Out of Doors--California and Oregon
J. A. Graves
Produced by David A. Schwan
Out of Doors
California and Oregon
By J. A. Graves
A Motor Trip in San Diego's Back Country
A Hunting Trip in the Long Ago
Professor Lo, Philosopher
A Great Day's Sport on Warner's Ranch
Boyhood Days in Early California
Last Quail Shoot of the Year 1911
An Auto Trip Through the Sierras
To the memory of my sons
Selwyn Emmett Graves and Jackson A. Graves, Jr.
Both of whom were nature lovers, this book is lovingly dedicated.
J. A. Graves Frontispiece
Cuyamaca Lake, Near Pine Hills
El Cajon Valley, San Diego County, from Schumann-Heink Point, Grossmont
In San Diego County
San Diego Mountain Scene
Fern Brake, Palomar Mountain
The Margarita Ranch House
San Diego and Coronado Islands from Grossmont
Grade on Palomar Mountain
Pelican Bay, Klamath Lake
On Klamath River
Klamath Lake and Link River
Wood River, Oregon
Scorpion Harbor, Santa Cruz Island
Smugglers' Cove, San Clemente Island
Arch Rock, Santa Cruz Island
Cueva Valdez, Santa Cruz Island
Lily Rock, Idyllwild
The Entrance and Mission Arches, Glenwood Mission Inn, Riverside
Magnolia Avenue and Government Indian School, Riverside
Hemet Valley from Foothills on the South
Ferris Valley Grain Field
Orange Groves Looking Southeast Across Hemet Valley, California
View from Serra Memorial Cross, Huntington Drive, Rubuidoux Mountain,
Victoria Avenue, Riverside
A Rocky Stream
Fern Brakes Four Feet in Height at Fine Hills
California White Oak
Another View of Spring Creek
Harvesting in San Joaquin Valley
Nevada Falls from Glacier
Nevada Falls, Close Range
Point Upper Yosemite
Cedar Creek at Fine Hills
Scene Near Fine Hills Lodge
A Motor Trip in San Diego's Back Country.
Come, you men and women automobilists, get off the paved streets of Los
Angeles and betake yourselves to the back country of San Diego county,
where you can enjoy automobile life to the utmost during the summer.
There drink in the pure air of the mountains, perfumed with the breath
of pines and cedars, the wild lilacs, the sweet-pea vines, and a
thousand aromatic shrubs and plants that render every hillside ever
green from base to summit. Lay aside the follies of social conditions,
and get back to nature, pure and unadorned, except with nature's charms
To get in touch with these conditions, take your machines as best you
can over any of the miserable roads, or rather apologies for roads,
until you get out into the highway recently constructed from Basset to
Pomona. Run into Pomona to Gary avenue, turn to the right and follow it
to the Chino ranch; follow the winding roads, circling to the Chino
hills, to Rincon, then on, over fairly good roads, to Corona. Pass
through that city, then down the beautiful Temescal Canyon to Elsinore.
Move on through Murrietta to Temecula.
Beyond Temecula three routes are open to you. By one of them you keep to
the left, over winding roads full of interest and beauty, through a
great oak grove at the eastern base of Mt. Palomar. Still proceeding
through a forest of scattering oaks, you presently reach Warner's ranch
through a gate. Be sure and close all gates opened by you. Only vandals
leave gates open when they should be closed.
Warner's ranch is a vast meadow, mostly level, but sloping from
northeast to southwest, with rolling hills and sunken valleys around its
eastern edge. A chain of mountains, steep and timber laden, almost
encircles the ranch. For a boundary mark on the northeastern side of the
ranch, are steep, rocky and forbidding looking mountains. Beyond them,
the desert. The ranch comprises some 57,000 acres, nearly all valley
land. It is well watered, filled with lakes, springs, meadows and
running streams, all draining to its lowest point, and forming the head
waters of the San Luis Rey River.
You follow the road by which you enter the ranch, to the left, and in a
few miles' travel you bring up at Warner's Hot Springs, a resort famed
for many years for the curative properties of its waters. The springs
are now in charge of Mr. and Mrs. Stanford, and are kept in an admirable
manner, considering all of the difficulties they labor under. The run
from Los Angeles to the springs is about 140 miles, and can be made
easily in a day. Once there, the choice of many interesting trips is
open to you.
After leaving Temecula, another road much frequented by the autoists is
the right hand road by the Red Mountain grade to Fallbrook, either to
Del Mar, by way of Oceanside, or into the Escondido Valley by way of
Bonsal, Vista and San Marcos. The third route, the center one between
those I have described, leads to Pala. With a party of five in a
six-cylinder Franklin car, I went over the latter route on April 20th,
1911. Every inch of the road was full of interest. We passed through
Pala, with its ancient mission of that name, and its horde of Indian
inhabitants. The children of the Indian school were having a recess, and
they carried on just about in the same manner that so many "pale-faced"
children would. Leaving Pala, we followed the main road along the left
bank of the San Luis Rey River--where the San Diego Highway Commission
is now doing work, which will, when finished, bring one to Warner's
ranch by an easy grade--until we had gotten a few miles into the Pauma
rancho. We crossed the Pauma Creek, and some distance beyond it we left
the river to our right, turned sharply to the left, and ran up to the
base of Smith's, or Palomar Mountain. Then came the grade up the
If you are not stout-hearted, and haven't a powerful machine, avoid this
beautiful drive. If you are not driving an air-cooled car, carry extra
water with you. You will need it before you reach the top. The road is a
narrow zigzag, making an ascent of 4000 feet in a distance of from ten
to twelve miles of switch-backing around the face of a steep rock-ribbed
mountain. To add to its difficulties, the turns are so short that a long
car is compelled to back up to negotiate them. About an hour and a
quarter is required to make the trip up the mountain. We did all of it
on low gear. When the top is finally reached, the view of the
surrounding country is simply beyond description.
The mountain oaks of great size and broad of bough, were not yet fully
in leaf. Pines and cedars, and to my astonishment, many large sycamores,
were mingled with the oaks. A gladsome crop of luscious grasses covered
the earth. Shrubs and plants were bursting into bloom. As we moved on we
saw several wild pigeons in graceful flight among the trees. After
traveling the backbone of the mountain for some distance we came to a
dimly marked trail, leading to the left. The "Major Domo" of our party
said that this road led to Doane's Valley, and that we must go down it.
It was a straight up and down road, with exceedingly abrupt pitches, in
places damp and slippery, and covered with fallen leaves. At the bottom
of the descent, which it would have been impossible to retrace, we came
to a small stream. Directly in the only place where we could have
crossed it a log stuck up, which rendered passage impossible. After a
deal of prodding and hauling, we dislodged it and safely made the ford.
Doane's Valley is one of those beauty spots which abound in the
mountains of California. Its floor is a beautiful meadow, in which are
innumerable springs. Surrounding this meadow is heavy timber, oaks,
pines and giant cedars. Pauma Creek flows out of this meadow through a
narrow gorge, which nature evidently intended should some day be closed
with a dam to make of the valley a reservoir to conserve the winter
waters. We followed a partially destroyed road through the meadow to its
upper end. Then as high and dry land was within sight we attempted to
cross a small, damp, but uncertain looking waterway.
The front wheels passed safely, but when the rear wheels struck it they
went into the mud until springs and axles rested on the ground. Two full
hours we labored before we left that mud hole. We gathered up timbers
and old bridge material, then jacked up one wheel a little way, and got
something under it to hold it there. The other side was treated the same
way. By repeating the operation many times we got the wheels high enough
to run some timbers crosswise beneath them. We put other timbers in
front and pulled out.
We soon reached Bailey's Hotel, a summer resort of considerable
popularity. We continued up the grade until we came onto the main road
left by us when we descended into Doane's Valley. We got up many more
pigeons, graceful birds, which the Legislature of our State should
protect before they are exterminated. We moved on through heavily
timber-covered hills, up and down grade, and finally came out on the
south side of the mountain overlooking the canyon, some 5000 feet deep,
at the bottom of which ran the San Luis Rey River. What would have been
a most beautiful scene was marred by a fog which had drifted up the
canyon. But the cloud effect was marvelous. We were above the clouds. A
more perfect sky no human being ever saw. The clouds, or fog banks, were
so heavy that it looked as if we could have walked off into them. I
never saw similar cloud effects anywhere else except from Mt. Lowe, near
Los Angeles, and Mt. Tamalpais, in Marin County.
We now began our descent to Warner's Ranch. It was gradual enough for
some distance, and the road and trees were as charming as any human
being could desire. Finally we came out onto a point overlooking the
ranch. The view was simply entrancing. Imagine a vast amphitheater of
57,000 acres, surrounded by hills, dotted here and there with lakes,
with streams of water like threads of burnished silver glittering in the
evening light, softened by the clouds hanging over the San Luis Rey
River. There were no clouds on the ranch; they stopped abruptly at the
southwest corner. This vast meadow was an emerald green, studded with
brilliant colored flowers. Vast herds of cattle were peacefully
completing their evening meal. The road down to the ranch follows a
ridge, which is so steep that no machine has ever been able to ascend
it. I held my breath and trusted to the good old car that has done so
much for my comfort, safety and amusement. We were all glad when the
bottom was reached. We forded the river and whirled away to Warner's Hot
Springs, over good meadow roads, arriving there before 7 o'clock p. m.
Some day these springs are going to be appreciated. Now only hardy
travelers, as a rule, go there. Their medicinal qualities will in time
be realized, and the people of Southern California will find that they
have a Carlsbad within a short distance of Los Angeles, in San Diego
County. We slept the sleep of the tired, weary tourist that night.
The following day we passed in bathing in the hot mineral waters,
sightseeing and driving around the valley.
Saturday morning at 7:30 o'clock we bade adieu to Mr. and Mrs. Stanford
and left the ranch by way of the Rancho Santa Isabel. The rain god must
have been particularly partial to this beautiful ranch this season.
Nowhere on our trip did we see such a splendid growth of grass and
flowers, such happy looking livestock, such an air of plenty and
prosperity as we did here. Leaving the ranch at the Santa Isabel store,
we took the Julian road, which place we reached after a few hours'
riding over winding roads good to travel on, and through scenery which
was a constant source of enjoyment. Julian is one of the early
settlements of San Diego County. Mining has been carried on there with
varying successes and disappointments these many years. Now apple
raising is its great industry. The hillsides are given over to apple
The trees are now laden with blossoms. As we topped a hill or crossed a
divide before beginning an ascent or descent, the view backward of the
apple orchards, peeping up over slight elevations in the clearings, was
extremely beautiful. Leaving Julian, we whirled along over splendid
roads through a rolling country, given over to fruit farming, stock
raising and pasturage. We next reached Cuyamaca and visited the dam of
that name, which impounds the winter rains for the San Diego Flume
Company. The country around the lake showed a deficiency of rainfall.
The lake was far from full. We took our lunch at the clubhouse near the
dam. After resting in the shade of the friendly oaks we then pursued our
journey to Descanso. We passed through Alpine and finally entered the El
Cajon Valley, famed far and wide for its muscatel grapes, which seem
especially adapted to its dark red soil. The vines were in early leaf,
and not as pleasing to the eye as they will be when in full bloom. Then
came Bostonia, a comparatively new settlement, Rosamond, La Mesa, and
finally we whirled off on a splendid road, through an unsettled country
overgrown with sage and shrubs, to Del Mar.
The sky was overcast all the afternoon. A stiff ocean breeze blew
inland, cool and refreshing. The entire day had been spent amid scenes
of rare beauty. The wild flowers are not yet out in profusion, but
enough were there to give the traveler an idea of what can be expected in
floral offerings later in the season. It was early Spring wherever the
elevation was 3500 feet or better. The oaks were not yet in leaf, the
sycamores just out in their new spring dresses, the wild pea blossoms
just beginning to open and cast their fragrance to the breezes.
Yellow buttercups adorned the warmer spots in each sunny valley. Way
below us in the open country great fields of poppies greeted the
gladdened eye. The freshness of spring was in the air. Each breath we
inhaled was full of new life. The odor of the pines mingled its
fragrance with that of the apple blossoms.
Del Mar is the Del Monte of Southern California. We arrived at Stratford
Inn, at that place, which is as well furnished and as well kept as any
hotel on the Coast. A small garden, an adjunct of the hotel, shows what
the soil and climate of Del Mar is capable of producing. Tomato vines
are never frosted. The vegetables from the garden have a fresher,
crisper taste than those grown in a drier atmosphere. How good and
comfortable the bed felt to us that night! Sleep came, leaving the body
inert and lifeless in one position for hours at a time. The open air,
the sunshine, the long ride, the ever changing scenery, brought one
joyous slumber, such as a healthy, happy, tired child enjoys.
The next morning, after an ample, well-cooked and well-served breakfast,
we took the road on the last leg of our journey. Over miles and miles of
new-made roads we sped. Soon the long detour up the San Luis Rey Valley
will be a thing of the past. The new county highway will pursue a much
more direct course. We passed through miles of land being prepared for
bean culture. Miles of hay and grain, miles of pasturage, in which sleek
cattle grazed peacefully, or, having fed their fill, lay upon the rich
grasses and enjoyed life. Near the coast the growth of grain and grass
far surpasses that of the interior.
Santa Marguerita Rancho, with its boundless expanse of grass-covered
pasturage lands, its thousands of head of cattle and horses, its
thousands of acres of bean lands, ready for seed, is worth going miles
At noon we reached San Juan Capistrano. We drove into the grounds of the
hospitable Judge Egan. At a table, beneath the grateful shade of giant
trees, amid the perfume of flowers, the sweet songs of happy birds, we
ate our lunch. After a short rest we took up the run again. We passed El
Toro and finally came onto the great San Joaquin ranch, every acre of
which is now highly cultivated.
Then came the Santa Ana region, thickly settled, rich in soil and
products. We passed through beautiful and enterprising Santa Ana,
through miles upon miles of walnut, orange and other fruit groves,
through a solid settlement extending far on each side of the road, to
Anaheim. And still on through more walnut and orange groves, more
Through the orange and lemon and walnut groves of Fullerton, extending
to and forming a large part of Whittier, I could not help exclaiming to
myself, "What an empire this is! Where is the country that yields the
annual returns per acre that this land does?" At Whittier we got into
one of the newly constructed county highways, and at 3:30 p. m. we were
home again, after four days in the open, four days of pure and
A Hunting Trip in the Long Ago
One of the disadvantages of old age, even advancing years, is the
pleasure we lose in anticipating future events. Enthusiastic youth
derives more pleasure in planning a journey, an outing or a social
gathering than can possibly be realized from any human experience. With
what pleasure the young set out, getting ready for a hunting trip, or an
excursion to some remote locality never visited by them!
From the first day I arrived in Los Angeles, I had heard of the Fort
Tejon and the Rancho La Liebre country as a hunting paradise, extolled
by all people I met, who were given to spending an occasional week or
two in the mountains in search of game. In consequence of what I had
heard of this region, I made up my mind to go there the first time I got
Among the first acquaintances I made here was a dear old man named A. C.
Chauvin, formerly of St. Louis, Mo., and of French descent. He had spent
many years in the Northwest, hunting and trapping. He was an excellent
shot with both rifle and shotgun. Notwithstanding the fact that he was
slightly afflicted with a nervous disorder akin to palsy, which kept his
left arm and hand, when not in use, constantly shaking, the moment he
drew up his gun, his nerves were steady, and his aim perfect. He
despised the modern breech-loading rifle, and insisted on shooting an
old-fashioned, muzzle-loading, single-barrel rifle, made by a fellow
townsman, Henry Slaughterbach. It was an exceedingly accurate and
powerful shooting gun. Chauvin was a thorough hunter, well versed in
woodcraft, up in camp equipage and the requirements of men on a two or
three weeks' hunting trip.
Off in the Dust.
During the summer of 1876 I had been hard at work. The weather had been
hot and trying. In the latter part of September, Mr. Chauvin proposed
that I go with him on a deer hunt to the Liebre Ranch. I was practicing
law, and after consulting my partners, I eagerly consented to accompany
him. He made all the preparations. On the 30th of September he started a
two-horse wagon, loaded with most of our outfit, on ahead, in charge of
a roustabout. On October 2nd, we followed in a light one-horse wagon,
taking with us our blankets, a few provisions and a shotgun. We had a
hard time pulling over the grade beyond San Fernando, but finally made
it. We went on past Newhall, and camped the first night on the bank of
the Santa Clara River.
Without the slightest trouble we killed, within a very few minutes,
enough quail for supper and breakfast. After we had finished our evening
meal, quite a shower came up very suddenly. Just enough rain fell to
make things sticky and disagreeable. The clouds vanished and left as
beautiful a starlit sky as any human being ever enjoyed. Our wagon had a
piece of canvas over it, which shed the rain, and left the ground
beneath the wagon dry. Upon this spot we spread our blankets and went to
sleep. Next morning the sun got up, hot, red and ugly looking. We
breakfasted, hitched up and started up San Francisquito Canyon. Chauvin
remarked we were in for a hot day, and he proved a good prophet. There
wasn't a breath of wind stirring as the day progressed. The heat fairly
sizzled. A goodly part of the road was well shaded. We were loath to
leave the shady spots when we came to the open places. To lighten our
load we walked most of the way. We stopped for lunch, fed and rested our
weary animal, and just at dark after a weary afternoon's work we reached
Elizabeth Lake, where we overtook the other wagon. We had been two full
days on the road. I have made the same trip in an automobile two summers
in succession, in less than four hours.
In Antelope Country.
On leaving Elizabeth Lake next morning we transferred everything of any
weight from our wagon to the larger one, which made the going much
easier for our animal. We descended the hill beyond the lake, went up
the valley a few miles, and then cut straight across to a point near
where Fairmont is now situated. Chauvin said he wanted to get an
antelope before going after the deer. We crossed the valley into some
low, rolling hills and camped on a small stream called Rock Creek.
Chauvin said this was a great place for antelope. The horses were
picketed out on a grassy cienega, which offered them pretty good feed.
We got our supper, made camp and went to bed.
During the night a wind began to blow from the northwest, and in a few
hours it had become a hurricane. Small stones were carried by it like
grains of sand. They would pelt us on the head as we lay in our
blankets. We could hear the stones clicking against the spokes of the
wagon wheels. Great clouds, of dust would obscure the sky. By morning
the velocity of the wind was terrific. Our horses, driven frantic, had
broken loose and disappeared. We could not make a fire, nor if we had
had one could we have cooked anything, for the dirt that filled the air.
For breakfast we ate such things as we had prepared. The roustabout
started off trailing the horses. Chauvin and I sat around under a bank,
blue and disconsolate.
About 11 o'clock we saw a great band of antelope going to water. They
were coming up against the wind, straight to us. When fully half a mile
away they scented us and started off in a circle to strike the creek
above us. We put off after them, following up the creek bed. They beat
us to it, watered and started back to their feeding ground, passing us
in easy range. We shot at them, but without effect. The wind blew so
hard that accurate shooting was an impossibility. We went back to camp.
Not far from it we found quite a hole under the bank, which the winter
waters had burrowed out. It afforded shelter enough from the wind, which
was still blowing, to allow us to build a fire of dry sage brush. We
then prepared a good, warm meal, which we at with great relish. By
1 o'clock in the afternoon the wind began to abate, and it died away
almost as suddenly as it came up. It left the atmosphere dry and full of
We heard nothing from the man who had gone after the horses. About 3
o'clock Chauvin said he was going to get an antelope or know why. He
argued that they would be coming to water soon. He told me to remain
near the camp. He went up the stream, intending to get above the point
at which the animals usually watered. He had been gone about an hour,
when I saw the dust rise toward the east--such a dust as a drove of
sheep in motion makes. Pretty soon the advance guard of the largest band
of antelope I ever saw, or ever hope to see again, appeared in sight. As
they scented our camp, what a sight they made! There they stood, out of
range, looking to the point where their keen noses notified them that
danger lurked. Then they would wheel and run, stop and look again. The
white spots on their rumps shone in the sunlight like burnished silver.
They would stop, look awhile and again wheel and run. Suspicious and
anxious they stood, heads up and nostrils dilated, sides heaving. They
made a beautiful picture of excited and alarmed curiosity. Several times
they advanced, and then fell back. Finally they whirled away and headed
up stream. In a few minutes I heard the report of Chauvin's rifle,
followed a little later by another shot. Then the whole band appeared in
wild disorder, running as only frightened antelopes can run, in the
direction from which they came. Shortly afterwards I saw Chauvin on a
little knoll. I waved my arms. He saw me, took off his hat and beckoned
for me to join him. Off I put, as fast as my legs could carry me. When I
got to him, I found he had killed two antelope bucks. They lay within
400 yards of each other. He had already cut their throats. Maybe you
think we were not happy! We drew the animals. Chauvin was an old man,
compactly built, but very strong. He helped me shoulder the smaller of
the bucks, and then he, with the greatest ease, picked up the other one,
and we trudged to camp. We hung our game up on a couple of stunted
stumps and skinned them. Then we prepared supper. We cooked potatoes and
rice, made coffee, and cornbread, and fried the antelope livers with
bacon. Just as our meal was ready, our roustabout came into camp, riding
one of the horses barebacked, with only a halter and leading the other
two. He had had his hat blown away and was bareheaded. He was nearly
frozen, having started off in the morning without his coat.
He trailed the horses, which were traveling before the wind, for twelve
miles. Fortunately at a point on the south side of the valley, they
entered a ravine, in which there was plenty of bunch grass. Here,
sheltered from the wind, they fed up the ravine a mile or so, where he
found them lying down in a sheltered spot near a water hole. He had had
nothing to eat since leaving us. Coming back he faced the wind until it
died away. Riding a horse bareback, with a halter for a bridle, and
leading two other horses, you can well imagine was no picnic. We tied
the animals to some willow stumps, so there was no danger of their
getting loose, and gave them a feed of barley. By this time the
roustabout was thawed out by our fire, and we had supper.
As we had all the antelope we wanted, we made our plans for the next
day. Chauvin knew the country thoroughly. He proposed that the next
morning we go to where the horses had been found, and proceed up that
canyon onto the Liebre ranch to a camping spot he knew of. He was
certain we would find deer there. At peace with the world, we went to
bed that night well fed and contented. Next morning we had antelope
steak, right out of the loin, for breakfast. I never tasted better meat
but once, and that was a moose steak served us one morning at the Hotel
Frontenac in Quebec a few years ago.
We broke camp early. About noon time we had crossed the valley and
gained our new camp, which was an ideal one. There was a spring of hot
and a spring of cold iron and sulphur water within ten feet of each
other, each near a stream of cold, clear mountain water. The first thing
we did was to take a bath in the hot sulphur water. There was quite a
hole in which it boiled up. It was almost too hot for comfort, but how
cleansing it was! It took all of the sand out of our hair and beard and
eyes, and left the skin as soft as satin. After our hot bath, we cooled
off in the stream and got into our clothes. Refreshed and encouraged, we
were extremely happy.
Deer tracks were very plentiful. We fixed up our camp, cut up our
antelope, put a lot of it out to dry or "jerk," as the common expression
is, and then about an hour before sunset, Chauvin and I set out to look
the country over. There was plenty of timber, pinons and other pines,
and oaks, scrub and large, all full of acorns, upon which the deer were
feeding. Returning from camp, not 100 yards from it, we jumped two
bucks. We killed both of them, each getting one. Just about then, we
began to think things were coming our way. We drew the deer, and in
hanging them upon a small oak tree, I pressed a yellow-jacket with the
middle finger of my right hand. Before I got the stinger out, my upper
lip swelled up to enormous proportions, and both my eyes were swollen
shut. Chauvin looked at me with open-eyed and open-mouthed astonishment.
In a characteristic tone, native to him, he remarked, "If I hadn't seen
it, I couldn't believe it," He had to lead me to camp.
I have been very susceptible to bee stings all my life. Several years
before this a bumble bee had stung me on my upper lip, and my whole face
was swollen out of shape for many days. I suppose that fact had
something to do with the peculiar action of this sting. At any rate, I
was in great misery, and lay in camp with my eyes swollen shut for three
days before the swelling began to abate. I drank great quantities of the
sulphur water, and bathed my face in it continuously.
The morning after the yellow-jacket incident, Chauvin and the
roustabout, the latter taking my gun, left me in bed and went out after
deer. They left without breakfast, about daylight. Shortly afterwards,
two of the horses broke loose and ran through camp terror stricken. The
third horse strained at his stake rope, but did not break it. He snorted
and stamped at a great rate. The loose horses did not leave camp, but
kept up a constant running and snorting for some time. When Chauvin came
back, he found that a bear had come down from the mountains near by,
torn down and partially devoured one of the deer we had killed the night
before, not one hundred yards from where I lay in bed.
Don Elogio de Celis, a well known citizen of Los Angeles, was camped in
a canyon about a mile west of us. That afternoon he killed a grizzly
bear of pretty good proportions, and we all supposed that he was the
marauder who had visited our camp that morning.
While I was laid up Chauvin got two more bucks, several tree squirrels
and some mountain quail. We made plenty of jerky, while living off the
fat of the land.
About four or five days after I was stung, the swelling went down
sufficiently for me to see again, but I had lost my appetite for further
hunting, especially as Chauvin had had several long tramps without any
luck. We stayed in camp a couple of days longer, then, as signs of a
rainstorm were prevalent, we packed up and left camp very early one
morning, and the first day got back to Newhall. The next morning, when
we reached San Fernando, as I was not feeling any too well, I took the
train for Los Angeles, so as to avoid the hot, dusty ride in by wagon.
For many months Chauvin repeated to our friends the extraordinary
circumstances of my lip and eyes swelling up from a yellow jacket's
sting on the finger. He had hunted and trapped all his life, but could
not get over that one incident.
What we had expected to be a pleasant outing proved to be rather a hard
experience, but we were too old at the game not to have enjoyed it, and
do you realize that after we got rested up, we felt better for our
experience? Life in the open, the change of air, the excitement of
hunting, all united in sweeping the cobwebs from our brains and left us
better prepared for the battle of life than we were before we started.
Professor "Lo," Philosopher
My Interview with an Educated Indian in the Wilds of Oregon:
In the summer of 1902 I was camping, in company with the late Judge
Sterry of Los Angeles, on Spring Creek in the Klamath Indian Reservation
in Southeast Oregon. Spring Creek rises out, of lava rocks and flows in
a southeasterly direction, carrying over 200,000 inches of the clearest,
coldest water I ever saw. In fact, its waters are so clear that the best
anglers can only catch trout, with which the stream abounds, in riffles,
that is where the stream runs over rocks of such size as to keep the
surface in constant commotion, thus obscuring the vision of the fish.
Two miles, or thereabouts, from its source, Spring Creek empties into
the Williamson River. The Williamson rises miles away in a tule swamp,
and its waters are as black as black coffee. Where the two streams come
together, the dark waters of the Williamson stay on the left hand side
of the stream, going down, and the clear waters of Spring Creek on the
right hand side, for half a mile or more. Here some rapids, formed by a
swift declivity of the stream, over sunken boulders, cause a mixup of
the light and dark waters, and from there on they flow intermingled and
Nine miles down stream, the Sprague River comes in from the left. It is
as large as the Williamson, and its waters are the color of milk, or
nearly so. The stream flows for miles over chalk beds and through chalk
cliffs, which gives its waters their weird coloring. The union of the
waters of the Williamson and the Sprague Rivers results in the dirty,
gray coloring of the waters of Klamath Lake, into which they empty, and
of the Klamath River, which discharges the lake into the Pacific Ocean.
The place where the Williamson is joined by the Sprague is known as the
"Killican." The stream here flows over a lava bottom and is quite wide,
in places very deep and in places quite shallow. There seemed to be
quite an area of this shallow water. The shallow places suddenly dropped
off into pools of great depth, and it was something of a stunt to wander
around on the shallow bed rock and cast off into the pools below. I
tried it and found the lava as smooth and slippery as polished glass.
After sitting down a couple of times in water two feet deep, I concluded
to stay on shore and cast out into the pool. Following this exhilarating
exercise with indifferent success, I noticed approaching a little, old
Indian. He was bareheaded and barefooted. His shirt was open, exposing
his throat and breast. His eyes were deep set, his hair and beard a
grizzly gray. He had a willow fishing pole in one hand and a short bush
with green leaves on it, with which he was whacking grasshoppers, in the
other. He circled around on the bank near me, now and again catching a
hopper. I noticed that he ate about two out of every five that he
caught. The others he kept for bait.
Finally he approached the stream. He paid no attention whatever to me.
He selected a spot almost under me, squatted down upon a flat rock, put
two grasshoppers on his hook, threw it into the stream, and in a very
short time drew out a good six-pound trout. Filled with admiration for
the feat, while he was tying a string through the fish's gills I said to
him, "Muy mahe," which another Indian had told me meant "big trout."
Without looking up or turning his head, he said to me in perfect
English, "What sort of lingo are you giving me, young man? The true
pronunciation of those words is," and then he repeated "Muy mahe," with
just a little twist to his words that I had not given them. Resuming the
conversation he remarked, "Why not speak English? When both parties
understand it, it is much more comfortable. I intended to catch but one
fish, but as you have admired this one, allow me to present it to you
with my compliments." He had turned around now, and held out the
struggling trout, a pleasant smile upon his worn features.
Embarrassed beyond measure, I apologized for attempting to talk to him
in his own language, and accepted the trout. He baited his hook, cast it
into the stream, and in a short time landed a still larger trout.
Without removing it from the hook, he came up the bank to where I was
seated. He laid his fish and rod on the grass, wiped his forehead with
his hand and sat down.
"I never catch more fish, or kill more game than I need for my present
wants," he remarked. "That trout will be ample for my wife and myself
for supper and breakfast, and in fact for all day tomorrow. When he is
gone, I will catch another one."
Then, turning to me, he asked, "From what section of civilization do you
hail?" I told him I was from Los Angeles.
"Ah, Los Angeles," he murmured. "The Queen City of the West and Angel
City of the South. I have read much of your beautiful city, and I have
often thought I would like to visit it and confirm with my own eyes all
I read about it. What a paradise that country must have been for the
Indian before you white men came! I can hardly imagine a land of
perpetual sunshine, a land where the flowers bloom constantly, where
snows never fall. Yes, I would like to go there, but I imagine I never
shall." Then, with an inquiring glance, "What may be your calling?" he
I told him I was an attorney-at-law.
"A noble profession," he remarked. "Next to medicine I regard it as the
noblest profession known to our limited capabilities. Do you ever
think," he asked me, "that the medical profession is devoted to
relieving physical ills? To warding off death? The law, on the other
hand, takes care of your property rights. It is supposed to be the
guardian of the weak. How often, however, do we see its mission
perverted, and how often it becomes an oppressor of the unfortunate. How
many times do we see it aiding in the accumulation of those large
fortunes with which our modern civilization is fast becoming burdened
While I had never contracted the filthy habit of smoking, I had in my
pocket several good cigars. I extended the case to my newfound friend.
He took one, thanked me, bit off the end, lit it and puffed away with
evident enjoyment. I took the liberty of asking him his business. "I am
a professor of belles lettres and philosophy in the Indian College on
the Klamath reservation. I am here on my vacation. I was born and reared
to early manhood in these mountains. They still have a charm for me.
While I love my books and my labors, there is a freedom in my life here
which appeals to me. Here I go back to natural life, and study again the
book of nature. Each day I take a lesson from the wild animals of the
forest, from the surging streams and twittering birds. Here I can better
realize how small is man in the general plan of creation."
He hesitated, and I took advantage of his silence and asked him about
the religion of his race. Whether the modern red man adhered to the
teachings of his tribe, or leaned toward the white man's God. Replying,
he delivered to me a discourse of considerable length, which, as near as
I can recollect it now, ran as follows:
A Red Agnostic.
"My people have been too busy these many years filling their stomachs to
pay much attention to saving their souls. We teach a religion that
inculcates good behavior, and promises as a reward for a well-spent life
an eternity of bliss in the happy hunting ground. Our future is depicted
by our priests as a materialistic future, where we follow the chase,
defeat our enemies and enjoy to our full those things which render us
happy in this world. Personally, I have long since discarded the
teachings of my people, and I am in a state of doubt which seriously
perplexes me. I have read much and widely on this subject. I find that
you white men have not one religion, but many. You are divided into
sects, torn by factions. From the teachings of history I would think
that the multitude of denominations you support was your greatest
safeguard. You know from times past, when a religion becomes too
powerful it becomes also intolerant, and persecutions follow. I am loath
to accept the Christian theory of the origin of man or his probable
destiny. Science teaches us that the human being has existed for
millions of years longer than the churches admit we have existed. The
idolatry practiced by the Catholic church repulses me, and yet its
stability has strongly appealed to me. You will remember what Macaulay,
in reviewing Ranke's History of the Popes, said of this church. After
reviewing its history, its defeats and its triumphs, he added: 'And she
may still exist in undiminished vigor when some traveler from New
Zealand shall in the midst of a vast solitude take his stand on a broken
arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul.' And yet, neither
the age of the church nor its stability is conclusive to my mind of its
divine origin. I am rather convinced from these facts that it has been
governed by a skillful set of men, who were able politicians and
financiers, as well as religious enthusiasts. Certainly no protestant
church can lay claim to divine origin. We know too well that the
Episcopal church was founded by an English King, because the Pope of
Rome refused him a divorce. Luther quarreled with his church and broke
away from its restraints. Wesley founded the Methodist church, Calvin
the Presbyterian church. The more I study the religious history of the
world, the more I am convinced that religion is founded on fear. The
immortal bard, from whom nothing seems to have been hidden, lays down
the foundation of all religion in those words from 'Hamlet,' where he
makes the melancholy Dane exclaim:
"To die:--to sleep,--To sleep! perchance to dream:--ay, there's the
rub; For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, When we have,
shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause."
"Do you realize that Ingersoll, by his teachings and his denunciations
of what he termed the 'absurdities of orthodox religious beliefs,' has
done more toward shaking faith in many church doctrines than any man of
this age'? And, after all, is not his doctrine a sane one? He says, in
effect: 'I can not believe these things. My reason revolts at them. They
are repugnant to my intellect. I can not believe that a just God will
punish one of His creatures for an honest opinion.' He denies that there
is such a God as the churches hold out to us. He denies that the world
was created in six days; that man was created in the manner described in
the Bible, and that woman was created from man's rib. He denies that
miracles were ever performed, or that there was any evidence, reliable
or authoritative, that they were ever performed. And yet he does not
deny the existence of a future life. His doctrine on this point is, 'I
know only the history of the past and the happenings of the present. I
do not know, nor does any man know, anything of the future. Let us hope
there is a life beyond the grave.'
"The old poet, Omar, argues against a future life. You will recall these
"'Strange, is it not, that of the multitudes who
Before us pass'd the door of Darkness through,
Not one returns to tell us of the Road,
Which to discover we must travel, too.'"
"The churches tell us we must have faith to be saved, but the great
minds of the present age are not satisfied, any more than many of the
great minds of the past were satisfied, to admit as a matter of faith
the whole foundation of the Christian religion."
"People want to be shown. They are not willing to rely upon poorly
authenticated stories of what occurred several thousand years ago. The
question presents itself to us: Is the world better, for its present
beliefs than it formerly was, when religion was a matter of statute
People may not be as religious as they once were, but they are certainly
more humane. Women are no longer slaves, chattels, with unfeeling
husbands. Slavery itself no longer exists in any civilized nation.
Polygamy is not practiced to the extent that it was in Biblical days.
The world progressed as fear ceased to rule the human mind."
"But, pardon me," he added with infinite grace and a charming wave of.
his hand, "you see your question has aroused in me the failing of the
pedagogue. I have said more than I had intended."
"How do your people," I asked, "look upon the material progress of the
age?" "They are astounded," he answered. "Since the Modoc War many of my
people have prospered. You have seen their farms, their houses, and
noted their occupations. They are rich in lands and stock, and even in
money. They have many comforts and even many luxuries in their homes.
Some of them have traveled extensively, and they come back filled with
awe and admiration with what the white man has done and is doing. I read
the modern press, and many scientific works, and I am satisfied that
man will fly in a few years more. Already the automobile is displacing
the domestic animals. The telephone was a great triumph of science, next
in importance to steam locomotion. But, are your people as happy with
your modern methods, your crowded cities, your strenuous existence, as
your forefathers were, who led the simple life? And where is this mad
scramble, not for wealth alone, not for power but for mere existence,
nothing more, that the human race is engaged in, going to end? Can you
tell me? Take America, one of the newest civilized lands of the earth,
how long will it be before her coal measures are exhausted? Her iron
ores exhausted? Her forests will soon be a thing of the past. Already
you hear complaints that her fertile lands are not yielding as they once
did, and your population is constantly increasing. With coal gone, with
iron gone, with the land poverty stricken to a point where profitable
production of cereals can no longer be had, what is to become of your
I assured him I could not answer these questions. That I had asked
myself the same things a thousand times, and no answer came to me. I
handed the professor another cigar. He lit it. Just then an old Indian
woman clad in a calico wrapper, but bareheaded and barefooted, came down
the road towards us. She stopped some fifty feet away, and in a shy, low
voice, but in good English, she called him. "Papa, did you catch me a
fish for dinner?" The professor turned his head, and seeing her, said to
me, "Ah, here is my guardian angel, my wife," and then to her, holding
up his trout, he said, "Yes, I have it. I am coming now."
He arose, held out a dirty hand for me to shake, and in parting, said,
"My dear sir, you can not imagine how much I have enjoyed our chance
meeting, resulting from your poor pronunciation of two Indian words.
When you return to your civilized surroundings, ask yourself, 'Are any
of this mad throng as happy as the Indian I met at the Killican'."
He joined his wife, and the aged pair passed into a brush hut beneath
some stately pines. I, too, turned toward the wagon which was to carry
me back to camp, meditating long and deeply on the remarks of this
strolling compound of savagery and education. Environment is largely
responsible for man's condition. Here was a man who had acquired
considerable knowledge of the world and books, he was still a savage in
his manner of life and in his habits.
His manner of talking was forceful and natural, and his command of
language remarkable. The ease and abandon with which he wielded the
arguments of those who rail against the existence of a Divine Being
would lead one, listening to him, to imagine himself in the lecture-room
of some modern university.
A Great Day's Sport on Warner's Ranch.
Think of three days in the open! Three glorious days in the sunshine!
"Far from the madding crowd!" Far from the rush and stir and whirl and
hum of business! Far from the McNamara horror, and its sickening
aftermath of jury bribing!
A short time ago, whirling over good roads and bad roads, through orange
groves with their loads of fruit, rapidly assuming golden hues; through
miles and miles of vineyards, now 'reft of all leaves, vineyards in
which the pruners were already busily at work; past acres and acres of
ground being prepared for grain; through wooded canyons and
pine-screened vales; ascending from almost sea level to upwards of 3000
feet--a party of us went to Warner's Ranch after the famous canvasback
We left my home at 7:30 o'clock a. m., some of us in my machine, and two
of the party in a runabout. Filled with the ambition of youth, the
driver of the latter car reached Mr. William Newport's place in the
Perris Valley, a run of seventy-six miles, in two hours and twenty
minutes. We jogged along, reaching Newport's in three hours, and found
the exultant, speed-crazed fiend waiting for us. He was loud in the
praise of his speedy run. Of all of this take note a little later in the
We lunched with Mr. Newport, and then took him with us. What a day it
was! A radiant, dry, winter day! The whole earth was flooded with
sunshine. Not a cloud was in the sky. The air was full of snap and
electric energy. The atmosphere absolutely clear. We wound in and out of
the canyons, over dry and running streams, always ascending, climbing
the eastern shoulder of Mt. Palomar, not to the top, but to a pass by
which the ranch is reached.
Before 4 o'clock we were on Warner's Ranch. This property could well be
described as the "Pamir" of Southern California. True, its elevation is
but slight compared with the 16,000 feet of that great Asiatic country,
bearing the name of "Pamir," where roams in all his freedom the true
"Ovis Poli" or "Big Horn."
The ranch comprises about 57,000 acres of land, and is the largest body
of comparatively level land at even an elevation of 3500 feet in
Southern California. It is an immense circular valley, rock ribbed and
mountain bound. Out of it, through a narrow gorge to the southwest,
flows the San Luis Rey River. The ranch is well watered. Much of it
during the winter season is semi-bog or swamp land, and at all times
affords wonderful grazing for stock. There are circling hills and level
mesas and broad valleys here and there. Nestled between the hills are a
number of mountain lakes, fed by innumerable springs around their edges.
These lakes furnish food for the canvasback duck in the various grasses
and other growths, of which they are extremely fond.
Contrary to good judgment, we drove to one of these lakes, and had half
an hour's shooting that evening. We got about twenty birds. We proceeded
to the hotel, and after drawing our birds, hung them up where they would
freeze that night and not be in the sun while we were shooting next day.
A cold north wind was blowing, which whistled mournfully through the
cottonwoods, and suggested a night where plenty of blankets would be
more than acceptable.
The hotel is situated at the Warner's Hot Springs, celebrated throughout
all of Southern California for their wonderful curative properties. The
proprietor, Mr. Stanford, and his good wife, made us comfortable, and
were as accommodating as we have always found them. After a good supper
we proceeded to our rooms and got ready for the next day's slaughter.
Well into the night the wind whistled and blew. It finally went down.
Then the temperature began to fall. The thermometer went to 29 degrees
before morning. Wherever there was a thin surface of water, there was
We did not get out very early. It is not necessary at Warner's. The
ducks fly from lake to lake when disturbed. If too heavily bombarded
they leave the valley. We breakfasted about 7 o'clock. Taking our guns
and ammunition, we started out over the frosty roads for the lakes. As
we reached the lower ground the frost was heavier. I found the surface
of one small lake solidly frozen. At the larger lakes there was just a
little ice on the edges. We distributed our men to the various lakes,
and the shooting began.
Say, neighbor, did you ever hunt those big mountain canvasback? If you
have, you know the story. If you have not, I am afraid I can not give
you a correct impression of it. Sitting in a frozen blind, all at once
you hear the whirring of wings, far off in the sky. Before you can
locate the source of it, "Swish!" an old Can goes by. You look at the
streak of light he leaves in the atmosphere. Then you hear another
far-off alarm. You seize your gun as the gray mark passes overhead at
about 125 miles an hour. You shoot at it and realize that you have shot
just fifty feet behind it. Another one comes by. Bang! again goes the
gun. You have done a little better this time, but you are yet not less
than thirty feet in the rear. Again you try it. Just a few feathers fly.
You are alarmed now, and there comes to you the admonition of an old
duck hunter, who laid down the following three rules for duck shooting,
"First, lead them considerably.
"Second, lead them a little more than last time.
"Third, still lead them further yet."
The next time you get your bird, a great big, magnificent Can. Kerplunk!
he falls into the water, or with a dull thud, he strikes the ground with
force enough to kill a horse if hit squarely by it. What a bird he was!
How beautifully marked! How bright his wing! How deep his breast,
compared with any other duck in the land! How magnificent the dark
brown, velvet coloring of his head! How soft and satiny the white
All over the valley the guns were booming. Out of the sky, a mile away,
you would see ducks flying rapidly, suddenly crumple up and plunge to
the earth or water.
Ducks Go Skating.
In a lull in the shooting I left my blind and went a quarter of a mile
away to the little lake mentioned before as frozen over. I crept up to
the top of a hill and looked down upon it. Although the sun was high in
the sky, the lake was still frozen. It was surrounded by ducks. I don't
want to say that they were skating on the ice. I saw one old canvasback
drake, however, peck at another duck. The latter squawked and waddled
out of the way, going where the water should have been. When he struck
the ice, he slid for quite a little distance, balancing with his wings
in a most ludicrous fashion. While cautiously watching them, I saw this
performance repeated several times.
There was no hope of my approaching them within shooting distance, so I
stood up to arouse the ducks, hoping to send them to my companions. They
filled the air with a great clatter of wings, and circled off to various
portions of the valley. I heard a great bombardment as they crossed the
other lakes, and I knew that someone had taken toll from them.
It was a beautiful day, with cloudless sky. The sun's warm summer like
rays were in marked contrast to the icy breath of winter, encountered at
sunrise. What a grand sunrise it was! From behind the mountains of the
East, up out of the depths of the Salton Sea, Old Sol first illuminated
the sky, the mountain tops and wooded ridges to the southwest and north,
and then with a rich show of crimson coloring, he suddenly vaulted into
the sky, touching with his golden wand each frosted leaf and frozen bush
and tree, and hill and vale and mountain top.
We shot with varying success during the morning hours.
Many of the ducks, especially the larger ones, circled high in the air
like miniature aeroplanes, almost beyond human vision. How they sped on
frightened wings, gradually going higher and higher, and finally darting
off over the eastern rim of the valley in the direction of Salton Sea.
Just before noon time my companion at one of the lakes, and myself,
gathered up our ducks and hung them high in a tree at the water's edge.
We then went to another lake by which the autos stood, where we had
agreed to muster for lunch. The entire party were in high spirits, and
pronounced the sport the best they had ever had.
After lunch two of the party in the runabout drove out of the valley to
some place familiar to them. They returned later with the limit of
jacksnipe--big, fat, thick-breasted, meaty looking birds.
My companion and myself returned to our blinds. The duck flight during
the fore part of the afternoon was exceedingly light. I managed to land,
among others, a beautiful canvasback drake. Shortly afterwards I stopped
as fine a Mallard drake as I ever saw. This was the only Mallard killed
on the trip.
In the gathering shadows of the coming night we drove back to the
Springs. Seven guns had killed 118 ducks, fifty of them canvasback.
There was a fine sprinkling of sprig, redhead, widgeon, plenty of teal,
bluebills and some spoonbills, all fine, fat birds. Then there were the
Tired and happy we dined. Until retiring time, we lived again the sport
of the day. When we sought our beds, sleep came quickly, and I do not
think any of us turned over until it was time to get up. We had packed
our belongings, taken on gasoline and breakfasted, and started homeward
a little after 7 o'clock.
We visited another section of the country known to one of our party, and
fell in with some mountain pigeons, and in a couple of hours managed to
kill sixty-eight of them. Talk about shooting! Oh, Mama! How those
pigeons could fly! And pack away lead! No bird I ever saw could equal
them in that particular.
Even at close range, a well-centered bird would, when hard hit, pull
himself together as his feathers flew in the breeze, and sail away out
into some mountain side, quite out of reach of the hunter, undoubtedly
to die and furnish food for the buzzards or coyotes. We had to take
awful chances as to distance in order to kill any of them.
While looking for a dead pigeon that fell off towards the bottom of a
wooded bluff in some thick bunches of chapparal, I heard the quick boof!
boof! of the hoofs of a bounding deer. I did not see that animal. An
instant later, in rounding a heavy growth of bushes, I saw a magnificent
buck grazing on the tender growth. He stood just the fraction of a
second with the young twig of the bush in his mouth, looking at me with
his great luminous eyes, and then he made a jump or two out of sight.
Strange that these two animals had not fled at the sound of our guns.
A game warden hailed us and insisted on seeing all our hunting licenses
and on counting our ducks. This privilege, under the law, we could have
denied him, but we were a little proud of the birds we had, and as we
were well within the number we could have killed, we made no objection
to his doing so.
As a result of its speedy run the day before, the runabout had for some
little time been running on a rim. We left its occupants, who disdained
our help, putting on a new tire. After a beautiful run we again reached
the Newport place, where we lunched. The car did not appear. We hated to
go away and leave them, as we thought they might be in difficulty. We
telephoned to Temecula and found they had passed that point. About two
hours after our arrival they came whirling in. They had had more tire
trouble. They took a hasty lunch, and we all started together.
We made the home run without incident. Spread out in one body our game
made a most imposing appearance. Besides the 118 ducks there were 50
jacksnipe and 68 fine large wild pigeons.
Such days make us regret that we are growing old. They rejuvenate us
--make us boys again.
Boyhood Days in Early California
My boyhood days, from the time I was five until I was fifteen years of
age, were spent on a ranch in Yuba County, California. We were located
on the east side of Feather River, about five miles above Marysville.
The ranch consisted of several hundred acres of high land, which, at its
western terminus, fell away about one hundred feet to the river bottom.
There were a couple of hundred acres of this river bottom land which was
arable. It was exceedingly rich and productive. Still west of this land
was a well-wooded pasture, separated from the cultivated lands by a good
board fence. The river bounded this pasture on the north and west.
In the pasture were swales of damp land, literally overgrown with wild
blackberry bushes. They bore prolific crops of long, black, juicy
berries, far superior to the tame berries, and they were almost entirely
free from seeds. Many a time have I temporarily bankrupted my stomach on
hot blackberry roll, with good, rich sauce.
The country fairly teemed with game. Quail and rabbit were with us all
the time. Doves came by the thousands in the early summer and departed
in the fall. In winter the wild ducks and geese were more than abundant.
In the spring wild pigeons visited us in great numbers. There was one
old oak tree which was a favorite resting-place with them. Sheltered by
some live oak bushes, I was always enabled to sneak up and kill many of
them out of this tree.
I began to wander with the gun when I was but a little over eight years
old. The gun was a long, double-barrel, muzzle-loading derelict. Wads
were not a commercial commodity in those days. I would put in some
powder, guessing at the amount, then a wad of newspaper, and thoroughly
ram it home, upon top of this the shot, quantity also guessed at, and
more paper. But it was barely shoved to the shot, never rammed. Sad
experience taught me that ramming the shot added to the kicking
qualities of the firearm. How that old gun could kick! Many times it
bowled me over. St. George Littledale, a noted English sportsman, in
describing a peculiarly heavy express rifle, said, "It was absolutely
without recoil. Every time I discharged it, it simply pushed me over."
That described my gun exactly, except that it had "the recoil." I deemed
myself especially fortunate if I could get up against a fence post or an
oak tree when I shot at something. By this means I retained an upright
position. Armed with this gun, an antiquated powder flask, a shot pouch
whose measurer was missing, and a dilapidated game bag, I spent hours in
the woods and fields, shooting such game as I needed, learning to love
life in the open, the trees, the flowers, the birds and the wild animals
I met. I was as proud of my outfit as the modern hunter is of his $500
gun and expensive accompaniments. When I went after the cows, I carried
my gun, and often got a dozen or more quail at a pot shot out of some
friendly covey. If I went to plow corn, or work in the vegetable garden,
the gun accompanied me, and it was sure to do deadly execution every
When it was too wet to plow, no matter how hard it was raining, it was
just right to hunt. Clad in a gum coat, I would take my gun and brave
the elements, when a seat by the fireside would have been much more
comfortable. I loved to be out in a storm, to watch the rain, to hear
the wind toss and tear the branches of the trees, to hear at first hand
the fury of the storm, and watch the birds hovering in the underbrush,
and the wild waterfowl seek the protection of the willows. In such a
storm great flocks of geese would scurry across the country within a few
feet of the ground. They usually went in the teeth of the gale. At such
times they constantly uttered shrill cries and appeared utterly
If there were game laws in those days, I never knew it. It was always
open season with me. Often my mother would tell me to shoot something
besides quail, that she was tired of them.
There was a slough on the place which was full of beaver and beaver
dams. How I tried to get one of them, always without success! They were
very crafty, very alert, and at the slightest indication of danger dived
under water to the doors of their houses, long before one was in gunshot
of them. Full many a weary hour have I spent, hidden in the brush,
watching a nearby beaver dam in the hope of getting a shot, but always
without avail. They would appear at other dams, too far away, but never
show themselves close enough to be injured.
In the winter the slough fairly swarmed with ducks of every variety.
They were disturbed but little, and they used these waters as a resting
place, flying far out into the grain fields and into the open plain at
night for their food. The beautiful wood duck, now almost extinct in
California, was very plentiful. They went in flocks as widgeon do. They
would go into the tops of the oak trees and feed upon the acorns. I
killed many of them as they came out of these trees. In flying they had
a way of massing together like blackbirds, and one shot often brought
down a goodly bag of them.
The slough I mentioned above was not a stagnant one. It was fed by water
from Feather River. After winding around an island, it emptied its
waters back into the river farther down stream, so that fresh water was
continually entering and flowing from it. Along its banks grew a fringe
of tall cottonwood trees. Many of them were completely enveloped with
wild grapevines, which bore abundantly. The slough was full of two or
three varieties of perch, or, as we called them, sun-fish; also a white
fish called chub. These fish were all very palatable, and I caught loads
of them. In the fall, when the wild grapes were ripe, they would fall off
into the water and were fed upon by the fish. Beneath the vine-clad
cottonwoods the fishing was always good.
One afternoon I was following a path just outside of the pasture fence,
through heavy wheat stubble, left after cutting time. I saw a pair of
pink ears ahead of me, which I knew belonged to a rabbit. I blazed away
at the ears. The gun, as usual, did execution at both ends. I went over
on my back. When I regained my feet I saw a great commotion on the
firing line. Rabbits' legs and feathers were alternately in the air.
Investigating, I found two cottontail, one jackrabbit and three quail in
the last stages of dissolution, all the result of one shot at two
rabbit's ears. I felt bigger than Napoleon ever did as I gathered up my
kill and started for home.
On one of my wanderings I came across; the barrel of a rifle on an
Indian mound, which had been plowed up when we were preparing the land
for planting. It was so coated with rust that the metal was no longer
visible. Floods had covered the ground many times. Not knowing how long
it had been buried there, I dug the rust and dirt out of the barrel as
best I could and took it home. On my first trip to Marysville I took it
to a blacksmith named Allison, who did all of our work, and asked him to
cut it off about a foot from the breech end, so that I could use it as a
cannon. He put it in his forge, and pulled away upon his bellows with
his left hand. He held the muzzle end of the rifle barrel in his right
hand, and poked at the coals with it so as to get it properly covered.
He intended to heat it and then cut it off. All at once, Bang! and that
horrid old thing went off. The bullet went through Allison's clothing
and slightly cut the skin on his side. He was the worst scared man in
all California. When he felt the sting of the bullet he threw up his
hands and fell on his back, yelling lustily. I was almost as badly
panic-stricken, thinking surely he was killed. I began to see visions of
the gallows and the hangman's rope. He recovered his self-possession,
and when he found he was not hurt, his fear turned to anger. He threw
the rifle barrel out into the street, and then drove me out of the shop.
When I got outside and my fear had left me, I sat down on an old wagon
tongue and laughed until I was entirely out of breath. Allison came out,
and my laughter must have been contagious. He leaned up against a post
and laughed until he cried. His anger had left him, and we were soon
fast friends again. At the proper time I ventured the opinion that the
rifle could not go off again, and that it would be well enough to finish
the cutting process. He consented and soon had the barrel cut off. I
took the breech end home with me, and endangered my life with it many
years. I generally loaded it with blasting powder, for the reason that
it was usually on hand and cost me nothing, and so loaded, the cannon
made more noise than had I used gunpowder.
During the campaign in which Gen. George B. McClellan ran for the
Presidency against Abraham Lincoln, the Democrats of Northern California
had a great celebration which lasted two or three days. Among other
things was a barbecue at the race track, two or three miles out of town.
Great pits were dug which were filled with oak stumps and logs, and
burned for about twenty-four hours before the cooking began. These logs
were reduced to a perfect bed of live coals. Over these, old-fashioned
Southern negroes, of whom there were many in the neighborhood, cooked
quarters of beef, whole sheep, pigs, chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese.
There were at least five thousand people on the ground. My blacksmith
friend, Allison, was firing a salute with an old cannon. He fired the
cannon after it was loaded, with an iron rod, one end of which was kept
heated in a small fire. I attended to the fire for him. After the
discharge the gun was wiped out with a wet swab. The powder was done up
in red flannel cartridges. Allison, with heavy, buckskin gloves on his
hands, would hold his thumb over the vent or tube of the cannon. Two
men, first slitting the lower end of the cartridge, would ram it into
the gun. During each loading process I straddled the gun, looking
towards Allison. After a number of discharges, the heat burned a hole
through the glove that Allison was using, and his thumb, coming in
contact with the hot metal, was withdrawn for an instant, while the
assistants were sending home a charge. There was an immediate premature
explosion. I was sitting astride the gun, and felt it rise up and buck
like a horse. Allison's eyes were nearly ruined, and his face filled
with powder, the marks of which stayed with him the rest of his life.
The two assistants were horribly mutilated, but neither of them was
killed. For a time I thought I never would hear again. My ears simply
shut up and refused to open for some time.
It would seem that this disaster should have been sufficient for one
day, but it was not. That night there was to have been public speaking
in front of the Western Hotel, by many prominent politicians. Opposite
the hotel was a two-story brick building, with a veranda built around
it. All of the offices on the second floor opened on this veranda. It
was crowded with people. The weight became excessive. The iron posts
next to the sidewalk, which sustained the veranda, slid out, and the
platform swung down like a table leaf, spilling everybody onto the
sidewalk. Eight or nine people were killed outright, and many more very
When about twelve years of age I got hold of two greyhounds, sisters,
named "Flora" and "Queen." During the winter time I spent much time
chasing jackrabbits. In summer time the ground got so hard that the dogs
would not run. The ground hurt their feet. But in the winter we had
great sport. There was an immense open plain east of our property, miles
long and miles wide, and level as a floor. There was a dry weed, without
leaves and of a reddish color, which grew in patches all over this
plain. These weed patches were the hiding places of the jackrabbits. The
game was exciting and stirred one's sporting blood. I found a great
difference in the speed of jackrabbits--as much in fact as in the speed
of blooded horses. Occasionally I would get up one that would actually
run away from the dogs, which were a fast pair. I followed the sport so
persistently, and paid so little attention to fences when they
interfered with my going, that I got the appellation in the neighborhood
of "that d Ñ d Graves boy."
When we got up a hare, away we went after the dogs, just as fast as our
horses would carry us. The sport was hard on horseflesh, so much so that
my father finally forbade me running any of our horses after the hounds.
There lived in our neighborhood a man who owned, and who had put upon
the track some of the fastest horses in the State. At this time he had
retired and raised horses for the fun of it. He also had some good
hounds. He enjoyed the sport as much as I did. Having plenty of good
horses, he furnished me with as many as I needed. We spent many days in
trying to determine which of us had the best dogs. Incidentally, we
wrecked some promising thoroughbreds. The question of the superiority of
our dogs was never settled. We always left the door open for one more
Our place was the haven of all the boys of my acquaintance. When I was
attending school at Marysville some boy came home with me nearly every
Friday night. We would work at whatever was being done on the place
Saturday forenoon, but the afternoon was ours. With the old gun we took
to the pasture, hunted for game, for birds' nests and even turtles'
nests. The mud turtle, common to all California waters, laid an
astounding number of very hard shelled, oblong, white eggs, considerably
larger than a pigeon's egg. They deposited them in the sand on the
shores of the slough, covering them up, leaving them for the sun to
hatch. They always left some tell-tale marks by which we discovered the
nest. Often we got several hundred eggs in an afternoon. They were very
rich, and of good flavor.
There were many coons and a few wildcats in the pasture woods. With the
aid of a dog we had great sport with them. Hard pressed, they would take
to the trees, from which we would shoot them. On one occasion we found
four little spitfire, baby lynx, which we carried home and later traded
to the proprietor of a menagerie. We got some money and two pair of
fan-tail pigeons in exchange for them. When quite small they were the
most vicious, untamable little varmints imaginable, and as long as we
had them our hands were badly scratched by them.
On the bottom land, each year, we had a large and well assorted
vegetable garden. It produced much more than we could possibly use. We
boys would sell things from the garden for amusement and pin money.
During one summer vacation, a boy, one Johnnie Gray, a brother of L. D.
C. Gray of this city, was visiting me. We took a load of vegetables to
Marysville. After selling it, getting our lunch, paying for the shoeing
of our horse (which in those days cost four dollars), and buying some
ammunition for the gun, we had $1.50 left. We quarreled as to how we
should spend this remnant. Not being able to agree, we started home
without buying anything. On the outskirts of Marysville was a brewery.
The price of a five-gallon keg of beer was $1.50. We concluded to take a
keg home with us. It was an awfully hot summer day, and the brewer was
afraid to tap the keg, thinking that the faucet would blow out under the
influence of the heat before we got home. He gave us a wooden faucet,
and told us how to use it. "Hold it so," he said, showing us, "hit it
with a heavy hammer, watch the bung, and when you have driven it in
pretty well, then send it home with a hard blow." We were sure we could
do it. We drove home, put the beer in the shade by the well, spread a
wet cloth over it, and then put our horse away. My parents chided us for
throwing our money away on beer. In the cool of the evening we concluded
to tap the keg. One of us held the faucet and the other did the driving,
but we did not have the success predicted for us by the brewer.
At the critical moment we drove in the bung, but not with sufficient
momentum to fasten the faucet. It flew out of our hands into the air,
followed by the beer. In about a minute the keg was entirely empty. We
were overwhelmingly drenched and drowned by the escaping beer, but never
got a single drop of it to drink.
On another occasion some of us children were coming home from
Marysville. We were driving an old white horse, named "Jake," who knew
us and loved us as only a good horse can. He submitted to our abuses,
shared in our pleasure and would not willingly have hurt any of us. We
were in a small, one-seated spring wagon. While driving through a lane,
moved on by the spirit of deviltry, one of us whipped Jake into a run,
and the other one threw the reins over a fence post. The result was as
could have been expected by any sane-minded individual. The horse
stopped so suddenly that he sat down on the singletree, and broke both
the shafts of the wagon. We were hurled out with great force, and got
sundry bruises and abrasions. We wired up the shafts and got home as
best we could, and, I am sorry to say, we lied right manfully as to the
cause of the accident. We told a story of a drunken Mexican on horseback
who chased us a considerable distance, and finally lassoed the horse,
bringing him to so sudden a stop as to cause the damage. Instead of
being punished, as we should have been, we were lauded as heroes of an
One of my uncles made for us a four-wheeled wagon, the hub, spokes and
axles being made out of California oak--such a wagon as you can buy in
any store today, only a little larger. We made a kite of large
dimensions, and covered the frame with cotton from a couple of flour
sacks. At certain times of the year, the wind across the Marysville
plains blew with great velocity. This kite, in a strong wind, had great
pulling capacity. We would go out into the plain, put up the kite, and
fasten the string to the tongue of the wagon, three or four of us pile
on, and let her go. The speed that we would travel before the wind by
this means was marvelous, but we tried the kite trick once too often. We
got to going so fast we could not slow down nor successfully guide the
wagon. It ran over an old stump, spilled us all out, and kite and wagon
sailed away clear across Feather River into Sutter County and we never
saw either of them again.
The boys of the present age have no such opportunities for out-of-door
sports as we did in the olden days. Now it is baseball, automobile
exhibitions and moving picture shows. Increased population, high-power
guns, cultivation of the soil, the breaking up of large ranches into
smaller holdings, have resulted in the disappearance of much of the game
with which the land then abounded.
Fifty years ago in California, conditions of rural life were necessarily
hard. Our habitations were but little more than shelter from the
elements. We had none of the conveniences of modern life. At our house
we always made our own tallow candles. We hardened the candles by mixing
beeswax with the tallow. We made the beeswax from comb of the honey
taken from bee trees. We corned our own beef and made sauerkraut by the
barrel for winter use. We canned our own fruit, made jelly and jam from
wild berries and wild grapes. We selected perfect ears of corn, shelled
it at home, ran it through a fanning machine, and then had the corn
ground into meal for our own consumption. We raised our own poultry and
made our own butter and cheese, with plenty to sell; put up our own
lard, shoulders, ham and bacon and made our own hominy. The larder was
always well filled. The mother of a family was its doctor. A huge dose
of blue mass, followed by castor oil and quinine, was supposed to cure
everything, and it generally did. In the cities luxuries were few. To
own a piano was the privilege of the very wealthy.
Speaking of pianos, in the flood of 1863, before Marysville was
protected by its levee, which is now twenty-five feet high, the family
cow swam into the parlor of one of the best mansions of the town,
through the window. When the flood waters had subsided, she was found
drowned on top of the piano.
Life under the conditions here given was necessarily hard. Our
amusements were few. We, who lived in the country, had plenty of good
air and sound sleep-two things often denied the city resident. Our
sports were few and simple, but of such a nature that they toughened the
fiber and strengthened the muscles of our bodies, thus fitting us to
withstand the heavy drafts on our vitality that the hurly-burly of
modern life entails upon the race.
Last Quail Shoot of the Year 1911
Were I musically inclined, I could very appropriately sing, "Darling, I
Am Growing Old." The realization of this fact, as unwelcome as it is, is
from time to time forced upon me.
On Friday, November 10, 1911, I went to the Westminster Gun Club, in an
open machine, through wind and storm. Got up the next morning at 5
o'clock, had a duck shoot, drove back thirty miles to Los Angeles,
arriving there at 11:30 a. m. At 1 o'clock I drove to my home, and at 2
o'clock was off for Ferris Valley on a quail shoot. Had a good outing,
with much hard labor. The next day I got home at half past five,
completely done up.
As I went to retire, I had a good, stiff, nervous chill. So you can well
see that I can no longer stand punishment, and am "growing old." As I
lay there and shook, I said to myself, "Old fellow, you will soon be a
'has-been.' Your gun and fishing rod will soon decorate your shooting
case as ornaments, rather than as things of utility." Ah, well, let it
be so! The memory of pleasant days when youth and strength were mine;
days when the creel was full, and game limits came my way, will be with
me still. I would not exchange the experience I have had with rod and
gun for all the money any millionaire in the world possesses.
On my trip to the grounds of the Quail Valley Land Company, some thirty
miles below Riverside, two members of the club and my wife accompanied
me. We were in one of my good, old reliable Franklin cars, and from
Ontario to Riverside we bucked a strong head wind that was cold and
pitiless. It necessarily impeded our progress, as we had on a glass
front, and the top was up, and yet we made the run of seventy-six miles
in three hours and a quarter without ever touching the machine. In fact,
none of the party got out of the machine, from start to finish.
The big, open fireplace at Newport's home, and the bountiful,
well-cooked supper with which we were greeted, were well calculated to
make us happy and contented. The long drive in the wind rendered all of
us sleepy, and by 9 o'clock we had retired. I never woke up until 6
o'clock next morning.
After breakfast we proceeded in our machine to the shooting ground. The
sky was heavily overcast with watery, wicked looking clouds. Rifts in
the sky, here and there, let some frozen looking sunbeams through, but
there was no warmth in their rays. We had our first shoot on the edge of
a grain field, but the birds quickly flew to some high hills to the
Rounding the pass through these hills, I never saw the Perris Valley
more weirdly beautiful. The clouds were high. On the north Mt. San
Bernardino loomed up, grim, snow-capped and forbidding. To the east old
Tahquitz, guardian of the passes to the desert, reared his snow-capped
head, far above the surrounding country. To the south Mt. Palomar
stretched his long, lazy looking form, with his rounded back and
indented outline, from east to west. His distance from us made him look
like a line of low, outlying hills, instead of the sturdy old mountain
that he is. All of these mountains bore most exquisite purple hues. The
same coloring was assumed by those groups of lesser hills that,
cone-like, are scattered over the easterly edge of the Perris Valley,
and which separate the Hemet and the San Jacinto country from the rest
of the valley. The coloring of the floor of the valley itself was
particularly exquisite. There was just enough light, just enough of
sunbeams struggling through the sodden clouds to illuminate, here and
there, an alfalfa field, or here and there a grove of trees, so as to
bring them out in startling contrast to the somber colors of the shaded
portions of the valley. But with it were signs of the dying year, a
premonition of storms to come, storms unpleasant while they last, but
revivifying in their effects.
Many Quail--Too Cold.
In the fifteen years during which I have shot upon these grounds, I
never got up more or larger bands of quail than we did that morning. The
day was too cold for good shooting. Give me the good old summer time,
with the thermometer about 80 degrees, for good quail shooting. In the
cool days the birds run or get up and fly a half mile at a time. They
will not scatter out and lie close, so that you can get them up one by
one and fill your bags. On the cold days they also break cover at very
long range. They led us a merry chase up the steepest hills and down the
most abrupt declivities. All of the time we were slowly making good.
Lloyd Newport was there on his buckskin horse. Now you could see him way
up on a hillside, then again down in some deep valley, running like mad
to check the flight, or turn the running march of some band of birds
that was leading those of us on foot a double-quick run. Shooting as he
rode, now to the right, now to the left, then straight ahead, he got his
share of the birds.
Little Fred Newport, only 14 years old, was shooting like a veteran, and
long before the rest of us had scored, he proudly announced that he had
the limit. The final round-up found us with 109 birds for seven guns--a
good shoot, under very adverse circumstances. We had the satisfaction of
knowing that we left plenty of birds on the ground for next year.
The quail shooting of 1911 is at an end. Only the memory of it remains.
I shall cherish the memory deeply in my affections, and let it stir my
enthusiasm for the out-of-door life when the world seems all balled up,
and things are going wrong.
While proceeding along an unfrequented road, with sage brush on each
side of it, we ran across a rattlesnake, about four feet long, and of
good circumference, twisted up into a most peculiar position.
Investigation found that, notwithstanding the coolness of the day, he
was foraging for game, and was engaged in swallowing a good-sized
kangaroo rat. The tail of the rat protruded several inches from his
mouth. The snake glared at us, but made no effort to escape or fight. He
seemed dazed, probably half choked by his efforts to swallow the rat. We
straightened him out on the ground and blew his head off with a shotgun.
We then disgorged the rat, which was at least four or five inches long,
and an inch and a half in diameter. The snake was then quickly skinned.
He had eleven rattles and a button.
Snakes eat the eggs and the young of the quail. In view of the ravages
by snakes, hawks, weasles, skunks, wildcats and coyotes I do not see how
there are any quail left for the sportsmen. The fight of these marauders
is constantly going on, while the sportsmen's efforts are at present
limited to a very short period.
At a quarter after two we left Newport's for home. We took in a little
gasoline at Riverside. This was the only stop made on the home run,
which was accomplished in three hours and a quarter (seventy-six miles)
with a perfect score so far as the machine was concerned.
Nature at Her Loveliest.
We did not encounter the cruel wind in returning that buffeted us on the
outward trip. I never saw the San Gabriel Valley more beautiful than it
was that afternoon. As we bowled along the road this side of San Dimas,
the entire valley lay before us. To the west were the rugged Sierra
Madre Mountains; on the east, the San Jose Hills. They connected with
the Puente Hills to the south. West of these came the hills of the
Rancho La Merced, running from the San Gabriel River westerly, and
still west of them come the hills, which run east from the Arroyo Seco,
north of the Bairdstown country. From our position these hills all
seemed to connect without any breaks or passes in them. Thus the valley
before us was one mountain-and-hill-bound amphitheater. The sky was
overcast by grayish clouds. The sun hung low in the west, directly in
front of us. How gorgeous was the coloring of the sky and valley! How
the orchards and vineyards were illuminated! How the colors lingered and
seemed to fondle every growing thing, and paint each rock and point of
hill as no artist could! The sun hung in one position for quite a time
before taking its final dip below the horizon. The clouds assumed a
golden tinge, turning to burnished copper. Through breaks or irregular
rifts therein, we got glimpses of the sky beyond of an opalescent blue
in strong contrast with the crimson coloring of the clouds, all of which
were intensely illuminated by the setting sun. Underneath this vast sea
of riotous coloring there was a subdued, intense light, which I can not
describe or account for. It brought every object in the valley plainly
into view, lifted it into space, and illuminated it. After we had passed
Azusa we chanced to look back at "Old Baldy" and the Cucamonga peaks.
They were in a blaze of glorious light, purple, pink, crimson, fiery
red, all mingled indiscriminately, yet all preserved in their individual
Oh, land so rare, where such visions of delight are provided by the
unseen powers for our delectation! As I surveyed this vast acreage,
evidencing the highest cultivation, with princely homes, vast systems of
irrigation, with orange orchards and lemon groves in, every stage of
development, from the plants in the seed beds to trees of maturity and
full production, I congratulated myself on living in such an age, and
amid such environments.
Let us appreciate, enjoy and defend until our dying day, this glorious
land, unswept by blizzards, untouched by winter's cruel frosts,
unscathed by the torrid breath of sultry summer, a land of perpetual
sunshine, where roses, carnations, heliotrope, and a thousand rare,
choice and delicate flowers bloom in the open air continually, where in
the spring time the senses are oppressed by the odor of orange and lemon
blossoms, and where the orchards yield a harvest so fabulous in returns
as to be almost beyond human comprehension.
An Auto Trip Through the Sierras.
Tule River and Yosemite.
I have been in California fifty-four years. During all of this time I
had never visited the Yosemite. Before it was too late I determined to
go there. We started in June, 1911.
Accompanied by Mrs. Graves, my son Francis and a friend, Dr. A. C.
Macleish, we left Alhambra, June seventh of this year at seven o'clock
a. m. We passed through Garvanza, Glendale and Tropico, and were soon on
the San Fernando road. The run through the town of that name and through
the tunnel, recently constructed to avoid the Newhall grade, was made in
good time and without incident.
At Newhall we procured and carried with us a five-gallon can of
gasoline. A short distance out of Saugus, we turned into the San
Francisquito Canyon road. Shortly afterwards a brand new inner tube on
the right rear wheel went completely to pieces. It had been too highly
cured and could not stand the heat. We replaced it with another one, and
were soon crossing and recrossing the stream which meanders down the
canyon. Constantly climbing the grade, we were whirling from sunshine to
shadow alternately as the road was overhung with or free from trees.
Old Memories Aroused.
I could not help recalling my trip over the same road with my old
friend, Mr. A. C. Chauvin, on the third day of October, 1876. The road
was fairly good. Our machine was working nicely, the day a pleasant one,
and the trip enjoyable. In a few hours we reached Elizabeth Lake. I
pointed out the very spot at which Chauvin and myself camped thirty-five
Ah, the fleeting years! How quickly they have sped! What experiences we
have had! What pleasures we have enjoyed! What sorrows endured in
thirty-five years! Well it is, that then the future was not unfolded to
me, and that all the enthusiasm and hope and ambition of youth led me on
to the goal, which has brought me so much joy, as well as much sorrow.
Momentous events have affected not only my own life, but the life of
nations in these thirty-five years.
Crossing Antelope Valley.
We passed the lake, turning down the grade into Antelope Valley. After
several miles of very rolling country, we halted under some almond trees
in a deserted orchard for lunch. The grasshoppers were thicker than
people on a hot Sunday at Venice or Ocean Park in the "good old summer
time." We managed to eat our lunch without eating any of the hoppers,
but there wasn't much margin in our favor in the performance. Before
starting we emptied our can of gasoline into the tank. Soon we
intercepted the road leading from Palmdale to Fairmont and Neenach. We
passed both of these places, then Quail Lake and Bailey Hotel. We were
soon at Lebec. Then came the beautiful ride past Castac Lake, and down
the canyon, under the noble white oak trees, which are the pride of
Tejon Ranch. We passed through Ft. Tejon with its adobe buildings
already fallen or rapidly falling into ruinous decay. Still descending
through the lower reaches of the canyon, we took the final dip down the
big grade and rolled out into the valley. A pleasant stream of water
followed the road out into the plains, at which sleek, fat cattle drank,
or along whose banks they lolled listlessly, having already slaked their
thirst. We whirled past the dilapidated ranch buildings put down in the
guide books as Rose Station. From this point, since my trip over this
country a year ago, much of the road to Bakersfield has been fenced.
While crossing Antelope Valley during the afternoon, I observed a most
wonderful cloud effect. A perfectly white cloud hung over Frazier
Mountain. Its base was miles long and as straight as if it had been
sheared off by machinery. Its top was as irregular as its base was
finished. It extended into the sky farther than the blue old mountain
did above the surrounding country. Irregular in shape, it assumed the
form of mountains, valleys, forests, streams, castles and turrets. I
watched it for hours, apparently it never moved. It hung there as
immovable as the mountain beneath it. It was at once an emblem of purity
and apparent stability. After we had passed Fairmont, my attention was
diverted from it for a short time, not over ten minutes, and when again
looking for my cloud, it was gone. Every vestige of it had vanished
completely, and in its place was the blue sky, its color intensified by
reason of its recent meager obscuration.
We reached Bakersfield early in the evening, having made the run of one
hundred and forty-six miles, over a heavy mountain range, on fifteen
gallons of gasoline. This I call a good performance for any six-cylinder
car. Coming down the Tejon Canyon, we passed the only Joe Desmond of
Aqueduct fame, with some companions, taking lunch by the roadside. He
had come from Mojave. He was bound for Bakersfield to buy hay.
Off for Porterville.
We left Bakersfield at seven a. m. next morning, over an excellent road,
for Porterville. Fifty miles after starting we picked up a nail and had
a flat tire. Porterville was reached at eleven o'clock. As a side trip
we were going to a camp of the San Joaquin Light & Power Company, way up
on the Tule River, for the purpose of visiting a grove of big trees
located in that vicinity. As we had many miles of uphill work ahead of
us, we concluded not to delay at Porterville for lunch. We replenished
our lunch basket of the day before from a grocery store, filled our tank
with gasoline and sped on. At twelve o'clock, a few miles beyond the
small village of Springville, which will shortly be connected with the
outside world by a railroad now in process of construction, we halted
for lunch in a shady spot on one of the forks of the Tule River.
For many miles before reaching Porterville, we saw quite extensive
evidence of the orange industry. There were many groves in full bearing
and miles and miles of young groves but a few years planted or just set
Tule River Canyon.
From Porterville to Springville, the canyon of the Tule River is quite
wide. The course of the river itself is marked by a heavy growth of
timber, some quarter of a mile in width. Orange and lemon groves have
been planted in favored localities on the bench lands, here and there,
but not continuously. There is much hilly land back of the canyon
proper, covered with wild oats and evidently devoted entirely to
pasture. Shortly after our noon halt we came to the power plant of the
Mount Whitney Power Company. Here they told us our journey would end
twelve miles further up the stream. From this point the canyon narrowed
rapidly until it became a mere gorge. While precipitously steep, the
roadbed was good. It ran along the left side of the canyon, going up. At
all times we had the right hand side of the canyon in plain view. Far
above us on our side, now in plain sight, now hidden by a projecting
point or tall timber, was the flume of the Mount Whitney Power Company,
which carried water from the river to the powerhouse we had passed. As
we ascended, we continually got nearer to this flume, which was run on a
grade, and at last we passed under it. We saw it shortly afterwards
terminate at an intake in the canyon below our road. From here on I
never enjoyed a more beautiful ride. To my mind there is nothing more
attractive than a California mountain canyon and its thickly-wooded
sides. Below us, foam-covered, white, radiant with light and beauty, ran
the Tule River. In its rapid descent, confined to the bottom of the
canyon, it hurtled along over water-worn boulders of great size, its
swollen masses of surging waters forming here and there cascades,
immense pools and miniature falls. It kept up a loud and constant roar,
not too loud, but with just enough energy to be grateful to the ear.
The Canyon--A Bower of Beauty.
We had left behind us the scattering timber of the lower foothills. The
sides of the canyon were clothed and garlanded in various shades of
green from top to bottom. Black oak trees in their fresh, new garbs of
early summer, intermingled with stately pines. All space between these
trees was filled with a rich growth of all the flowering shrubs known to
our California mountains. In the damper places a wild tangle of ferns
and vines and bracken entirely hid the earth from view. Lilacs, white
and purple, in full bloom emitted a fragrance which rendered the air
intoxicating and nearly overpowered one's senses. Mingled with these
bushes were the Cascara Segrada, bright-leafed maples, and the
brilliantly colored stems and vividly green leaves of the Manzanitas,
some in full bloom, some in berries set. The graceful red bud, found in
luxuriant growth in Lake County, was also here. Likewise the elders,
with their heavy clusters of yellow blossoms. The buckeye, with its
long, graceful blossoms, reached far up above the undergrowth. The
mountain sage, differing materially from the valley sage and bearing a
yellow flower, was also here. The mountain balm, with its long purple
blossoms, mingled its colors with its neighbors. Occasionally an humble
thistle, with its blossom of purple base and intense pink center, thrust
up its head through some leafy bower. Crowding all of these was the
grease wood with its yellow bloom, the snow-bush or buckthorn, with a
blossom resembling white lilac and fully as sweet, and all the other
shrubs of our mountain chaparrals, all, however, blended into one
beautiful and fragrant bouquet, so exquisitely formed that man's
ingenuity could never equal it in arranging floral decorations. Then
again a turn in the road would bring us great masses of tall dogwood
with its shining leaves and beautiful white blossoms with yellow
centers. They also, like the ferns, sought the cooler, darker spots.
Never before have I seen the California slippery elm or leatherwood tree
in such perfect form. It makes a stately branching tree. Its great
yellow blossoms almost cover the limbs. The shade of the flower is a
deep golden yellow. When mingled with the dogwood, the intense green of
the foliage of the two trees, coupled with the white and yellow
decorations, made a bouquet of rarest beauty. Thimble-berry bushes, rich
in color, bright of leaf and rank of growth, sported their great white
blossoms with much grace and dignity. Yellow buttercups, carnations,
violets of three colors, white, yellow and purple, half hid their
graceful heads under the tangled growth of various grasses by the
wayside. The wild iris moved their varicolored flowers with each passing
breath of air.
Hyacinths, lupins and hollyhocks were freely interspersed with the
glistening foliage of the shrubbery. The tiger and yellow mountain
lilies were not yet in flower, although we frequently saw their tall
stems bearing undeveloped blossoms. The columbine and white and yellow
clematis were much in evidence, and presented a charming picture as they
wound in and out, and over and around the green leaves of the shrubs,
displaying their creamy blossoms with a dainty air and self-conscious
superiority. In open places beneath the forest trees, where no large
underbrush grew, a fern-like, low shrub, locally known as bear clover,
completely hid the earth. It bore a white blossom with yellow center,
for all the world like that of a strawberry. To my surprise, the Spanish
bayonets in full bloom reared their heads above the lower growing
evergreens. We saw them no further north than the Tule River canyon.
What a picture the sunlight made on the mountain tops and the sloping
sides of the lateral valleys of the canyon! Ah, that river, how
beautiful it was! There it ran below us, in the very bottom of the
canyon, ever moving, ever turbulent, ever flashing in the sunlight, ever
tossing its foamy spray far up into the air, a thing of life, of joy and
ecstatic force. It sang and laughed and gurgled aloud in the happiness
of its life and freedom. Above was the sky, pure and radiantly blue. Its
exquisite coloring was intensified by the wild riot of color beneath it.
We still ascended. Each breath of air we drew was rich with the odor of
pine and fir, mint and balsam. The line of survey on the opposite side
of the canyon from us, marking the course of the tunnel now being
constructed by the San Joaquin Light & Power Company, which terminates
at a point on the mountain side at the junction of a side canyon sixteen
hundred feet above the stream, was now on a level with us. We could see
ahead of us where it, like the flume earlier in the day, reached the
river level. At this point we knew our journey ended. We were pulling
slowly up a stiff, nasty grade, when all at once a loud crash announced
the demolition of some of the internal machinery of our car. We stopped
"Auto" Breaks Down.
Our "auto" was a helpless thing. When the clutch was thrown in, it could
only respond with a loud, discordant whirring. It made no forward
movement. We all thought our differential had gone to smash. One of our
party went on ahead, and at a nearby camp we telephoned Mr. Hill,
superintendent of the power company, of our predicament. He directed a
man who was working a pair of heavy horses on a road near by, to hitch
onto us and haul us up to his place, a mile or so distant. All of us,
except Mrs. Graves, and our chauffeur, who had to steer the car and work
the brakes, walked. It was slow going, but the journey finally ended. We
found a good, clean camp, clean beds and a good supper awaiting us. That
night we reaped the sweet repose which comes from exertion in the open
Early next morning we blocked up our car and took off the rear axle,
uncoupled the differential case and found everything there intact. We
then removed the caps from the wheel hubs and took out the floating
axles, or drive shafts. One of them was broken into two pieces. It
either had a flaw in it when made or had crystallized, no one could
determine which. We got Los Angeles by phone, ordered the necessary
parts by express to Porterville, and, think of it, we had these parts
delivered to us at two o'clock the next afternoon!
The Soda Spring.
We spent the rest of Friday, June ninth, in visiting a magnificent soda
and iron spring, a mile above camp, which is for all the world like the
spring of the same quality in Runkle's Meadows, above the lake on Kern
River, some ninety miles above Kernville. The waters of the spring were
deliciously cool and refreshing.
A Tramp Up A Mountain.
Next morning the male members of our party started up a steep mountain
trail to see some sequoias I had heard about. Unused as we were to
excessive exercise and the altitude, the climb was a hard one. We
ascended from four thousand feet elevation to over seven thousand feet.
Most of the way the trail was through heavy fir and sugar-pine. Going up
we ran into two beautiful full-grown deer, a buck and a doe. They fled
to security with easy, graceful jumps, into the thick underbrush. We
heard grouse drumming loudly, in two or three different localities and
saw one bird make a long dive from one pine tree to another. We found
wild flowers in profusion, of the same variety, fragrance and coloring
as encountered in the canyon the day before. Just as we reached the
summit, we found, standing on the backbone of the ridge--so located
that rain falling on it would flow from one side of it into one
water-shed, and from the other side into another water-shed--a great,
stately sequoia gigantea fully three hundred feet high and of immense
circumference. There wasn't a branch on it within one hundred feet of
the ground. It was in good leaf, except at the top, which was gnarled
and weather-beaten. Its base had been cruelly burned. This tree bears a
striking resemblance to the grizzly giant which we saw later in the
Mariposa big tree grove near Wawona. Not far from this fine old guardian
of the pass, were groups of noble trees, fully as tall, but not as large
as the one described, but perfect trees, erect, stately, and imposing.
The bark of all of these trees was very smooth and very red, much more
highly colored than the trees in the Wawona grove.
I was too much fatigued to make another mile down the west side of the
mountain (we had come up from the east) to inspect a much larger grove
of still larger trees. Two of the younger members of our party, my son
Francis and Harry Graves, our chauffeur, made the trip while Dr.
Macleish and I awaited their return on the summit. They came back
enthusiastic over the lower groves, the trees there being much more
numerous in number and much larger in size than the ones we first ran
into. We sat around resting a while, straining our necks looking for,
the tops of those trees, all of which were way up there in the blue sky.
We wondered how many years they had been there, and what revolutions in
climate and topographical appearance of the country they had witnessed.
Finally, having satiated ourselves with their beauty, we started on the
return journey, which was made without incident, except that we
disturbed a hen grouse with a fine brood of little ones about the size
of a valley quail.
A Mother Grouse.
The mother bird flew into a scrub oak. She there asserted the privilege
of her sex and scolded us in no uncertain tones. When all her young had
flitted away to cover, still scolding, she took one of those long dives
down to a deep dark canyon, flying with incredible rapidity, and
apparently not moving a feather. No other bird I ever saw can do the
trick as a grouse does it. We saw but few other birds on this excursion.
An occasional blue-jay, a vagrant bee-bird, now and then a robin, and
once in a while a most brilliantly colored oriole made up the list.
Fluffy-tailed gray squirrels chattered at us noisily from the wayside
trees. They seemed bubbling over with life and motion. We stopped at the
Soda Springs for a life-giving draught of its refreshing waters, and
were back to camp in time for lunch.
Flight of Lady-Bugs.
When we reached the Soda Springs, we met the most remarkable migration
of red lady-bugs that I ever saw. They were coming in myriads from down
the main canyon and each side canyon. They extended in a swarm from the
ground to a distance above it of from ten to twelve feet. Huge rocks
would be covered six or eight inches deep with them. Occasionally they
would light upon a tree, and in a few moments the tree or bush would be
absolutely covered, every speck of foliage hidden. It was difficult to
breathe without inhaling them, and we were kept busy brushing them from
our faces and clothes. They were all traveling in one direction--down
stream. I believe that they had been into the canyons laying their eggs,
and were returning to the valleys. All afternoon the flight continued,
but by nightfall there wasn't a lady-bug in sight.
We tried fishing, but the water was too high and too turbulent for
success in the sport.
Auto Repairs Arrive.
About two o'clock that afternoon our new floating axle and fittings had
arrived, and in another hour the car was set up and ready for business.
The following morning (Sunday) we bade Mr. Hill and his men good-bye and
started for Crane Valley. The drive out of the canyon was a beautiful
one. We did not go all the way to Porterville, but went several miles
beyond Springville, turned into Frazier Valley, and went to Visalia by
way of Lindsay and half a dozen small villages, and from there on to
Fresno, which place we reached at about two o'clock. The ride was a hot
one. We drove through miles and miles of orange orchards, some in full
bearing, but mostly recently planted.
We left Fresno at about four-thirty o'clock over the same road we
traveled a year before. However, before crossing the river, we turned to
the right and went up through a town, Pulaski, where we crossed on a
splendid cement bridge. The road was pretty badly cut up from heavy
teaming, but we got to Crane Valley about ten o'clock p. m. We had
considerable trouble with our carburetor during the afternoon, and lost
much time trying to locate the trouble, but without avail.
The younger members of the party, although the hour was late, went to
prowling around the camp for something to eat. They raided the cook's
pie counter in the dark. We had had a splendid lunch at Fresno at two
o'clock, and Mrs. Graves and I were too tired to want anything to eat,
and retired on our arrival.
Since our visit to Crane Valley a year ago, we found that the then
uncompleted dam was finished. Instead of a small reservoir of water, we
found a vast inland sea, with water one hundred and ten feet deep at its
deepest part. It is six miles long, by from half to one mile in width.
It is twenty-five miles in circumference. The dam proper is nearly two
thousand feet long, and at one part is one hundred and fifty-four feet
high on its lower side. It is built with a cement core, with rock and
earth fill, above and below; that is, on each side of the cement work.
The inner and outer surface of the dam are rock-covered. To give you an
idea, of its capacity, if emptied on a level plain, its waters would
cover forty-two thousand acres of land one foot deep. When we were there
a discharge gate had been open two weeks, discharging a stream of water
two and one-half feet deep, over a weir thirty-eight feet wide, and the
surface of the reservoir had been lowered but two inches. I say, "All
hail to the San Joaquin Light & Power Company and its enterprising
officials, for the great work completed by them." It is a public
benefactor in storing up, for gradual discharge, at a time of the year
when it could do no good, this vast body of water which would otherwise
run to the sea.
What a place for rest are these mountain valleys! After inspecting the
dam, catching some bass and killing a 'rattlesnake, we were all
contented to sit around for the remainder of the day. A certain languor
takes possession of the human frame when one has come from a lower to a
higher altitude. One ceases to think, his mentality goes to sleep, he
can doze and dream and be happy in doing so.
Again on the Road.
Tuesday morning, leaving Mr. Dougherty, the Superintendent, and his good
wife, we started for Wawona. We traveled up the left side of the lake,
over a good road, above the water level, to its extreme western end.
Here we climbed a mountain to an elevation of five thousand five hundred
feet, over a cattle trail which was badly washed out, to a road leading
to Fresno Flats. This place we soon reached over a good but steep
Then, winding in and out of the canyon through a foothill country, we
made steady progress until we reached the main road from Raymond to
Wawona. The grade was uphill all the time. We left the lumbering camp
known as Sugar Pine to our right. The lumber interests have made a sad
spectacle of miles and miles of country, recently heavily forested.
There seems to be no idea in the lumberman's mind of saving the young
growth when cutting the larger timber. All the young growth is broken
down and destroyed, and finally burned up with the brush and wreckage of
the larger trees, leaving the mountain side scarred and blackened, and
so lye-soaked that immediate growth of even brush or chaparral is
impossible. We passed through Fish Camp, and in a short time came to the
toll-gate at which point the road to the Mariposa Grove of big trees
The rest of the run to Wawona was all downhill, through heavy timber,
over a good but dusty road. We reached the hotel in time for lunch. That
afternoon, with Mr. Washburn, we took a drive of some miles around the
Big Meadows, near the hotel, went up the river and took in all points of
interest in the neighborhood. Wawona Hotel is pleasantly located. It is
an ideal place to rest. There inertia creeps into the system. You avoid
all unnecessary exercise. You are ever ready to drop into a chair, to
listen to the wind sighing through the trees, to hear the river singing
its never ending song, to watch the robins and the black birds and the
orioles come and go, and observe the never-ending coming and going of
guests. Some are just arriving from the San Joaquin valley, some are
departing to it, or coming home or going to the Yosemite, or starting
off or coming from the Big Trees or Signal Peak. You eat and sleep and
forget the cares of life, forget its troubles, and smelling the incense
of the pines, sleep comes to you the moment your head touches your
pillow and lasts unbrokenly until breakfast-time the next day.
Los Angeles People Known Everywhere.
We took passage on a stage-coach next morning for the Wawona big trees.
The trip is one ever to be remembered. The road winds around over the
mountains, always ascending, for about eight miles. The great trees are
scattered over quite an expanse of territory. A technical description of
them would be out of place here. To realize their size and majesty you
must see them. Many are named after prominent men of the nations, and
after various cities and states of the Union. I was glad to see the
names of Los Angeles and Pasadena on two magnificent specimens. We drove
through the trunk of a standing tree, and present herewith a picture of
the feat. The gentleman on the left on the rear seat is a Mr. Isham, and
the lady and gentleman on the same seat are a Mr. and Mrs. Risley, just
returned from a trip around the world. They are from the same city in
the east as Dr. and Mrs. W. Jarvis Barlow, and Mrs. Alfred Solano of
this city, to whom they desired to be warmly remembered. Go where you
will, you meet someone who knows someone in Los Angeles.
We lunched in the open air at the big trees, and made the return trip in
a reverent mood, almost in silence, each of the party given over to his
or her reflections. I realize that there is in my mind an ineffaceable
mental picture of those gigantic trees, which are so tall, so large, so
impressive and massive that they overpower the understanding.
During our stay at Wawona we tried fishing in the main river, which was
swollen to a raging torrent by the melting snows. We found it so
discolored and so turbulent that fishing was not a success. We also
visited the cascades. An immense body of water comes down a rocky gorge
very precipitously. From one rock to another the water dashes with an
awful roar. Mist and spray ascend and fall over a considerable area,
keeping the trees and brush and grass and ferns dripping wet, and it
would soon render one's clothing exceedingly uncomfortable.
We Go To Yosemite By Stage.
It is twenty-six miles from Wawona to Yosemite Valley. The stages leave
Wawona at eleven thirty a. m. to make the trip. On June sixteenth we
took our places with some other victims of this piece of transportation
idiocy, on an open four-horse stage for Yosemite. The going was very
slow. It was hot and dusty, and we soon got irritable and uncomfortable.
Why the traveling public should be subjected to this outrage is beyond
me. We ground our weary way over the dusty road, oblivious to the
scenery, until six o'clock, when we suddenly came to Inspiration Point,
our first view of the great Valley.
The beauty of the scene to some extent compensated us for a beastly
ride. Beyond us lay the great gorge known as the Yosemite. Below us the
Merced River. On the left were Ribbon Falls, and just beyond them El
Capitan. On our right, but well in front of us, were the Bridal Veil
Falls. We were just in time to see that wonderful rainbow effect for
which they are celebrated. Surely no more beautiful sheet of water could
be found anywhere. A wonderful volume of water dashes over the cliff,
unbroken by intercepting rocks, and drops a straight distance of six
hundred feet. Then it drops three hundred feet more in dancing cascades
to the floor of the valley and divides up into three good-sized streams
which empty into the Merced River. When once started on its downward
course, the water seems all spray. At the bottom of the first
six-hundred-foot descent it made a mighty shower of mist like escaping
steam from a giant rift in some titanic boiler, and soon reached the
floor of the valley. The road from El Portal comes up on the north side
of the river. We passed El Capitan, which rears its massive head three
thousand three hundred feet in the distance, perpendicularly above the
river. We were shown the pine tree, one hundred and fifty feet high,
growing out of a rift in the rocks on its perpendicular face, more than
two-thirds of the distance from its base. The tree looked to us like a
rose bush, not two feet high, in a garden.
As we proceeded up the Valley there were pointed out to us the Three
Brothers, a triple group of rocks, three thousand eight hundred feet
high. Cathedral Spire, Sentinel Rock, Yosemite and Lost Arrow Falls, and
all the other points of interest that can be seen on entering the
The river was abnormally high--higher we were told, than it had been in
many years. It flowed with great rapidity, as if hurrying out of the
valley to join the flood waters which had already submerged many acres
of land in the San Joaquin valley, miles below. It looked dark and
wicked, as if it carried certain death in its cold embrace. Half of the
Yosemite valley was flooded. Meadows, rich in natural grasses, were knee
deep with back water.
We reached the Sentinel Hotel, and sloughing off the most of the fine
emery-like mountain dust with which we were enveloped, we got our first
good look at the Yosemite Falls. They were at their best. Imagine a
large river, coming over a cliff, a seething, foaming mass of spray, and
dropping, in two descents, two thousand six hundred and thirty-four
feet, sending heavenward great clouds of mist! I took one look, then
looked up the Valley to the great Half Dome, to Glacier Point, from
there to Sentinel Peak and the Cathedral Spires, and I concluded that
the Yosemite is too beautiful for description, too sublime for
comprehension and too magnificent for immediate human understanding. In
the presence of those awful cliffs, towering, with an average height of
over three thousand feet, above the floor of the valley; those immense
waterfalls, as they thundered over the canyon walls; that mad river,
gathering their united flow into one embrace, scurrying away with an
irresistible energy that almost sweeps you off your feet as you look at
it, all things human seem to shrink into the infinitesimal. You do not
ask yourself, "How did all this get here?" You accept the situation as
you find it. You leave it to the scientists to dispute whether the
valley was formed wholly by glacial action or by some gigantic
convulsion of nature, which tore its frowning cliffs apart, leaving the
Valley rough, unfinished and uncouth to the gentle, molding hand of Time
to smooth it up and beautify its floor with its present growth of oaks
and pines and shrub and bush and ferns and vines, and laughing, running
You are four thousand feet above sea-level. All around you cliffs and
walls tower three thousand feet and upwards above you. Back of these are
still higher peaks, whole mountain ranges, clothed in their snowy
mantles, this season far beyond their usual time. The air is delightful,
pure as the waters of the Yosemite Falls, soft as a carpet of pine
needles to the foot-fall, balmy as the breath of spring, and cool and
The Valley Overflowing With Visitors.
The valley is full of people; the hotels crowded, the camps overflowing.
From early dawn until the setting summer sun has cast long shadows over
meadow and stream alike, there is a moving mass of restless people,
either mounted on horseback, in vehicles or on foot, going out or coming
in from the trails and side excursions. The walker seemed to get the
most fun out of life. Man and woman are alike khaki clad and sunburned
to a berry-brown. They walk with the easy grace of perfect strength and
long practice, and think nothing of "hiking" to the top of Yosemite
Falls or Sentinel Peak and back. One of the favorite trips is to Glacier
Point by the Illilouette, Vernal and Nevada Falls, a distance of eleven
miles, remaining there all night at a comfortable inn and returning by a
shorter route by Sentinel Peak.
Looking up between the rocky walls of the valley, how far away the stars
all looked at night! In that pure atmosphere, how beautiful the sky! How
perfect each constellation! Each star with peculiar brightness shone.
One's view of the sky is circumscribed by the height of the cliffs.
Instead of the great arched vault of heaven one usually looks up to, one
sees only that part of the sky immediately above the valley. It was like
looking at the heavens from the bottom of a deep, narrow shaft. I looked
in vain for well known beacon lights. They were not in sight. The
towering cliffs shut them out. The sky looked strange to me, yet how
beautiful it was! Through the gathering darkness we took one more look
at the Yosemite Falls and betook ourselves to bed, to sleep the sleep
once enjoyed in the long ago, when as children we returned, tired but
happy, from some long outing in the woods.
We Visit the Floor of the Valley.
On the following morning we took in the sights of the floor of the
valley. We rode to Mirror Lake, which, however, did not come up to its
reputation. This summer the entrance to the lake has changed its channel
from its west to its east side, and a long sand bar has been deposited
in the lake proper, all of which our guide told us marred the
reflections usually visible therein.
We passed hundreds of people of all ages walking through the valley. In
visiting the Yosemite you do not realize that the valley is several
miles long, and has an average width of about one-half a mile. The great
height of the surrounding walls dwarfs your idea of distance. Even the
trees, many of which are of great size, look small and puny.
The Happy Isles.
We drove to the Happy Isles, small islands covered with trees, around
which the river surges in foaming masses. Standing at the upper end of
the one of the Happy Isles, one gets a splendid impression of the
cascade effect of the waters, rushing madly down a steep rocky channel,
with an irresistible, terrifying force. The descent of the bed of the
stream is very marked. The waters come over submerged, rocky masses.
Just as you think that maddened torrent must sweep over the island,
engulfing you in its course, the stream divides, half of it passing to
the right, and half to the left. These divided waters unite again
farther down the valley.
On our return from this short excursion, Francis, Dr. Macleish and
Harry, taking their lunch with them, walked up to the top of the
Yosemite Falls. They stood beneath the flag at Yosemite Point and got a
comprehensive view of the entire valley. They reported the trip a
The valley has a military government. What Major Forsyth says goes.
There are no saloons in the Yosemite, nor are there any cats. The Major
saw a cat catch a young gray squirrel. He issued an edict that the cats
must go or be killed. They went.
Excursion to Glacier Point.
The next day all of our party, except Mrs. Graves, who had made the
journey some years before, went to the top of Glacier Point. We took a
stage to the Happy Isles and there mounted mules for the trail. The
climb is a steady one. Soon we got our first view of the Vernal Falls.
To my mind they are the most perfect waterfalls in the Valley. The water
flows over the cliffs an unbroken mass, one hundred feet wide. The
initial drop is three hundred and fifty feet. The effect can not be
imagined by one who has not seen the actual descent of this great mass
of water. The emerald pond above the falls, in which the waters assume
an emerald hue, and appear to seek a momentary rest before taking the
final plunge over the cliffs, is one of the Valley's beauty spots. The
roar of the falling waters, striking the rocks below, is loud and
reverberating. Great clouds of spray and mist float off in falling
masses, appearing more like smoke than water.
After passing Vernal Falls you come to the Diamond Cascades. They are
below the Nevada Falls. The long flowing waters from the Nevada Falls
have cut a channel deep into the bed rock. You cross this channel on a
bridge. Under and below the bridge the water flows with such velocity
that great volumes of it are hurled into the air in long strings, one
succeeding the other. The sunlight on these strings of water makes them
flash like diamonds. The effect is as if some one were sowing diamonds
by the bushel above the water. A similar effect is noticed, though not
so pronounced, just above the Nevada Falls. The latter are something
like a mile above Vernal Falls. They are six hundred feet high. They
seem to come over the cliff like the Yosemite Falls, through a broken or
distorted lip, and the water is lashed to foam and looks for all the
world like the smoke of some mighty conflagration, upon which a score of
modern fire engines are playing. Near the top of the Nevada Falls is a
fir tree more than ten feet in diameter, said to be the largest tree in
the Yosemite Valley. Just above the falls we again crossed the river on
a bridge. Near the bridge, on the rocks is plain evidence of glacial
scourings. A glacial deposit is left in patches on the rocks which is
today as smooth as plate glass.
Abandoned Eagle's Nest.
Above Vernal Falls we skirted the base and climbed partly around the
side of Liberty Cap, one of the great granite domes of the valley, until
we reached the top of the cliff over which the Nevada Falls plunge. Well
up on the side of this cliff, in an inaccessible retreat, our guide, who
had traversed this route for twenty-two years, showed me an ancient but
now abandoned eagle's nest. The noble birds, in late years, not liking
the coming of the thousands of excursionists who passed that way daily,
forsook their home for some other locality.
The trail now winds around the mountainsides, finally crossing the
canyon above the Illiouette Falls. In a short time we are at Glacier
Point. As you go out to the iron railing erected on the outer edge of a
flat rock on the extreme edge of the cliff, and look down into the
valley below you, you can not help a shrinking feeling, and you are only
too glad soon to move back and get a view from safer quarters.
The celebrated overhanging rock is at this point. It is a piece of
granite, say four or five feet wide, flat on top, but with rounding
edges. It sticks out from the cliff several feet. Foolhardy people walk
out to the edge of it and make their bow to imaginary audiences over
three thousand feet below. One of the guides with our party, wearing
heavy "chaps" (bear-skin overalls) walked out upon this rock, took off
his hat, waved it over his head, posed for his photograph, even took a
jig step or two, stood on one foot and peered into the abyss below with
apparent unconcern. Earlier in life I might have taken a similar chance,
but it would be a physical impossibility for me to do it now. We feasted
our eyes on the magnificent view.
We were now nearly level with the Half Dome (our elevation was seven
thousand one hundred feet), below us the beautiful valley with its
winding river, bright meadows and stately forests. Horses staked out on
the meadow looked like dogs; people, like ants. The Yosemite, Vernal,
Nevada and Illilouette Falls, Mirror Lake, the roaring cascades above,
the Happy Isles, all the peaks of the upper end of the Valley, and
mountains for miles and miles beyond, snowcapped and storm-swept, were
in plain sight.
After an appetizing lunch at the hotel, we took the short trail for the
valley. It is three and a half miles long, almost straight up and down,
and is hard riding or walking. But the journey was soon ended, and that
night we again slept the sleep of the joyously tired.
Morning came too soon, ushering in another perfect mountain day. We
simply loafed around, never tiring of looking at the river or falls in
sight, or the everlasting cliffs above us. We put in an hour or two
watching a moving-picture outfit photographing imitation Indians.
Views Through A "Claude Lorraine Glass."
That evening as the daylight waned, while sky and stream, trees,
mountains and jagged peaks were still gloriously tinted with the sun's
last rays, Mr. Chris. Jorgenson, the artist, brought out a "Claude
Lorraine glass." We stood upon the bridge of the Merced river and caught
upon the glass the Half Dome, bathed in mellow light; the Yosemite Falls
with its great mass of falling waters exquisitely illuminated; Sentinel
Peak, the swiftly moving river fringed with green trees, the grassy
meadows and the fleecy clouds. The picture of reflected beauty so
produced, such tints and colors, such glints of stream and forest, such
a glorified reproduction of the beauties of the Valley can only be
imagined, they can not be described.
There were enough Los Angeles people in the Yosemite at the time to have
voted a bond issue. They were all out for a good time, and were having
Our Return to Wawona.
Not wishing to undergo the torture of the noon-day ride back to Wawona,
a party of us chartered a stage to leave the Valley at six o'clock a. m.
We got off next morning at six-forty and had a delightful drive, making
Wawona before noon. Thus a few hours' difference in the time of starting
made a pleasure of what otherwise would have been a torment. While we
were in the Valley some Los Angeles friends had arrived at Wawona and
were in camp near the hotel.
We rested at Wawona several days. During one of these I went with the
boys on horseback to Signal Peak, whose elevation is seven thousand and
ninety-three feet. The San Joaquin valley was enveloped in haze, but the
mountain ranges east of us were in plain sight. We could see all the
peaks from Tallac at Lake Tahoe to Mt. Whitney. Mt. Ritter, Mt. Dana,
Mt. Hamilton, Galen Clarke, Star King, Lyell, the Gale Group, and others
whose names I do not now recall, stood out in bold relief, encased in
snowy mantles. The view from Signal Peak is well worth the trip. We
enjoyed it so much that we persuaded Mrs. Graves and some ladies to take
it next day by carriage, which is easily done.
On June twenty-third the boys went to Empire Meadows, some eleven miles
distant, with a fishing party. They had fair luck, the entire party
taking nearly two hundred eastern brook trout.
On the morning of June twenty-fourth, at six o'clock, we started on our
homeward journey. We had carburetor trouble coming up--we still had it
going out, until at last our driver discovered that one of the
insulating wires had worn through its covering and, coming in contact
with metal, had resulted in a short circuit. When this was remedied our
troubles were over, and our machine performed handsomely. The first
forty-four miles to Raymond were all downhill, over a very rough road,
with sharp turns and depressions every one hundred feet or so, to allow
the rainwater to run off of the road, which rendered the going very
slow. We were three hours and a half reaching Raymond. Passing this
point we sped into Madera, then to Firebaugh. During the morning we saw
a stately pair of wild pigeons winging their swift flight in and out of
some tall pine trees.
Water High in San Joaquin Valley.
The San Joaquin river was very high and had overflowed thousands of
acres of land. Our road, slightly elevated, passed for miles through an
inland sea. To reach Los Banos, we made a wide detour to the left. We
crossed the Pacheco Pass into the Santa Clara valley. We had intended to
go to Holister by way of San Felipe. Some three miles from the latter
place we saw a sign reading "Hollister nine miles." We took the road
indicated and must have saved six or seven miles.
This portion of the country is largely given over to fruit growing and
raising flower and garden seed, acres and acres of which were in full
bloom, and the mingled colors were exceedingly charming. We reached
Holister in good time, one hundred and seventy miles from Wawona. We
found good accommodations at the Hotel Hartman. Bright and early next
morning we were off. We went due west. We found the bridge over the
Pajaro river utterly destroyed by last winter's rains. We crossed
through the bed of the stream without difficulty and were soon upon the
main road to Salinas, just below San Juan. As we ascended the San Juan
hills, we paused at a turn in the road and got a view of the beautiful
valley in which Hollister lies. No more peaceful landscape ever greeted
mortal eye. Every acre as far as one could see, not devoted to
pasturage, was cultivated. There were grain and hay fields, orchards by
the mile, and the seed farms in full bloom, while cattle and horses
grazed peacefully in many pastures. We turned away with regret at
leaving a land so beautiful, so happy and contented looking.
At Salinas river we found a man with a good-sized team of horses, who,
for one dollar and fifty cents, hauled us through a little water which
we could have crossed without difficulty, and a quarter of a mile of
loose, shifting sand which we could never have crossed without his aid.
He has a tent in which he has lived since last winter, and he gets them
"coming and going," as no machine can negotiate that stretch of road
unassisted. He earns his money, and I wish him well.
Fine Run to Los Olivos.
Taking out the time spent at lunch and in taking on gasoline, we reached
Los Olivos, two hundred and thirty-one miles from Hollister, in eleven
hours' running time. We again had good accommodations at Los Olivos and
were off next morning on the final "leg" of our journey. The road from
the north side of Gaviote Pass to within a few miles of Santa Barbara is
a disgrace to Santa Barbara county. I prefer the valley route with its
heat to the coast route, and I warn all automobilists to avoid the
We had a good lunch at Shepherd's Inn, and then ran home in time for
dinner. We came by Calabasas, and just before we reached the Cahuenga
Pass we turned off and went through Lankershim on our way to Alhambra.
We all remarked that in no section of the state we had visited did the
trees look as healthy, the alfalfa as luxuriant, the garden truck as
vigorous, as they did at Lankershim. Every inch of the ground there is
cultivated; there are no waste spots.
Home looked better and dearer to us when we reached it than it ever did
before. We had traveled one thousand and forty-five miles and used on
the trip one hundred and four gallons of gasoline, thus averaging over
all sorts of roads, including several mountain ranges, a little better
than ten miles to the gallon. I defy any six cylinder car in America to
beat this record. I used the same old Franklin car, in which I have made
four tours of California. I have no apology to offer for breaking the
driveshaft. The parts of any car will stand just so much. Pass this
point and trouble ensues. This grand old car has run over eighty
thousand miles and seen much hardship. I salute it!
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