Louis deF. Bartlett
1323 St. Charles St.,
Alameda, Aug. 19th, 1892.
Mr. John Muir,
I wish to thank you for the great kindness you did Mr. Price and myself in describing the best way down the Tuolumne Canyon. Without your directions we never could have made the trip, whereas, with them, we were able to accomplish it successfully. Unfortunately, we were not able to proceed as you advised us to do - to take nothing with us but food - for Mr. Lambert, of the Soda Springs, whom we had counted on to take our baggage to the Hetch Hetchy, was absent, and we had to take our whole camping outfit (of some 25 lbs apiece) on our backs. This proved a great drawback to us in jumping from boulder to boulder, and in climbing, so that the scramble took much longer than it otherwise would - a little over four days.
But it was a thoroughly enjoyable scramble. The number and variety of cascades, and the awe-inspiring grandeur of the granite walls that seemed to hem us in on all sides, amply repaid us for the labor it cost to reach a position from which they could be appreciated. We found the impassable gorge, with steep, precipitous sides, of which you spoke, and climbed over one of the projecting rocks, reaching the summit late in the afternoon, when the descending sun was gilding the huge amphitheatre, that seemed entirely enclosed in the direction from which we had come. A towering rock, that resembles El Capitan very much, bounded the view on our left, while others, still higher, met it in front of us, and ended, on the right, in a pointed peak that seemed to stand sentinel before an enchanted valley. Over a thousand feet below us we could hear the roar of the river, buffeting its way between its rocky walls, and ending in a series of cascades a quarter of a mile below.
The lateness of the hour, and our distance from water, warned us to descend, and after a lively scramble we reached the river again, at a point where it unites with a small confluent from the N.E. There we passed the night, and early on the following morning started out again on our way.
The trip down the Tuolumne Canyon was only the end of our vacation: before that we had seen the Yosemite Valley, the Tuolumne Meadows, the Mt. Lyell region, and Mt. Ritter. I think that the country about Mt. Ritter is by far the finest that we saw. Bonner Peak, standing out as it does above the long isle-dotted lake that stretches for a couple of miles to the eastward, and the panorama visible from the summit of the mountains are pictures never to be forgotten - surpassing in wild magnificence everything we had previously seen.
I hope that this trip will be only the beginning of a long series of wild Sierra tramps, so thoroughly did I enjoy it. The pure mountain air and the delicious water are of themselves a sufficient incentive for another visit.
Again thanking you for your kindness, I remain,
Very sincerely yours,
Louis deF. Bartlett
1892 Aug 19
Original letter dimensions: 20 x 25 cm.
Bartlett, Louis de Fontenay, "Letter from Louis deF. Bartlett to John Muir, 1892 Aug 19." (1892). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 192.
Reel 07, Image 0633
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