John Muir


James R. Garfield


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4 The floor of the Valley is about three and a half miles long and from a fourth to half a mile wide. The lower portion is mostly a level meadow about a mile long with the trees restricted to the sides, and partially separated from the upper forested portion by a low bar of glacier-polished granite, across which the river breaks in rapids.The principal trees are the Yellow and Sugar pines, Sabine pine, Incense cedar, Douglas spruce, Silver fir, the California and Gold-cup oaks, Balm of Gilead poplar, Nuttall's Flowering dogwood, Alder, Naple, Laurel, Tomion etc. The most abundant and influential are the great Yellow pines, the tallest over 200 feet in height, and the oaks with massive rugged trunks four to six or seven feet in diameter, and broad heads, assembled in magnificent groves. The shrubs forming conspicuous flowery clumps and tangles are Manzanita, Azalea, Spiraea, Brier-rose, Ceanothus, Calycanthus, Philadelphus, Wild cherry etc; with abundance of showy and fragrant herbaceous plants growing about them or out in the open in beds by themselves - Lilies, Mariposa tulips, Brodiaeas, Orchids - several species of each, - Iris, Spraguea, Draperia, Collomia, Collinsia, Castilleia, Nemophila, Larkspur, Columbine, Goldenrods, Sunflowers and Nints of many species, Foneysuckle etc. etc. Many fine ferns dwell here also, especially the beautiful and interesting rook-ferns, - Pellaea, and Cheilanthes of several species, - fringing and rosetting dry rock piles and ledges; Woodwardia and Asplenium on damp spots with fronds six or seven feet high, the delicate Maidenhair in mossy nooks by the falls, and the sturdy broad-shouldered Pteris beneath the oaks and pines,It appears therefore that Hetch Hetchy Valley far from being a plain common rook-bound meadow, as many who have not seen it seen to suppose, is a grand landscape garden, one of Nature's rarest and most precious mountain mansions. As in Yosemite the sublime rocks of its walls seem to the Nature lover to glow with life whether leaning back in repose or standing erect in thoughtful attitudes giving welcome to storms and calms alike. And how softly these mountain rocks are adorned, and how fine and reassuring the company they keep -


Martinez, Calif.

Date Original

1907-09-06 00:00


Original letter dimensions unknown.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 16, Image 0973

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The unpublished works of John Muir are copyrighted by the Muir-Hanna Trust. To purchase copies of images and/or obtain permission to publish or exhibit them, see

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Copyright Holder

Muir-Hanna Trust

Copyright Date


Page Number

Page 6


John Muir, correspondence, letters, author, writing, naturalist, California, correspondent, mail, message, post, exchange of letters, missive, notes, epistle