John Muir


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a little below the gorge as I was anxiously going to the river to drink after climbing the 600 ft rib in order to avoid the gorge. I came suddenly upon a 3d rattler this morning, my foot was within 5 inches of his head ere I discovered him and bounced back. He was evidently hiding for birds that came to drink, lying in folds one above another between two waterwashed bowlders. Poison oak now makes its appearances alt. 5.500 and wild grape vine. Looking across the river from where I am making these notes I see a young Doug. Sp. Festooning handsomely from top to bottom with a vine I took it at first sight for a new tree. The granite rib one must cross the avoid the gorge is richly planted with rock ferns Cheilanthes Pelleae of 3 species, and allosorus, spiraea, a few pines and cedars with dogwood, Manzanita (berries ripe) chery, cianothus etc at foot both sides and rasphenus and thimble berries saw yesterday where bear had been eating raspberries but thought vines were badly pulled down, he left some for me. Bear trail well worn in all difficult places today. Trend canyon below gorge and entrance of Braided Cascade tributary N 55 E looking up. The squirrels are eating all kinds of conif seeds though none are nearly ripe. Below the gorge the canyon walls stand back for 4 miles or so forming a charming and grandly sculptured and planted Yosemite valley. The 3 domes form its S wall 3000 to 4000 ft high. The N wall wild but less massive in form. The upper half of the floor is rocky and dry in many places. The tower is the shadiest and most beautifully planted I ever saw. Pine, fir, alder 80 ft high Kellog oak very tall and fine and above all Libo- some must be nearly 200 ft. high. The floor carpeted with velvety leaved Rubus Nutkanus snow berry etc none so fine in Yosemite grape vines grand tangles. One bowlder, I took to be a crag, over 100 ft long 40 ft high above ground. Saw bear sign a ravaged wasp nest. At the foot of the valley the river goes roaring over a granite dam. Alt. dam 5350. First rapid and white then calms to emerald in a very deep pool, then away it goes ever faster in a glorious pumey, lacy, upleaping exulting cascade into a larger emerald pool 150 ft wide.

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Original journal dimensions: 10.5 x 17.5 cm.

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Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist