch between San Diego and Oceanside, — there, a
level, sandy beach, and the mountains at a distance;
here, a mountain chain with its foot in the breakers,
leaving hardly room enough for the train to wind along,
the piles occasionally lapped by the waves. Between
Saugus and Mojave numerous large bee ranches can be
seen from the train, though there seems no superabundance of flowers.
As we enter the Mojave Desert, — which is a real
desert, by reason of its sandy soil, and not simply in
appearance, owing to the lack of irrigation, — the most
conspicuous  objects are the large yucca  cactus-trees, SANTA BARBARA  AND  THE YOSEMITE. 81
rising to a height of forty feet and more, with large,
thick branches, which furnish fibre for paper. On all
sides isolated, naked hills, and clusters of hills with
curious vertical water-furrows, rise as abruptly out of
the level, sandy floor as Catalina does from the Pacific.
By and by darkness closes in, and we miss the experience of passing through the seventeen tunnels and seeing the famous " Loop," where the train crosses its own
track about eighty feet above. All that we remember
of this region is the dismal howling of the desert wind,
which is cold enough to make blankets comfortable even
in a Pullman sleeper, though in the daytime the temperature in this region may have been anywhere between
100° and 120°.
At 3.30 the porter wakes us, and at 4.10 we are
dropped in the midst of a prairie, a quarter of a mile
beyond the Berenda station, whence a branch road is
to take us in the direction of the Yosemite Valley.
The short ride to Raymond, the terminus of the branch
railway, is over a level region densely inhabited by
jack-rabbits, who are used as targets by pistolled tourists in the freight car. Perhaps it is hardly correct
to say that this region is level; for there are thousands of curious little round hills several feet high
and fifteen or twenty in diameter. They are locally
known as " hog-wallows," but their origin is unknown.
At Raymond, those of the passengers who had been wise
enough to telegraph a week in advance for outside or
box seats on the stages take possession of them with a
feeling of proud superiority over their less prudent fellow-travellers. But there are stages and stages, and an
inside seat in a new stage, with good springs, is preferable to an outside seat on an old rickety stage, at least 82
for those who would rather lose some of the scenery
en route than be " seasick' all the way, as not a few
ladies are; for the road is rough and the pace rapid,
regardless of holes and bumps. Four horses are attached to the stage, which are changed seven times
before we reach the Valley, next day at noon. In the
height of the season this company employs three hundred horses. The ascent begins at once; mountain air
and scenery surround us, and become more inspiriting
and inspiring in a gradual crescendo, till the climax is
reached at Inspiration Point, just above the Valley.
The vegetation changes every few hours and becomes
constantly more fascinating. Large, stately oak-trees are
everywhere, adorned with pendent branches of mistletoe as large as beehives. The stage passes under some
of these, which leads a passenger to remark that it is
lucky for young ladies that this route is not open during Christmas week.
Grub Gulch is the suggestive name of a small place
we stop at for a few minutes; and further on, while the
horses are being changed, passengers have a chance to
inspect the reducing works of the Gambetta gold mine,
the flume of which, conducting water from an enormous
distance, runs along the stage road for hours. We stop
for lunch at Grant's Sulphur Springs, a wild, romantic
mountain resort, the proprietor of which built a stretch
of road costing twelve thousand dollars, on condition
that the stages should pass his way and stop for lunch.
Supper is served at the Wawona Hotel, where we spend
the night. This place has its own attractions in the
shape of a fine water-fall, a lake, a trout-stream, Hill's
picture gaEery, and an Alaskan bear in a cage near the
It may seem strange that a bear should be imported
from Alaska to the Sierra, which has plenty of its own.
But they are less easily caught here, and avoid the
haunts of men. We saw none on the way, nor any
other animals except squirrels and a few birds, among
which the pretty but unmusical bluejays predominated.
One passenger said that he caught a glimpse of two
deer, but could not prove his assertion. Scenery similar to that of the preceding day, only grander and more
of it. There may be mountains in other parts of America to match these, but nowhere such a bewildering
profusion and unique beauty of flowers, shrubs, and
trees. The driver showed no disposition to stop and give
us a chance to pick these floral novelties; and wisely,
for we should have never reached the Valley if he
had. An amateur botanist, on foot or on horseback,
would require a week to get there. It is not only those
fringing the road that can be enjoyed from the stage,
but those at a distance, too; for they grow in large blue,
yellow, white, or red. patches, looking like irregular garden beds, resting cosily under a shade tree, or exposed
on a sunny ledge or hill-side, where they sometimes
present the appearance of gayly colored rocks. Even
Southern California has nothing to match this; for
although there may be a still greater profusion of
flowers, there are not so many varieties as here. Bleeding hearts, larkspurs, and lupins in all colors, yellow and
white violets, snapdragons, fragrant California lilac,
honeysuckles, tiger-lilies, etc., etc., carpet the ground
with the luxuriance of weeds. Fortunately those that
are most peculiar to the region are also the most abundant ; namely, the Indian pinks (with fringed scarlet
petals, looking like groups of tiny Japanese parasols), 84
Indian paint-brushes, Mariposa lilies, and snow-plants.
The long-stemmed, tulip-shaped, white and yellowish
Mariposa lilies are especially numerous; and when one
of the passengers jumped out as the stage climbed up a
hill and brought back a handful, two of the ladies exclaimed simultaneously, after glancing at the curiously
marked downy inside, " Why, they look just like butterflies ! " —which shows that they are well named; for
mariposa is Spanish for butterfly.
But the gem of the collection is the Sierra snow-
plant, which is of such striking and unique appearance,
that even those who do not ordinarily care much for
flowers cannot repress an exclamation of rapturous admiration when they first see one. It is called snow-plant because it grows only at an elevation of from four to eight
thousand feet, while the last snow-patches are melting:
but the name is misleading, as one expects from it a
white flower; whereas, the small, bell-shaped flowers, as
well as the scaly, brittle, thick stems around which they
cluster irregularly, in great profusion, are all one red
blush of blood color. They push themselves like mushrooms out of the ground, displacing the layer of dry
needles under the fir-trees; and the mode of their
growth and origin is, I believe, still something of a
mystery to botanists. Of the shrubs I will mention
only the dogwood, whose blossoms are as pure white
and as large as in Oregon ; the tough leather-plant, with
yellow flowers, similar to those of the dogwood; and
the manzanita, so called from its berries, which look
like little apples. On account of its beautiful, smooth,
brown rind, marked like alligator skin, it is much coveted for canes, and every young man hunts a few hours
for a good specimen; but though the bush is over-abun-
dant, straight sticks are so rare that they are sold for
five dollars on the spot.
After spending a winter in treeless Southern California, the sight of the dense and stately Sierra forests is as
agreeable as that of the rare mountain shrubs and flowers.    As we ascend higher and higher, the change in
the forest trees is similar to that which we encounter in
going northward towards Oregon and Washington.   At
a place where the oaks are still abundant, we notice two
isolated pine-trees on a hill-side; these become more and
more abundant, till, in the higher regions, they become
replaced by firs, often prettily draped with yellow moss
(which completely hides the branches, and makes the
whole tree yellow), many of them dotted with innumerable holes in which woodpeckers insert their acorns,—
so tightly that neither squirrel nor bluejay can get them
out.    The resemblance to Oregon scenery is heightened
by the numerous  burnt stumps, the mosses, and the
ferns.    Higher and higher we  creep, and  more  and
more magnificent becomes the scenic outlook over the
mountain crests rising behind each other in endless succession like the waves of a stormy sea, with an occasional glimpse far down into the yellow, sunburnt San
Joaquin Valley, and the Coast Range, one hundred and
fifty miles away, like a faint silhouette.    In this howling
wilderness of desolate forests and mountains, which it
takes the stage almost two days to traverse on a smooth
road, the thought occurs again and again how in the
world any one ever discovered this Yosemite Valley,
hidden away in the heart of the Sierras, to which no
arteries led them.    Had it not been for the pursuit of
that band of Indians by Captain Boling, in 1851, under
the guidance of two Indian chiefs, it is possible that this 86
gigantic gorge of the Merced River might still answer
to the description given of it at that time by one of
the friendly chiefs: "In this deep valley one Indian is
more than ten white men. The hiding-places are many.
They will throw rocks down on the white men if any
should come near them. The other tribes dare not make
war upon them; for they are lawless like the grizzlies,
and as strong. We are afraid to go to this valley, for
there are many witches there."
Once discovered by white men, the Valley was sure to
become world-famed ere long, though the soldiers and
gold-hunters who first saw it did not realize that they
had come across the most wonderful collection of waterfalls, precipitous cliffs, fantastic peaks, and other scenic
features, to be found in a similar compass anywhere in
the world. In approaching a spot which, although discovered less than forty years ago, is already as well
known the world over as Niagara or Mont Blanc, expectation is of course at fever heat. What adds to the
excitement, is the knowledge that the first bird's-eye-
view of the whole Valley which we get on this route
is also the finest. It is at Inspiration Point, where the
driver gave us just two minutes to take in the most
famous scene in California. But these stage-drivers
have sad experiences. Ours told me how some time
previously he ha4 stopped his stage at this point, and
how every one was seemingly wrapped in admiration
too deep for speech, when a lady on the back seat suddenly broke the silence by exclaiming, 1 Oh, my! I
wonder why they have no lace curtains at the Wawona
Hotel!" |
It is of the Valley as a whole only that one gets the
finest impression from this point; the individual features,
m ft*
the giant precipitous wall of smooth granite, known as
El Capitan, and especially the water-falls, do not reveal
their full grandeur till we are directly beneath them.
As the stage winds down into the Valley, such a bewildering variety of scenic surprises crowd each other that
one should have as many eyes as an insect to take them
all in; and it is amusing to see all the passengers pointing at once in different directions to call attention to
something that particularly strikes their fancy, while
each one is too busy to heed the others.    The stage traverses almost the whole Valley, which is over six miles
in length, landing the majority of the tourists at the
State-built Stoneman House, although some stop at Barnard's, a mile less distant, directly opposite the triple
Yosemite Falls, which are what a reporter would call
a " three-decker."    These falls, as well as  the  Bridal
Veil, and others less famous, are seen from the stage as
it traverses the Valley; but of course they want a whole
afternoon at the very least for proper inspection; so,
after washing off the abundant Yosemite dust, and partaking of lunch, we hire a carriage or saddle-horse, and
retrace our steps through the Valley, making our first
stop at the Yosemite Falls.    In coming up the Valley
the driver had asked us how wide  we  thought  the
Yosemite creek was at the height where it falls over
the edge.    It looks about a foot wide, and the guesses
ranged from two to ten feet.    "Sixty feet wide," he
replied.    Our new driver made it forty feet, and on consulting Professor Whitney's "Yosemite  Guide-Book'
(which still remains by far the most graphic and reliable
account of the Valley ever written, but of which it is
absolutely impossible to find a copy in the book-market,
though for years there has been a great demand for it — 88
a rare instance of pubEshers' stupidity) we found that
he makes it only twenty feet in width and two deep,
but stiE sufficient to furnish from half a million to a
milEon and a haE cubic feet of water in an hour to form
the faEs. Yet it is not so much by its volume that the
Yosemite Falls imposes as by its unequalled height.
The upper faE has a descent of fifteen hundred feet; the
middle, of six hundred and twenty-six; and the lower,
of four hundred; making together a water-fall (for they
are almost in a vertical Ene) of over twenty-six hundred
feet, or more than half a mile — sixteen times as high
as Niagara.
With an umbrella or rubber coat one can get quite
near the foot of the lower faEs, and enjoy the spectacle of
the spray, and of the rainbow which forever hovers over
it, like a circle of humming-birds. To the left of the
falls is a sort of Cave of the Winds, whence a strong
blast is forced on the upper part of the descending water,
swaying it to and fro several feet, and producing the
occasional effect of a lateral curve. Indeed, the aspect
of the falls changes as constantly as the expression on a
human face, and one might visit it scores of times without seeing it exactly as it was before.
Having given as much time as possible to these falls,
we continue our trip down the same side of the Valley, to
the right of the clear and rapid Merced River, till we come
under the shadow of El Capitan, the summit of which is
thirty-three hundred feet straight overhead—almost
seven times as high as the highest European cathedral.
A single perpendicular wall of this height would make
this rock one of the wonders of the world; but here are
two such walls, half a mile in length, smooth as marble,
meeting at a right angle, which makes " The Captain "
an absolutely unique sight: " Sublimity materialized in
granite," as Hutchinson puts it. Vast as this rock seemed
from Inspiration Point, one must walk or drive along
its base fully to realize its grandeur and sublimity.
" The whole of New York," exclaimed an enthusiastic
companion, " might have been quarried out of that rock
without making a damaging impression on it!" The
smooth surface is in one place darkened by what seems
a young fir-tree a few feet high, but which is said to be
an old tree over a hundred feet high. How it ever got
a foothold and nourishment half-way up this naked
rock, is a mystery. Even a tree, one would think,
should become dizzy and lose its balance in such a
Below El Capitan the Valley gradually contracts into
a canon, " not having the U shape of the Yosemite, but
the usual V shape of California valleys." The descent
is extraordinarily abrupt, and the Merced River rushes
and tumbles along in a continuous headlong current
almost as wild and impetuous as the Niagara Rapids.
High up on the steep right wall of the canon we see
the Milton road winding upwards like a white thread.
Our downward road continues as far as the Cascade
Falls, which, though they would elsewhere be regarded
as stupendous, here seem something of an anticlimax
after the Yosemite Falls.
Not so with the Bridal Veil Fall, which we next visit,
after returning as far as El Capitan and crossing the
river to the other side of the valley. Although only
about one-third as high as the Yosemite Falls, the
Bridal Veil has features which make it fully their equal
in charm. The proper time to visit it is at five o'clock
in the afternoon, on account of the beautiful rainbows 90
which then form in it; and it should be approached from
the lower part of the Valley to see them to the best
advantage.    At first the rainbow hovers over the fall
about two-thirds up towards its top; but as we draw
near, it gradually sinks down, till at last it seems to be
dashed to pieces on the cascades at the foot of the falls,
where it covers everything with a mass of irridescent
spray, including the neighboring rocks and grass and
bushes, to which it is wafted by the wind. Like the
Yosemite, this fall is constantly swayed to and fro by
the wind, as much as twenty feet from its perpendicular
course, and to this fluttering in the wind of its spraylike mass it owes its name. The wind constantly
changes, so that at one moment the inverted water-
rockets descend on the right, and the loose spray on the
left, and the next moment vice versa. Sometimes there
are two water-faEs, — one upward and one downward;
for when the wind blows towards the faE, a dense spray
rises up to the very top of the faE, where it is blown
over the ledge Eke a cloud. And what still more
heightens the beauty of the scene is, that beyond the
ledge nothing is visible, so that the water seems to
tumble right out of the blue sky into the deep VaEey.
More than any rivals, the falls of the Yosemite VaEey
are constantly altered by changes in the wind, moon,
and sunEght; and it is this great variety of aspect,
together with the unparalleled height, that constitutes
their unique fascination and makes them superior to all
other water-faEs, except of course Niagara, which is so
utterly different in character as to be incomparable.
Over the magnificent faE of the YeEowstone they have
the advantage that they can be seen from below as well
On the other hand, there is more charm of color in the
Yellowstone canon, the few spots and stains on the
Yosemite walls being insignificant in comparison with
the brilliant mosaic which covers the sides of the other
cafion. Nor are the peaks and pinnacles which tower over
the lower walls of the Yosemite quite as fantastic and
architecturally suggestive as those of the Yellowstone,
or those that may be seen on approaching the Engadine
from Chur, or leaving it for Como. And yet they are
so superb that the Yosemite would be hardly less frequented were all its water-falls blotted out of existence
— as they practically are late in summer, when there
are no more snows to melt and replenish them. When
Horace Greeley visited the Valley, the Yosemite Falls
were momentarily so insignificant that he pronounced
them " a humbug "; yet his admiration of the Valley
was none the less superlative. Cathedral Rock, the
Three Brothers, The Sentinel, Sentinel Dome, Cloud's
Rest, El Capitan, and North and South Domes form
an assemblage of peaks sufficiently imposing to compensate the late summer tourist for the disappointment
caused by the fickle water. Yet, if possible, Yosemite
should be visited in May, not only because the waterfalls are then at their best and the surrounding peaks
still snow-capped, but because there may be, and often
is, a belated snow-storm of a few days' duration, which
gives an opportunity of seeing the Valley both in its
summer and its winter aspects, in rapid succession.
On the way back to the hotel a dispute arose in our
carriage as to the origin of the Valley. Clarence King
states in his "Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada"
that various markings which he noted had convinced
him that at one time a glacier no less than a thousand 92
feet deep had flowed through the Valley, occupying its
entire bottom. The eminent Calif or nian geologist, Mr.
Muir, also has advocated the theory that the Vallej'
was eroded by glaciers; whereas, Professor Whitney
emphatically declares that a more absurd theory was
never advanced, and gives his reasons why he believes
neither in the erosive action of ice, nor of aqueous erosion, as being the cause of the formation of the Valley,
nor in its origin through a mountain fissure. He advances the startling theory that Yosemite Valley was
formed by the ^sinking down of its bottom to an unknown depth during a convulsive moment of the surrounding mountains. We tried to find reasons for or
against these various theories in the aspect of the opposing walls, to see if they would fit into each other, or
show signs of erosion; but of course where doctors
differ it was not to be supposed that amateurs could
come to an agreement, so the question remains an open
one. But there is a certain fascination in Professor
Whitney's theory, with the corollary that at one time
the cavity thus formed I was, undoubtedly, occupied by
water, forming a lake of unsurpassed beauty and grandeur, until quite a recent epoch." Beautiful as the
present floor of the Valley is, with its great variety of
grasses, flowers, shrubs, and trees, one cannot help
fancying that a Lake Yosemite, on which one might
approach the foot of the water-falls in a boat by moonlight, would be more romantic still; and such a lake
could be made by damming the Merced River below El
Capitan.    But it would cost many millions.
Too much for one afternoon are all these scenes and
speculations, and we reach the hotel thoroughly exhausted and hungry.    The bill of fare at the Stoneman Ik
House is a considerable improvement on that of the
original inhabitants of the Yosemite, who used to live
on acorns, scorched wild oats and grass seeds, dried
caterpillars, roasted grasshoppers, and similar delicacies;
but in other respects the arrangements are somewhat
primitive, and the lady who missed the lace curtains at
the Wawona Hotel probably was equally disappointed at
the Stoneman House, where the guests have to sleep
with blue spectacles on unless they wish the sun to
wake them at six, by shining straight into their faces
through the bare windows. However, there is good
reason for getting up early; for Mirror Lake must be
visited before the breeze, which is apt to blow soon after
sunrise, has had time to disturb the surface of the
1 Sleeping Water," as the Indians used to call this shallow little lake situated a few miles up the Tenaya
Mirror Lake deserves attention, not only because in
it are reflected some of the finest mountain forms in
America, but because it indirectly helped to give the
Valley its present name. The Indian name for it was
Ahwahnee. One morning, according to the Indian
legend, a chief went to the Sleeping Water, where
he ran across a monstrous grizzly bear. After a terrific combat, in which his only weapon was the limb
of a tree, he despatched him, and henceforth his followers called him Yo Semite, or Big Grizzly, which
name was handed down to his children, and ultimately
to the whole tribe; and at the first white men's camp-
fire in the Valley it was thus named, at the suggestion
of Dr. L. H. Bunnell.
Mirror Lake is small, and not especially impressive
as a body of water, but its grand surroundings and the 94
absolute stillness of its surface make it perhaps the
most perfect aqueous mirror in the world. The bunches
of grass in the middle of the lake, the trees lining its
borders, and the bold mountains in the background are
reflected so clearly and so vividly that in a photograph it is difficult to tell which is the real picture
or which the image, the water itself appearing like a
thin sheet separating the two antipodal views. It is
under the guidance of Mr. Galen Clark, the superintendent of the Valley, that the lake is seen to best
advantage, as he knows all the best points of view,
and is armed with a slightly concave looking-glass
which makes the scene doubly a mirror-lake. No painting could equal in beauty the miniature views of
subaquatic landscape shown in this glass, in all the
natural colors — the blue sky resting on the gray and
white rocks, and the dark green trees showing every
branch and every needle with perfect distinctness. The
climax comes when the sun begins to peep from behind
the mountain summits, which here hide it an hour
longer than in the lower Valley. In Mr. Clark's mirror
it looks like a large electric light whose dazzle throws
the mirrored views of sky, mountain, and forest into a
gloomy shade, making the scene like a dream of the
lower world. We had to keep on the move constantly
to keep the sun in view, yet not too high, and I never
before realized how quickly the sun does travel, or how
the conformation of the mountain ridges can make it
seemingly go now to the left, and now to the right.
When it had climbed too high to be looked at comfortably even in a mirror, a breeze suddenly arose and
obliterated the scenery painted on the lake's surface.
Just at that moment two wagon-loads of tourists arrived SANTA BARBARA AND  THE YOSEMITE. 95
from the hotel. They had known as well as we that
Mirror Lake after sunrise is nothing but an ordinary
pond, but had lingered too long over their breakfast or
between their sheets. Such is the average tourist —
travelling hundreds of miles, and enduring the fatigues
of staging to see a world-famous scene, and then missing all for the sake of a few more bites of tough beefsteak !
The whole day still lies before us, and it is part of
the regular programme to spend it in seeing the Vernal
and Nevada Falls. The carriage takes us across a
bridge, where saddle-horses are in waiting for those
who dread the climb. Make the driver stop a few minutes on the middle of the bridge, because thence you
get one of the finest views of one of those unique mountain formations of the Sierra Nevada, — the North Dome,
as true to its name and as absolutely symmetrical and
regular as any capitol or religious edifice ever constructed. The falls we have seen so far are formed by
creeks which fall over the Yosemite walls and then
join the river below; but those we are to see now are
formed by the Merced itself, and therefore promise to
be more imposing in volume, even if inferior in height.
A wide bridle-path leads up the steep gorge, perfectly
safe for the most nervous, though much blasting was
necessary to make it so. Superb views of the Valley
beneath, of the precipitous cliffs on all sides, and from
them a water-fall or two which would make the reputation of any ordinary mountain region, but which here
are hardly noticed amid the abundance of first-class
cataracts. A deserted log cabin near the foot of the
Vernal Fall marks the place where we can either follow
the horses up to.the top of the fall or climb up by a 96
steep footpath by the side of the fall. By all means
this path should be taken, either going or descending,
the latter being preferable not only as being much
easier, but because our descending from the top to the
base of the fall makes it seem higher, grander, and
louder every moment.
The Vernal Fall is about four hundred feet high
and eighty feet wide — considerably lower than those in
the Valley, but much wider and more voluminous, and
therefore stands midway between the kind of falls which
impose through their massiveness, of which Niagara is
the type, and those whose principal charm lies in their
height and eternal variation of aspect, as is the case
with the Yellowstone, Bridal Veil, and Yosemite Falls.
Few hear of the Vernal Fall before coming to the Yosemite ; yet if it were situated amid the mountains of
Switzerland, it would be surrounded by a dozen hotels
and seen by a hundred thousand visitors every summer.
Approaching it by the footpath, we are soon enveloped
in a drenching spray, the haunt of a superb rainbow,
which at first forms a complete circle, but as we get up
higher is gradually reduced to the semi-circular form of
ordinary rainbows (another reason for taking this path
on returning, since a scenic crescendo is preferable to a
decrescendo). The last part of the ascent is made on a
series of stairs, dizzy but safe, built through a sort
of cavern in the rock, where we can get a peep right
into the home of rare ferns and mosses, kept green by
the spray, and fortunately just out of reach of amateur
botanists. At the summit, the guide steps out on the
smooth granite to the edge of the fall, and holds out his
hand for those who wish to approach and see its foot.
The upper part can be seen by leaning over a curious
;i i
granite parapet, about three feet high, looking, as Professor Whitney remarks, "as if made on purpose to
afford the visitor a secure position from which to enjoy
the scene." It is only a foot or two wide, and looks as
if it were rent off the rest of the rock to some distance
below, and as if it might be easily kicked over; but
this feeling of insecurity, where you know you are
perfectly safe, only adds to the grandeur of the scene.
It would be impossible to find a more romantic and
commanding spot than this. At your feet is the Vernal
Fall and the turbulent Merced tumbling down the.
mammoth gorge; in the other direction, less than a
mile upwards, is another water-fall, world famed, — the
Nevada, — and between these two falls are endless combinations of wild rocks and shooting waters. Only a
few yards above the Vernal is an eddying hollow known
as the Emerald Pool; and immediately above this is "the
flume, where the stream glides noiselessly but with
lightning speed over its polished granite bed, making
a preparatory run for its plunge over tfie Vernal Fall,"
as the first white man who ever saw this spot, J. H.
Lawrence, happily described it. The guide here tells
the story of an Englishman who wanted to "take a
bawth, don't you know," in this flume, and who was carried down by the swift and powerful current into the
Emerald Pool, where he caught on to a bush just in
time to avoid being swept over the falls. 11111
In low water the thin layer of swiftly moving water
gives the flume a silvery appearance, whence it has
received the name of Silver Apron; but if the Indians
had any name for it, it must have been the more poetic
designation of Arrow Water, or something similar. It
is not safe to go near its edge; for it is sometimes sud- IP
denly widened by one of those curious irregular pulsations and reinforcements noticed in many cascades.
We now cross a bridge over the raging torrent, and stop
at the Casa Nevada, where Mr. Snow and his wife
always are ready to provide a bountiful lunch at short
notice. I believe that the principal reason why this
lunch is so bountiful is because Mrs. Snow wants to get
off her favorite joke at least once a day. Some one is
sure to ask where she gets all these victuals, whereupon
she replies, " We raise them," adding, after a pause and
a look at the incredulous faces, " on mules." Mr. Snow
is known as Perpetual Snow, from having lived here
almost twenty years, and he sometimes facetiously offers
to show summer visitors "six feet of Snow" right in
his house. He has albums for sale containing fine collections of Yosemite ferns — thirty-six different kinds;
and shows with pride his old registers in which many
famous visitors have signed their names.
Only a few steps from the house, the Nevada Fall
comes thundering down its six hundred feet or more,
according to the season. To the left is Liberty Cap,
almost as precipitous as El Capitan, yet often ascended.
A path leads up to the summit of the Nevada Fall,
which, however, cannot be approached near enough to
get a downward glimpse; but this is compensated for by
the fine side views one gets of it coming up. Further
on is the mountain called Cloud's Rest, from which
superb views of the valley and surroundings, as well as
the high Sierras, are obtainable, but which can rarely be
visited with comfort before the middle of May, on
account of the deep snow-patches under which the path
is buried. There is also a trail leading from the Casa
Nevada over to one of the most famous parts of the SANTA BARBARA  AND  THE YOSEMITE. 99
Yosemite walls, — Glacier Point; but there is so much
to see there that one ought to devote a whole day to it.
Therefore we return to the Valley the same way we
came, and the next morning are again in the saddle,
bound for Glacier Point, directly over the hotel. Everybody has seen pictures of Glacier Point, and the huge
boulder which projects at one place several feet over
the edge of the waE. On this boulder many persons
have had their photographs taken, with nothing between
them and the bottom of the Valley, more than half a
mile beneath, than a bit of projecting rock, and nothing
to hold on by. On the ledge to the right, however, an
iron railing has been securely fastened, so that the most
timorous can now look down with perfect safety.
At this point a flag is floating, and in the evening it
is customary to build a fire, and afterwards throw the
brands and coals over the brink. To the hotel guests
directly below, who have been watching for them, these
brands present the appearance of a golden water-fall,
thus adding one more to the Yosemite's incomparable
Looking up from this Valley, shut in on aE sides
by perpendicular walls, and lofty peaks from twenty-
five hundred to seven thousand feet in height, it seems
impossible that a way to the summit should have been
found except by climbing up the canon as we did yesterday ; but there is a more direct path straight up the
wall, to which the guide conducts us, after passing the
village and the seldom-used, solitary chapel. The ascent is very steep in some places, and hard on man and
beast; but so well planned as to be without risk or
danger, even though the horse does occasionally poke
his nose over a yawning abyss.    Fortunately for the 100
nervou3, the most " ticklish' places are concealed by
the dense brush clinging to the rocks, else the stubborn
habit of the animals, of always walking as near the brink
of the precipice as possible, would cause many a heart
to stop beating momentarily. The air is wonderfully
exhilarating and clear, and nothing could be finer
than the aspect of the receding Valley, and the triple
Yosemite Falls directly opposite, which are almost
always in sight.
Half-way urvon our side, is the Agassiz Rock, — a huge
boulder, in a state, apparently, of dangerously unstable
equilibrium, and looking like some of the fantastic pinnacles of the Yellowstone canon, as if it might be kicked
over with one foot; but appearances are * deceptive.
There is a good hotel at the summit, where the horses
are left with the guide, while we proceed a few hundred
yards farther, to Glacier Point. Imagine how the Valley
would look from a balloon, and you have some conception of the gruesome charms of Glacier Point, whence
the outlook or downward look into the Valley is more
perpendicular and awe-inspiring than from Inspiration
Point, which affords the more picturesque view of the
whole length of the Valley, its depth being a subordinate feature. But the advantage of Glacier Point
lies in this, that by walking a few steps to the right, an
entirely different scene is commanded, — a scene which
includes both the Vernal and Nevada Falls, and beyond
them an imposing array of snow-clad Sierra summits.
It is here that every visitor must feel the impotence
and barrenness of words to paint the images treasured
in his memory; and were every word a photograph,
a description would convey but a faint impression
of the original.    But we  are to go  up higher yet, SANTA BARBARA AND  THE  YOSEMITE. 101
where a still wider circle of mountains, cliffs, domes,
canons, and snow-fields will come within the field of vis.
ion. The Sentinel Dome is our goal now, although the
guide is not quite certain whether the path is sufficiently
free from snow for the horses: we do come upon many
large snow-patches, a foot or two deep, but we always
manage to get through or around them. Fresh snow of
this depth sometimes falls as late as the end of May,
even in the Valley below.
At last we emerge from the forest, tie our horses to
the last trees, and clamber up the bald pate of the
Dome. Hence the billowy crests of the Sierra Nevada,
including peaks of thirteen thousand feet and over,
show themselves in something approaching their real
height and sublime grandeur. The scene is not unlike
that of the Spanish Sierra Nevada, as seen from Granada,
thus presenting one of the numerous resemblances
between Spain and California. The surface of the Sentinel Dome is full of curious small holes, probably the
product of innumerable expansions and contractions
of the rock under the influence of alternating heat and
cold. The very top is occupied by a stunted, gnarled,
and broken pine, presenting the appearance of a veteran
warrior and storm wrestler, covered with wounds, upon
which it exudes the soothing balm of a remarkably fragrant kind of pitch. Beware of touching it! a second's
contact will ruin a suit. Had Heine ever been in California, we might feel certain that this tree must have
suggested to him that fine poem of the pine-tree dreaming amidst its winter snows of the palm-tree bathed in
sunshine, — say in the Mojave. Desert, but a hundred
miles away.
Returning toward the Valley, we soon  come to a 102
place known as Washburn Point, where the view of the
faEs and mountains is similar to that obtained from
the Sentinel Dome, and perhaps even more impressive
because of its being nearer. From here the scenery of
the high Sierras can be seen even by those who are
unable to walk or ride on such arduous paths; for there
is a good wagon road leading hence to the Wawona
Hotel, and striking the road to the VaEey some miles
above. For pedestrians, by far the best way to see the
Valley would be to take this road from the Wawona,
spending the night at the Glacier Point Hotel, devoting the next day to this place and the Sentinel Dome,
and descending to the Valley on the day following by
way of the Nevada and Vernal Falls. Thus the VaEey
may be visited without any uphill work at all.
It is well to make all one's plans in advance, so as to
be able to reserve a good return seat on the stage as soon
as you arrive at the Stoneman. The stage leaves early
in the morning, and returns as far as the Wawona Hotel,
where we arrive in time for lunch. After lunch uncovered stages drive up to the hotel, and everybody gets
aboard for a visit to the Big Trees in the Mariposa
Grove. The round trip covers seventeen miles only,
thus leaving plenty of time to see the arboreal giants at
leisure. The road takes us more deeply into the virgin
forest than we have penetrated yet, and there are many
superb trees which attract the attention long before the
Mariposa Grove is reached. Some of the passengers
begin to comment on a few big sugar pines, and even
express a desire to stop and measure them; but the
driver scornfully refuses to waste any time on such pigmies. So on and up we go, and at last come to a few
scattered specimens which the driver admits belong to SANTA BARBARA AND  THE  YOSEMITE. 103
the real Big Tree family; but he does not stop till we
reach the world-renowned Grizzly Giant, the thickest,
though not the highest, of all the Sequoias. With the
exception of some specimens of the African Baobab, this
is*the thickest tree in the world, so far as known,
though by no means the highest. In one of the other
nine Big Tree groves found in California (and only in
California) — the Calaveras — there is a tree fifty-three
feet higher than any one in the Mariposa Grove, and
Professor Whitney refers to an Australian eucalyptus
four hundred and eighty feet in height, overtopping the
tallest Sequoia by one hundred and fifty-five feet. But
for height and thickness combined, the Sequoia excels
all other trees; and as the Mariposa Grove contains the
thickest trees, it is the most impressive of all, since in
the height of a three-hundred-foot tree a difference of
ten or twenty feet is hardly noticeable, while in the circumference every foot tells.
Ten of our party clasped hands to encircle the Grizzly
Giant, but the endmen could not begin to even see each
other on the other side. I walked around it and counted
fifty-three steps. The exact measurement is ninety-
three feet seven inches, without aEowing for that portion
of the bark which has been destroyed by fire. The best
idea of its enormous girth is conveyed by one of Taber's
excellent photographs, in which a horse stands alongside of the tree, at full length, while a dozen men are
scattered at intervals along the bark, without nearly
filling up so much of the tree as is included in the view.
Though blackened and cruelly hollowed out by fire, the
Grizzly Giant is still alive, but its upper part is as
dilapidated and time-worn as the lower; and no wonder,
for it must have first stuck its roots into Sierra soil per- 104
haps three or four centuries after the advent of Christ,
by the most conservative estimate. The lowest branch
of this tree is fully six feet in diameter — large enough
to set up as a Big Tree by itself, — " as large as the
trunks of the largest elms of the Connecticut valley."
Most of the tourists cut off little slices of the bark,
which in this case is hardly a reprehensible practice, for
it would take decades of such petty vandalism to make
any impression on this monster. Yet there are other
mementos that might as well be taken, such as the
mosses clinging to it and the cones found under it.
These cones are surprisingly small, — only about two
inches in length, — especially when compared with other
cones found in this region and offered for sale at the
hotels, put up in wooden frames and covered with moss
— some of them a foot and a half or more in length.
But the Grizzly Giant must not detain us too long; for
there are several hundred more Sequoias to be seen, and,
as a punster suggested, a Big-treatise might be written
on the Mariposa Grove alone.
As we pass from the Lower to the Upper Grove, these
trees become more and more numerous among the pines
and firs, until at last we come to a genuine grove of
Sequoia giganteas, — a real forest cathedral. There is a
flutter of excitement as we approach the Tunnel Tree,
or Wawona (which is Indian for big tree), through
which the stage drives as it stands, with horses, passengers, and all. The diameter of this tree at the ground
is twenty-seven feet, or three feet less than the Grizzly
Giant; the " tunnel" by which we go through it is ten
feet high and from six to ten feet wide. Just as we
drive into it, a poetic youth exclaims to his fair companion, " Now look out for spiders!'   and others of the ^
same class must nave passed through before, for names
are written on the inside, and even visiting-cards tacked
on. The wood chopped out here was of course made
into relics and sold years ago, yet paper knives and
other things made of it are still to be had in the grove
in quantities to suit.
At a little log cabin, occupied by the guardians of the
grove, the stage stops again, and the venturesome climb
up the prostrate trunk of a fallen monarch, on a rickety
ladder. The upper part of the trunk is rotten, and
resembles the hull of a wrecked ocean steamer. It once
took five men three weeks to fell one of these giants;
and even after the connection of the trunk with the
stump had been severed, it took three days of wedge-
driving before the tree could be made to fall. Imagine,
therefore, the force of wind required to throw over such
a tree, and the nerve of Andrew Jackson Smith, who
once remained in the hollow of one of them, known as
Smith's Cabin (in the South Grove), during a Sierra
storm which threw down " Old Goliath " !
The guardians of the grove have for sale packages of
seeds of the Big Trees, though they frankly tell purchasers that not one in a hundred will grow. They
have a nursery near the cabin, and often send young
trees away. The Sequoia gigantea, although found
nowhere except in the Sierra Nevada of California,
grows readily elsewhere, and vast numbers have been
planted in this country and abroad. The climate of
England is said to be specially favorable to it, and
from seeds planted there in 1853 have grown trees
which are already over sixty feet in height and ten in
girth. A thousand years hence England wiE have her
Big Tree Groves, and they will be more beautiful than 106
those of California, because better guarded against
forest fires. But they will lack the majestic mountain
It would almost seem as if the existence of these
giant trees in the Sierra Nevada were intended by nature
as a striking artistic contrast and compensation for the
utter absence of forests in Southern California,—a contrast heightened by the numerous other fine species of
evergreen trees, especially the famous redwood groves,
which Professor Whitney has described so poetically.
Outside of Ceylon and other tropical countries there is,
perhaps, no region which has so fine and varied an
assortment of valuable woods as the Yosemite neighborhood. No visitor should fail to see the admirable collection of ornamental objects prepared by J. Starke,
some of them inlaid with several dozen kinds of Sierra
woods, making a mosaic as elegant as mother-of-pearl.
And I must once more refer to another thing in which
the Yosemite region is unexcelled, — the flowers.
After seeing the unrivaEed Valley, in which Nature,
as in a final operatic chorus, has grouped in an overwhelming ensemble all her motives—snow-peaks, domes,
spires, precipices, lakes, rivers, and water-falls — all in
the small compass of six or seven miles, the scenery
on the way back to the San Joaquin Valley, fine as it is,
and seemed on coming, cannot but have the effect of an
anticlimax. Not so with the flowers, which have only
gained in beauty, variety, and abundance during our
week's stay in the Valley. Once I got off the stage, while
it was climbing a hill, and in the space of half a mile
gathered twenty-two kinds, which excited many " ohs'
and "ahs " from the other passengers. California poppy
patches, nestling under trees, formed such indescribably SANTA   BARBARA  AND  THE YOSEMITE.
lovely groups that sometimes every hand in the stage
was pointed at them by a unanimous impulse. In
some places the flowers stand so dense that a botanist, in measuring off a square yard, found over three
thousand plants on it. Here a flower-painter might
spend his life making perfect pictures which he need
only copy from nature; and he could not fail of at least
one of the attributes of genius,—he need never repeat
himself. vin.
A glance at a reEef map of the United States shows
a most striking contrast between the Atlantic and the
Pacific slopes, especially within a few hundred miles of
the coast. In the east, the mountains are few and low;
whereas in the whole of California, Oregon, and Washington there is hardly a spot whence the view does not
include a mountain range with a few snow-peaks. And
this hEly structure characterizes also the three leading
cities of the coast, and many of the smaEer ones. Los
x^ngeles, near one end, has recently built cable-cars to
climb the hills which shut it in; Portland, near the
other end, is beginning to build hers; and San Fran>
cisco, in the centre, has long had the most complete
cable-car system in the world. Rome may have been
built on seven hills, but San Francisco, as its inhabitants love to claim, is a city of a hundred hEls. There
is Californian exaggeration in this; for the greater part
of the present city stands on about a dozen hills, with
the intervening valleys and the level lots created by
digging twenty million cubic yards of earth out of the
hill-sides, and filling up the hollows; but beyond these
there are scores of suburban hills, so to speak, waiting to
be annexed; and when the city shall have grown to the
size of London, —which, of course, is only a question of
time, — it will probably cover a hundred hills: q.e.d.
For purposes of drainage and other sanitary reasons,
this hilly structure of the city is a decided advantage,
and that it adds greatly to the picturesqueness of the
impression which it makes on visitors is obvious. Approaching it at night on an Oakland or Saucelito ferryboat, or viewing it from an elevated point, it does not
present to the eye such a limitless area of countless
lights as does New York seen from Union Hill, Ho-
boken; but the grouping of the lights is more fascinating, some of them leading in straight, double lines up
the hills ; while others are arranged in semicircles along
the amphitheatric valleys. To get a bird's-eye view of
San Francisco in the daytime, one need not climb arduous towers, as in Eastern and European cities; but has
only to take a front seat on a cable-car, — with an outlook unimpeded by driver or horses, — to see the city
from half-a-dozen high hills, and as many different
points of view. No city in the world can be seen so
easily, so quickly, and so delightfully, as San Francisco,
from these cable-cars, which, in the long run, make perhaps as good time as the New York elevated trains. It
is a constant up and down, and the sensation of rapidly )
ascending a hill through rows of handsome residences
and flower-gardens, without having to pity the poor,
puffing horses, is as agreeable as the sudden plunges
downward, so fast, and often so precipitous, that by
shutting the eyes one can easily imagine himself to
be out tobogganing. The feeling is similar to that
experienced at Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania, on decend-
ing the hill for twenty minutes on a car whose only
motor is gravitation.
The most enjoyable of the cable-car excursions is the
one in the direction of the Golden Gate and Cliff House,
connecting in the suburbs with a new steam-dummy
road only completed a short time ago, and not yet
mentioned in the guide-books. This excursion is really
one of the finest in California, and should be missed by
no tourist; for it gives him superb views of the city from
several hills, and of the bay studded with pretty islands,
and finally takes him to the very edge of the Golden
Gate, where he can see the ships and steamers entering
or departing for China, Japan, Australia, and every
port of Europe and America. The road continuously
skirts the shore, being dug or blasted out of the precipitous hill-sides; and directly below us are the Pacific
breakers blindly dashing themselves into foam and spray
on the rocks. The terminus is the Cliff House, with its
" seal rocks," densely inhabited by the sea-lions, which
have been too often described to call for more than
mention. There are countless seal rocks between San
Diego and Sitka, but none so near a large city as these,
which may be looked on as a free aquarium and an addition to the Golden Gate Park. They would have long
since been depopulated were they not protected by law.
The fishermen clamor for a repeal of this law, because o
the seals kill so many salmon bound for the Sacramento
River at the other end of the bay; but the gain of a few
hundred fishermen would be the loss of three hundred
and fifty thousand San Franciscans. As well let the city
fathers turn over the Golden Gate Park to the vegetable gardeners. It takes up many acres which might be
planted with useful cabbages and onions, — enough to
enrich quite a number of gardeners; for it is three miles
long and half a mile wide, containing one hundred and
fifty acres more than the Central Park in New York.
Besides, it contains poison-oak, and is so "unimproved"
in part, that only a few years ago a wildcat was killed
in it. Therefore, down with the Park! let it be exterminated, together with the useless, harshly barking,
salmon-eating seals!
No doubt more people have had their first glimpse of
the illimitable Pacific at the Cliff House than from all
other places on the Californian Coast; and it is a most
delightful spot to spend a few hours, although at any
time of the year a light overcoat is desirable. When
we are ready to return we have the choice of several
roads, none of which, however, is as attractive as the
one we came on. So we once more connect with the
cable-cars and have another five cents' worth of tobogganing — without snow or danger of broken limbs. I
should think that cable-car tobogganing parties ought
to be among the most popular amusements in San Francisco. I am sure if I lived there I should ride to the
Cliff House every day in the year. The return trip
takes us through different streets from those we saw
before, and on arriving at the corner of Jones and
Washington Streets, a most magnificent prospect opens
before us.    We have risen to the crest of a hill, which II
seems to be the end of the world, when suddenly the
whole city lies far down below us, and the car makes an
almost perpendicular plunge a few hundred yards, as if
determined to lose no time in getting there. You must
hold on tightly, but there is no cause for alarm, as the
frequent accidents on these roads do not happen in such
places, but in the crowded streets below. Presently a
still greater surprise awaits us. The car turns a corner,
and without a moment's warning we are in China, which
we had imagined five thousand miles away. In other
parts of the city-we see an occasional Chinese laundry and
a few Chinamen mingled with the throng of Americans;
but here the proportions are more than reversed,—
Chinese men, women, and children, Chinese shops and
signs, Chinese conversation, and Chinese smells monopolize the attention.
San Francisco has more than twenty thousand Chinese, hence it may be imagined that Chinatown is not
a village. Anti-Mongolians like to compare it to a
cancer which is eating its way through the vitals of the
city, constantly enlarging at the edges. Blocks upon
blocks in some of the best streets are given over to the
Asiatic invaders; and while the large buildings formerly
occupied by Americans have been left standing, they
have undergone such a thorough metamorphosis that
if the Chinese should ever be driven from the city (as
they were from Tacoma), the simplest way to Americanize these streets again, would be to blow them up with
dynamite and rebuild them — which would also perhaps
be the best way for sanitary reasons. But while the main
buildings and streets have been left as originally laid
out, a number of side streets and narrow alleys — exact
copies of those in China — have been created to con* it
nect them, and fill up every vacant yard and corner;
for a Chinaman is not happy unless crowded as closely
as salmon in an Alaskan creek. What adds to this
effect of crowding is that all life and activity seems to
be concentrated on the ground floor, no business being
apparently carried on in the upper floors, which look
uninhabited and empty, without window curtains, or
shutters, or signboards, or other signs of habitation,
excepting in the restaurants, whose outsides, from base
to roof, are gayly and gaudily decorated, and illuminated
at night with Chinese paper lanterns. The old stores
with their large rooms have been subdivided into many
smaller ones — some of them only fifteen to twenty feet
wide or even less. The place of signboards is taken by
the weE-known wide scrolls of red paper with Chinese
characters printed on them, and pasted vertically on
the street side, while smaller ones are pasted on the
windows. Some of the narrowest alleys have no stores,
but only cheap eating-houses, gambling-places, and rows
of barred windows, behind which wretched female slaves
solicit passers-by. Among them are some rather pretty
faces, but others are hideously marked by disease. In
the gambling-dens domino-playing seems to be the favorite game. It is different from ours, though the blocks
are similar, and some of the players are as expert in
mixing and placing them, and as excited and flushed
as the poker-players who monopolize the smoking-room
on transatlantic steamers.
The principal impression given by Chinatown is that
these Mongolians chiefly live to eat, though on looking
at their provisions, one often wonders that they can eat
and live. .About two-thirds of all the stores are meat,
fruit, or grocery stalls.    The fruits and vegetables ex- 114
posed for sale are mainly American varieties, though
among them are some strange to our eyes. The bundles
of long sticks tied together, seen everywhere, are sugarcane from the Sandwich Islands, of which the Johns
— and demijohns, as the boys are called — seem to be
especially fond. Of watermelons, John seems to be as
inordinately enamored as a negro. The butcher-shops
have the largest collections of curiosities. Pork and
poultry are the favorite meats of Chinamen, but they
must of course do everything differently from our way.
We smoke our^pork and eat our poultry fresh; they
eat their pork fresh and smoke their poultry. Smoked
ducks, chickens, and geese are suspended everywhere
as a bait to passing epicures. Dried and smoked fish,
some from China, fill up large barrels, and some are
eaten fresh. Poultry also is sometimes eaten fresh —
at least certain parts, for in one heap on the counter
you will see the entrails of chickens; in another, the
combs and beards of roosters; and in a third, the heads
and claws! Nothing is wasted. A frequent sight is a
large tub filled to the brim with cold boiled rice. I
bought a cake in a baker's shop, below the pavement,
marked with neat Chinese letters. When I opened it,
subsequently, I found that behind the inoffensive-looking crust it harbored rice and another finer grain,
watermelon seeds, little pieces of bacon, several hazelnuts, and some other mysterious ingredients. Obviously
I had come across a sort of Chinese mince-pie. I didn't
eat it. In another store I bought an album containing
a collection of Japanese girls, some of them real beauties (the Chinese, I was informed, do not allow their
women to be photographed), some very cheap silk handkerchiefs embroidered on both sides; and for seventy SAN  FRANCISCO  AND   CHINATOWN. 115
cents an elegantly carved bamboo, shaped like a large
dude's cane and containing inside a telescoped fishing-
rod, which I subsequently found useful in trouting in
the brooks near Lake Tahoe.
An old man with a bookstall on the street, of whom
I bought an illustrated volume, altogether upset my
notions of Chinese morality. I asked him how much it
was, and understood him to say " four bits "; so I gave
him fifty cents and walked off with the book. But he
ran after me, and saying " two bits," gave me back a
quarter. His countrymen seemed to be pleased to see
me walking along with a Chinese book under my arm,
and several of them smiled and greeted me, which they
had not done before. The majority of the Chinese in
San Francisco belong, of course, to the lowest classes of
their race; but there are among them some of refined
and educated appearance, though I could not make out
whether those wearing goggles as large as butter-plates
thereby intended to convey the impression that their
eyes had been greatly injured by excessive study.
Women are frequently seen wobbling along the street,
dressed in blue or black blouses and baggy trousers,
almost like those of the men, though much wider.
Their deformed feet are placed on solid wooden soles
with embroidered silk above, and their faces are almost
as greatly deformed as their feet by the hideous Chinese
custom of combing the hair tightly back from the forehead. More numerous than the women are children of
both sexes, dressed in the most gaudy green, blue, and
other costumes and caps. Their round cherubic faces,
sparkling eyes, and fresh, healthy complexion present
a cheerful contrast to the sallow complexion, sunken
cheeks, and hollow eyes of the adults, victims of opium-
smoking and other forms of dissipation. 116
Chinatown in the daytime may be freely visited by the
"Melican" man and woman. At night it is advisable
to take a policeman or a guide, and leave the women
at home, unless their nerves are shock-proof. The
scene at night differs from that in the daytime; for
whereas in the" morning Chinatown seems little more
than a big market-place, at night it is one vast barbershop in which half the population seems to be engaged
in shaving and mutilating the other half. There are no
curtains; and if you stop a minute and look into one of
the tiny shops, on the ground floor or in the cellar, you
will see a tonsorial artist deftly shaving his victim's
head, chin, eyebrows, lashes, nose, clean his ears, etc.
Perhaps you are standing this moment over a Chinese
dormitory; for space is expensive in so large a city, and
John utilizes every inch of it by making his bed under
the sidewalks. We follow the guide into subterranean
haunts, down several flights of rickety stairs, to get a
peep at the opium-dens. It is estimated that there is
only one Chinaman out of every five in San Francisco
who does not revel in his daily opium debauch, and
even that fifth man uses it occasionally as a sedative.
Some manage to get drunk on ten cents' worth a day,
while others need as much as a dollar's worth, of a
superior quality. It was the ten-cent variety we saw
on this tour. The guide occasionally drops a quarter
in certain places, and is in return allowed free access
with his protege's. In dingy little rooms, not much
larger than a state-room in a steamer, there are several
bunks, in each of which lies or sits a Chinaman, in
varying stages of stupid intoxication. Some are already
asleep, others are just lighting their pipes, and not one
of them pays the slightest attention to the intruders, SAN   FRANCISCO  AND   CHINATOWN. 117
unless spoken to. One helpless old wreck lies on a
bundle of rags, which, the guide said, he has not left
for five years. His hands and face are mere bones
covered with yellow parchment, but he still has strength
and brains enough left to obey the guide when commanded to show us the process of opium-smoking by
holding a little lump of the drug in the flame of a small
lamp, where it burns and is turned round like sealing-
wax, and then stuffed into the small pipe and smoked,
the fumes being inhaled through the lungs and puffed
out through the nose. It is not a pleasant odor, but it
doubtless serves to disguise other odors infinitely worse.
The only ventilation in these rat-holes is a little slit,
six inches by two, above the door: yet here these
Asiatics spend the whole night, the lodging being included in the price of the opium. In one place we
passed through a kitchen with a closet in the middle of
it, but as a general thing we did not find subterranean
Chinatown as filthy as it has often been described; certainly not so bad as some of the places visited in New
York and London on " slumming" excursions. The
fear that Chinatown might become a breeding-place of
bacterial epidemics leads the sanitary authorities to
look well to their duties; and besides, San Francisco
never has any " hot waves," and its climate is in other
respects unfavorable to pestilential diseases, so that
Chinatown has not proved such a plague spot as it
might become under less favorable conditions.
Many tourists who are anxious to see the opium-dens
feel inclined to draw the line at the restaurants, at least
so far as eating there is concerned. But there are
Chinese restaurants in San Francisco which vie in elegance of furnishing and fine gilded carvings with the 118
most famous Parisian cafe's. A good cup of tea can
here be obtained, and there can be no harm in tasting
the half-dozen kinds of preserves and cake served
with it — all for twenty-five cents. There is preserved
ginger, and small oranges, and pickled melon, China
nuts and other delicacies, and a sort of oyster-fork to
eat them with. In one of the rooms you will probably
see several Chinamen eating a sort of ragout out of a
large bowl, with chopsticks — every mouthful being first
dipped into a kind of sauce. The bowl is held close to
the mouth, to make the chopsticks less elusive substitutes for spoons. Eating with chopsticks is exciting
and somewhat like fishing: you never know when you
will get the next bite.
The thing to visit next is one of the temples, or Joss
Houses, of which there are dozens in the city, some
belonging to trade associations. Visitors are allowed
to go behind the altars as close to the hideous idols as
they please, the keepers themselves seeming to look
upon their charge as a sort of dime museum; and as
the admission is free, they try to earn an honest penny
by selling little bundles of incense tapers to visitors.
It is getting late, and they are ready to lock the door
after we are out; but the theatre is still a-going, and to
that we now repair. As the floor is crowded, we walk
right on to the stage, through a side gate, and sit down
near the actors. Our presence does not jar with the
scenery, as there is none of that commodity visible,
unless it be the band, which occupies the centre of the
stage and fills the aE with Mongolian noise and dissonance. The instruments may be described as a gong
or cymbals, a stick struck rapidly on a noisy board, and
an embryonic banjo and violin  which sounds like a SAN FRANCISCO  AND  CHINATOWN.
hysterical oboe. Yet there is melody and harmony
occasionally in these last two instruments, which almost
incessantly accompany the actors' words, as in a modern
music-drama, leaving their noisy neighbors to emphasize
the murders and other striking episodes. The actors
sometimes stand on the stage floor, sometimes on a chair
or table. Their declamation is a sing-song in a high
falsetto voice. There are no women, but the best actor
is an impersonator of female roles, and has his face
painted and his hair combed back in the most " stylish 1
way. The faces of these actors are utterly void of
expression. Having heard enough of their play, we
went into the green-room, where one of the actors
explained to us his costumes and their prices in China.
In a corner there was tea on tap, to which every one
seemed to resort at intervals of five minutes. We went
out by the other stage door, and stood in the very centre
of .the stage, watching the musicians; yet our presence
there did not seem in the least to disconcert the spectators, who, with hats on, were attending to the play
with open-mouthed interest, though they never applauded or laughed or gave any other signs of approval
or disapproval. Sometimes, however, they do throw
cigar-ends and other objects at actors who offend them
by their art or sentiments.
Dime museums, shooting-galleries, dirty little restaurants, cheap drug and clothing stores, and similar
places generally mark the transition from Chinatown to
San Francisco proper. In one or two streets the transition is of a different sort, leading gradually through
more elegant Chinese stores and wholesale houses to
the American quarters. San Francisco has many fine
streets, in strolling through which one can easily believe frr'
the statements that the city has one-third of all the
wealth on the Pacific Coast, harbors fifty millionnaires,
and has exports including treasure to the value of
more than a hundred million dollars a year. Such
streets as Market, Kearney, Montgomery, and Post
would attract attention even in Paris or London, and
there is evidence of general prosperity in the numerous elegant residences as well as in the thronged business streets. Of late, an uneasy feeling has betrayed
itself over the rivalry of the Canadian Pacific Eailway
and its harbor town, Vancouver, in attempting to secure
the trade with Japan and China, the distance being
somewhat in favor of Vancouver. But there is plenty
of room for several large cities on the Pacific Coast; and
San Francisco, having the only good harbor between
San Diego and Puget Sound, need not be afraid of
retrograding if the Canadians get some of the tea trade.
Even if they should get the whole of the Asiatic trade,
which is impossible, the handling and shipping of California wine, fruit, and agricultural products would suffice always to make San Francisco one of the three or
four largest cities in America; and the opening of the
Nicaragua Canal will give its trade a new and great
Market Street is the Broadway of San Francisco, but
it differs from Broadway in New York in being as
crowded in the evening as in the daytime. Yet the
evening crowd is not the same as the day crowd, being
bent on pleasure merely, like the multitudes which
promenade in the alamedas of Spanish cities, late in the
afternoon. San Franciscans are too busy to give up the
afternoon hours to pleasure, so they have their daily
street  review and reception between  eight and ten SAN  FRANCISCO  AND  CHINATOWN. 121
o'clock in the evening, during which hours Market
Street is as crowded as Fifth Avenue on Sunday afternoons. The throng comes to an abrupt end a block or
two above the Palace Hotel, and visitors stepping thence
into a comparatively deserted street are apt to be surprised on suddenly finding that they have to elbow
their way through a dense, moving mass of men and
women. It seems strange that the crowd should not
include the Palace Hotel in its promenading line, so as
to give the guests in the large bay-windows, which
make up the entire front of this immense structure, a
chance to review it. San Franciscans are fond of boasting of this as being the largest hotel in the world, and
one of the most sumptuously furnished, having cost
about seven million dollars. Few cities, indeed, are so
well supplied with good hotels as San Francisco, which
has four of the first rank besides the Palace. There
are accommodations and prices to suit all purses, but I
do not believe there is another city in the world where
one can get such an elegantly furnished, spacious room,
with board, for three dollars a day, as on the upper
floors of the Palace, where the air, light, and view are
better than on the more expensive lower stories. The
fare is generally good in these hotels, as it ought to be
in the metropolis of a State which furnishes all the staples and delicacies of the table in abundance and always
in season. Butcher's meat, however, as elsewhere on
the coast, is frequently tough, and poultry seems to be
exceedingly scarce or expensive, for it is seldom seen on
the bill of fare. There are some restaurants, too, where
good meals can be obtained; but it makes one indignant to find that even here in the chief city of
California, some of the restaurateurs are too idiotic, 1 V ■ 1
||K    :
or dishonest, or both, to furnish California wines under
California labels at sensible prices. The California
wines are there, of course, but under French labels and
at fancy prices, varying from two to five dollars;
whereas, if the wine (which is really much better and
purer than nine-tenths of all imported French clarets)
were honestly labelled, it could be sold at a quarter
of those prices. The same humbug flourishes in most
Eastern restaurants, but here one would think the mob
would rise in its patriotic indignation and State pride,
and summarily expel these short-sighted, swindling
restaurateurs. Claret is so cheap by the gallon that it
ought to be served free with meals, as in Spain, instead
of that deadly American drink, ice-water.
There are cheap eating-houses in San Francisco where
a poor man can get soup, meat, a dish of vegetables, and
a glass of claret or beer,—all for ten cents. There is no
exaggeration in Mr. J. S. Hittell's statement that " the
wages of labor are still fifteen to thirty per cent higher
than on the other side of the continent, and fifty to
one hundred per cent higher than in Europe, while the
cost of living is lower than in either." Notwithstanding Chinese competition (about which a great deal too
much fuss is made in California, since the Chinamen
are absolutely needed, especially in harvest-time), it is
doubtless true that there are few places in the world
where the laboring-man fares so well as here, owing to
the cheapness of provisions and the ease with which a
cheap suburban residence on the back hills or across the
bay may be reached.
In the matter of picturesque suburbs, San Francisco
is admirably supplied. Cross the bay in any direction,
and you will find no end of fine sites for villas or towns, SAN  FRANCISCO  AND   CHINATOWN. 123
and the suburban capabilities of the islands which beautify the bay have hardly begun to be exploited. Every
half-hour a large and comfortable ferry crosses the bay
directly east to Oakland, noted as a city of elegant
homes. A few miles beyond lies Berkeley, the Cambridge of California, being the site of the University of
California. But neither Cambridge in New England
nor in Old England has a view to compare with that
obtainable from Berkeley University and the hills rising up behind it, — a view which includes San Francisco,
the bay, looking like a large lake, and some fine mountain groups. Here is some of the best society to be
found in the West, and connected with the University
is a gallery and good library for the use of the students,
whose ranks generally include seventy or eighty young
Another ferry runs from the city northward to the
charming suburb of Saucelito, which, although but a
few miles away, has a climate eight degrees warmer in
winter than San Francisco, being sheltered by a high hill
from the violent trade winds and the fogs which find
free access through the Golden Gate, where they enter
in order to take the place of the vacant spaces left by
the rising of the air in the heated Sacramento Valley
of the interior. Saucelito is the favorite picnic ground
of San Franciscans, and it commands superb views of
the bay and its islands, the city, and the Golden Gate,
but its building-ground is limited, since the parts unsheltered by the wall of the hill are exposed, more even
than the city opposite, to wind and weather. These
trade winds and fogs constitute the greatest drawback
of the climate of San Francisco, and make it unsuited
for, invalids, even in summer.    For owing to the trade 124
winds and the effect of the Japan current, arriving via
Alaska, there are only seven days in a year when the
thermometer rises to 80°; and the mean temperature of
July is 60°, or 17° lower than in New York. Hence seabathing is a pleasure rarely indulged in near San Francisco, the temperature of the water being only 53° in
July, —10° or 12° lower than at Santa Barbara.
Eastern people, and especially Europeans, coming to
California for climatic reasons are too apt to forget the
immense size of this State and its infinite variety of
climates. California, if transferred to the Atlantic
Coast, would extend from Boston to Charleston, having
as much coast line as in the East is divided between ten
States. A year ago I crossed the ocean with an Englishman who was apparently in the last stages of bronchitis, and we agreed to meet in January at San Diego.
He had not appeared in April, and I concluded he had
died on the way across the Continent. But he had
gone to San Francisco, where his trouble at once increased so much that he found himself in a worse
condition than ever, and cursed the climate and the
London physician who had sent him to California.
Fortunately, a friend enlightened him on the diversity
of climate in California, and he went to Santa Barbara,
where I accidentally came across him, looking hale and
vigorous, gaining weight, climbing hills, and eating like
a bear. For persons with weak lungs, therefore, San
Francisco is not a desirable residence; but for healthy
folk it is an ideal cEmate, because the temperature is
hardly ever oppressively warm or uncomfortably cold
for those who are weE supplied with flannels. If there
are only seven days a year when the thermometer rises
above 79°, there are, on the other hand, only five days SAN   FRANCISCO  AND   CHINATOWN.
in a year when it falls to the freezing-point. Such a
climate breeds no numbness, lassitude, sultriness, dolce
far niente ; hence the San Franciscan is energetic, quick
in his movements, but not morbidly nervous. The pale-
faced fragile clerks and dudes of New York and Philadelphia would either die here of lung disease, or if
"fit to survive" would soon assume the healthy, robust
appearance of San Franciscans, to whose strong lungs
the trade winds, which sweep the city and ever renew
its atmosphere, are a tonic and a luxury. I
The climatic conditions of San Francisco are anomalous and curious; shade trees, for instance, which are
the greatest desideratum and blessing in Los Angeles,
are not desired by San Franciscans, because the air
is cool enough in summer without artificial shade. On
the other hand, it is never so cold but that many semi-
tropical plants will survive a whole winter in a sheltered
situation outdoors; and San Francisco has in its public
places some palm-trees high enough to attract attention
even in San Diego. The avoidance of extremes is what
constitutes the charm and value of the climate of San
Francisco. But if the natives tire of this "golden
mean," and desire to experience the extremes for the
sake of variety, they can gratify their wish by a few
hours' ride on the Central Pacific Railroad. At Sacramento they may find the thermometer above ninety in
May, and just beyond it a place where oranges ripen six
weeks sooner than at Los Angeles; while the station of
Summit, a few hours further on, may be buried under
four or five feet of snow, — an article almost unknown
in San Francisco. Californians, however, are not greatly
addicted to the habit of seeing the wonderful sights of
their State, and such places as the Yosemite Valley, the
Big Tree Groves, and Lake Tahoe owe their fame and
vogue chiefly to Eastern and foreign tourists. There
are now half-a-dozen transcontinental routes to choose
between, so that it does not necessarily follow that every
one crosses by the Central Pacific; but those who prefer
the Northern or the Canadian Pacific should not neglect
at least to patronize the Central Pacific to the extent of
twenty dollars for a round-trip ticket, which includes
the finest scenery along the whole road, — the semi-
tropical Sacramento Valley, the sudden transition to the
snow-crowned summit of the Sierra Nevada, the snow-
sheds, Donner Lake, with a side excursion to Lake
Tahoe, and the silver mines in Virginia County, Nevada.
Lake Tahoe has been as often described as San Francisco ; but as every pair of eyes looks at the world from
its own point of view, perhaps I may be allowed to tell
briefly what I saw. Lake Tahoe has only been known
a few decades, while the sights of Greece and Egypt
were described two thousand years ago, and are still
"written up" in newspapers and periodicals.
Until two years ago the time-tables of the Central
Pacific were so arranged that the passengers lost all
the fine mountain scenery between Sacramento and
Reno in the darkness of the night, unless they took 1
an emigrant train. Now, however, Donner Lake and the
snow at Summit and Cape Horn, where the train rounds
a mass of precipitious rock over an abyss two thousand
feet below, and the thirty-four miles of snow-sheds, which
cost the company three hundred and fifty thousand dollars, can be seen by getting up at five o'clock. Previous
to this we come upon one of the curiosities of California, — a ferry-boat four hundred and twenty-four feet
long and one hundred and sixteen wide, which carries
the whole train across a branch of the San Francisco
Bay, thirty miles from the city. It is dark, and the
motion is imperceptible. " What are we stopping here
for so long? " asks a lady of the porter. " We are on a
ferry." " But why don't they start ? " " Why, we are
half-way over!" It must be admitted that although
the change in the time-table is an improvement, much
of the Sierra scenery still remains unseen, being hidden by the snow-sheds in which the train moves along
mile after mile, as in an interminable tunnel. There
are a few gaps and window-holes here and there, but
not nearly enough to give the passengers a satisfactory view of either the mountains, or of the lovely
Donner Lake. This lake is otherwise unfortunate in
having the attention drawn from its fine elongated
outlines and mountainous surroundings by the eternal tale which some one in every seat is sure to tell
of the unfortunate Donner party of emigrants who were
snowed in here, and lost thirty-four of their eighty-one
members through cold and starvation; or else some one
will begin to tell of big hauls of trout recently made,
for Donner Lake is as full of trout as Tahoe, and more
convenient to the city markets.
At Truckee we leave the train to connect with the LAKE  TAHOE AND  VIRGINIA CITY.
Tahoe stage. This is only a rough, lumbering town,
but the laws of etiquette are enforced all the same ; for
in the hotel office a notice is posted, that " Gents are
Requested to wear their Coats in the Dining-room."
We comply with this rule the more readily as the
temperature at this early morning hour, and at this
height, offers no inducement for sitting in our shirtsleeves. We find that although our train was on time,
the stage with which we were to connect had left without us. The stage company is in an evil predicament. It
has fifteen miles to cover between Truckee and Tahoe;
and if it waits for the train, the boat at Tahoe City
probably will not wait for it. However, an extra stage
was provided for our party, and the driver informed us
that if we had come a day sooner we should have been
caught in a first-class snow-storm (this was about the
middle of May). To-day, however, the sun was out
bright and warm, melting the snow rapidly, without
thereby improving the road. The trees still had on a
snow-costume, fitting as snugly as if tailor-made, so that
while there was not a speck in the blue sky, every
gust of wind sprinkled us with a shower of loose snow
and solid crystals. The extraordinary difference in California between shade and sunshine was prettily demonstrated by the fact that although the sun had already
melted the snow on and near the small shrubs, little
patches of it remained wherever a tiny isolated plant
of six inches cast its little streak of shade.
The road keeps alongside of the rapid Truckee River,
which forms the outlet of Lake Tahoe and connects it
with the great Pyramid Lake in Nevada, — being, therefore, like the Niagara, not a river in the ordinary acceptation of the term, having its source directly in the 130
springs or melting snows and its mouth in the ocean,
but a mere connecting link between two fresh-water
lakes entirely isolated from the ocean. As both these
lakes are alive with trout, — Pyramid even more than
Tahoe, owing to its greater size and difficulty of access,
— it may be imagined that the Truckee is good fishing-
ground. Not so good, however, as it used to be; for
whereas formerly the trout used to come up the Truckee
from Pyramid Lake in great numbers to spawn in
Tahoe, a dozen dams are now in the way, impeding
their progressj and the difference this makes is already
so perceptible that last year the fish commissioners had
to place half a million young trout in Tahoe, and this
year a still larger number was to be put in, since in a
lake twenty-two miles long and ten wide, half a million
is after all a mere handful. Besides trout, there are
many whitefish, suckers, chubs, and other fish in this
river, and the driver showed us a deep pool in which
some law-breaking Chinamen once killed over three
thousand pounds of fish by a dynamite explosion.
The Truckee River is also utilized by the lumbermen
to float their logs to market. We saw many of the
loggers rolling in the timber and wading in the snowwater with their big rubber boots. They get five dollars
a day and board, which is not too much, considering
that their amphibious life in ice-water exposes them to
rheumatism and pneumonia; while at the same time
they are sure to earn their wages, since they have to
keep at work briskly all the time in order to keep warm.
Slides are to be seen on the mountain sides, on which
the timber is shot down into the water, and the driver
had a story of an Indian who once for a bottle of whis-
'key tobogganed down on one of these logs, saving him- LAKE TAHOE AND  VIRGINIA CITY.
self by a plunge in the pool at the end. It sounded like
a "California story," but was told with so much circumstantial detail that we were forced to believe it.
Near its outlet at the lake the river is dammed, and
whenever desirable the floodgates are opened, and the
rush of liberated waters carries the timber down to the
By and by, when the population of San Francisco has
reached over half a million, this dam will doubtless be
raised a few feet and the Truckee outlet converted into
an aqueduct. It will cost a neat little sum, for it takes
the train eleven hours to come from San Francisco to
Truckee; but the city needs the water, as its present
supply is of poor quality and inadequate. With Tahoe
on tap, the San Franciscans will have the best water of
all the cities in the world; for Tahoe has no equal in
purity and clearness, its bottom being pure gravel,
without a trace of slime or mud, so that stirring it with
a cane does not cloud it the least shade. But before
the San Franciscans can get permission to swallow
the Truckee River they will have to reckon with the
Nevadans, who utilize it extensively for milling and irrigating purposes, and who, moreover, own the eastern
half of Lake Tahoe.
Tahoe City is situated on the shore of the lake, not
far from where it finds an outlet in the Truckee River.
It consists of a dozen houses, including a " Grand Central Hotel" and a boarding-house, the latter being open
all winter, while the hotel was closed when I was there.
The boat which makes a round trip of the lake every
day had left an hour before we arrived, so we were
obliged to stay here till next morning. But this was far
from being a misfortune, for Tahoe City commands one I f
of the finest views on the whole lake shore. Those who
arrive in the morning are apt to feel that the lake does
not quite come up to its reputation. It seems, indeed,
a large, majestic body of water, and the knowledge that
it lies as high above the level of the ocean as the summit of Mount Washington adds to its apparent grandeur;
but the sun is on the wrong side, and the profiles of the
mountains opposite do not stand out clearly enough.
But in the afternoon, and especially towards sunset,
when Tahoe City is in the shade, and all the light withdrawn from it seems to be concentrated on those mountain ridges, intensified by reflections from the glowing
surface of the lake, then the snow-peaks do stand out
superbly against the blue sky and the golden clouds;
and the scene becomes truly sublime as we watch the
faint, rosy sunset glimmer gradually climbing one
summit after another, and fading away till only one tip
retains its tinge, thereby proving that it is the highest
of the peaks, though seemingly it is not. Knowing the
rate of the sun's motion, why should it not be possible
to measure the height of inaccessible mountains by thus
watching the fading sunset glow on them? An old
fisherman, to whom I described the Swiss Alpglilhen,
declared that he had never seen anything just like it at
Tahoe, but the scene I had just witnessed was a very
fair substitute for it.
Strolling along the shores of Tahoe one can enjoy a
solitude as profound as if no human eye has ever before
gazed on this liquid mountain mirror in a Sierra frame.
A few logs here and there, in the water or washed
ashore, are the only visible signs that man has ever
been there. The faint, distant roar of a torrent, or the
mocking of that sound by the melancholy voices of pines,   LAKE TAHOE AND  VIRGINIA CITY. 133
only intensifies the feeling of isolation. Two weeks previously I had been at the Yosemite, where the flowers
and bushes were in full bloom; but Tahoe lies two thousand feet higher, and some distance farther north than
that Valley, hence the season is later. The first flowers
were just budding out here, and the smooth, alligator-
skinned manzanita bush was only in flower, while at Yosemite it had already formed its "little apples " a fortnight
sooner. There, too, the hotels were open in the middle of
April, while of those on the shores of Tahoe only one had
opened its doors for the season, and the fire was burning
all day long in our little inn at Tahoe City. At the
supper-table Nevada beef was neglected for the more
succulent lake-trout. They are delicious, especially the
silver trout: yet I saw a man at the next table commit
the gastronomic atrocity of putting Worcestershire sauce
on Tahoe silver trout. Then he called to the waiter-
girl, a buxom, rosy-cheeked country maiden,, for a teaspoon—probably to eat it with. " Great Caesar!' exclaimed the maiden. " Haven't you got a spoon ? Why
didn't you sing out ? "
Next morning, as the little steamer starts with us on
its round trip, a pleasant surprise is in store for us. As
seen from Tahoe City the lake had seemed so perfect as
to make us fancy we had seen about all there was of it.
But hardly have we left the pier when new groups of
snow-capped mountains, grander even than those we had
been gazing upon, arise where before nothing had been
visible but a dense, gloomy forest. And when we get
far enough towards the middle of the lake to take it all
in at a glance, we find that it is indeed a mountain lake,
being shut in on all sides by giant peaks rising from
nine to eleven thousand feet above sea-level.    There 134
is reason to believe that the site of the present lake was
once a monstrous volcanic crater. It is now a reservoir
in which is stored the outflow of more than fifty brooks
and creeks, which drain an area of about five hundred
square miles of mountains, and its depth is from fifteen
hundred to eighteen hundred feet — water enough, to
extinguish a crater of even such vast size. It is a
curious fact that this lake, though lying more than a
mile above sea-level and surrounded by snow-fields,
never freezes, even in the coldest Sierra midwinter.
Perhaps this is-due to the frequent squalls which agitate
its surface and prevent the ice from gaining a foothold.
These squalls, blowing down the canons, make sailing
on the lake somewhat risky at any time in the year, and
tourists desiring a Christian burial for their mortal remains will do well to avoid sail-boats, because the bodies
of those who are drowned here are never recovered, the
coldness of the water preventing decomposition and
the formation of gases which would bring them to the
The steamboat, however, does not fear these squalls,
which seem to strike only certain limited portions of the
lake at a time. It makes half-a-dozen or more stops at
points where there are summer hotels, which are open
from about the middle of May to the end of October.
Tallac's opens a few weeks earlier, and I made that
my headquarters for a few days. The superb view
from here includes Mt. Tallac, highest of the Tahoe
peaks, bearing on its hollow sides dazzling Alpine snow-
fields, so large that one looks instinctively for solid ice-
rivers at its lower end; but the California summer sun
does not tolerate perennial glaciers even at these Sierra
heights, and the straggling pine-trees sticking up like LAKE TAHOE AND  VIRGINIA  CITY. 135
stubbles here and there through the lower nave's indicate
that not even these snow-fields are eternal like those of
Switzerland or Alaska. But in early May the scene is
still quite Alpine, especially the immense snow-ridge
with perpendicular sides, which resembles the snow-wall
that connects the Monch with the Jungfrau as seen
from Miirren.
Tallac's is the largest of the hotels on Tahoe, but not
large enough to indicate that San Franciscans come
here in vast crowds during the season. The reason is
obvious. Though scenically incomparable, Tahoe is
not in midsummer as cool a place as San Francisco,
which, during July and August, is the coolest place on
the Pacific Coast. Were Tahoe within eleven hours'
ride of sultry New York, there would be a score or two
of hotels on its bank in place of half-a-dozen. Residents say it was Eastern tourists who made Tahoe the
resort it is now. Tallac's is situated in the midst of a
primitive mountain wilderness, and tourists anxious to
see a wild animal in its native haunts will have no great
difficulty in gratifying their curiosity. One day I set
out to climb part way up the mountain which begins to
rise about a mile or so behind the hotel. I followed
a cow-path, but it soon was lost in a swamp which is
fed by snow-water brooks, and which I had some difficulty in crossing. Beyond the swamp, on beginning to
climb the mountain, I soon found myself in the midst
of thousands of manzanita bushes, which presented a
curious spectacle. The branches were bowed-down
by heavy snow, which formed a continuous layer over
them thick enough apparently to walk on. But appearances were deceptive; for as soon as I came into contact
with the bushes,  the snow slipped off,  the liberated 136
branches flapped against my face, and I was surprised
to find them covered with blossoms. To add to the
contrast, several butterflies were flitting about in the
warm sunlight. It takes California for such odd mixtures of the seasons, — snow-fed swamps haunted by
mosquitoes, flowering bushes bowed down by snow,
under a blue sky, and visited by butterflies.
The finishing touch was given by a large cinnamon
bear, who suddenly hove in sight only a few hundred
yards below me. As these bears are considered quite
as vicious and-aggressive, at certain times, as grizzlies,
and having no means of defence except an olive walking-stick, I conclude'd not to molest the poor beast, but
edged off quietly to the left, unseen, and made my way
back through the trackless jungle of the swamp. In
the evening I met two ladies who had been out alone
in the afternoon for a walk, and had seen " a large yellowish animal with a slender body and a long tail."
They changed color on hearing that it was undoubtedly
a California lion, and made a vow never again to go
into the woods alone. A small boy who is attached to
the hotel as a guide for brook-trouting parties told
us his bear story, which had a somewhat more dramatic
climax than mine. He went fishing alone one day, and
having found a good place, he tied his horse to a tree,
and started up the creek. Suddenly he heard a crackling and whining noise near him, and at the same
moment a cinnamon bear thrust her head through the
brush. A small tree being close at hand, the boy
climbed out of reach just as the bear arrived at its foot.
She was in a dangerous mood because she had her two
cubs with her; but it was to the cubs that the boy owed
his release; for after a moment they became impatient LAKE TAHOE AND VIRGINIA CITY. 137
and moved away, and the old bear followed them. As
soon as they were out of sight, he slid down the tree,
ran for his horse, and thus survived to teE the tale.
The same boy assured me that he had seen trout
caught in the lake weighing twenty-two, twenty-four,
and twenty-nine and three-quarters pounds respectively.
This being both a fish story and a California story,
seemed a tough combination; but in the morning he
took me out in a boat to fish, and as luck would have
it, we were followed for a time by a monstrous trout which
must have weighed fully twenty-five or thirty pounds.
He would not take the bait, however, and such monsters
are not often caught, the average catch being from one
to three pounds. I caught three in a couple of hours,
weighing together about four pounds, and that seemed
to be considered a good catch at the hotel for that
season. Fishing luck at Tahoe varies greatly with the
season, the time of day, and the knowledge and skill of
the fisherman. The best place to throw the line is just
where the water becomes so deep that the bottom is no
longer visible. Row slowly all the time, and let out a
very long line, with a very bright silver spoon, to attract
the game. The bright spoon seemed to be of prime
importance; for I had one and caught three fish, whEe
the boy, who had a dull spoon, did not get a bite.
Whole minnows are used as bait, and the catching of
these in a brook, or in the lake with bread crumbs and
a net, gives employment to a thin, mummified old Indian
who haunts the premises.
Another local character is old Yank, who formerly
owned TaEac's and now has built a rival hotel on a
smaller scale near by. Yank is eighty-two years of age,
and he presents a unique sight, standing upright in his 138
boat, propelling it with one oar and jerking his fish-line
with the other hand. His clothes are greasy rags and
tatters, and he himself boasts that his baths are about
as frequent as the blossoming of the century plant. Yet
his cheeks are rosy, his frame vigorous, his voice firm,
and eyes sparkling, bearing eloquent testimony to the
tonic value of the combined lake and mountain aE of
Tahoe. He has lived here more than a quarter of a century. With pride he showed me some boats lying in
the yard which he had constructed and painted with his
own hands, and the use of which was to be free to the
guests (this was aimed at the other hotel). He seemed
to feel somewhat conscious of his tramplike appearance,
and explained that those were only his winter clothes,
and that as the season opened he would have to dress
up "on account of the ladies." An enormously fat
and large dog is his companion. " Fat ? " he exclaimed,
echoing my exclamation, — "fat? You ought to see
my wife!"
The salubrious Tahoe air is responsible for an appetite which would fatten a consumptive. But if the
dinner-bell coincides with sunset and its concomitant
celestial fireworks, it would be an exhibition of the
purest animality to go and eat. The end of the long
pier is a good place to see the colored sunset clouds,
but better still is it to take a boat and row a mile or
two from shore. About sunset the wind usually subsides, and Tahoe becomes as placid and perfect a mirror
as the famous Mirror Lake in the Yosemite, but on an
infinitely larger scale. Here are not only mountain
peaks and pine-wooded shores reflected in the water,
but the whole sky, with its sunset clouds, more brilliantly colored and more fantastically shaped than any- LAKE TAHOE AND VIRGINIA CITY. 139
where in the world, is mirrored below. The earth no
longer seems a hemisphere, but a perfect symmetrical
globe with the spectator in the centre, floating on the
invisible water like a disembodied spirit. I have never
been up in a balloon, but I do not believe that even
baEooning can make one so vividly realize what must be
the sensations of an eagle soaring with outspread,
motionless wings through the azure ether. However,
Tahoe does not need these colored cloud reflections as
borrowed plumes to adorn itself with. Its own varied
and ever-changing surface-colors are equally enchanting,
though more sombre and melancholy. There are several zones of color. The shore is lined with sand, coarse
as bird-shot and clean as the water itself, and for a distance of several hundred yards this sand is visible as we
row into the lake, corrugated by the waves like the tiny
furrows in the palms of our hands, and giving the water
a yellowish tint. Farther in, it becomes blue, gradually
shading into so deep a hue that we are ready to believe
that a ship with a cargo of indigo must Eave gone down
here, and feel tempted to dip a pen into it to see if it
wiE do to write with; but dip up a glassful, and it is as
clear and colorless as if it had just spouted from an
artesian well, and as cold.
An artist endowed with the courage to reproduce
these colors realistically would surely be denounced
by the critics as a visionary idealist. But no artist
could ever paint them as they appear to the eye, because no palette has ever held colors so rich and deep
and at the same time so delicate and transparent. And
stiE less than the sombre brilliancy of these colors could
a painter reproduce an idea of their movements, in
which lies half their charm.    Cloud shadows cEmbing 140
up a mountain side are a fascinating sight, but not to be
compared with the spectacle of the irregular patches
of color that are chased by the wind across the crests of
the Tahoe wavelets, like semi-liquid purple, green and
violet mists, vanishing in the distance into air, and followed by other color-waves in rapid succession. The
best place to enjoy this unique spectacle is not in front
of the hotel, where the trees act as a wind-break, but to
the left, near the first bridge. As I stood here the first
morning, a brisk breeze was blowing, with a clear blue
sky overhead. _ Looking leewards, the water nearest the
shore appeared gray, bordered by a light violet, with
yellowish and purple patches; then came a deep green
streak, followed by a broader indigo band, and finally a
deep violet field, bounded by a faint mist raised a little
above the surface of the water and slightly veiling the
mountains. Every morning the details were new, and
would have been so, no doubt, had I remained four
hundred instead of four days. Tourists go into raptures
over the waving'motions of the Western wheat-fields, but
what are these monochromes to the polychromatic waves
that chase one another across Tahoe ?
In making the circuit of the lake, we had passed a
place where a railway was seen climbing up the steep
lake-side, not far from the little town of Glenbrook.
This railroad is a connecting link between Lake Tahoe
and the distant silver mines at Virginia City. At first
sight the connection between an inclined railway on the
shore of Lake Tahoe and the Virginia City silver mines
seems as enigmatic as that pointed out by Darwin as
existing between old maids and clover-fields. But the
mystery is easily explained. Nevada is as treeless as
the greater part of Spain; wherefore the miners have to LAKE  TAHOE AND  VIRGINIA CITY. 141
come to California for fuel, and for planks to build their
shafts. Lake Tahoe is surrounded by densely wooded
hills which are gradually being denuded to supply the
demands of the Nevadan miners. The logs are floated
across the lake, hauled up the hiE on the railway, and
cut up into boards and planks, which are thence floated
down in a V-shaped flume to Carson, whence they are
taken by another mountain railroad to 'Virginia City.
No visitor to Tahoe should fail to follow these planks
to Carson and beyond — not necessarily in the flume,
but by taking the stage at Glenbrook. The stage road
to Carson is dusty, but most interesting. The first haE
of it is all up hill, the second half of it is all down hiE,
and the distance fourteen miles. Just before we reach
the summit, Tahoe once more shows its face and casts
a parting glance at us. Then we get a splendid view of
the Carson Valley, deep down below us, and waEed
in on the other side by chain upon chain of bare, desolate, lofty mountain ridges. Unprotected by tree or
stump, the snow has melted from even the highest
peaks, and the snow-peaks which we see later (and
which seem to justify the name of Nevada or "snowy " )
are in California. We stop at a wayside inn for a moment, and a comely young girl asks the driver if there
is " room for one more." But a stage is not a street
car, and the driver had to confess that he was " afraid
not, Nellie, unless one of the men will hold you on his
lap." Nellie looked non-committal; and if none of the
passengers spoke and offered to take her, this was surely
owing to bashfulness, and not to a lack of gaEantry.
Once or twice the driver stopped to coEect a letter
that had been placed in a box fixed on a post by the
the roadside.    To prevent useless stoppages and delay, 142
these letter-boxes are uncovered, and the depositor has
to take his chances of rain, which, however, are hardly
worth considering in summer. Frequently we cross the
flume, or drive alongside of it, but of course it makes a
shorter cut to Carson than the stage-road, and in some
places descends at such a steep angle that the timber in
it is said to be carried along at railroad express speed.
Half a million feet of timber can be thus floated down
in a day, provided there are none of those jams which
sometimes extend for half a mile along the flume and
cause much trouble. Just before entering Carson we
come to the end of the flume, where the timber is
dropped, and piled up in rows of interminable length.
The Carson Valley, through which we had been passing, is dry, dusty, and entirely devoid of trees, and the
town, therefore, with its surrounding green meadows
and fine rows of shade trees lining the streets, seemed
like an oasis in the desert.
Carson, the capital of Nevada, has some good public
buildings, and about four thousand inhabitants, but is
not likely ever to have many more. It was crowded on
this occasion with visitors from the country, and Piute
Indians with their squaws and pappooses were loitering at every street corner. The monstrous, startling
circus posters pasted everywhere explained this influx
from the country and neighboring towns. It was nothing
more nor less than Sells Brothers' " Enormous United
Shows "; "A Grand Olympian Festival"; " The Eureka
of Canvas Entertainments "; "Prodigious, Overshadowing, and Enormous "; " Gigantic, Sweeping, and Brilliant Centralization of Sterling and World-Endorsed
Entertainments"; " FuEy a Century in Advance of
all Contemporaries." I bowed my head in awe on
reading these announcements. LAKE  TAHOE AND  VIRGINIA  CITY.
The appearance of the women and girls in this circus
crowd did not seem to indicate that the climate of Carson
Valley is invigorating, or its resources fattening.  Though
they wore white dresses, they looked so thin and sharp
that it seemed a wonder the strong wind did not carry
them off bodily.    On account of the circus there were
extra trains, but not enough cars, so that haK the passengers had to stand.    'Twas always so, said a local
privileged jester; " You never can get enough of Carson."   This train, en route for Virginia City, took home
those who had attended the matinee.    For the evening
performance another extra train was to be sent down all
the way from Virginia City, which appears not to have
held out sufficient inducements to the circus company
to  come  up,  so  that  "it served them right if they
got left and had to come down to Carson," as one of
the  passengers  remarked,  with much  feeling.     This
railroad from  Carson to Virginia  affords  one of the
most  marvellous and entertaining rides in the world.
The puffing of the engine would tell a blind man how
steep is the grade all the way up; and how crooked and
winding the road is, may be inferred from the printed
notice to employees that fifteen miles an hour is the
highest speed allowed.    Sometimes the engineer might
almost shake hands with a man on the last platform;
and there is a story of an engineer who jumped off the
locomotive on seeing a red light straight ahead, which
proved' to be the lantern on his last car.    Some one
has added these curves together and found that between
Carson and Virginia passengers travel seventeen .times
round the  circle.    Several  miserable shanty viEages
are passed, haE buried in empty tin cans, and as we get
up higher the outlooks become more and more deso- 144
late and rugged. Even Arizona has nothing more
bleak and naked than these endless vistas of Nevadan
mountains. No tree or other vegetation, except coarse
sage bush. Yet the soil is said to be fertile, and to
need only water to make it valuable. Deep down in
the canon below us, where the Carson River winds
along, this statement is verified by the green fields and
orchards which border it. Interminable wooden steps
lead down from the railroad stations to these oases.
" With water," says a Nevadan, " all the mountain
sides may be made veritable hanging gardens " ; and all
that is needed for this metamorphosis is to store the
winter water in artificial canon-reservoirs for summer
We are also told that between these forbidding bare
mountain ranges lie valleys from one to thirty miles
in width, but hidden by the intervening ridges, so that
the State as a whole is really not so forbidding as it
looks. Little, however, has been done so far in agricultural development, and Nevada is still almost exclusively a mining State. Were it not for the mines and
the mineral deposit in dry lake-beds, there would be no
railway except the Central Pacific; and as the mines
now worked are much less productive than formerly,
it is not surprising that Nevada should be the only
Western State whose population is decreasing.
It cost about three million dollars to build the Virginia and Truckee Railroad, from Reno, on the Central
Pacific, to Virginia City — a distance of fifty-two miles,
although a bee-line would make it only about seventeen
miles. Three millions may seem a big sum for so short
a road, but it led to a region whence more than three
hundred and fifty million dollars in gold and silver have LAKE TAHOE AND  VIRGINIA CITY.
been taken by mule, ox-team, stage, and rail, since the
discovery of the Comstock Lode, thirty years ago.
Should the mines ever become exhausted, it would be
worth while, though it might not pay, to. keep up the
road as a scenic route. As we near the mining regions,
the mountain scenery becomes more and more stupendous. We pass through a few tunnels, and suddenly
a most unique view is spread out before us : a series of
immense wooden buildings scattered picturesquely along
the mountain sides, like mediaeval castles, though without towers or other architectural features. Smoke is
belched forth from the high chimneys, and by the side
of every such building is a huge gray mound of waste ore,
—the accumulation of years. Other mounds are seen
where there are no buildings, but only holes into the
mountain side, looking as if some gigantic animal had
been burrowing and thrown out the soil. These mounds
are graves in which some miners' dreams of millions are
As the train winds along and up the hill-side, these
sights disappear and reappear repeatedly, in different
groupings, tiE at last we come to Silver City, the first of
the three towns which perch closely together on the side
of the silver mountain, Mt. Davidson, about seventeen
hundred feet above the river, and as far from the
summit. Mining is not as profitable here as it was
formerly, and as it is now a few miles beyond; but
there are many small gold veins. " Nearly every head
of a family in the town," says the guide-book, " has his
own mine; and when he wants money, he shoulders his
pick, goes out to his mine, and digs it, as a farmer in
the East digs a ' mess' of potatoes."
Two miles beyond Silver City is Gold HE1? which 146
once had as many inhabitants as Virginia City has now,
— eight thousand, —but has only about three thousand
at present. At Virginia City, many pleasant surprises
are in store for us. In this aerial town, built like an
eagle's nest on the side of a rocky mountain, surrounded
in aE directions by similar bleak mountains without a
sign of civilization or habitation on them, you naturally
expect to take up lodging in a one-story shanty, eat
canned beef, and sleep on a cot; but nothing of the
sort. Crawling up the hill—everything is up and
down hill here — a few hundred steps, you come to
the International Hotel, six stories high, with elegantly
furnished rooms, and fare good enough for the very
reasonable charges. It stands in the principal business street, which is lined on both sides with not
only such indispensable places as drug stores, grocers'
and butchers' shops, but with fine jewelry and fancy
stores, and even book and music stores. -Elegantly
dressed women, many of refined appearance, promenade
the streets, bent on shopping; and, by way of contrast,
there are groups of squaws sitting on the rubbish on
corner lots, or following their lords and masters.
Every block, of course, has its saloon; for aside from
the naturaEy bibulous propensities of miners, the great
dryness of the air at this elevation creates an irresistible
thirst every hour, so that the bar-keepers must do a
thriving business. Excepting this elevation of over six
thousand feet, there is little here to mitigate the action
of the sun's rays, which in summer must be intolerable.
The trees are not high enough to afford much shade,
having been destroyed, like everything else, in the great
fire of 1875. But that fire, which annihilated the town,
as usual taught a good lesson, and now there is a hydrant LAKE TAHOE AND  VIRGINIA  CITY.
at every corner whence water can be forced high above
the highest building by its own pressure, no engine
being needed. The waterworks of Virginia are perhaps
the most interesting in the world — both above and
below ground. The pipe which bridges the Washoe
Valley is seven miles long and has a capacity of over
two million gallons a day. This water had to be
brought over to Mt. Davidson from the main range of
the Sierra Nevada, because there was not enough on
the surface of Davidson. Below the surface, on the
other hand, there was an ocean of unwelcome water,
hot and cold, which constantly filled up the shafts and
had to be pumped out at an enormous expense. To
overcome this trouble, the Sutro tunnel was built
1650 feet below the surface, and almost four miles in
length. Ten million gallons of water have passed
through this tunnel in twenty-four hours. A day or
two can be profitably spent in seeing these hydraulic
wonders, besides the reducing mills, with their ingenious
machinery, in which electricity is yearly playing a more
important part, economizing power by transmitting it at
different points from the Sutro tunnel, and preventing
waste by superior processes of amalgamation. Of course
no tourist must fail to don a miner's suit in order to
experience a sensation like that of falling from a balloon in descending a shaft, and to feel a heat more stifling than a desert blast. It is the strangest thing about
this strange mountain city that you need only walk a
block or two from any given point to find a place where
you can descend from two to three thousand feet into
the bowels of the earth, till the six-foot opening at the
top appears no bigger than a hand.
The miners only work a few hours every day, and 148
you understand why when you come back to daylight
bathed in perspiration. After waiting long enough to
cool off, climb to the top of Davidson. Contrasts are
always pleasant; and none more so than this transition
from half a mile in the dark interior of this planet to
the summit of a mountain which rises a mile and a half
above sea-level. Davidson is isolated, Eke the Rigi,
and the view is therefore very extensive, embracing a
large portion of Nevada. On one side is a fine circle
of Sierra snow-peaks; on another, Washoe Lake, and
the green meadows along the Truckee River; all of
which, however, — snow, meadow, and lake, — form
mere oases amid the barren wastes of illimitable gray
mountain ranges. A flag-pole has been erected on the
summit of Davidson, and the way in which it is fastened
by means of granite blocks piled on high and iron chains
on every side, indicates the strength of the winter
storms at this altitude. X.
grandest mountain isolated peaks of the cascade
range — volcanic remnants sisson?s — indians at
home sources   of - the   sacramento — effects   of
rain — Oregon's numerous rivers — fish and crawfish— SOUTHERN   OREGON A   MYSTERIOUS   MOUNTAIN
With the exception of the Canadian Pacific and the
Rio Grande, there is no railway on this continent which
offers to tourists such a unique and imposing variety of
mountain and forest scenery as the Oregon and California, or Shasta Route, which connects San Francisco
with Portland. For many hours after leaving Sacramento, the train follows the banks of the Sacramento
River, whose water in this upper part of its course is as
clear as the Rhine in Switzerland. No fewer than eighteen times does the train cross the winding river, which
at every turn offers a new picturesque view. But it is
not till Mt. Shasta comes into view that the real grandeur of this route is made evident. Mr. Bryce, in his
" American Commonwealth," insinuates that there is
little fine scenery in this country; but if there is another
railroad in the world which skirts the base of an isolated
snow mountain over fourteen thousand feet in height,
149 f
and so vast in circumference that it takes the train five
or six hours to get around it, I have not seen it or heard
of it; and Shasta is only one of half-a-dozen snow-peaks
which may be admired on this route and its continuation north to Tacoma and Seattle. There is something
absolutely unique about what may be called the Oregon
System of mountain peaks (since Oregon once embraced
all this region), beginning with Shasta (14,440 feet), in
Northern California, and including the Three Sisters
(8,500), Mts. Jefferson (9,000) and Hood (11,200)
in Oregon, and Jits. St. Helen's (9,750), Adams (9,570),
and Tacoma (14,444) in Washington. Elsewhere, as in
Switzerland, or along the Canadian Pacific Railway,
snow-peaks are always adjacent or jumbled together in
irregular groups; and this is the case even in the Sierra
Nevada of Central California. But the c Oregon' earth-
giants, from Shasta to Tacoma, are all isolated peaks,
separated by many miles from other peaks, with only a
low range of mountains to connect them; and this gives
them a grandeur and individuality which is lacking in
peaks that simply form one of an irregular group. As
Mr. Joaquin Miller poetically puts it: " Here, the
shining pyramids of white, starting sudden and solitary
from the great black sea of firs, standing as supporting
pillars to the dome of intense blue sky, startle, thrill,
and delight you, though you have stood unmoved before
the sublimest scenes on earth."
It is owing to this isolation that Shasta is the grandest mountain in California. Mt. Whitney is several
hundred feet higher, but it stands in a region where
there are a hundred peaks each over thirteen thousand
feet in height, and therefore is not able to assert itself
properly.   Moreover, Whitney is several hundred miles MT. SHASTA AND CRATER LAKE.
further south, where the solar heat disposes of the snow-
fields every summer, and does not compel them to seek
the valley in the shape of glaciers; whereas Shasta has
five glaciers, one of which is more than three miles long.
Jefferson, Hood, and Tacoma also have fine glaciers,
easily accessible.
As compared with the mountains of Switzerland,
Shasta has this advantage: that whereas the former
rarely, even in summer, have the advantage of standing
out against a clear blue sky, which adds so very much
to the sublimity of the scene, Shasta rears its snowy
head day after day and month after month into the
cloudless azure. Late in summer, however, it loses
some of its grandeur through the melting of most
of its snow-fields; and in this respect Mt. Hood is
superior to Shasta, as it keeps its snow-mantle throughout the usual Oregon summer. Besides the California
sun, the snows of Shasta have another enemy in the
internal volcanic heat which has not yet subsided.
Shasta has its big craters, and there are a score of
smaller ones in the lower neighboring cones. A few
hundred feet below the summit there is a hot sulphur
spring, to whose heat John Muir and Jerome Fay,
being caught in a snow-storm in 1875, owed the preservation of their lives.
One of the best ways to realize the great height of
Shasta, is by noting the very long time the sun lingers
on the mountain side after it has set at Sisson's, in
Strawberry Valley, — fully half an hour. After it has
gone down, on dark nights in May, a solitary star will
arise immediately over the summit, looking at first as if
some venturesome climber had started a fire, dwarfed by
the distance.    One does not realize how jagged are the 152
ridges of Shasta until the evening sun casts their gray
silhouettes on the adjacent white snow-fields.
All this can be seen from the porch of Mr. Sisson's
hotel—the same hotel that used to feed the passengers
and the horses of the stages so many years before
the Oregon and California Railroad was built; and
the same Mr. Sisson who, twenty years ago, served as
Clarence King's guide up the mountain. Mr. Sisson
now has the satisfaction of seeing quite a respectable
village which has grown up in the picturesque spot
selected by himji quarter of a century ago; but he no
longer has the strength to act as guide; nor does he
need to, as he is well-to-do. Accordingly, I had to
content myself with one of the Indians in his employ,
as guide up the mountain side. May is too early to
make the complete ascent, but we thought we could
get above the timber line at any rate. But even this
proved impossible, owing to the deep masses of snow
which carpeted the sombre forest at a height of eight
thousand feet. Yet the trip proved worth taking
without the final climb. The path led through the
densest imaginable forest, and was impeded every five
minutes by a fallen tree. In looking at the millions of
dead trees which rot on the ground in these California and Oregon forests, one cannot suppress the
thought, I What a blessing this wood would be to the
starving, freezing thousands in our large cities, during
the winter months! 1
It is this superabundance and natural waste of wood
everywhere that breeds indifference in the people of
this coast and the natives to the devastating forest fires
which occur every summer. My Indian guide amused
himself by setting trees on fire in several places, and to <  MT. SHASTA AND CRATER LAKE.      153
the question why he did this, I could get no satisfactory
answer. He also very kindly tried to amuse me by rolling huge rocks down a tremendous precipice. I should
have been less surprised than hurt had he thrown me
down too, in retaliation for the injury inflicted on
him and his race by the intruding white man, who has
reduced the former lords of this region, where they
could hunt and fish to their heart's content, to the condition of day-laborers earning their bread by the sweat
of their brow. How galling it must be to the noble
savage to have to dig stumps and level roads while his
squaws look on, because, forsooth, the perverse white
man will not permit the squaws to do the grubbing, and
him to look on!
Mr. Sisson took me to a smaE Indian camp near his
house, where he wanted to engage a man for a job. The
young buck was gorgeously arrayed in a pair of old
trousers and a new linen shirt, evidently just arrived
from San Francisco, with its bosom starched stiffly
enough for a city dude. He was obviously conscious
of this ornament, and, probably in consequence of it,
wanted more money for the job than Mr. Sisson had
previously paid him. Noblesse oblige! The squaws,
young and old, and the children, were all very fat,
dirty, and stupid-looking, and were crowding around a
fire, eating fried meat and flat, round cakes of dough
baked in a pan, looking as if it would give chronic
dyspepsia to an ostrich or a goat. I was also shown an
Indian hut where there had been a dance on the preceding Fourth of July, white visitors being charged
twenty-five cents admission.
One of the most interesting places Mr. Sisson has to
show his guests is the source of the Sacramento River. i\
About a mile from his house, at a place to which steps
lead down from the railway track, the water rushes out
from several springs in a great volume, forming immediately a trout-brook of respectable size, which hurries
away in the new daylight, as if glad to have escaped its
subterranean source. These springs issue from under
Mt. Shasta, and doubtless owe their being to the melting
of snow and glacier ice by the internal volcanic heat —
a worthy origin of so romantic a river as the Sacramento. Near these springs is a valuable iron-water
spring, which also belongs to Mr. Sisson, and is one of his
most important possessions, now that the town founded
by him is getting to be a regular resort for San Franciscans, Portlanders, and Eastern tourists, not only on
account of the view of Shasta, but because of the beautiful forest scenery, and the excellent trout-fishing in
the neighboring McCloud River. Six large rivers and
many smaller ones are born of Shasta and neighboring
peaks, and it is these icy streams that the trout and the
salmon delight in. The Sacramento itself, however,
does not afford any sport in this vicinity.
After leaving Sisson's, Shasta still remains in sight
for some time; for it takes some time even for a railway to get away from a mountain, of which it has
been remarked that "if it could be sawed off at the
four-thousand-foot level, or five hundred feet above the
valley, the oval plain thus made would be eighty miles
in circumference." Some of the views of Shasta after
leaving Sisson's are even grander than at the station,
and in certain atmospheric conditions the snow-cone
may be seen floating, as it were, on a mystic haze
resembling water. The aspect of the mountain gradu-
aEy changes, and what had seemed smooth, gradual MT.  SHASTA AND CRATER  LAKE. 155
slopes are now seen to be rugged precipices rising one
above the other.
We now approach that mammoth fragrant forest
between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains
which is known as Oregon, and it becomes obvious
at once that the chief difference between Oregon and
California is comprised in the word rain. Shortly
after crossing the Oregon line evidence begins to multiply that we have entered the rain belt. There are more
deciduous trees, more ferns and mosses, more underbrush in the pine forests, and, most significant of all,
more rivers. California has in its whole coast line of
seven hundred miles only one navigable river, while
Oregon, with a coast line of only three hundred and
fifty miles, has four fine navigable rivers, — the Rogue,
the Umqua, the Willamette, and the Columbia,—
with many smaller ones. All of these run from east to
west, except the Willamette, which divides the State
by flowing northward into the Columbia near Portland,
thus creating the fertile Willamette Valley, to which
Portland chiefly owes its wealth.
The Willamette has some tributaries which alone
would make the fortune of several counties in Southern
California, where nothing can be done without irrigation; whereas in Oregon no one but vegetable gardeners
ever thinks of such a thing. One of these tributaries is
the Pudding River, along the banks of which many
charming scenes may be enjoyed, and which is fuE of
fish, which, however, have the peculiarity that they
never take a bait. In the Santiam and some of the
other rivers the fishing is excellent, and the creeks are
f uE of trout and of crawfish, which are deEcious, and of
which I have caught as many as a hundred in an hour, 'Ill Is
with three strings and three pieces of beef. A favorite
form of picnicking in Oregon is to take a sauce-pan and
salt, catch a few hundred of these tender and juicy
crawfish, boil them, and enjoy a feast fit for prelates.
The rain, to which Oregon owes its numerous rivers
and creeks, is not as abundant in the southern as in the
northern part of the State. There is a gradual transition
from thirty-two inches at Jacksonville to thirty-eight at
Salem, fifty-three at Portland, and seventy-two at Astoria.
The Rogue River Valley climate has been described as
1 a compromiseJ)etween the droughts of California and
the great rain of the Willamette Valley." Grapes
are raised here equal to the best in California, and the
peaches have been known to fetch higher prices in the San
Francisco market than the California varieties. Melons
also are raised here in great abundance for the Portland
market, Northern Oregpn (where the thermometer sometimes does not register above 85° during a whole summer) being too cold for their successful cultivation.
Southern Oregon is at present but thinly settled; but if
its climatic, scenic, and agricultural advantages were
generally known to immigrants, it would fill up rapidly.
Two large lakes, the Upper and Lower Klamath, will
in course of time become popular resorts of Oregonians,
and some miles north of the Upper Klamath is Crater
Lake, which, although much smaller, is by the Oregonians considered the greatest curiosity on the Pacific
Coast, and which used to be, and still is, regarded as
holy ground by the Indians of the neighborhood. Local
authorities tells us that " in the past none but medicine
men visited it; and when one of the tribe felt called to
become a teacher, he spent several weeks at the lake, in
prayer to the Shahulah Tyee." MT. SHASTA AND CRATER LAKE.      157
Crater Lake lies in the heart of the Cascade Mountains, and at so great an elevation — 6.257 feet — as to
be rendered inaccessible, except in summer, by the depth
of the snow in the surrounding forests. It is about one
hundred and twenty miles from Ashland, and may be
reached from that city, or from Medford, by stage. The
road follows the banks of the tumultuous Klamath
River, and passes through the Klamath Indian Reservation, near Fort Klamath, which was abandoned in
1889, as being no longer necessary. A narrow defile
known as Mystic Canon is also of interest, and it is
well to bear in mind that in the older guide-books
Crater Lake is put down as Mystic Lake. Mystic it
certainly is, but its present name is preferable because
more definite ; for Crater Lake is really a body of water
which, like Lake Tahoe, fills up a volcanic orifice. And
a most gigantic crater it was, for the circumference of
the lake is more than twenty miles. There is only one
place where one can climb down to the water; the rest
of the shore consists of precipitous walls from fifteen
hundred feet to three thousand feet in height, which are
less slanting than they appear in photographs. These
high waEs, which are mirrored in the water with their
fringe of trees, effectually shut out the mountain
breezes, so that the water is placid, and rarely ruffled.
There is something mysterious about this water; for it
has no visible or discoverable inlet or outlet, and yet it
is always clear and sweet. Fish, however, do not
inhabit it, probably because none ever succeeded in getting there; and even water-fowl, it is said, avoid this
solitary, silent mountain lake. In the middle of the
lake stands an island, about three miles long, of volcanic origin, rising to a point eight hundred and forty- 158
five feet high, and ending in a crater four hundred and
seventy-five feet in diameter. "There are caves along
the shores which may have some connection with the
water-supply, as a current is observable near them. The
depth of the lake has never been ascertained, but it has
been sounded for two thousand feet without reaching
A few years ago an effort was made to have the
Crater Lake.region reserved as the Oregon National
Park, and in 1888 a biE to this effect passed the United
States Senate. As there is much valuable timber on
the neighboring mountain ranges, and much fine grazing
land, there is reason to believe that a branch road will
ere long connect Crater Lake with the Oregon and
California Railroad; and when that has been built, every
visitor to the Pacific Coast will feel that he can no more
afford to miss this lake than the other two scenic wonders of Oregon — the Columbia River and Mt. Hood.
Going southward towards Portland, the wonderful
fertility of the Willamette Valley is what chiefly arrests
the attention of tourists. Wood being cheaper than coal
in this region, the train frequently stops to get a fresh
load of fuel from the huge piles of timber which at
intervals extend along the road, sometimes a quarter of
a mile without a break. During these stops, some
young man may be seen running to a neighboring wheat
or oat field to compare height with the stalks, sometimes to his disadvantage. But these rich agricultural
lands were aE taken up long ago, and the emigrant with
a slender purse and a desire for government land has
to seek a region more remote from the railway. The
towns along this route, including Roseburg, Eugene,
Albany, Salem, and Oregon City, have not grown so fast   MT.  SHASTA AND CRATER LAKE.
during the last ten years as Portland, or as the towns of
Washington and California; but the inhabitants confidently believe that their day will come when the more
sensational California and Washington towns have
passed through their boom period, and they modestly
claim that they prefer steady and slow growth to a
boom which too often becomes a retrograde boomerang.
At Oregon City, tourists should be on the lookout fo^
the falls of the Willamette, below which the Indians
formerly used to spear salmon, but which now serve the
more prosaic purpose of furnishing water-power to the
woollen mills on the spot, and electric power to Portland twelve miles away.
The Willamette Valley, through which our train has
passed on the way from Roseburg to Portland, is the
garden of Oregon. Twenty years ago wheat and apples
were almost exclusively cultivated in this region. Then
the discovery was made that the soil and climate are
remarkably well adapted to hop culture, and most of
the farmers at once gave up their grain fields and
orchards and raised hops. Farmers have their fashions
as well as city folks, and they are just as apt to go to
extremes. The hop-raising business was overdone;
prices fell; and now many of these farmers are returning to their grain and fruit, in which no other
State surpasses Oregon, in quality as well as in quantity.
Concerning Oregon fruit I can speak from personal
experience, as I was brought up near an orchard numbering two thousand apple, pear, and plum trees. For
peaches and grapes the climate of Northern Oregon is
hardly warm enough, and the apples and pears, too, are
perhaps a little smaller than they are in California, but
in flavor they are vastly superior.    Indeed, neither in 160
the East nor in any part of Europe have I ever tasted
apples to compare with those of Oregon. They have a
richness and delicacy of flavor which must persuade
any one that, if apples were less abundant, they would
be considered superior in taste and fragrance to those
tropical and semi-tropical fruits which are more highly
valued because of their scarcity in our latitude. In
most parts of the East an apple is an apple, and few
people know or care about the names of the different
kinds; but an Oregonian would no more eat certain
kinds of apples than he would a raw pumpkin. An
epicure is no more particular in regard to his brands of
wine than an Oregonian is in the choice of his favorite
variety of apples; and there are half-a-dozen kinds
which I have never seen at the East, and the systematic
introduction of which in the New York market would
make any dealer's fortune.
For some reason or other the Oregonians seem less
enterprising than their California neighbors, and instead
of sending their fruit East, they often allow it to rot on
the trees — including superb plums, and Bartlett pears
that would fetch eight to ten cents apiece in New York.
Eastern capital is wanted to start transportation enterprises ; and a still more important desideratum in Oregon is a larger population. The growth of the State has
been remarkably slow, considering its agricultural advantages and its fine climate. In the census of 1880,
the population numbered only 174,767. But there were
already "16,217 farms, and their products are tabled at
a cash value of $13,234,548," — a curious commentary
on the exclamation of a member of Congress forty-five
years ago, that he would not " give a pinch of snuff for
the whole Territory." MT. SHASTA AND CRATER LAKE.
Eastern notions regarding the climate of Western
Oregon are almost as widely astray as they are regarding Alaska. Barrows points out that, although
the mouth of the Willamette is two hundred miles
further north than Boston, no ice has been formed on
it thicker than window-glass since 1862; and that in
some of the counties snow has not covered the ground
for three consecutive days for a score of years. The
rainy season, which takes the place of the Eastern
winter, is trying to the patience of some; yet this rain
is very different from our muggy, foggy, sultry winter
rains in New York. It is known as a " dry " rain, because however it may drizzle, it does not seem to
saturate the air and depress the spirits by impeding
the natural evaporation and healthy action of the skin.
Doubtless this peculiarity of climate is largely responsible for the remarkably beautiful complexions of
Oregon and Washington women, though something
may be due to the fact that, as children, they live
almost entirely on fruit. The heat of Oregon summer
days is not often oppressive, being generally mitigated
by a gentle breeze, and the nights are always cool
enough for refreshing sleep. XL
If the greatest commercial advantage which a city
can enjoy is to be situated on a large river, it is equally
true that of all possible aesthetic advantages no other is
equal to that of having a scenic background of snow
mountains. It is to this that so many cities of France,
Spain, Switzerland, and Italy owe their principal charm.
To find anything similar in the United States we have
to go far West, and especially Northwest. Portland,
Tacoma, and Seattle are the three most picturesquely
situated cities in the United States, and of these three
I would assign the palm to Portland, from a purely
scenic point of view. For although Mt. Hood does
not seem quite so near and imposing at Portland as
Mt. Tacoma does as seen from Seattle or Tacoma,
it   must   be remembered   that the  Portlanders have
full-size views from their streets, not only of Hood
but also of St. Helens, while the summits of Tacoma,
Adams, and Jefferson are seen from the hills which
encircle the city. And while Portland has no Puget
Sound, it is only twelve miles from the Columbia River,
which is scenically superior even to the "American
Mediterranean," as Puget Sound has been aptly called.
Architectural monuments of importance there are
none as yet in Portland, but the trees and gardens
which frame in all the houses are equally attractive in
their way, and, from a sanitary point of view, more
desirable. Garden City or Forest City would seem an
appropriate name for Portland, as seen from the Portland Heights, which every tourist should visit; and the
Cascade Range to the east, with the Willamette River
separating the city from East Portland and Albina,
gives the ensemble a slight resemblance to Stuttgart, if
not to Florence, though neither of those cities can boast
of a line of five volcanic snow-peaks like Portland.
Of Mt. Hood in particular the Portlanders have a magnificent view from their house-tops or from the heights
west of the city. Though it is about fifty miles away,
there is not a hill between to impede the view; and, as
the particular Cascade ridge with which Mt. Hood connects is of insignificant height, the peak stands revealed
from head to foot in solitary grandeur, with snow reaching down two-thirds of the way even in August. As
previously stated, it is a peculiarity of all the Oregon
and Washington peaks that they thus rise abruptly from
the ground, without any clustering neighbors to lean
upon; and this isolation, combined with the lowness
of the snow-line, adds much to their grandeur and apparent height.    With such fine scenery constantly in 164
view, and with trees and flowers around every house,
it is perhaps not surprising that the wealthy Portlanders
have hitherto shown a remarkable indifference to the
condition of their parks and streets. The large piles of
wood in front of every other house appear more useful
than ornamental, and give parts of the city a semi-rural
aspect. They make excellent and cheap fuel, however,
and the large quantities of pitch they contain give
them a delightful fragrance. Another peculiarity of
Portland streets is that the blocks are uncommonly
small. Fewer streets and wider ones would have been
much more acceptable. The waste of space involved
in the present arrangement is beginning to be felt now
that real estate is rapidly rising in value.
Portland owes its growth and its commercial importance to the fact that the Willamette River is navigable up to its wharves by the largest ocean steamers ;
so that the rich farm products of the Willamette Valley can be at once shipped to all parts of the world
without a long and expensive railway transportation.
In a book dated 1855 — Thornton's " Oregon and
California" — we read that "ships drawing twelve or
fourteen feet of water ascend the Willamette to the
pleasant and flourishing village of Portland, twelve
miles below Oregon City." This " pleasant and flourishing village " is now a city of at least sixty thousand,
which hotly disputes with Los Angeles the honor of
being the second largest city on the Pacific Coast. The
Los Angeles papers claim seventy thousand for their
city and speak encouragingly of Portland as a promising city of forty thousand; while the Portland papers
reverse these figures, claiming seventy thousand for
their city and generously conceding to  Los  Angeles PORTLAND  AND  ITS  SEA-BEACHES.
forty thousand. One thing is certain: that Portland
is growing very rapidly, as is proved by official statistics,
showing that the grand total of receipts and payments
of money order and postal funds increased, more than a
million dollars from June 30, 1888, to June 30, 1889.
Portland, however, has never had a real "boom' like
her southern rival, or like Tacoma and Seattle. Oregon,
indeed, has been somewhat unjustly neglected, being
thrown into the shade by her more brilliant neighbors,
California and Washington. Her growth has been
gradual, and not by spurts, but it has been as steady as
it has been quiet, and the total result is surprising.
Salem, the State capital, has not, indeed, greatly outgrown the condition in which it was found a number of
years ago by Mr. Joaquin Miller, who referred to it as
"rather thickly settled for the country, yet far too
thinly settled for a city"; but Portland has always
gone on ahead, thanks to the fact that it has been, and
still is, the headquarters for wholesale supplies not only
in Oregon, but in Washington and Idaho. This, combined with the fact that it is the outlet for one of
the richest grain and fruit States in the Union, accounts for the metropolitan aspect of Portland. Front
Street, where the large wholesale houses are, might be
easily taken for a street in New Y"ork or Chicago.
Farther away from the river, elegant rows of residences
occupy the ground where a few years ago ferns and
mosses grew, and the festive stump asserted its omnipresence. A large and magnificent hotel has just been
completed, the Portland, one of the finest and most
sensibly constructed in the country, every room being
practically a front room, with plenty of light and air.
This hotel was much needed.    I have known tourists 166
to leave Portland disgusted because they could not get
comfortable quarters in the overcrowded small hotels.
Cable and electric roads have also been introduced
recently, and besides all these things, there is evidence
of Portland's prosperity in the appearance of the daily
Oregonian, which is at present compelled to add four
pages almost every issue to its usual eight pages, just
as were the Los Angeles papers during the "boom" in
Southern California. The Oregonian is one of the best
edited papers in the United States, liberal in its views,
and generally"bn the right side of important questions.
It has obtained such a firm hold in Oregon soil that
rival papers find it almost impossible to make headway
against it; and Portland is perhaps the only city of its
size in this country which has only one first-class daily
Some Portlanders are distressed at the fact that Second Street, one of the three principal business streets
of the city, has fallen almost entirely into the hands of
the Chinese; but in ner general treatment of Chinamen,
Portland differs widely from her rival cities in Washington. From Tacoma the Mongolians were driven
formally, a few years ago, by a mob, headed by the
mayor and a brass band. Seattle tried the same game,
but there the mob was foiled by the interference of the
sheriff. Portland, on the other hand, deals gently with
its two thousand Chinamen, because they are found useful, and sometimes indispensable. A Portlander has
explained this matter as foEows: "In a city where
white help cannot be got at the rate of thirty dollars a
month for plain cooks and twenty dollars for chambermaids, Chinamen at those prices, either in the kitchen
or overhead, are a blessing.   Indeed, the amicable rela- PORTLAND  AND  ITS  SEA-BEACHES.'
tions between the Chinese and the whites here is due
largely to a tacit agreement on a division of labor. All
over the city you see that the men employed on street-
mending and other public works are white. Wherever
you see a pile of cordwood and a man sawing, splitting,
and carrying it in, you will find him a Chinaman.
When a well-to-do Chinaman wants a drive in a hack,
a white man sits before him on the box. The Chinese
have not intruded into any of the skilled trades to the
exclusion of the whites. Their barbers shave only their
own countrymen. Their cobblers confine their mending
to Chinese shoes. Their compositors set only Chinese
type. Their carpenters are employed on Chinese buildings and cabinet work exclusively. You will often see
a drayman delivering freight with a Chinese helper, or
a white gardener directing his Chinese assistant in the
use of the hoe and the rake. The absurd notion, so
prevalent in some parts of the East, that the Chinaman
works for almost nothing, is quickly dispelled when you
come to strike a bargain with one. If he is to dig in
your garden as a common laborer, he stands for his
dollar a day as firmly as the white man. He will saw
your wood gladly, but he must have a dollar a cord for
it, or a dollar and seventy-five cents if he also splits it,
carries it in, and piles it up in your cellar."
In the country, the Chinamen are even more indispensable than in the city; and the demand for them
during harvesting and hop-picking time is always
greater than the supply. They are hired through the
agency of Chinese bosses, who send them wherever they
are wanted, with cooks and a general outfit, and pay
them a small sum a day, keeping the lion's share for
themselves.    At other times of the year the Chinese i Mi
,  , il
are employed in making 1 clearings " for agricultural
purposes. Oregon has about fifteen million acres of
timber land, with a soil that is excellent for grain or
fruit, provided the timber can be removed. To do this
with white labor is so expensive as to take away the
possible margin of profit. But the Chinaman does it
for a smaller sum, and thus, instead of being the farm-
laborer's enemy, he enables him to earn a living on the
ground cleared by the heathen. The cost of clearing
an acre varies from twenty-five to one hundred dollars.
Market-gardening in Oregon, as in California, is
almost entirely in the hands of the Chinese, and where-
ever in the neighborhood of Portland you see a brook
large enough to irrigate a garden, you will usually find
a Chinaman in possession of the ground. Even where
the gardens or orchards belong to Americans, Chinamen
are hired to do most of the work. And they do it well,
with rare exceptions. Usually they have a separate
hut, where they do their own cooking; or else they
occupy a portion of the barn, in which case, if the
chickens lay their eggs therein, it is sometimes found
that the number of cackling chickens exceeds the number of eggs found in the trough in the evening.
To judge by the articles found in their provision
stores, the wealthier among the Chinese appear to be as
great epicures as their countrymen at home; while of
the poorer ones, if you ask one what he had for dinner,
he will invariably reply, "I eatee licee " (rice). Yet
they are always glad to get what is left over at the table,
and this makes it the more remarkable that they are so
contented with their insipid boiled rice, without condiment of any sort.
Heathen John is, of course, quite as willing to work PORTLAND AND ITS  SEA-BEACHES.
on Sunday as on any other day; but once in a while a
day comes along which is marked sacred in his calendar,
and then it is difficult to persuade him to do anything.
I once witnessed a curious scene on a farm near East
Portland. Strawberries being over-ripe, the four Chinese
laborers had been persuaded to pick all day, though they
had expressed a great desire to have a holiday. In the
evening they had a grand performance in front of their
barn. A whole roast chicken was brought out in a
plate and placed on the grass, surrounded by half-a-
dozen bowls of rice-wine, and a number of burning candles, though it was still daylight. The oldest of the
men went through a series of bows and genuflections,
and then poured out libations of the wine, after offering
some to the spectators, who politely declined it. Then
a few dozen perforated papers with Chinese characters
on them were thrown into the flame, one after another,
the chicken was carried back into the barn, and the
ceremony was over. One of the younger Chinamen
explained to us that what we had witnessed had been
done to conciliate the gods. I We workee to-day, long
(wrong). 'Ligious holiday. Now allee lightee " (right).
He added that he and the other two young men would
not have done it, but that the old man was very strict in
his religious observances and had induced them to join
Afterwards we asked this same young man to sing
for us, which he did after much coaxing, and a solemn
and repeated promise that we would not laugh. He
sang three verses in a shrill falsetto voice, each time a
few notes higher, the effect being similar to that of the
Edison phonographic speaking-dolls. He accompanied
his song with dance and pantomime, but when one of 170
his companions tried to accompany him on a peculiar
instrument which sounded like a cross between a violin
and oboe, he did not encourage him, and explained to
us I he no play."
John sometimes manages to pick up a fair knowledge
of English, but one word he cannot get into his brain,
and that is the word " get." Tell him to " go and get
the milk' and he will have no idea what you want.
| Catchee " is the word for him; and if you say " John,
go catchee him milk," he will go at once and get it.
His logic also is sometimes peculiar; and if you make a
bargain with him at so much a month, he will work exactly one Chinese month, or four times seven days, and
then refuse to do anything on the two or three remaining days of the month unless he gets extra pay. Nash,
in his I Two Years in Oregon," relates a funny story of
a Chinaman who accompanied him on a trip through
the country. On arriving at a steep hill, he got off the
wagon and made John get off too, much against his
will, apparently; for presently, on looking around, he
noticed that John had crawled up again from behind.
On being remonstrated with, John exclaimed, I Never
mind; horsee no see me get in; they know no better."
The same writer tells of a Chinaman who stole the
picture of a pretty girl from an album and concealed it
in his room. And an Oregon lady related to me an incident which gives further proof that John has a sense
of beauty. She has two daughters, one a very pretty
brunette of eleven, the other a blonde with irregular
features and freckles. Lee had one day promised a
handkerchief to the blonde, but on looking at the two
he decided to give it to the other one. He often spoke
of her beautiful black eyes, "just like a China girl's," PORTLAND  AND ITS  SEA-BEACHES.
and said he would take her along to China. " How
much will you give me for her?' asked the mother.
" Hundred dollars," was the answer. " And how much
for the other one?' "Two bits" (twenty-five cents).
Lee used to tease these children by running away towards his cabin with their favorite cat, pretending that
he was going to cook her for dinner. One day he was
left alone in the house, and when the family returned
late in the evening, they found he had attended to
everything, even to winding up the clock. But at one
o'clock they were awakened by a most infernal noise;
Lee, with the thoroughness of his race, had wound up
everything he could find — alarm clock and all!
Lee always gave the children Christmas presents of
preserved ginger, candy, or silk handkerchiefs, and occasionally ten cents "to go to the theatre "; but after a
time he became lazy and unmanageable, and was finally
chased away because he impudently gave notice that he
would not work the next day: " To-mollow I'll be sick."
One of the greatest advantages of Portland as a place
of residence is that one can stay here all the year
round, as there are very few days in summer when the
thermometer rises high enough to make one uncomfortable ; while the winter climate is similar to that of Virginia. When a few successive warm days do come,
however, the Portlanders have an unusual variety of
excursions to choose from. Picnic boats go up the
Columbia River every day, to visit the Cascades or the
Multuomah or Latourelle Falls. Others go down the
river to Astoria and the sea. Mt. Hood can be reached
in a few hours, and a hotel has been built near the great
glacier, where fans are never in demand. Portland
is a hundred miles from the sea, yet it has three sea- 172
side resorts, accessible by rail or boat, which are much
frequented in July and August, less because the city is
considered uncomfortable, than because all residents on
the Pacific Coast seem to have a passion for camping
out a few weeks each year.
In selecting a seaside resort on the North Pacific
Coast, the most important consideration,.next to a good
beach, is protection from the cold winds which often
make even the summer months chilly. In this respect
the most southerly of Portland's summer resorts, at
Yaquina Bay, is well favored. It is situated about a
hundred miles south of the Columbia River bar; and
expects to be some day an important commercial place,
owing to the facilities for transportation of wheat and
fruit to San Francisco, the distance being two hundred
miles less than from Portland. At present a steamer
leaves every two weeks for the Golden Gate. Newport,
on this bay, is a place of about five hundred inhabitants,
who claim that their town will never need a fire company because the salt spray from the ocean renders
the houses fire-proof — an assertion which they probably
expect to be taken cum grano salis. Yaquina Bay
formed part of a large Indian reservation until 1865,
and up to that time the San Franciscans who found it
profitable to fish for oysters in their bay had to pay
the Indians a shilling a bushel for this privilege.
The other two seaside resorts of Portlanders are due
west, — Clatsop being a few miles south of the Columbia
River bar, and Ilwaco, or Long Beach, a few miles north
of it. Of these two, by far the most frequented to-day
is Long Beach, because it is accessible by boat and rail,
while Clatsop has hitherto involved a dusty stage ride
of eighteen miles from Tansy Point.    Ilwaco is opposite PORTLAND   AND  ITS  SEA-BEACHES.
Astoria, on the Washington side of the Columbia estuary, and lies at the southern extremity of the long,
sandy peninsula which separates Shoalwater Bay from
the Pacific. A few years ago a primitive sort of railway was built on this peninsula for the accommodation
of visitors to the seaside, and now hotels and camps
are scattered along its whole length. There are two
hotels, but they are expensive and not very good, and
most of the Portlanders prefer to bring their tents along
and rough it. A site for the tent may be purchased for
two dollars and a half a season, and hay for the beds is
supplied by the neighboring farmers to those who are
too fastidious to use the fragrant fern which is an omnipresent and irrepressible weed in Washington and
Oregon. Fern has its advantages, not only because it
costs nothing, but because it offers no temptation to the
cows which have the freedom of the camp in the early
morning hours. It is hardly conducive to comfortable
rest to know that at any moment after daylight a cow
may poke her head under your tent and chew up the
substratum of your bedding. The owners of these cows
provide for a plentiful supply of milk and vegetables,
while meat is daily brought from Portland or Astoria,
and is offered for sale, together with canned goods, at
booths which are more numerous than they need to be.
One can hardly blame these venders for asking somewhat high prices for their supplies, but the person to
guard against is the thrifty farmer's wife who buys
"store' butter and eggs at Ilwaco and then peddles
them around as " fresh farm products " at double prices.
Shoalwater Bay is a famous oyster-ground, and the
bivalves, together with mud-clams and razor-clams, are
daily brought  over  to  the camp.    These  oysters  are r~
small and inferior in flavor to Eastern oysters. Crabs
and fish in great variety are also to be had for a trifle,
but the popular way at Long Beach is to catch them
yourself. When the tide recedes, some crabs (occasionally weighing four or five pounds) are always left in
the hollows on the beach, where they can be easily
caught. But once every month there are several mornings when the tide recedes about half a mile, and then
the sport becomes lively. Everybody is out with poles
and large sacks, in which the crabs are packed and afterwards gathered in by wagons. Another kind of sport
peculiar to this region is gathering in the large hake
(two to five pounders), which in their eager pursuit of
sardines are occasionally caught by the breakers and
cast ashore, where they can be gathered in by the hundred. Larger fish, too, are often cast ashore, among
them ten-foot sturgeon, and large salmon with a big hole
in the side. The seals which abound in this region
have a destructive and abominable habit of taking some
favorite tidbit out of the salmon and then leaving them
to die. These dead fish on the beach have to be carefully covered with sand, or else they become a malodorous nuisance.
In the evening the scene along the beach is rendered
brilliant by numerous bonfires, fed with the logs that are
scattered along the beach in countless numbers. These
logs are brought down the Columbia during the high-
water season, and deposited along the beach for miles
each way. Some of them, in fact, have been carried to
distant islands in the Pacific. They supply the campers
with plentiful fuel, and no one objects to the wasteful
bonfires, because the stock is replenished every year.
During storms this driftwood adds a unique element of PORTLAND AND  ITS  SEA-BEACHES.
grandeur to the scene, the huge logs being tossed about
like straws by the angry waves, now lifted up straight
as trees, and again dashed against each other with a
thud which is heard above the roar of the breakers.
Long Beach is a place where even a victim of insomnia will sleep ten hours every night, and still yawn all
day. But as a bathing-place it has its disadvantages.
Bathing on the North Pacific is a different thing from
bathing on the New Jersey coast. The waves are so
rough — positively rude, one might say —and the undertow so strong, that £here is only one hour each day
when bathing becomes safe and enjoyable. This hour
varies of course daily with the tide, and a bell is rung
to announce it. Immediately hundreds of campers,
who have put on their bathing-suits in their tents, rush
into the waves; but few of them stay in more than
twenty minutes, as the water, even on summer afternoons, is rarely warm enough to invite a longer stay.
That it is perilous to go into the water at any other
than the official hour announced by the bell is proved
by the sad case of a young lady, a well-known heiress,
who lost her life here a few years ago. She was engaged to a young man, whom she asked one day to
accompany her into the water when the tide was going
out. Of course he flatly refused, whereupon she was
piqued and invited another young man, who foolishly
complied with her request. They entered the breakers,
when suddenly the young lady disappeared under the
waves and was never seen again. Although a large
sum was offered for the recovery of her body, it was
never found, and it is possible that it was devoured by
sharks; for these fish are occasionally seen here, though
there is no danger near shore, and the noise made by
the bathers is said to frighten them away. 176
The greatest objection to Long Beach is the cold
winds which almost constantly sweep along the coast,
very often accompanied by dense fogs. During three
weeks in July and August, 1889, that I spent there,
the sun shone only on five days. On account of these
disadvantages it is probable that before long Clatsop
Beach wiE become the favorite summer resort of Portlanders, because it is protected against wind and fogs
by TiEamook Head on one side, and forests on another.
A railroad has just been buEt to Clatsop, and it is probable that this summer the Portlanders wiE desert their
favorite Long Beach and establish their summer quarters at Clatsop, which has the additional merit, from
their own patriotic point of view, of being in Oregon,
while Long Beach is in Washington.
From Clatsop a very interesting excursion can be
made on foot to TiEamook Head, where a much-needed
lighthouse was built ten years ago in a most exposed
and romantic situation. It stands on an isolated rock,
about a mile from the shore, and twenty miles south of
the Columbia River bar. The foreman of the party
that built the lighthouse was swept away by the waves
and drowned, when he first put foot on the rock, and
the workmen were repeatedly in great danger while
building the lighthouse, being once cut off from all
supplies for over two weeks by a storm. The almost
incredible fury of the "Pacific" Ocean when it gets
roused may be inferred from the fact that during a
recent winter storm the wild waves broke over this
tower, the summit of which is one hundred and thirty-
six feet above sea-level, leaving fish and rocks scattered
on the roof. One of these rocks weighed sixty-two
pounds, and is now on exhibition in Portland. PORTLAND AND ITS  SEA-BEACHES.
Sea-lions are abundant in this neighborhood, and it is
interesting to watch them fishing for salmon, or quietly
basking in the sunshine on the rugged rocks, regardless
of the cacophonous roaring of the monstrous sentinels.
The Indians have a tradition that pearl-oysters used to
be obtained a few miles off shore; but at present the less
ornamental but more useful rock-oyster only is to be
found, together with mussels and razor-clams, which
have their habitat on the sandy shore, and on being disturbed dig their way down so rapidly, that it requires
some skill to catch them with a little spade. In some
places along the beach the curious phenomenon of
"singing sands" is encountered, the sand on being trod
on giving out a peculiar sound.
The Elk Creek region, through which this part of the
coast is approached, is a veritable hunter's and botanist's paradise. Here bears and deer abound, and more
dangerous game, like timber wolves and cougars, may
be encountered, as well as otter and beaver. In the
south fork of Elk Creek there is good trout-fishing.
But it requires a decided talent for "roughing it" to
enjoy all these things; for here we are in a forest truly
primeval, where paths are few and far between, and
where the sunlight rarely penetrates through the dense
groups of firs and spruce to impede the growth of the
moisture-loving ferns and mosses which carpet the
ground everywhere. Trees of over two hundred feet
in height and straight as masts abound, some of them
up to ten feet in diameter, and therefore too large to
tempt the lumbermen to destroy them.
As for these Oregon mosses and ferns, one would
have to seek in moist tropical regions for anything to
match them in variety, beauty, and verdant luxuriance. 178
Not only is the ground covered so deeply that one could
walk noiselessly, were it not for the dead twigs, but
every tree, standing or prostrate, has its green mossy
cover. Eotten logs are adorned with ferns waving
gracefully over the lovely mosses amidst which they
have gained foothold; and even the rocks, which are so
bare and bleak in California, are here covered with a
mosaic of mosses and lichens — green, gray, red, and
yellow. Of the ferns the loveliest is, of course, the
black-stemmed maiden-hair, which attains a height of
several feet along the banks of shaded brooks, and
looks so graceful as it waves about in the gentle breezes
that it seems fully to deserve its poetic name. Less
graceful and poetic is the common Oregon fern, which
sometimes grows as high as California wild mustard, so
that hunters may lose their way in it, and which is,
from an aesthetic point of view, one of the most charming features of Oregon, since it covers up the unattractive gray of the soil everywhere with a delicate pale
green garb which contrasts delightfully with the darker
green of the fir-trees. But the farmers look on this
species of fern as a dreadful nuisance, because it is the
most irrepressible of aE weeds, whose roots have more
Eves than cats. Oregon, it must be admitted, is almost
as weed-ridden as California. Besides the fern, the
most troublesome weeds are sorrel, dog-fennel, wild
carrots, and oats, thistles, and the beautiful corn-flowers
in every imaginable color. The most curious thing
about these Oregon weeds is the tendency they have to
supplant each other every three years, as if there were
fashions among weeds. But whereas thistles and wild
carrots and corn-flowers may come and go, the fern
always remains, unless it is ploughed down persistently, PORTLAND AND ITS  SEA-BEACHES.
and a harrowing war is waged against the last inch of
root remaining in the soil.
It goes without saying that a soil which is so favorable to the growth of weeds also extends a generous
welcome to flowers. This is most strikingly shown on
deserted farms where annual garden flowers continue to
seed themselves year after year, without any care. I
have seen half-a-dozen garden species of flowers growing
wild in a place where they had received no attention for
twenty years. Wild flowers do not grow here in such
profusion or variety as in California, but there are few
flowers in California that equal in beauty the pendent
red clusters of the wild Oregon currant, or the trif olium,
whose petals are at first snow-white, and subsequently
change to purple. Lilies of the valley, tiger-lilies, bleeding hearts, lady's-slippers, iris, columbines, larkspur, and
many other flowers that are carefully reared in Eastern
gardens, grow wild here in great profusion.
In the matter of berries, Oregon is greatly ahead of
California. The delicious wild strawberries on long
stems are so abundant in May and June that they perfume the air along country roads like clover-fields.
Blackberries are even more numerous, and a single
county of Oregon would supply enough for all our
Eastern cities. Wild currants and gooseberries are also
abundant, as well as black and red raspberries and huckleberries. Then there are berries peculiar to Oregon
and Washington, including the yellow salmon-berries,
the scarlet thimble-berries, and the odd salal, a bush
which grows everywhere and is quite ornamental with
its glossy leaves and beE^haped white flowers which
turn into bluish black berries of a rather agreeable flavor.
Usually these berries are small and  dry, but in the 180
swampy regions along the seacoast they grow as large
as gooseberries, and are very sweet, although care has to
be used in eating them, as they are apt to be inhabited.
Bears are very fond of these salal-berries. But perhaps
the most curious berry in the State is the so-called Oregon "grape," a small blue berry which makes good wine,
but requires plenty of sugar, as it is perhaps the sourest
thing that grows, unless it be the Oregon crab-apple, a
small berry-like fruit growing in clusters, and of which
a jam is made. that would give European or Eastern
epicures a new sensation of delight. Speaking of epicures, I claim to be an amateur in that line myself, and I
must acknowledge that I have never tasted any French
chateau wine with a more agreeable bouquet than that of
Oregon cider made exclusively of the finest apple that
grows — white winter pearmain—and kept in bottles,
The wild oranges which grow in Mexico indicate that
oranges, lemons, and limes must be among the most
profitable crops grown there; and in the same way the
wild crab-apples, cherries, various sorts of berries, and
wild oats prophetically indicated that the wealth of
Oregon lay in the systematic cultivation of fruit, berries,
and grain.
I have apparently wandered away from my topic,
which, I believe, was Portland and its summer resorts;
but these things may as well be referred to here as elsewhere, since all of rural Oregon is practically a summer
resort. I can only briefly refer to other attractions, such
as the numerous wild canaries and other song-birds
which fiE the Oregon aE with glad music ; or the game-
birds which may still be hunted but a few miles from
Portland, — the stoical, hooting grouse on the tree-tops, PORTLAND AND ITS  SEA-BEACHES.
undaunted by the repeated shots of the amateur rifleman ; the partridges, which do not allow a passing train
to disturb them at their breakfast in a wheat-field; or
the wild pigeons, which save you the trouble of hunting
them by giving you a few shots at them every morning
on your cherry-trees; or the deer, which still abound in
the mountains; etc. But in conclusion I must once more
refer to what after all constitutes the greatest charm
and attraction of Oregon, next to the snow-peaks;
namely, the omnipresent fir-trees, tall, stately, dark
green, and shady. Artists and others who have grown
up in firless countries can have no idea of the true grandeur and beauty of a real forest, of the cathedral-like
gloom and silence in its midst, of the exquisite serrated
lines formed by the branching tree-tops standing against
a deep blue sky, and of the infinite variety of tints and
shadows produced by the play of clouds and of sunlight
at different hours of the day. More beautiful still, if
less imposing, than the full-grown trees, are the young
fir-trees of ten to thirty feet in height which are rapidly
filling up the regions destroyed by forest fires. They
look like so many square miles of Christmas-trees, but
no Christmas-trees adorned by Santa Claus with colored
wax candles ever present so brilliant an appearance as
those young fir groves when the morning or evening sun
shines horizontally on them. Such lights and shades are
to be seen nowhere else in the world, and the tints seem
so warm and glowing that on a cold morning one involuntarily edges up to them to get warm. I 1
The proverbial ingratitude of republics has never
been better illustrated than by the fact that not one of
our forty-two States is named after the discoverer of
America. True, there are more than fifty Columbia
counties, townships, cities, and villages in the United
States, and thirty more have adopted the name Columbus, while the capital of the country lies in the District
of Columbia; but this district comprises an area of only
sixty-four square miles, and in a country where so much
is thought of big things, Columbus surely ought to have
been sponsor of one of our largest States. An excellent
opportunity was missed, on the occasion of the recent
admission of Washington Territory to statehood, of
changing its name to Columbia.    This would not only
have prevented much confusion in the mails, but would
have been singularly appropriate, for the reason that
Washington is bounded on the south by the Columbia
River, and on the north by British Columbia.1
However, even if it failed to use its opportunity for
adopting the name of Columbia for one of its States,
the Northwest has done more to honor the name of
Columbus than any other part of the country; for here
is British Columbia with its magnificent mountain
scenery, more than eight times as large as the State of
New York; and, better still, the Columbia River, three
thousand miles in length, with the grandest river
scenery in the world. I have repeatedly seen the Hudson, the St. Lawrence, Mississippi, Missouri, Sacramento, the Rhine, Elbe, and Danube, and none of these
rivers impressed me as deeply as the Columbia, which,
with the exception of the castles on the Rhine, combines the best features of all of them, and adds to them
what they all lack — a background of lofty mountains
covered with eternal snow. Grandeur is the watchword
of the Columbia, which, with this mountainous background and the stupendous sculpture of its banks,
towers above other famous rivers as the high Alps of
Switzerland do above our Adirondacks and Catskills.
In entitling this chapter " Up and down the Columbia ' I do not wish to frighten the reader into the
belief that I intend to take him over the same ground
— or water — twice, but merely to indicate that Portland is to be our starting-place. From that city
steamers leave daily to make the trip of one hundred
miles down to Astoria and the ocean, while others go
up the river about one hundred and ten miles, to the
1 When Washington Territory was separated from Oregon, an effort
was made to have it named Columbia, hut it was defeated in Congress. 184
Falls. The former trip should be taken first, to avoid
an anticlimax.
Portland, Oregon, — which, although founded two
centuries later than its namesake in almost the same
latitude in Maine, has already almost double the population of the latter (sixty thousand), — is, as I remarked
in the last chapter, doubtless the most picturesquely
situated city in the United States. From the densely
wooded green hiEs which enclose it on the west, the
city is seen spreading itself comfortably and without
unsanitary crowding along both sides of the WiEamette
River, which is-about a mile wide at this place. East
Portland and Albina are on the east side of the river,
and beyond them, at a distance of about fifty miles,
this picture is framed in by the Cascade Range and
half-a-dozen giant snow-peaks. Mt. Hood and Mt. St.
Helens, both covered with eternal snow, are so vast
that on clear days they seem to rise just beyond the
outskirts of the city, and delightful glimpses of them
are caught in the streets. Less conspicuous, because
farther away, but still adding to the charm of the scene,
are Mt. Tacoma and Mt. Adams on the left, while on
the right, the snowy tops of Mt. Jefferson and the three
sisters are visible. To the left of Mt. Hood the Columbia River can be seen in the distance, like a sEver cord
showing the way to the deep cafion which it has worn
through the Cascade Mountains.
Portland is practically a seaport, although situated a
hundred miles up the Columbia, and twelve miles more
up its tributary, the Willamette, which, up to this
point, is deep enough to receive the largest ocean steamers, although in dry summers the channel has to be
carefuEy watched, and Eghterage resorted to in some UP AND DOWN THE COLUMBIA RIVER.
cases. For hours after the day boat to Astoria leaves
the city, the snow-mountains above mentioned are visible on deck, in ever-new groupings as the boat follows
the winding course of the river. This is by far the
most striking feature of the lower Columbia scenery;
for the minor ridges of the coast range are insignificant compared with the cascade ridges of the "middle'
Columbia, and the fir-fringed banks are usually low,
and have none of the steep palisades and isolated rocks
which give continuous grandeur to that part of the
river. The banks of the WiEamette River, below
Portland, resemble those of the Columbia, and indeed
this river, which is hardly known outside of Oregon,
becomes so wide and majestic before it reaches the Columbia, that a careless passenger would not notice the
transition from one river to the other. It would be difficult, however, to be inattentive here, for the place where
the Columbia receives the Willamette is one of the most
interesting spots in its course. The Willamette —
which should be called the Oregon, since that name has
been taken away from the Columbia (" where rolls the
mighty Oregon," as Bryant still could write), or should
at least receive back its old Indian name Wallamet —
meets the Columbia almost at right angles in two currents, being divided here by one of those pretty Ettle
islands which abound along this part of the river and
give it some resemblance to the St. Lawrence. They
are submerged in spring, and but a few inches above
the level of the water in summer, when they are covered with a luxuriant growth of grass and shrubbery —
ideal grazing-grounds for thousands of head of cattle;
yet Oregon still imports much of her meat and butter
from the East. 186
As the river-banks become wider and wider, and the
scenery somewhat monotonous, the salmon industry begins to attract attention. During the legal salmon season, from the first of April to the end of July — which
is also the tourist season in Oregon, since in July the
forest fires begin which shroud the whole State, with its
fine mountain scenery, in a dense cloud of smoke, lasting till September — the river steamers are liable to be
stopped at any moment in midstream by boats loaded to
the edge with salmon, which are to be conveyed to one
of the numerous canneries that line the last thirty miles
of the streamT These canneries are buildings of the
flimsiest construction, inhabited chiefly by Chinamen,
and by young bears caught in the neighboring hills and
chained to the front door. The salmon are thrown on
the wharf, where they are seized by the Chinamen, who
carry them in, throw them on long tables, chop off the
heads, disembowel and clean them, and cut them up into
small lumps for the cans — all in about as much time as
it takes to write this sentence. In the larger canneries
everything, from the making of the cans to putting on
the labels, is done on the premises. Some of the canneries are built on the shore; but as the river, where
the ocean comes in sight, widens out into a bay seven
miles wide, the canneries are built in midstream, on
piles, and it is an odd sight to behold horses — real land-
horses, not hippopotami — dragging in the nets on these
flimsy mid-river structures. The river view is disfigured on all sides by the ugly stakes driven in to hold
the nets that constitute the salmon-traps. The meshes of
these nets are large enough to allow the small salmon to
escape, but not large enough for the seals, which occasionally get into one of these enclosures and work sad UP  AND DOWN THE  COLUMBIA  RIVER.
havoc with the fish and the nets. Several million dollars are said to be invested in the boats, nets, and canneries of the Columbia River: but the recklessness of
the fishermen threatens to kill the goose that lays the
golden eggs; for the Columbia River fisheries, which a
few years ago were the largest in the world, have of
late yielded less and less each year, and in 1889 they
sank to third rank, with three hundred and thirty thousand cases, Alaska being at the head, with six hundred
and eighty-eight thousand, and British Columbia second,
with four hundred and thirteen thousand cases. The
law is stringent enough, but it is not always obeyed;
and it will have to be supplemented by extensive hatcheries if the Columbia River salmon, which is the best
flavored on the Pacific Coast, is to regain its former
The headquarters of the salmon-fisheries are located
at the amphibious town of Astoria, the first civilized settlement in Oregon, but whose hoary age of eighty years
does not seem to protect it against the gibes of irreverent tourists — probably because it is so small for its age.
Mr. Joaquin Miller describes it as a town which "clings
helplessly to a humid hill-side that seems to want to
glide into the great bay-like river "; and Mr. Nordhoff
unkindly insinuates that the most important building in
the town is a large saw-mill, which is kept busy day and
night in a wild struggle to curb and suppress the forest
which is forever encroaching on the town, and threatens
to crowd it into the river. However, just at present the
Astorians are very busily engaged in digging away at
the hiE-side and filling up the bay. They expect to have
a railway some day, which will bring the wheat and the
apples of the Willamette Valley to their wharves, instead m
of to Portland; but it will require a good deal more
digging and filling up before there will be room for all
those products. At present the greater part of Astoria
is still built on piles, washed by the tides; and as the
pavements are not very well looked after, tourists should
beware of walking about after dark. The occupants of
many of the houses might easily take a salt-water bath
before breakfast, by simply tying a rope round the waist
and lowering themselves from the window.
Although Astoria is only about a hundred miles distant from Portland, it has nearly twenty inches more of
rain per annum, and in summer its climate is considerably cooler; wherefore some Portlanders use it as a summer resort. A much larger number, however, go across
the bay to Ilwaco, and camp on the fine beach which
extends for over twenty miles northward. The boat
which takes them across touches at Fort Canby, whence
an interesting walk of a few miles through a dense forest takes one to the lighthouse on Cape Disappointment,
just north of the notorious Columbia River bar, which in
spite of all improvements continues at certain seasons,
and in stormy weather, to detain ships for days at a time.
The view from this lighthouse of the foaming breakers
in the bar is splendid, and in low tide the scene is varied
by long sand-banks on which thousands of seals bask in
the fitful sunshine. These voracious animals do their fishing in the daytime, and at night their place is taken by
the human fishermen, who show the same reckless spirit
in regard to their own lives as they do in regard to the
extermination of the salmon. In their eager rivalry,
some of them approach too near the breakers, and many
have thus shared the fate of the sailors lowered from
the Tonquin in 1811, which is so graphically described UP  AND DOWN THE COLUMBIA RIVER.
by Washington Irving in his " Astoria." By the way,
I could not help noting the difference between these
Astorians and the Granadans in Spain, in their attitude
towards Irving. Both have been celebrated by him in
fine volumes of poetic prose; but whereas in Granada the
principal hotel is named after Irving, whose name is
thus heard whenever a train arrives, the Astorians seem
to ignore entirely the author who has chosen the name
of their town for one of his most readable books.
The trip back to Portland may as well be made on a
night boat, as everything worth seeing*can be seen on
the down trip. Not so with the upper or " middle "
Columbia, from Portland to the Dalles, which cannot be
seen often enough, and which present on the down trip
aspects of the scenery so different from those enjoyed on
going up, that a return ticket should be taken by all
means. Such a ticket, from Portland to the Dalles and
back, costs fi-ve dollars, for which you can spend two
whole days on the Columbia. I have seen a great part
of three continents; but if I were asked what I considered the best investment of a five-dollar bill I had ever
made for combined aesthetic enjoyment and hygienic
exhilaration, I should name this return trip on the
Columbia River. Tourists who have time for one trip
only should go up the river, because in that direction
the scenery is arranged most effectively, becoming ever
grander and wilder till the climax is reached in the
marvellous rapids above Dalles City.
The day boat leaves Portland at six o'clock in the
morning, and on the way down the Willamette we once
more can admire the imposing white forms of Hood, St.
Helens, Adams, and the top of Tacoma, — now in full
view, now peeping from between the firs which line the 190
banks. At the Columbia junction the boat turns to the
right, and makes its first stop at Vancouver, noted for
its fine site, with a superb view of Mt. Hood, and as
being the military headquarters of the Department of
the Columbia. It lies on the northern or Washington
side of the river, and, oddly enough, almost all the stations along the whole river, excepting Dalles City, are
on that side, the Oregon side being generally wilder and
less hospitable. The scenic features are about equally
divided between the two States. Each has its low green
islands at intervals along the banks; each its densely
wooded shores, its bare rocks, precipitous palisades and
water-falls; and each its snow-mountains — Hood and
Jefferson being on the Oregon side, St. Helens, Adams,
and Tacoma on the Washington side. Generally the
trees or shrubs grow right to the water's edge, but here
and there is a strip of sandy beach. On both sides there
are innumerable charming home sites, on gently rising
ground, with fertile soil, plenty of wood and water,
excellent market facilities by rail and steamer, and
the finest scenery in the United States for a background. Yet these shores, which in the next century
will hold hundreds of thousands of happy farmers, are
now an absolute wilderness, and an hour may pass before a farmhouse or village is sighted from the steamer.
Had the unreasoning multitudes who rushed to Oklahoma quietly taken up homesteads in this region, which
is so favored by climate, soil, and scenery, they would
have avoided their wholesale disappointment. The
steamship company is very accommodating to the few
settlers along the river, and stops at frequent intervals
to take on their lumber, shingles, salmon, farm products, and to land merchandise for them.   In low water UP  AND DOWN THE COLUMBIA RIVER.
much ingenuity is required to make a landing at these
informal stations.
Two hours after leaving Portland, Mt. Hood, whose
base has been previously concealed by the Cascade
ridges, suddenly comes into view, life size, from top to
base. Were the banks of the Columbia as flat and
monotonous as those of the lower Mississippi, this sight
alone would crown it king of rivers. For a full hour
the steamer sails straight towards this mountain, as if
intending to land at its base for a supply of ice from its
glaciers; but all at once it moves to the left as the
steamer provokingly changes its course. For two hours
more, however, the mountain remains in sight till it is
once more hidden behind the crests of the Cascades.
Tourists who wish to ascend this mountain or to explore
its glaciers and canons, get off above the Cascades at
the town of Hood River, near the mouth of the river
of that name which carries the melting snows of the
mountain to the Columbia. A hotel was opened last
summer, just below the snow-line, so that the trip
can now be made with great comfort. Mt. Hood is
eleven thousand and two hundred feet high, and is
ascended by numerous parties every summer, including
ladies. Like all the Oregon chain of mountain peaks
from Shasta to Tacoma, it is an extinct volcano, and
still gives evidence of its past condition by the sulphurous fumes which in some places are encountered during
the ascent.
Nothing could be more delightful than the ingenuity
with which the Columbia panorama is arranged. For
the first five hours, while the banks present nothing of
thrilling interest, the giant snow-peaks lend grandeur
to the scene.    As soon as the last of these, Mt. Hood, 192
disappears, the banks themselves begin to fascinate
the attention by innumerable picturesque formations,
and a few hours later, when the Highlands have been
left behind and the banks become lower again, Mt.
Hood once more comes into view, more and more prominently, till at the last station of our trip, the Dalles, it
seems nearer and more magnificent than even at Vancouver or Portland. Thus there is not a dull moment
between Portland and the Dalles.
The river itself is almost as awe-inspiring in its
grandeur as the snow-peaks visible from it. No other
river has ever given me such a vivid and overpowering
sense of sublimity as the Columbia by its great expanse
of watery surface, and its tranquil, deep, majestic movement. And whereas the Mississippi, at a corresponding
point in its course, is so muddy that one almost hesitates to bathe in it, the Columbia is so clear and pure
that in a glass it seems like well-water and tastes almost
as good. The color varies with wind and weather, but
is usually a yellowish green, as grateful to the eye as a
new-mown lawn. Standing at the prow of the boat,
surveying this vast expanse of placid or agitated water,
it is a fascinating exercise of the imagination to think
that almost every gallon of this mammoth stream came
originally from some different creek, spring, melting
glacier, or snowfield—some of them in the Cascade
Mountains close by, some in the Rocky Mountains in
distant Territories; for the Columbia's sources are in
British Columbia and. in seven States and Territories, —
Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah,
and Nevada. Think what romantic canons, what vast,
gloomy forests, these waters have passed through on
their way from the crest of the continent to the ocean ; UP AND  DOWN THE COLUMBIA  RIVER.
what numbers of speckled trout have darted through
them in the mountains; what hordes of big salmon and
sturgeon in the Columbia; and what exciting scenes
they have noted of seals chasing these unfortunate fish I
For even as far up the Columbia as this the seals make
their excursions. A hundred and fifty miles from the
ocean, they can be seen here basking on a sand-bank
projecting from an island into the middle of the river.
Some of them float about on logs, and others swim to
within thirty feet of the steamer, looking, with their
heads above the water, exactly like swimming dogs.
About eleven o'clock, as Mt. Hood disappears, Rooster
Rock comes into sight, and the scenery begins to resemble that of the Hudson River Highlands. Rooster
Rock is a large boulder which, from different points
of view, looks like an uplifted thumb, or like a mammoth seal with head on high, just ready to plunge. It
stands on a projection from the shore, which looks like
an island, and it has a few small firs growing on its
bare sides that subsist apparently on the food of air-
plants. The interesting points now begin to crowd
each other, and barely fifteen minutes elapse before
another of the famous sights of the Columbia comes in
view, — Cape Horn, which, at first sight, seems merely a
precipitous rock projecting into the river; but as the
boat draws nearer and begins to round it, all the passengers rush to the left side of the ship, and a chorus of
rapturous admiration bursts from their lips. Cape
Horn is a vertical wall of bare rock, rising abruptly out
of the water, and standing on a pretty row of grooved
stones, resembling little pillars sculptured in high relief. In the centre of the rock a miniature cascade runs
down smoothly over a mossy bed.    Presently, as the 194
boat moves on in close proximity to the rock, another precipitous wall, even higher than the first, rises above it,
adorned with several more miniature water-falls, whose
moss-grown channels are the only green in the brown,
rocky scene. Cape Horn deserves its name, not only
because it is a promontory which the boat has to round,
but because at times the wind blows so wildly that none
but steam-vessels can pass, and canoes and sailing-vessels have been detained there for days. The Columbia
River wind-current, by the way, is very accommodating
to sailing-vessels; for it usuaEy blows up stream, so that
it is almost as~easy for them to go up as down. In the
future commercial development of this region this will
be a factor of considerable importance.
The Master Landscape-Gardener who planned the
Columbia River provided not only for a gradual dramatic crescendo to a climax, but for constant scenic
variety. So, after the snow-mountains and Rooster
Rock and Cape Horn, the tourist is treated to the
sight of a few picturesque water-falls. The first of
them is the Multnomah Fall, which is sighted only a
few minutes after leaving Cape Horn. At first it is
somewhat disappointing, since only the upper part can
be seen; but as the boat approaches nearer, it is revealed
in its true size, of eight hundred feet, in two divisions.
It is the death plunge of a lively mountain stream
which has worn a channel in the rock that looks as if
a giant had scooped out a wide groove with a shovel.
The trains of the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company pass very near the falls, and always stop a few minutes to enable the passengers to see them. But after all,
the only way to see them properly is to visit them on a
special picnic excursion, one of which leaves Portland UP  AND  DOWN THE  COLUMBIA RIVER.
for this spot almost daily in summer. There is a bridge
spanning the chasm in front of the falls from which an
excellent view is obtained, and the adventurous climb
down and pass under the falls, through a delightful fern
grotto and " cave of the winds." The water in the pool'
formed by the fall is cool as ice even in midsummer.
The picnic parties generally visit another fine fall, the
Latourelle, on the same day, noted for the beautiful
cave into which it seems to fall, directly from the blue
sky, and for the curious markings of its rocky surroundings. This fall, however, though close to the Columbia,
is not visible from the river; but only ten minutes above
the Multnomah Falls the boat passes the Oneonta Falls,
less high but more massive than the Multnomah. A
curious phenomenon is here seen sometimes — a shadow-
fall, reproducing the water-fall with all its movements
and its inverted water-rockets. Still another fall is seen
above the Oneonta, so close to the edge of the river that
in high water it probably plunges directly into the
After this water-fall episode the highland mountain
scenery again monopolizes the attention; for we are now
in the midst of the Cascade range, which is a continuation of the Sierra Nevada of California. That the
Columbia should have ever been able to force a passage
through this lofty chain is a marvel. But then marvels
abound in this region. Here, for instance, on the
Washington side, is a monstrous basaltic rock, close by
the river, completely isolated, without a trace of connection with the neighboring ridges. It is called Cathedral Rock, is curiously marked and furrowed by wind
and weather, and covered in patches by the irrepressible
H fir-trees, which are larger than they seem at their great 196
elevation. How did this rock get there? It looks
like a mammoth glacier boulder; but, incalculable as
is the force of glaciers, no ice-river could have ever
borne this massive rock on its back. Perhaps Mt. Hood,
in a volcanic fit, hurled it there. But impressive
as this sight is, the passengers should not allow Cathedral Rock to distract their attention from the surrounding mountain scenery, which is really much more noteworthy than the rock itself. Near it, to the right, is a
mountain about two thousand feet above the river,
which is an exact copy of Mt. Hood, without its
snow j and adjoining it is a unique mountain of about
the same height, but with a summit at least half a mile
long and absolutely level. But it would take volumes
to describe all these imposing mountain formations.
Opposite Castle Rock, and below, are miles of magnificently sculptured palisades, compared with which those
on the Hudson River are of toy-like dimensions. They
are beautifully mottled with green shrubs and mosses
and yellow lichens, and fringed above and below by
ribbons of young fir-trees. And to think that all this
superb scenery has been known to civilized man only
one century!
We now approach the famous Cascades of the Columbia, the place where, according to the Indian tradition, a
natural bridge once existed, formed by the water digging a tunnel for itself through the mountain. The
legend goes on to relate how the rival volcanic mon-
archs, Hood and Adams, which face each other on opposite sides of the river, once had a fight and hurled huge
rocks at each other, some of which fell on this arch
which spanned the Columbia, and demolished it. The
fragments, fiEing the river-bed, created the rapids which ■ihi
now obstruct navigation. Day excursions from Portland do not go beyond this point; but tourists who wish
to get a glimpse of the Cascades themselves, and of
some of the finest scenery on the river, must leave the
boat here and take another one about five miles up the
river, for the Dalles. The Columbia River boats at
present depend for their existence on freight more than
on passengers, and the greatest drawback to the enjoyment of the Columbia River trip is the tedious delay of
an hour or two, necessitated by loading all the freight
on the train which takes us from the Lower Cascades to
the Upper Cascades, on the Washington side, and then
again loading it on the upper boat. However, the
mountain scenery is very fine at this place, and the air
so exhilarating that the offence is greatly mitigated
The government has been at work for about twenty
years constructing a canal and locks for the boats ; but
a million dollars are still needed to complete the task,
and meanwhile the building of the railroad on the
Oregon side has rendered its completion a matter of
less urgency. The little six-mile railroad on the Washington side, which connects the two boats, is the first
ever built in the Northwest, and is a curiosity not
only on that account, but also because it affords a
good view of the rapids from the car windows. The
fact that the river is here narrowed to a quarter of its
regular width, assists the rocky de'bris in its bed in
creating a dizzy rush of tumultuous, roaring waters and
foaming waves o'erleaping each other. It contrasts
finely with the calm, majestic movement of the lower
Columbia. But it must be admitted that these rapids
are not so grand or exciting as those of the Niagara 198
or the St. Lawrence; nor do passengers ever get an
opportunity to " shoot the rapids," as on the last-named
river. Not that it is impossible to do so. One captain
has taken down several steamers and smashed only one
so far; but the risk can only be taken in very high
Usually the Columbia is very high in early summer,
especially when there are a few hot days, with much
snow in the mountains. The difference between high
and low water is forty-two feet, and some care has to be
used, therefore, in building houses near the bank. In
1889, however,-there was no snow in the mountains
to melt, as there had been no snow-storms and hardly
any rain in Oregon during the whole of the preceding
winter; consequently the Columbia was lower than it
had been for almost a generation; not quite as low,
however, as the rivers of Europe in 1132 and 1313,
when the Rhine and the Danube could be crossed on
foot without wetting the shoes. Fishermen do not like
the low water in the Columbia, because in that State
it is so clear that the salmon succeed in avoiding the
traps laid for them, including the murderous " salmon-
wheels," which are turned by the current and scoop in
the fish, young and old, with the nets attached to them.
These wheels are especially numerous about the Cascades, and do much to hasten the extermination of the
Before the advent of civilized man on the banks of
the Columbia, the Cascades used to be the great fishing-
place of the Indians, who congregated here in large
numbers to catch and dry their winter supply of salmon.
They were a lazy, cunning, treacherous crew, who gave
the early explorers much trouble, and proved by their UP AND DOWN THE COLUMBIA RIVER.
actions that although fish may possibly be good intellectual or brain food, it does not equally develop the
moral faculties. For these tribes used to guard the
narrowest parts of the river, and levy toll on all pass-
ersby, very much like the robber-barons on the Rhine.
But that was in the good old times, a hundred years
ago. At present only a handful of these Indians are
left to haunt these regions and fish for their daily bread.
The salmon-wheel has displaced the canoe and spear,
and the Indian, who used to be so hardy that he went
about unclothed the greater part of the year, has become
so weakened by the clothing, whiskey, and vices of
" civilization " that old and young are now dying out
rapidly of consumption. In return for all the harm it
has done them, the government allows the Indians the
privilege of fishing with spears for their own sustenance
during the " closed" season. Consequently it is easy
in Portland during that season to get salmon " caught
by Indians," or "in the Rogue River." It is well to
have laws and law-abiding communities.
One of the most interesting features of the Cascades
is that the upper steamer can be moored quite close to
the head of the rapids, where there are some picturesque
islands. This absence of a dangerous current is due to
the great depth of the river. The de*bris which causes
the rapids has blocked up the channel so effectually
that the average depth of the Columbia is twenty feet
greater from the Cascades to the Dalles than below,
although the banks are almost as widely apart. A
splendid view of a black forest scene is obtained from
the deck of the upper steamer before it leaves for the
Dalles. It is a sportsman's paradise, and a brakeman
assured me he had seen two bears at once on one of the 200
steep banks. For two hours after leaving the Cascades
we are still in the midst of the Cascade Mountains, and
the scenery is, if possible, more inspiring than below the
rapids, and the air more exhilarating. It is interesting
to note the way in which the railroad on the right bank
overcomes the rocky obstacles in its path, seeking a
winding pathway around them here, and time and
again boldly plunging into a huge rock partly projecting into the river, forming a picturesque tunnel which
looks like a natural cave. In some places there is so
little room for the track, and the hill-sides are so steep,
that, to intercept the constant shower of stones, a broad
roadway had to be constructed a few hunded yards
above the track. Railroads usually mar natural scenery,
but this one only adds to the variety and charm of the
Columbia trip, and Mr. Ruskin himself would hardly
venture to object to it. The reason of this is that the
scenery is on such a colossal scale that it cannot possibly be spoiled by such a tiny thing as a railroad. Indeed, one needs such a human toy as a railway and a
train of cars to bring out by contrast the true grandeur
of this scenery.
As we approach the end of the Highlands, the mountains to the left rise in gigantic terraces, one, two, and
three stories high, resembling the curious formations
in the Grand Canon region in Arizona. The view of
the highlands down the river must not be missed, as it
is finer even than the view on entering. As already
stated, Mt. Hood now emerges again, as imposing as
ever, and the view of it at the Dalles is as fine as at
Vancouver or Portland. But even without this snowy
monarch to follow us up the river all day long, this
part of the Columbia would be one of the most fasci- UP AND DOWN THE  COLUMBIA RIVER.
nating, which does not allow the attention to flag even
after nine or ten hours of fatiguing sight-seeing. A few
miles below Dalles City is a formation on the right
bank (going up) which is perhaps the greatest curiosity
along the whole river. It is a wonderfully illusive
natural fortress, with battlements facing the river and
the regulation watch-tower in the middle. If political
exigencies should ever require a fortress on the middle
Columbia, here it might be constructed, one would
think, in one day, by utilizing nature's plans.
The river now becomes narrower, and is walled in on
both sides by low but finely sculptured basalt palisades,
beautifully carved and moss-covered in some places.
A strong wind seems to blow here almost constantly,
and the water is decked with white-caps, and as turbulent as the Rhine at the Loreley Rock. We are only a
few miles below Celilo, " the place of the winds," as the
Indians called it. There is no sweE, however, and the
boat runs smoothly. Of course, ladies who become
"seasick" in railway cars and stage coaches may find
the Columbia in this place equally trying; but for such
persons travelling was not invented. All, however,
should look out for their hats and parasols. I have
never passed up or down this part of the river when
one or two of these commodities were not carried off by
the gusts of intoxicated and intoxicating air. The palisades are marked by a white line showing the high-
water mark of 1889. Twelve feet above is the high-
water mark of 1888. Dalles City is not an interesting
place in itself, but it is most delightfully situated, and
seems doubly picturesque after a whole day's sail up
the desolate Columbia, on which evidences of human
habitation are hours apart. 202
Here ends the second or " middle" portion of the
Columbia. As the word Dalles or " Swift Water " indicates, navigation is here again interrupted by rapids.
Thirteen miles above the Dalles, at Celilo, it used to be
resumed in former days, but since the completion of the
railway the boats of the upper Columbia have been shot
down the various rapids, and are now used in the middle
and lower portions of the river. If a day can be spared,
no tourist should fail to visit the Great Dalles, five
miles above Dalles City, where the Columbia, which
below and above is almost a mile wide, is confined in a
basaltic channel only one hundred and seventy-four feet
wide in its narrowest place. It is a river literally
" turned on edge," and its depth at this place has not
yet been determined, owing to the rapidity of the current. In that portion of the Columbia lying between
Celilo and Walla-Walla there is little interesting scenery
along the banks, but tourists returning East on the Canadian Pacific Pailroad once more come across this river,
— the real upper Columbia, — where it again courses
amidst snow-mountains, and where it still is navigable
for one hundred and fifty miles. Truly the Columbia
is a sublime river which some day will have its monograph, and will inspire as much immortal poetry as the
Rhine. o
There is geological evidence that Washington's
great inland sea, Puget Sound, the Pacific Mediterranean, once extended as far south as the Willamette
Valley in Orjegon. To-day, Portland and Tacoma are
about one hundred and fifty miles apart, and the. trip
may be made either by boat down the Columbia and
through the Straits of Juan de Fuca into the Sound, or
by the branch road of the Northern Pacific Railroad
overland. In either case, if the view is not impeded by
smoke or clouds, a magnificent panorama of snow-peaks
is unfolded as the boat or train moves along. Ruskin's
assertion that "mountains are the beginning and the end
of all natural scenery' is strikingly verified on this
route. Oregon without Mt. Hood, Mt. Jefferson, and
the Three Sisters, Washington without Mts. St. Helens,
Adams, and Tacoma, would be robbed of haE their
203 iin
scenic charms. All of these mountains, except Jefferson and the Three Sisters, are seen to best advantage on
this trip, — Hood, Adams, and St. Helens before reaching the Columbia River (which the train crosses on a
large ferry-boat), and Tacoma at the other end.
Although these peaks resemble each other in standing
each in selfish, proud isolation, far from neighbors, and
high above the general crests of the Cascades, which
barely rise to their snow-line; and although they are
all more or less regularly conical in shape, broad at
the base and gradually tapering to a point, there is
still quite enough difference in the details of their conformation to give them a distinct individuality of appearance. Mt. Hood, as seen from Portland, bears a striking resemblance to Mt. Hecla in Iceland. The south
side, which slopes more gradually than the north
side, is one vast snow-field, with hardly a dark spot of
bare rock, till late in summer. In the forenoon the
mountain often throws such deep shadows that it seems
as if the snow had melted from its sides; but the
noon sunlight reveals it all in its old place. During
a long warm summer the snow-line recedes considerably, but the upper half of the mountain is crowned
with everlasting snow; and it is for this reason that
Hood seems larger and higher than Shasta in summer,
though it is half a mile lower: for white makes every
object seem larger or broader than black or gray. Over
the peaks of Washington, Mt. Hood has at present this
advantage, that it alone is accessible by a road; and
more than this, a hotel was opened in 1889 above the
snow-line, and only a few hundred yards from the great
glacier; so that Portlanders can transfer themselves
half-way up their favorite mountain in about eight hours
by rail and stage.
Mountains are not only the beginning and end of all
natural scenery, but they are the scenic feature of which
one is least apt to tire. A snow-mountain is a fresh
object of interest every clear morning. Unlike a leopard, it constantly changes its spots under the influence
of the sun's rays; and when these dark patches have
become too numerous and too large to be ornamental, a
snow-storm comes along and covers it with a new white
magnifying cloak. Surely the man who has no love of
mountains in his soul is fit for treason, stratagem, and
Mr. James Bryce, who has given us the most just
and discriminating work on this country ever written
by an Englishman, but who, as noted in a previous
chapter, speaks somewhat disparagingly of the mountain scenery of the United States as compared with that
of Europe, was nevertheless compelled to pay his
tribute of admiration to "the superb line of extinct
volcanoes, bearing snow-fields and glaciers, which one
sees rising out of vast and sombre forests, from the
banks of the Columbia River and the shores of Puget
Sound." These are encouraging and kind words, coming from an English source, but they hardly do justice
to the subject. It is not only from the banks of the
Columbia and the Puget Sound region that these giant
peaks are visible, but there is hardly a place in Western
Oregon or Washington, elevated above the level of the
forests, whence one does not enjoy a superb view of
from one to six isolated snow-mountains. This isolation
must be again and again emphasized, not only because
to it these Oregon and Washington mountains owe
their individuality and unique grandeur, but also because the view from any one of these isolated peaks is ! L
much more striking and comprehensive than a mountain
view in ranges where the peaks are grouped closely
together. Everybody knows that the Rigi owes its
world-wide fame solely to the fact that its isolation
enables tourists to get a comprehensive view of the
Swiss Alps from its summit. Now our North Pacific
peaks are even more isolated than the Rigi, which has
the Pilatus for its immediate neighbor, and they are,
moreover, twice as high as Rigi. Imagine, therefore,
the grandeur of the view from their summits. I have
made the ascent of some of the highest Swiss peaks,
and of Mt. Hood; and although in the latter case I
missed the bewildering view of closely grouped snow-
peaks which meets the eye on a Swiss summit, there
was something to compensate for this in the superior
restfulness, individuality, and comprehensiveness of a
Pacific scene which included only eight or nine isolated
snow-peaks, but with an illimitable ocean of green
forests between them. All the Oregon and Washington
peaks were visible, and had the air been perfectly clear,
even Mt. Shasta, two hundred and fifty miles away,
might have been seen with a telescope. Add to this the
mountains which encircle the Umpqua and Rogue River
valleys, on the south, and Puget Sound with the snowy
Olympic mountains on the north, and by way of contrast, the Columbia River and Willamette valleys on the
west, and the vast plains of Eastern Oregon on the
opposite side, and you get a faint idea of the grandeur
of the view from the summit of Mt. Hood, provided
there is no smoke or haze in the air.
I cannot stop to describe all the peaks in Oregon and
Washington, but a few remarks on the two best known
Washington  peaks — St.  Helens and   Tacoma—may OREGON  AND  WASHINGTON  SNOW PEAKS.       207
not be unwelcome while our train is speeding on towards
Puget Sound, through a region which, except for these
glimpses of superb mountains, would be a monotonous
ride across a dreary, desolate forest wilderness.
Mt. St. Helens is so prominent an object as seen
from the streets of Portland, that tourists are apt to
fancy that it must be an Oregon mountain, like Hood.
But it must be remembered that the Columbia River,
which forms the boundary between Oregon and Washington, is only twelve miles distant from Portland, and
that East Portland is practically situated on a peninsula
formed by the approaching Willamette and Columbia
rivers. Being farther north than Mt. Hood, Mt. St.
Helens retains somewhat more of its snowy whiteness
in summer; but there is a place near the summit which
is always kept bare by its internal volcanic heat. The
slopes of St. Helens are steeper than those of Hood,
and its conical shape is beautifully symmetrical and
smoothly rounded, as compared with the more rugged
Hood, which gives it a feminine appearance. The
Indians have a legend that when St. Helens, Hood, and
Adams were created, they were big women who had
one husband in common. The result was jealousy, and
a fight in which St. Helens whipped Hood and the
other mountains, and made slaves of them. In this
legend the Indians did not, I think, show their usual
poetic imagination. The lovely, rounded, and regular
appearance of St. Helens should have suggested a legend
in which this mountain was made the wife of the more
irregular, muscular, and sinewy Hood.
St. Helens, although its slopes are steeper than those
of Hood, is considered quite as easy of ascent. But the
attempt is very rarely made at present, because  the
m 208
mountain is so inaccessible, — Woodland, the nearest
place where supplies can be obtained, being nearly fifty
miles away, and the path very indistinct. Two years
ago the Oregon Alpine Club decided to put a copper
box and a record book on the summit of every snow-
peak on the Pacific Coast. In pursuance of this object,
a party last summer made an ascent of Mt. St. Helens,
of which Mr. W. G. Steele wrote an interesting account
in the Oregonian (July 27, 1889). About twelve miles
from the mountain they came across Trout Lake, in
which two of the party caught one hundred and fifty
pounds of trout in a day. The base of the mountain
has an elevation of 4625 feet, and from this point St.
Helens seems higher than Hood, because it rises more
rapidly from the surrounding country. The main summit was found to be 11,150 feet high. " Judging the
mountain as it appears from Portland," Mr. Steele says,
"we had been led to suppose that the summit would
be almost a perfect circle. Instead of that, however,
it is slightly inclined to a square, and probably contains half a section of land, or rather snow." Magnificent rugged glaciers were found near the summit, and
on the way up the party made the interesting discovery
that beneath the confused masses of scoria which made
up the mountain side, an immense glacier was concealed,
" which day after day moves downward with its marvellous load, that is being ground into powder or hurled
to the plain below."
One of the most interesting facts regarding St. Helens
is that it has given more recent evidence of its volcanic
origin than any other of the Pacific peaks ; namely, as
late as 1853 and 1854, if Winthrop and Swan may be
credited.    Corroborative  evidence is furnished by the OREGON AND  WASHINGTON  SNOW PEAKS.       209
Indian name of the mountain, Lou-wala-clough, which
means, "the Smoking Mountain."
About thirty miles south of the city of Tacoma,
Mt. Tacoma suddenly emerges into sight from behind
the trees which had previously hidden it from the passengers on the Northern Pacific train, and soon it stands
before them in life size, and follows them up to the
Sound, with that peculiar ease which mountains that
are supposed to be firmly rooted in the soil have in
keeping up with an express train,—-frisking around it,
now on one side, now on another, like a gamboEing white
elephant. From this point of view the mountain bears
some resemblance to the Jungfrau; but whereas that
beautiful Swiss peak weakens the impression of her
grandeur and power by putting her arms for support
on the neighboring Monch and Ebenefluh, almost equal
to her in height, Tacoma stands in solitary grandeur,
appearing more sublimely isolated even than Hood or
Shasta; for the range on which it rises seems merely a
hill. And whereas the tourist who sees the Jungfrau
at Miirren, or the Matterhorn at Zermatt, or Mont Blanc
at Chamounix, is already five or six thousand feet high,
and therefore gazes at a mountain whose summit is only
eight or nine thousand feet above him, Tacoma, on the
other hand, is seen from the very level of the sea, and
therefore rears the whole of its three miles of sloping
snow-fields and glaciers before the awed spectator. Its
exact height is 14,444 feet, or just four feet higher than
Shasta. But thanks to its magnifying snow-mantle,
which never disappears, and the fact that it is seen from
ocean level, it seems much higher and grander than
California's finest peak. Tacoma, indeed, is the king of
all our mountains, from tbe tourist's and artist's point 210      OREGON AND WASHINGTON SNOW PEAKS.
of view; for although Fairweather and St. Elias in
Alaska are higher stiE, they are beyond the range of
excursion steamers, and are, moreover, generally buried
behind clouds; while Mt. Whitney in Central California is almost equally inaccessible in the Sierra wilderness, and in beauty of outlines does not bear comparison
with Tacoma for a moment, lacking as it does its fine
conical shape and the advantage of isolation.
Such being the case, it is surely the height of absurdity to continue naming the grandest mountain in the
United States after an obscure English lord. When
Vancouver first discovered all these North Pacific mountains, in 1792, he had a perfect right to name them after
anybody he pleased; but Washington now happens to
belong to the United States, and every American with a
spark of patriotic feeling in his constitution must feel
that Anglo-mania could not show a more humiliating form
than in the disposition still shown by many persons on
the Pacific Coast, to use Lord Rainier's name in designating the king of all our mountains. The same objection might be urged against Hood, which bears the
name of Lord Hood; but in this case it happens that
the name is appropriate, for this peak is hood-shaped,
and the uninformed always fancy that to this fact it
owes its name; so it may be aEowed to stand. Louwala,
too, would be a more musical and acceptable name than
St. Helens, and there is no reason on earth why a mountain in Washington should bear the name of a British
ambassador in Madrid. But in this case also the matter
may be overlooked, since the name St. Helens, Eke the
shape of the mountain itself, has a vague feminine sug-
gestiveness. But for Rainier there is no excuse whatever, as we have an infinitely more euphonious name for OREGON AND WASHINGTON  SNOW PEAKS.       211
it in Tacoma, which, moreover, designates the mountain's
character exactly; for in the Indian dialect it means
" the mountain." The fact that the Northern Pacific
Railroad, which really "created" the State of Washington, by first developing its resources, always has Mt.
Tacoma on its maps, has already done much to popularize this musical name, and to oust the memory of the
English lord; and if all tourists of taste will unite•
in tabooing Rainier, they will soon succeed in effacing
that name from all the maps. Tacoma cannot fail to
triumph in the long run, just as the attempt made some
time ago to name Lake Tahoe after a governor of California failed, the original Indian name being instinctively and unanimously preferred by tourists to such an
ugly word as Bigler. Even the Seattle people will find
that they will gain more in the estimation of other
Americans if they will allow a sentiment of national
patriotism to override the local pride and jealousy of a
neighboring town which now make them act in a very
siEy manner when you use the expression "Mount
To those Pacific Coast people who stubbornly cling to
such words as Rainier and Bigler, I commend chapter
twenty-three of Washington Irving's "Astoria," where
he laments " the stupid, commonplace, and often ribald
names entailed upon the rivers and other features of the
Great West by traders and settlers. . . . Indeed, it is
to be wished that the whole of our country could be
rescued as much as possible from the wretched nomenclature inflicted upon it by ignorant and vulgar minds;
and this might be done, in a great degree, by restoring
the Indian names," which are " in general more sonorous
and musical." m V-
In insisting so strongly that the monarch of American
mountains should have an American name, and not be
called after an obscure English lord, I intend no offence
to English sentiment, but merely wish to emphasize a
patriotic right., No Englishman would fail to express
his disgust and indignation if an attempt were made to
name the grandest scenic feature in one of the British
colonies after an American president or statesman.
Finally, it must be remembered that along the Ene of
the Canadian Pacific Railroad in British Columbia there
are scores of superb peaks on which the English may
without protest bestow the names of earls, lords, sirs,
esquires, and ambassadors, if they choose. In my opinion, however, there is something equally ludicrous and
presumptuous in naming a mountain after a puny mortal, however great he may seem to his generation. The
mountainous map of the Pacific Coast is marred by too
many of these blunders. To realize their full significance, read Tourgenieff's wonderful dialogue between
the Jungfrau and the Finsteraarhorn, in his "Prose
Poems." The futility of man's pretensions to immortality has never been more vividly portrayed than in this
dialogue, resumed at intervals of hundreds of thousands
of years, and commenting on the intervening changes,
till finally the whole earth is covered with a sea of ice,
amid which the Jungfrau and Finsteraarhorn stiE rear
their now silent heads unchanged.
Thanks to its great height and complete isolation,
Mt. Tacoma is visible as far as Portland to the south,
one hundred and twenty miles in an air-line, and one
hundred and fifty miles to the east. One of the most
perfect views of it is obtained from the piazza of the
large Tacoma Hotel.    Though it is over forty miles OREGON AND WASHINGTON SNOW PEAKS.      213
away, it seems so near, when the air is clear, that tourists are apt to fancy they could stroll to its base after
dinner. To see it at its best, however, Mt. Tacoma
should be viewed from the deck of a Sound steamer, or,
better still, from the car windows on the Cascade Division of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Tourists who
do not use the Northern Pacific Railroad, either going
or returning, should by no means fail to make an excursion on this Cascade Branch, in order to get a view
of Mt. Tacoma from within fifteen miles of its base.
To do this it is not necessary to go as far as Pasco
Junction, in Eastern Washington, where the cactus
blooms in the sandy plains in June, as in Arizona and
Southern California ; but one can get off at Clealum or
thereabouts, and return to Tacoma next day. Much of
the land through which the Cascade Branch passes is
disfigured by dead black trees and stumps. Other portions are in full cultivation, and the crop most favored
appears to be hops, especially in the Puyallup Valley,
where these vines attain a most luxuriant and prolific
growth. Indians are still employed in considerable
numbers during the hop-picking season, when they come
in canoes from aE parts of the coast. Oddly enough,-
this valley is the most pronounced "temperance" region
in the Northwest, and one of the largest hop-growers
will not, under any circumstances, allow a saloon to be
opened within his extensive domain; though he seems
to see nothing sinful or inconsistent in accumulating
wealth, by selling his hops to wicked brewers.
This hop valley lies between Tacoma and the Cascade
mountains, and — aside from the picturesque hop-vines
and a mountain stream with waters so clear that the
passengers can see the fish in it from the car windows, 214      OREGON AND WASHINGTON SNOW PEAKS.
for half an hour, as the train speeds along—it is in
these mountains that the scenic attractions centre.
Unfortunately, one of the most fascinating and exciting
features of this route — the Switchback — has ceased
to exist. This was a part of the road where the train
ascended the mountain range by a series of zigzag
movements, like a sailing-vessel tacking at sea. There
was one monstrous one-hundred-and-ten-ton engine in
front of the train, and another one behind, and when
the train had reached a certain point, it was switched
off and started ahead in the opposite direction. This
was done repeatedly, until a place was reached where
as many as six parallel tracks could be seen, each a few
hundred yards higher than its predecessor. Several
times the train ran over trestle-works of a most giddy
height, and looking so frail as to make timid passengers
wish they were back in Tacoma. But this " elevated "
railway was merely a temporary arrangement, constructed at a cost of six hundred thousand dollars, in
order that the Northern Pacific Railroad might not be
dependent on the tender mercies of the Oregon Railway
and Navigation Company for a Pacific Coast terminus,
pending the completion of the Stampede Tunnel, which
has now taken the place of the Switchback.
The chief attraction of the Cascade route is of course
Mt. Tacoma, which can be seen from many points of
view, as the train sweeps around it in a wide curve,
somewhat similar to the way in which Mt. Shasta is
circumvented. When Tacoma was ascended for the first
time, about thirty years ago, by Lieutenants Kautz and
Slaughter, the party required nine days from Steilacoom
on Puget Sound and back. Since the completion of the
railway, however, a trail has been made from the nearest OREGON AND WASHINGTON SNOW PEAKS.      215
point on the road, from which tourists can ascend the
mountain on horseback to a height of about two miles,
where the Puyallup and Carbon glaciers may be seen
to advantage. The remaining mile offers difficulties
and dangers sufficient to daunt any but the bravest and
most expert Alpine climbers. Perhaps the summit of
Tacoma will always remain as inaccessible to ordinary
tourists as the Matterhorn; but so few parties have as
yet made the ascent that a route may yet be found, by
which the summit will be made as easy of access as that
of Mt. Hood. But it must be borne in mind that even
from the lower point now accessible to all, Tacoma
is nearly as high as Hood; and those who are averse to
endangering their life for the sake of seeing the craters
at the summit, two hundred or three hundred yards in
diameter, now filled with snow, but still having enougn
heat and sulphur vapor in their environs to save a party
caught in a storm from freezing (see Hazard Stevens's
article in Atlantic Monthly, November, 1876), will thus
find infinite enjoyment in viewing the extensive scene,
and in exploring the glaciers and the grand canons leading from them, with the rivers of ice-water and their innumerable rapids, cascades, and falls. There are fourteen
living glaciers on the sides of Tacoma. At the latitude
of this mountain the vast snow-fields cannot disappear
airwards by evaporation, and therefore they follow the
law of gravitation downwards as glaciers, till the melt-
ing-line is reached, which becomes the birthplace of
mighty rivers. Of these solidified snow-fields, or ice-
rivers, some are from two to four miles wide, and the
Nesqually, Wenass, and White River glaciers are respectively four, five, and ten miles long. Of the rivers
which find their sources in Tacoma's glaciers, five are 216      OREGON AND WASHINGTON SNOW PEAKS.
from seventy to a hundred mEes long, and three — the
White, PuyaEup, and Cowlitz — are navigable.
Surely there is reason to believe that when tourists
once begin to realize the grandeur and the still largely
unexplored attractions of the mountain region of our
Northwest, Switzerland wiE be neglected for a time, and
the cities of Tacoma and Portland will become the
Interlaken and the Zermatt of America. XIV.
Students of American history, a few generations
hence, will find it difficult to believe that the magnificent Puget Sound region in Washington, which offers
such unequalled advantages for navigation, commerce,
lumbering, agriculture, and mining, should have remained
almost entirely undeveloped till the last quarter of the
nineteenth century, almost a hundred years after the
exploration of this fine and tortuous inland sea by Vancouver. Indeed, it seems probable that the end of this
century might have been reached without a general
appreciation of the manifold attractions of Western and
Eastern Washington had it not been for the building of
the Northern Pacific Railroad, which has been practically
the creator of this State. In the few years since its
completion it has been demonstrated that if the United
States authorities had carried out the intention held at
one time of ceding this territory to England, as an
expression of good will, they would have given away a
217 218
State as rich in natural resources as New York or Pennsylvania, either of which it exceeds in dimensions by
No spot in Washington has been so literally created by
the Northern Pacific Railroad as "the City of Destiny,"
Tacoma; for when the decision was announced in 1873
of making this spot the terminus of the new transcontinental railroad, the old village of Tacoma had only
three hundred inhabitants, and on the site of New
Tacoma there was nothing but a dilapidated log cabin.
In 1886 the post-office business at Tacoma amounted
to $9,040, and. in 1889 to 132,446; and it is assumed
that these dollars in each case represent an equal number of inhabitants.
The selection of Tacoma seems to have been determined by considerations similar to those which made
Portland the " City of Destiny " in Oregon. As Portland
was built at the highest point on the Willamette River
where ocean vessels can go with ease and safety, so
Tacoma has been located at the most convenient southern branch of Puget Sound which ocean vessels can
reach at all times, independent of the tide. The State
capital lies further south still, it is true, but its arm of
the Sound is so much affected by the tide that a wharf
had to be built projecting almost a mile into the bay.
The Tacoma harbor, on the other hand, has forty to
seventy-five fathoms of water, and shippers are inclined
to growl that it is too deep, which makes anchoring at
some places inconvenient. It is on this fine harbor, as
much as on the fact of its being the terminus of the
Northern Pacific Railroad, that Tacoma bases its hope of
taking a large part of the exceedingly profitable Oriental
trade from the British, and also from the San Francis- THE AMERICAN  MEDITERRANEAN.
cans. Tacoma is about three hundred miles nearer to
Canton than San Francisco, which makes a day's difference in its favor each way. Among the chief articles
imported by the Asiatics in return for their teas and
silks, are flour, canned goods, and lumber, all of which,
and especially the last, Tacoma is eminently qualified to
provide. Seventeen years ago its site was a dense forest,
and dense forests still cover the greater part of the Puget
Sound region and Western Washington, and will for
centuries to come, even at the present rate of wholesale
destruction. It has been estimated that the forest
district of the State includes 175,000,000,000 feet of
What threatens to exterminate the superb forests
of Washington and Oregon is not so much the lumberman's axe as the forest fires, which, instead of diminishing year by year, seem to increase in frequency and
extent. They are caused by camp-fires left burning by
careless hunters or Indians, or by sparks from railway
engines. But even when there are no extensive fires
originating in this way, the summer air in Washington
and Oregon is odorous, pungent to the eyes, and opaque
from the innumerable clearings, or places where farmers
burn down their dense timber to secure land for the
plough. A volcano in full activity could hardly be a
more brilliant and thrilling sight than the dazzling
nocturnal splendor of these fires —the united brilliancy
of scores or hundreds of blazing fir-trees, some lying prostrate in confused groups, others, several hundred feet
high, standing in solemn array, like condemned criminals, until the flames rush up to their tops and bring
them down too, or else leave them standing as blackened,
ghastly trunks.    These  transitory fireworks, however, 220
do not compensate settlers in the long run for the loss
of so much valuable timber, or tourists for missing
sight of the snow-mountains. I have often seen the
sun here day after day looking like a full red moon, and
the air is for weeks so densely filled with smoke that
the eyes become inflamed. Indeed, unless there has
been a shower, tourists have little chance of seeing
Mts. Hood or Tacoma in July or August. Owing
to Tacoma's destiny of becoming the American Interlaken, this is a matter of some importance; but little
can be done to remedy the evil until the national government can be_ induced to spend some of the surplus
in the treasury on measures for the protection of our
Northern forests, — the envy of the whole civilized world.
The lumber business is still the most important industry in Tacoma, and will probably long remain so.
In 1873 there was one saw-mill on the premises, and
now there are seventeen, employing nearly fifteen hundred men, and with a combined capacity for turning out
more than a milEon and a quarter feet a day. It is
interesting to see these mills at work. There is one at
which the steamers on the way to Olympia stop to take in
water, so that passengers have time to watch the chain
which, like a moving cable, carries down the de*bris
of the timber in a flume-like trough, high in the aE,
and throws it down on a pile which is kept burning
constantly. One cannot suppress the thought what a
boon the fuel thus wasted would be to the poor in our
Eastern cities. Vessels are always seen loading to carry
the avaEable part of the timber to aE parts of the world.
But although lumber is the staple of Tacoma's trade,
the city's prosperous growth would hardly be arrested
by a decline in this business; for its importance as a THE AMERICAN MEDITERRANEAN.
centre for the exportation of wheat and coal wiE grow
much more rapidly than the forests diminish. As the
timber is cleared away, the farmers can take possession
of the soil, which yields heavy crops of the best wheat.
Puget Sound extends from north to south about one
hundred and twenty miles, and has a shore-Ene of
almost sixteen hundred miles, much of which is tide
land; and on these tide lands grain yields the fabulous
amount of over a hundred bushels to the acre. Eastern
Washington, also, which differs so widely in soil and
climate from the western half of the State, has been
found excellently adapted for grain and fruit raising,
with the help of irrigation, preparations for the use of
which are now being made on a vast scale. All these
products will of course seek a market via the Puget
Sound cities.
I saw Tacoma in 1887, and again in 1889 and 1890,
and the growth of the city in this short time was such
that in both cases I hardly recognized the place. It
seemed as if some fairy had visited the town and
changed every black stump into a four-story brick building by touching it with her wand. The cause of this
sudden "spurt" was the completion of the Cascade Division of the Northern Pacific Railroad, and the Stampede
Tunnel, which opened up the vast coal-fields along this
road, and made the Pacific Coast cities independent of
Pennsylvania coal. The export of coal to California
ports is already second in importance to Tacoma's lumber trade, and the business is as yet in its infancy.
Bituminous or soft coal is at present chiefly mined, but
it is said that "near the foot of Mt. Tacoma is the
best anthracite mine in the world, the product running
ninety-eight per cent of fixed carbon," the smallest vein 222
being four feet through. " This will be opened up very
shortly, as soon as a railway can be built through to tap
it." Such a railway would also prove a great boon to
tourists. The words just quoted are from the Oregonian, which by the way is still read by almost as many
Washingtonians as Oregonians, — a reminiscence of the
time when Portland was the metropolis of both the
States which formed old Oregon.
As this chapter is intended to be devoted to the scenic
rather than the commercial aspects of Puget Sound, I
cannot give any more space to the latter.    It is worthy
of note that the- Tacomans, however enthusiastic they
may be in regard to their business prospects, never fail
to appreciate also the aesthetic and climatic advantages
of their location.    Excessive summer heat is as unknown
as excessive winter cold, the thermometer having been
known to keep within the limits of 30° and 90° for six
successive years; and though it rains a good deal in winter, the rain is not depressing through a sultry atmospheric condition.    As for the site of Tacoma, it has the
double advantage of being not only picturesque in itself,
as seen from the bay, but of affording at the same time
a superb bay and mountain view from the residences.
The city is built on sloping ground and terraces rising
one behind the other; and as in San Francisco, the business streets  are  on level ground, and the residence
streets run up hill;   but we read that "the  engineer
declared when he entered upon his work that the streets
should have such easy grades that a horse with buggy
and  driver might go from one point to another in a
lively trot, and he carried his point."    The greater part
of the city having been at first in the hands of the
Northern Pacific Railroad, the directors were able to lay THE AMERICAN MEDITERRANEAN.
out the town on principles of good taste, which was done
by putting the matter in the hands of an expert landscape gardener. The streets in consequence are all from
eighty to one hundred feet wide, and nearly seventeen
hundred acres of land have been put aside for parks.
The future hundreds of thousands of Tacoma will ever
be grateful for these sanitary and far-seeing provisions.
For, however salubrious the climate may be, a large city
always needs breathing-spaces and wide streets. Until
recently Tacoma was behind Seattle in the matter of
street-car facilities, but within a year cable cars have
been built, and almost twenty miles of electric street
railroads, which have solved the problem of going up
hill at a grade of fourteen feet to one hundred, and
enable the merchants, in rainy weather, to reach their
elevated residences in comfort. Concerning these residences I may add that almost all of them command a
superb view of that compound octopus-like arm of the
Pacific known as Puget Sound, and of the incomparable
Mt. Tacoma.
To get a perfect impression of Mt. Tacoma, however,
we must board the steamer going either to Olympia
or to Seattle and Victoria. Both these trips will be
taken by every tourist who is wise. In certain hazy
conditions of the atmosphere Mt. Tacoma, as viewed
from the bay, presents a most unique and mysterious
appearance. The haze completely conceals the broad
base and the wooded part of the mountain, leaving only
the vast cone in sight, like a floating island of snow on
an illimitable ocean of mist. As the steamer leaves
the harbor for Olympia, we have this mountain on one
side, and on the other side rows of fine villas on the crest
of the steep hill-side, with their feet, as it were, dangling ■*"*»--
over the precipice, and looking as if the slightest earthquake shock would make them tumble into the harbor.
But there are no earthquakes in Washington and Oregon, though their volcanoes are not quite cold yet;
nor are there any other violent disturbances, such as
cyclones and tornadoes. Hence the waters of Puget
Sound are always safe and usually unruffled, so that
sea-sickness need not be dreaded. That part of the
Sound which lies between Tacoma and Olympia is not
so straight and wide as the stretch between Tacoma
and Seattle, but winds about like a river and embraces
between its curves many large and small islands, bays,
promontories, and inlets where rivers and creeks add
their sweet water to the briny substance of the Sound.
The comparison to an octopus, which I ventured to use
a moment ago, bold and fantastic as it may seem, describes the shape of this southwestern part of the Sound
remarkably well, as it here sends out its feelers in every
direction, one of them almost reaching an arm of Hood's
Canal. What a paradise for yachting and picnic parties
this Sound will be when Tacoma and Seattle have
reached the size of San Francisco, and when Washington
will hold two or three million inhabitants — which it
can without the least crowding, or settling on poor
In some places, where earthslides have occurred, the
banks of the Sound are steep and palisade-like, but
usually the forest trees come right up to the edge of
the water. In this part of the Sound the scenery preserves its primeval aspect, human habitation being rare;
but occasionally an Indian hut may be seen, with a
family group consisting of a " warrior' taking his ease
on his back, while his wife chops the wood wherewith to, THE AMERICAN  MEDITERRANEAN.
cook . his dinner, and his mother mends his clothes.
These dusky squaws have secured the right of doing
masculine work which so many of their white sisters are
now clamoring for; and they have husbands, too, which
the latter usually have not: and yet they are not happy.
Only one town of any significance — Steilacoom —
is seen on this route. Not far from it is one of the
most beautiful scenic points on the Sound — a place
where it widens out amid the islands in such a way that
it seems the meeting-place of five large rivers, resembling a central square in a city into which as many
streets lead. A few hours more, and we come to the
capital of the State. Like the capital. of Oregon,
Olympia has not kept pace in growth with some other
cities in the State, its population being about the same
as that of Salem — five or six thousand; and if it is
ever to become a commercial centre, it will have to rely
on railways rather than on navigation, because its harbor is too much affected by the tide. The mile-long
pier which stands on the sand in low tide has been the
subject of many cruel jokes in rival towns. But
Olympia is considered a quiet and pleasant place to
reside in; and while Tacoma arrogates the title of "City
of Destiny," and Seattle that of " Queen City of the
Sound," Olympia likes to be called the " City of
Homes." The houses are surrounded by gardens in
which flowers bloom every month in the year and roses
run riot, and from elevated points near by the scenic
outlook embraces half-a-dozen snow-peaks, including
those of the Olympic range.
It is on the route from Tacoma to Seattle and Victoria, however, that the Olympic range shows to best
advantage.    The Sound here is? as I have said? less, 226
winding and less puzzling to all but the pilot, but there
^re the same endless changes and suprises in the watery
vista. At one place the channel is no wider than a
river, so that one can count the pebbles on the shore;
at another it widens out into a spacious lake dotted with
islands; and in the upper part it expands so much that
land for awhile is out of sight altogether, and we seem
to be on the ocean. Here the water is not littered with
the debris of saw-mills, as in many places below, but
seals may still be encountered basking on logs in the
sunshine. It must be admitted that the immediate bank-
scenery of Puget Sound nowhere equals in grandeur
and interest that of the Middle Columbia River; but
the background of snow-mountains is even grander: the
scenic frame is here more interesting than the picture
itself. Tacoma, St. Helens, and Adams are to be seen,
and just as we enter the bay of Seattle we catch our first
glimpse of Mt. Baker, — another one of the North Pacific extinct volcanic snow-cones, eleven thousand feet
in height. From the hill above Seattle a much more
complete view of this peak, which stands like a sentinel
just this side of the British boundary, is afforded; and
here, too, the Olympic range shows to best advantage.
Unlike the other mountains of the Pacific Northwest,
the dozen or more peaks which make up the Olympic
range are not isolated volcanic cones, but form a range
of jagged peaks connected below. They are covered
with snow the greater part of the year, and rise in the
two highest peaks, Mts. Olympus and Constance, to a
height of 8150 and 7770 feet respectively. It is an odd
fact that until a few months ago the region enclosed
by this range, though appearing within stone's-throw
of Seattle's thirty thousand inhabitants, was almost as THE AMERICAN MEDITERRANEAN.
unknown as parts of Africa before Stanley. A few
trappers and prospectors for minerals had made spasmodic efforts to cross the mountain barriers, and hence
arose rumors of the existence in this wilderness of
Indians who had never seen a white man, of beautiful
lakes full of fish, fine valleys suited for grazing and
agriculture, gold, silver, iron, and lead ores, and bears
and elks enough to make this a sportsman's paradise.
But nothing definite was known until last June, when
two parties that had gone out in the autumn returned
in a deplorable condition, and reported on the correctness of the rumors. One of these parties consisted of
Ex-Lieutenant-Governor Gilman of Minnesota and his
son, and the other was sent out by the Seattle Press.
Thus a new and valuable territory has been added to
the new State.
In writing about Puget Sound it is difficult to get the
mind away from the mountains, but I will only add that
as the steamer enters Elliott Bay we get a most picturesque view of Seattle, framed in by Mt. Baker on the
left, and Mt. Tacoma (here always called Mt. Rainier,
of course) on the right; and that the view of the latter
peak is quite as fine as at Tacoma. Like Tacoma,
Seattle is built on the side of a hill sloping down to the
water, and the harbor is excellent, affording room for
several miles of wharfage. The business streets are
again (as in almost all cities of the Pacific Coast) the
only ones on level ground, while the residence streets
run at right angles to them up hill. In one respect
Seattle is perhaps the most modern of all American
cities, as there is not a single horse-car line in the town,
their place being taken by cable and electric lines, which
do the work much better, quicker, and without cruelty 228
to animals, of which all horse-car companies are inevitably guilty.
The first time I saw Seattle was a few weeks after the
great fire in 1889 which consumed the entire business
section of the city, with the wharves, and entailed a loss
of eight to ten millions on its twenty thousand inhabitants. It was a most curious sight, — a city of tents
built on the charred ruins of the former city, on the site
of which it had literally grown up in a day, like a bed
of mushrooms. Hotels consisted of large tents with
the office in front, cots behind, and the kitchen and
dining-room irT other tents. Druggists, barbers, dry-
goods dealers, grocers, etc., all had their business in
tents; and as a sufficient number of these could not be
obtained immediately, one could see here and there a
I happy family," consisting, say, of a jeweller, milliner,
and real-estate dealer, all in one tent. But the oddest
sight I came across was a large tent filled with
miscellaneous goods, displayed on improvised benches,
and outside the tent was this notice in large letters:
"Positively No Goods at Retail."
It is possible that the reporters overdrew matters somewhat (contrary to their natural propensity) when they
wrote of a theatrical manager who, when he saw his
building on fire, forthwith rushed to an architect for
plans for a new one; of a merchant who telegraphed
for iron for a new store when he saw the flames had
taken hold of his old one; and of wagons unloading
stone for the foundations of a new building while the
hose was still playing on the de'bris of the old one: but
like an exaggerated perspective in a picture, such stories, after all, only show the situation in a true light, since
the energy, pluck, and hopefulness shown by the Seattle- THE  AMERICAN MEDITERRANEAN.
ites on this occasion have never been paralleled. When
the anniversary of the fire was celebrated, on June 6,
1890, it was stated that during the year two hundred
and sixty-five new buildings had been put up, together
with sixty new wharves, with a frontage of over two
miles — all of which, with other improvements, involved
the expenditure of almost twelve million dollars. Sixty
blocks, or one hundred and twenty acres, had been consumed, and in rebuilding this portion the streets have
been made wider and straighter, and the buildings are
of much better material and higher than formerly. The
old ones would have been torn down anyway in a few
years, so that, after all, the fire proved a blessing in
disguise to the community as a whole. On re-visiting
Seattle in June, I found that the new buildings were not
in such an advanced stage as the newspaper accounts
had led one to fancy; but there was no mistake about
their being there, and their metropolitan dimensions,
and their stone and iron constitution. The air was
hideous with the noise of stone-cutters and carpenters,
and the sidewalks were impassable for the piles of
bricks and lumber. There were also a few direct traces
of the fire in piles of charred timber, and in a few
scattered tents where groceries, clothing, etc., were still
being sold, the owners having probably lost too much
to be able to rebuild at once.
Seattle enjoys almost exactly the same advantages as
Tacoma regarding scenery, climate, shipping, coal, and
lumber, and further details can therefore be dispensed
with. Both these cities doubtless have a great future before them, and there is no ground for the fierce jealousy
between them. But if the Seattleites do not wish to
alienate the sympathies of tourists, they should cease 230
naming the glorious Mt. Tacoma after an obscure English lord when we have such a beautiful American name
for it.
Beyond Seattle the Sound widens out, and forty-seven
miles to the north we come to the last of our cities this
side of Alaska, — Port Townsend, the United States
customs stations, at which all vessels that enter or
leave the Sound have to report. It has most of the
advantages of other Sound cities, and a population at
present of five thousand. In the number of customs
entries, Port Townsend claims to be next to New York.
The climatic vagaries produced on the Pacific Coast by the
" Chinook " wind, which comes from the Japan Current,
are curiously illustrated by the rainfall at this city. As
a general thing, the rainfall on the Pacific Coast may be
said to increase steadily from San Diego's ten inches to
Sitka's one hundred and eight. But, oddly enough, there
is less rain in the Puget Sound region than in Oregon,
the "web-foot" State. Tacoma has forty inches, and Port
Townsend only sixteen. Similarly, it is observed that
less rain falls in Vancouver's Island than in British
Columbia in general. But when he gets into Alaska,
the tourist is fortunate if he comes upon a rainless week
even in summer; and in rainy weather its scenic wonders can only be half appreciated. It seems, therefore,
as if Puget Sound had been placed where it is as a sample of Alaskan scenery and inland coast navigation;
and a most excellent sample it is, for it is only when
we get up as far as Sitka that the Alaskan salt-water
river boasts of snow-peaks comparable to Mts. Tacoma
Adams, Baker, St. Helens, and Hood, which adorn
Puget Sound. XV.
If Long Island Sound could be continued for about
a thousand miles, past the coasts of Maine, Newfoundland, and Labrador, as far as the entrance to Hudson's Bay, so that tourists might go all the way on fast
river-steamers, with state-rooms on the main deck, and
without the slightest risk of sea-sickness; and if this
hypothetic " Long Island " could be broken up into several thousand, which, instead of being flat and sandy,
were covered with forests of almost tropical luxuriance
and with mountains of an infinite variety of shape, continually increasing in altitude until they culminated
in two snow-peaks higher than Mt. Blanc, outrunners
of the third highest mountain range in the world, and
sending clear down and into the salt water numerous
glaciers, compared with which those in Switzerland are
mere pigmies, — if, in other words, the strip of coast
which extends from Tacoma, Washington, to Glacier
Bay in Alaska could be transferred to the Atlantic side,
231 232
it is safe to say that at least a score of large steamers,
crowded with passengers, would be going up and down
this salt-water river aE summer long. The Atlantic
Coast people, however, even if they possessed this
scenic bonanza, would hardly be able to enjoy it comfortably, on account of the icy ocean current which
sweeps down Davis Strait and chills and befogs Labrador and Newfoundland even in summer. Most persons
in the East seem to imagine that Alaska must be in a
similar, if not a worse, predicament; but they reckon
without the warm Japan Current which does for Southern Alaska what the Gulf Stream does for the British
Islands. Northwestern Alaska, indeed, shares with
Northern Siberia the honor of having the coldest cEmate
in the world; but the southeastern portion of the coast,
as far north as Sitka, has a climate much warmer than
that of Maine, though Sitka is some fifteen degrees of
latitude north of Portland, Maine. It must be borne in
mind how vast a country Alaska is, — as large, one writer
has calculated, as the original thirteen States. A still
more graphic way of realizing its extent is by noting
that from California it is as far to the western extremity
of Alaska as it is to New York; so that the central city
of the United States is not Omaha or St. Paul, but San
Francisco !
Fifty years hence, in my humble opinion, San Francisco, or the then metropolis of the Pacific Coast, will
be not only geographicaEy but in many other ways
the centre of American Efe. The agricultural, scenic,
climatic, and hygienic superiority of the Western to
the Eastern Coast is too great not to affect the question
of population and civilization. But long before that
era Alaska wEl have universaEy established its claim A WEEK IN ALASKA.
to that much abused-phrase "the American Switzerland,"— unless, indeed, the terms should be converted, and Switzerland come to be complimented as
| the European Alaska." Yearly the number increases
of those who ask themselves whether, instead of going
to Europe every summer, it would not be worth while
to try a Western trip. Before the Yellowstone Park
and Alaska were made conveniently accessible, this
Western trip could hardly have been recommended as
an equivalent for Europe; but now the scales are pretty
evenly balanced, and as soon as the St. Elias range shall
have been included in the regular round trip, and provided with guides, roads, and hotels, Switzerland will
have to " take a back seat"; for St. Elias rises twenty
thousand feet into the air, and can be seen from base to
top, with a snow-and-ice mantle reaching down to the
very level of the ocean, while the highest mountain in
Switzerland is only 15,784 feet high (to the spectator
only about twelve thousand, as he is already several
thousand feet high when he sees it), and has a snow-
mantle of only about seven thousand feet. Indeed,
considering that in the Himalayas and the Andes, the
only two ranges that tower above the St. Elias, the
snow-line is as high as fifteen thousand to twenty
thousand feet, it is clear that St. Elias must be the
highest snow mountain in the world.
Unfortunately, the present Alaskan round trip does
not include St. Elias, although the majority of the tourists would gladly risk the chances of sea-sickness by
making the additional two hundred miles from Sitka in
the open sea. Two mountains of the St. Elias range,
with their stupendous glaciers, — Fairweather and Cril-
lon, both higher than Mt.  Blanc, — are, however, vis- 234
ible to those who make the present tour; and although, like St. Elias, they are lamentably apt to hide
themselves beneath and above clouds, even those who
miss this wonderful sight find so much that is unique
in the other attractions, that no one has ever been
known to feel the sEghtest desire to "get his money
back." Were the scenery much less inspiring than it
is, yet would the trip be worth making for its hygienic
value. Here, for two or three weeks, one can breathe a
delicious mixture of ocean and mountain air, the latter
just sufficiently impregnated with the fragrance of pine
forests to prevent that enervating languor which an
exclusive lung diet of ocean air is apt to breed. As regards the appetite for solid food, its average size may be
inferred from Captain Carroll's favorite joke, — that, as
the provisions are running short, he shall be compeEed to
take the turbulent outside passage back in order to curb
the gastronomic propensities of the passengers.
The fare provided on these steamers is about as good
as that on the average Atlantic steamers, but the daily
salmon and a few other dishes become monotonous, and
the passengers look in vain for " local color " in the bill
of fare; i.e. for venison and bear steak, wild ducks and
geese, salmon-berries, and some of the usual kinds of
fish that haunt these waters. The fault for this omission is laid on the shoulders of the Indians, who are said
to be too lazy to hunt and fish for more than they need
for themselves daily. But as they willingly work in the
mines for two dollars a day, it is probable they would
gladly hunt and fish for the steamer stewards if enough
were offered them. Yet, as just intimated, one needs no
such special stimulants for the appetite, and one thing is
certain, that the large number of invalids who cross the A WEEK IN ALASKA.
Atlantic yearly, chiefly to get the benefits of a sea-voyage, would do much better to go to Alaska, for there
they would be sure of gaining in weight daily, owing to
the absence of sea-sickness. And another thing in favor
of the Alaskan tour is, that one is certain to find pleasant companionship on the steamers. The passengers on
Atlantic steamers represent all classes of society, and
even of the tourists not all are pleasure-seekers in an
aesthetic sense; but of the Alaskan passengers the majority are apt to be persons of refinement and taste, since
the only magnet that can draw them there is the hope
of enjoying fine scenery.
Most of the tourists, not feeling quite certain whether
Alaska will come up to their expectations, go on the
elegant new steamer which is provided with all modern comforts and makes the round trip in twelve days;
but not a few regret afterwards that they did not take
one of the old freight steamers, Idaho or Ancon, which
require about a week more for the trip, and, as they
repeatedly stop a whole day at interesting places, allow
the passengers more time to explore the neighborhood,
and go fishing, observe the natives, hunt for curios, etc.
The fast steamer makes only six or seven stops in
twelve days, remaining from two to six hours at each
place ; and for almost three days after leaving Victoria
she makes no stop at all, thus resembling an ocean
steamer, — a resemblance made the more suggestive by
a series of rocky islands near Victoria that look very
much like the coast of Ireland when first approached on
the voyage to Liverpool.
The regular tourist season extends from the middle
of April to the middle of October. Early in the year
passengers will see more of the " midnight sun," but in 236
July and August fogs and rain are less common, although
even during those months the warm winds blowing inland from the Japanese Current are very apt to condense into clouds and rain, — a wise arrangement which
prevents the scenery from becoming monotonous to the
tourists; and if any interesting point is thereby missed,
there is always a chance of seeing it on the return trip,
— unless, indeed, the captain should choose a different
channel. There is an endless variety to select from, and
the marvel is that any captain or pilot should ever be
able to find his way through this labyrinth. For what
the Milky Way is among stars, this island-studded archipelago is among terrestrial water-ways. Captain Carroll, however, finds his way as unerringly as the salmon
which at some seasons splash about the ship, bound for
the rivers of the interior. There is not a single lighthouse —only here and there a rude post. Fortunately the
nights never become entirely dark, and even a dense fog
does not arrest the steamer's progress; for the pilots have
learned, by blowing the steam-whistle, to judge by the
echo the distance from either shore; and the water is
almost invariably so deep that danger is reduced to a
During our trip, which commenced on August 22, the
fog was never dense enough to call for the steam-whistle ; but the dense smoke, the result of forest fires and
" clearings," which had prevented us from enjoying the
Columbia River scenery and Mts. Hood and Tacoma,
also hid from us the charms of the far-famed Puget
Sound region with its background of Olympian and
other snow-mountains. Gradually, however, as we
passed along British Columbia towards Alaska, the
smoke grew less dense and finally disappeared entirely. A WEEK IN ALASKA.
Isolated columns of smoke were stiE to be seen frequently in the midst of the primitive forests, indicating
Indian camps; but in Alaska, thanks to the frequent
rains, forest fires cannot occur — a fact which will console the economically minded for the enormous wastes
of timber in Washington Territory and Oregon. The
visible wealth of Alaska, as Mr. Hallock remarks, lies in
these forests: " There is a supply here of 5,700,000,000
feet at a low estimate, a very large part of which is at
once accessible for shipment, as saw-mills and vessels
can lie right alongside the timber at tide water all the
way up the coast as far as it extends "; and Alaska with
its islands is said to have a coast-line of twenty-five
thousand miles, equal to the circumference of the globe.
Not only has Alaska the third highest mountain
range in the world, but if the greatest landscape artist
had been consulted, its members could not have been
arranged in a manner more continuously impressive to
the tourist. Beginning near Victoria with a moderate
altitude and mere patches of snow on the sides, they
daily grow higher and whiter until the climax is reached
in the St. Elias group. When we were northward
bound, the smoky atmosphere hid the distant peaks and
left the impression that snow was rather scarce for the
first three days; but on the return trip a shower had
preceded us, clearing away this smoke, revealing snow
in abundance, including, about thirty-six hours from
Victoria, an undulating range with immense snow-fields
that would not be without honor even in Switzerland;
and this was before Alaska proper had been reached.
The whole of the second and third days the passengers could imagine themselves sailing along the Hudson
River Highlands or Loreley Rock on the Rhine; but aft§r WEEK IN ALASKA.
that all comparison with Eastern rivers ceased, and the
Columbia alone, with its background of snow-mountains, afforded approximate terms of comparison. The
hour for sleep was postponed as long as possible, from
fear of losing some of the grand sights. As one of the
passengers remarked, it would be possible to make hundreds of Lake Georges out of this Alaskan salt-water
river. The word " lake " is very appropriate, as the channel widens and apparently comes to an end, as in a few
places on the Hudson, so that tourists frequently amuse
themselves by guessing which way the pilot is going to
turn next. Jn some places the channel is so wide that
land disappears on one side; at other times so narrow
that a woman could throw a stone on either shore.
Of the abundance and variety of islands which adorn
this water-way, only those can form a remote conception
who have seen the Thousand Islands of the St. Lawrence. But in Alaska, as one writer has remarked, we
see not a thousand islands only, but " a thousand miles
of islands," some as large as a State or a European kingdom, others just large enough for a house and garden;
while many look as if future generations would inevitably call them " Picnic Islands," so cosey and inviting
are they. Like the mountains that line the shores, all
these islands are densely wooded and very few of them
are flat. Indeed, a strip of flat land in this part of
Alaska is such a curiosity that the tourist's attention is
unconsciously attracted by it — reminding one of the
young Tyrolean girl's exclamation on entering for the
first time the monotonous plain between Munich and
Stuttgart: "Oh, mamma, look out of the window. How
beautiful! there is'not a mountain in sight! "
Bare hill-sides are almost equaEy rare in Alaska, till A WEEK IN ALASKA.
one reaches the glacier regions. Everywhere the forests
extend down to the very edge of the water, and during
high tide they actually seem to overlap or grow out of
the water. Consequently there is no beach, its place
being taken at low tide by ten feet or more of rocky
wall adorned with mosses and other vegetable and
animal growths, and sometimes almost as brilliantly
colored as the walls of the Yellowstone Canon. The
forests above add to this an endless variety of green tints,
indicating the different kinds of wood, the age of the
trees ; or, perchance, an isolated streak of fresher color
betrays the path of an avalanche which carried away
the old trees and made room for a new growth.
Some of the mountains are so rocky that they afford
insufficient nourishment to the trees, which consequently
die after a certain age, their gray, leafless skeletons
suggesting the thought that after all forest fires have
their use as a sort of scavengers. Still, these gray and
green forests are less uninviting than those black and
green charnel forests in which the fires have done their
work incompletely; and they are the exception, not the
rule, in Alaska.
For the first three days, as already intimated, these
aspects of nature were the only new experiences and
sights offered to the Olympian's passengers, no stops
being made after Fort Townsend and Victoria tiE we
reached Juneau (the largest town in Alaska), omitting
Nanaimo, Tongas, and Wrangel. It is customary to
stop at each place of any importance, either in going up
or returning, the captain being guided in his decision
chiefly by the necessity of passing certain dangerous
places when the tide is favorable.
The most perilous of these places is Seymour Rapids, II if
\\h  !
some hours north of Nanaimo. As we approached these
narrows, the water presented a most turbulently fascinating appearance, twirling around furiously in hundreds of little whirlpools, while large portions of the
surface appeared to be several feet higher than the
adjoining parts, as if a submarine earthquake had raised
some places and thus made the water run down hill.
The spectacle was as exciting as the Niagara rapids,
and more sublime, because the fact of being on the
water, and the knowledge that there were hidden rocks
all about, added just that slight suspicion of danger
which stimulates the feeling of sublimity.
In the narrowest part of the channel a regular waterfall was produced by the headlong plunge of the tide
waters down some rocks near the eastern shore, while
the other side was rendered equally dangerous by numerous rocks, thus leaving only a very narrow channel in
the middle for the steamer to pass through. The Idaho
and Ancon never attempt this passage while the tide
rushes through it like a mountain torrent, but the
Olympian plunged in boldly. In vain, however, did the
engineer strain every muscle of his machinery; for
more than an hour the noble steamer, though paddling
away at a rate of almost twenty miles an hour, did not
move a yard. Here was a lovely situation for timid
souls, with plenty of time to speculate on the possibility
of the shaft or rudder breaking, and to recall the fact
that in this very place two vessels have already come to
grief, one at a sacrifice of seventy Chinese lives!
But the Olympian suddenly made a spurt, and the salt
water-fall and the maelstroms were left behind.
On the fourth day we met the Pinta in a shallow,
quiet bay, and exchanged greetings, mails, and provis- A WEEK IN ALASKA.
ions. The Pinta is the diminutive man-of-war which
cruises these waters and keeps the Indians in subjection through the fear of having their villages
bombarded. While the brass buttons of the officers
exerted their usual magnetic power over the eyes of the
young ladies, the other passengers were less romantically employed in watching the jelly-fish which
crowded about the steamers, literally by the million.
The next incident of importance was our stop at
the gold mines opposite Juneau, and subsequently at
Juneau itself. Everybody went ashore to see the
mines and the quartz mills, where a hundred or more
machines reduce the ore to sand with a most terrific
noise. The mine was said to be worth twice the price
paid for Alaska, and it was evidently prospering, to
judge by the additional buildings in course of erection.
At Juneau, which is a larger place than Sitka, the
first thing that strikes the eye is the large number of
" drugstores," almost every other building being labelled
as such. Can it be that the Indian habit of leaving the
heads and tails of salmon to decay in the street, in their
paift of the village, has such an injurious effect on the
health of the Juneauites ? or has the fact. that the sale
of whiskey is forbidden in Alaska a remote bearing on
the subject? Certainly neither the whites nor the
Indians look unhealthy.
Most of the Indian men were at work in the mines,
but the squaws sat in rows on the pier or in front of
their houses, offering for sale grass baskets, furs, blankets,
small canoes and paddles, totem-poles, wooden spoons,
masks, bracelets made of silver dollars, berries, etc.
Each squaw seems to have the shrewdness and business
instincts of a Jew and & Y&nkeQ rolled info pne.   In 242
their own language they comment freely on the tourists,
— tit for tat, — and appear to find their doings rather
ludicrous, which, no doubt, they sometimes are. These
squaws have obviously given their husbands elementary
lessons in "woman's rights "; for the latter never dare to
sell anything for a lower price than first asked, and if the
wife says No, the bargain comes to naught. The squaws
are also aEowed to share the labor of the men on the
water, and they are experts in paddling their own canoes.
Their domestic accomplishments are less admirable.
The interior of the house is as uncleanly as the blankets
they wear, arid it would not be pleasant to think of
entering their huts were it not for the disinfecting smoke
which pervades them. With a few exceptions, they
have no stoves, the food being cooked over an open fire
in the centre of the floor. The smoke seeks to escape
through a hole in the roof, but, before escaping, it is
utilized for curing strips of salmon that are hung on
strings below the hole. In front of the houses other
rows of salmon are suspended on sticks to dry in the
sun; and before each hut lies a canoe carefully covered
with mats, to protect it against the sun.
At Sitka we had an opportunity to see the Indians as
influenced by missionary efforts. The Mission School
contains over a hundred boys and girls. The girls do
the cooking, and the boys are experts in carpentry.
Their chairs and bedsteads are very neatly made, and
are to be seen in most of the Indian huts. The boys
wear a blue uniform, to give them a sort of esprit de
corps; and the girls appear to give considerable attention to their appearance, especially in the arrangement
of the hair. Their gait is very ungraceful, owing, as
some say, to the fact that their ancestors spent sq much A WEEK IN ALASKA.
of their time in canoes. Among the half-breeds, and the
Indians too, some have considerable beauty of figure
and face; and were it not for the large mouth, many
more would be pretty.
It is impossible to look at these Indians and not come
to the conclusion that they are descended from the
Japanese. The whole cast of the face is Japanese:
the cheeks, the small, sparkling black eyes, with their
scant lashes and brows, and the complexion, are unmistakably so; and the fact that, not so many years ago,
some Japanese mariners were shipwrecked on the Alaskan coast, makes the Japanese origin of the American
Indian all the more probable. Another Japanese trait
of these Indians is their bright intelligence and their
eagerness to adopt the customs of the white man. They
learn very readily, and some of the pupils recited and
prayed in EngEsh, while several squaws and Indian men
prayed in their own guttural language. The singing
of these children did not differ much in quality of tone
or intonation from that in our primary schools.
Besides these Indians, there is little of interest in
Sitka itself besides the .old Russian castle and the Greek
church, in which it is odd to see pictures of saints in
these out-of-the-way regions. The church itself does not
deserve the amount of attention it has received, except
from an antiquarian point of view; but the charms of
Sitka harbor have hardly been exaggerated even by
those who compare it to the Gulf of Naples. The arrival of a steamer is always a great event for the Sit-
kans, natives and whites, who assemble on the wharf to
greet her arrival and cheer her departure; and the local
weekly paper, the Alaskan, was enterprising enough to
get out an extra in a couple of hours, with the passe::- 244
ger list; and this edition the young ladies bought by the
dozen and mailed to their friends as, conclusive evidence
that they had been so near the north pole.
In speaking of Sitka before Glacier Bay I have followed the map rather than the steamer's course; for
Sitka is aEeady some distance on the home stretch, and
before arriving there the steamers visit Lynn Canal,
which leads up to the Chilcat country, famous for its
furs, blankets, salmon-canneries, and glaciers; and then
Glacier Bay, which runs almost parallel to Lynn Canal,
and, with the Muir Glacier, represents the cEmax of the
present Alaskan tour. Lynn Canal contains a large
number of glaciers, each of which would make the fortune of a village and a dozen hotels in Switzerland, and
conspicuous among them are the magnificent Eagle and
Davidson Glaciers, which would be the "lions' of
Southern Alaska were they not slightly surpassed in
grandeur by the Muir Glacier, which, Jumbo-like, therefore gets all the attention of the visitors.
As the steamer enters Lynn and Glacier bays, the
scenery becomes truly Arctic, as weE as the climate, and
overcoats are in demand. Vast snow-fields are visible
in every direction, and the frozen rivers or glaciers which
represent their drainage all creep down to the water's
edge, in some cases presenting a front of several miles.
As the steamer moves on, the panorama constantly
changes, showing the mountains and glaciers from every
point of view without involving the slightest fatigue on
the part of the tourists; and as soon as one ice-river is
out of sight, another shows its edge, and gradually stands
revealed in all its grandeur. One never gets over the
surprise that the snow-line should be so low — that
the snow in the crater-like dug-outs on the mountain   A WEEK IN ALASKA.
sides should be so near the level of the ocean in midsummer.
On entering Glacier Bay, another Arctic surprise
awaits the tourist. Icebergs of all shapes and sizes begin
to float about the steamer, some just large enough to fill
the steward's depleted ice-box, others, the size of a
steamer, compelling the Olympian to moderate her speed.
As the great glacier is in sight two hours before the
steamer reaches it, though headed directly for it, the
passengers have ample time to admire the exquisite blue
and white tints of these icebergs, and note their odd
forms and resemblances to the hull of a steamer, various
geometrical figures, a bundle of logs, a fairy grotto, or a
sphinx, etc. Some of them are entirely covered with
scores of gulls, which fly away with harsh cries as the
steamer approaches.
It appears incredible that the surface of the glacier
which lies a few miles ahead should be more than two
hundred feet above the water; it seems no more than
twenty; but the apparent height constantly increases
until the steamer brings up suddenly within a few hundred feet of the icy wall. Then there is a chorus of ohs
and ahs, and the Bishop of Rochester (England), who
is one of the passengers, dogmatically pronounces it the
grandest sight in the world.
Imagine a wall of solid ice, two hundred and twenty-
five feet high, extending for about a mile to right and
left, the upper portions white and broken up into the
most fantastic crags and pinnacles, like the rocks of the
Yellowstone Canon ; the lower portions of a deeper and
deeper blue, according as the increased pressure from
above and from the sides has squeezed out the air and
changed the solid snow into pure ice, producing near ^mm
the centre a grotto of more than celestial blue. Imagine,
furthermore, that there are eight hundred feet more of
this wall under the water, that even if it is true that the
Muir Glacier moves thirty or forty feet a day, instead
of only two or three, like those of Switzerland, the portion of ice now visible to the eye represents snow that
fell perhaps hundreds of years ago, and has been slowly
creeping down with the ice-river ever since—and the
meaning of the word " sublime|j will perhaps become
clearer than any metaphysical definition could make it.
Every ten or fifteen minutes the spectator is startled
from his reveries by an explosion, followed by an aggravated multitudinous echo, and caused by the fall of a
portion of the ice-wall into the bay, where it floats away
as an iceberg. As it splashes into the sea, the water flies
up as in a geyser, and a wild wave dashes over the rocks,
tosses about the steamer, and threatens to land it high
and dry on the beach.
After this spectacle has grown familiar, the boats are
lowered, and every one goes ashore to climb up the side
of the glacier and get views of its rugged surface, resembling a stormy ocean suddenly frozen with all its white-
caps. Here also can be seen the dozen or more tributary
glaciers which combine to make the Muir, and the semicircle of snow-mountains whose sides they adorn. The
amateur photographers have brought their apparatus
along, and take groups of the passengers with this picturesque background; and then the steamer's whistle
summons all back to embark for Sitka.
As the steamer slowly gets ready to depart, one
notices what in the excitement had previously escaped
notice, — the grooved and polished rocks, at least a
thousand feet up the mountain side, indicating how high A WEEK IN ALASKA.
the glacier must have been formerly. A century ago
Glacier Bay was not navigable, and according to Indian
tradition the Muir Glacier has receded five miles in three
generations ; but this need not alarm tourists, as it stiE
has a reserve to last a few thousand years longer. On
leaving Glacier Bay we were so fortunate as to see the
giants Crillon and Fairweather outlined against a perfectly clear sky, illuminated by one of the most gorgeous sunsets I have ever seen, and the glories of which
did not fade till ten o'clock. It is a superb mountain
group, bearing a distant resemblance to the Monch-
Eiger-Jungfrau group, as seen near Miirren, which
Mr. Tyndall does not stand alone in regarding as the
finest in Switzerland. 3
T    »
The dense smoke from forest fires, which, by obscuring the grand mountain scenery of Oregon and Washington duri