50 forming [an] a series of water forms more strikingly varied & combined than any other [similar] of the Yo Val [Yosemite Valley] Thus if both the upper & lower Yo [Yosemite] Fall were awanting This black gorge 1/3 m [mile] long bright with the white out blooming of 9 falls & cascades lovingly [ ] & adorned with ferns & fringing oaks & all of the glories of light would still be one of the most wondrous works of God & of itself well worthy a visit to the Sierras. Yet few travelers who come here are aware of their existence & while many a sheetful of common place rant has been offered to the the falls that can be seen without any compelled to climb these noble chapter of falls have [not] scarce been mentioned. The gorge is crooked so that one cannot see all falls from any one stand point the best general view is from the edge of the stream at the head of the lower fall [two of the] the two lowest falls together with a
51 tributary cascade is visible but the descent [in descending to the bottom of the] gorge the last 20 or 30 feet is not safe in high water because the rock wh [which] is steep is there wet & more slippery with spray & if one should slip he would be carried over the fall down into the valley but if one should chance to slip when water is low a bump or two & a harmless plash would be the only result This is safe only [to cautious climbers] to those climbers who are cautious & firm nerved & even to [them] only when the rock is dry Though the dark hull [on which] of those glorious waters [dwell] is never flushed with the purple of morning or [evening] it is warmed & [cheered] by the white glow of noonday, filled with rainbow [irised spray like] foam as with common air [Laurel] sheds fragrance from above (live oaks those fearless mountaineers hold fast to
Original journal dimensions: 10 x 16.5 cm.
Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library
John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist