John Muir


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Circa Date

circa 1887



The Nevada Fall is about 650 feet high & in general interest usually ranks next to the Yosemite Fall among the five main falls of the valley. A short distance above the head of the fall on the N [north] side the river gives off a small part of its waters which (flowing down a narrow canon just to the North of the fall) forms a (beautiful) cascade in the­ narrow boulder-filled channel & finally meets the main stream again a few yards below the fall.

(But) some time last year[s] the Commissioners came to regard these cascades as a (sort of leak or) waste of raw material, a damaging leak that ought to be stopped by a dam compelling all the water to tumble & sing together

Accordingly the enterprising landlord of the upper hotel was allowed a few hundred dollars to “fix the falls” as he says & by building a rock dam he has well nigh succeeded in abolishing the Liberty Cap Cascades though no corresponding advantage is visible in the main fall

“Where is the landlord?” the guests would enquire. “O Albert is up there fixing the falls” his goodwife would reply, evidently considering her husband’s importance greatly augmented by so stupendous a task

Tinkering the Yosemite water works would seem


about the last branch of industry that even (cool) Yankee ingenuity would be likely to undertake

But that men such as the Commissioners should go into the business of improving Yo [Yosemite] Nature (on such works of nature) trimming & turning the [grand] waterfalls properly to fit them for the summer tourist show is truly marvelous American genius enterprise with a vengeance. Perhaps we may yet hear of an appropriation to whitewash the (storm stained) face of El Capitan or to gild them (the domes) correct the curves of the domes.

Autumn Yo [Yosemite] Aug [August] 27th

The Deep crystal floods of the river booming waterfalls flowery meadows & all the midsummer glows of the great valley have already long passed their prime. The pine cones are nearly ripe sunflowers are fading & most of the young birds are full feathered & out of their nests a month ago.

Sauntering on the meadows in the thickening hazy air You see autumn tints beginning to kindle in the groves & along the leafy banks of the river & these with the stillness & mellowness of the atmosphere herald the coming of ripe Indian Summer

Date Occurred


Resource Identifier

MuirReel32 Notebook01 Img026.Jpeg

Contributing Institution

Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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