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below Helen Lake. Ice had to be broken before we could get water for cooking.
We were up next morning while it was yet dark, and got breakfast as the alpenglow lit up the mountain side. Then followed a great climb over the snow, where little ice-chunks made a curious tinkling sound when kicked off by our shoes. One ice-cave with some fine stalactites was seen. Reaching Muir Pass (12,059 feet), we crossed into the Evolution Creek region, then found a way directly opposite the middle of Wanda Lake over into North Goddard Creek. We dubbed this "Laggard Pass," the name telling how we felt. Trudging onward down the creek, we passed one fine lake and camped at the first scrubby timber near another. This was our highest camp-11,000 feet. Leaving the left bank of the creek about a mile above where it enters the South Fork of the San Joaquin, we worked over into the cañon of the main stream. Here at short intervals the river leaps gleefully in most beautiful waterfalls.
A good place to ford was found about a hundred and fifty yards above where North Goddard Creek comes in, and H. H. spoke "full and free" concerning the coldness of the water, the swiftness of the stream and the roughness of the stones on the bottom. The trail led on along the bank of the clear, rushing river. We missed the Hell-For-Sure trail and camped on the very brink of a fine fall, whose roar lulled us to sleep. It was the most romantic of all our camps. Up at dawn, we "hit the side of the cañon." Using the map, also the note of Mr. Le Conte's party,* we came up near Red Mountain. Here we had to go down hill some distance, and bearing to the left, were forced to cross a mile or more of slide-rock, but we finally reached the pass with the appropriate name (11,300 feet). A great contrast was offered by the views to the east and to the west. The former was one of a country smothered in snow, the latter of lakes in their natural blue color, some bare earth, and in the distance trees and green meadow.
This point marked this portion of the trip into two parts, the remainder being in what seemed low country. After some tramping over granite, we came to forest country and again
* See SIERRA CLUB BULLETIN, vol. II, no. 5, page 260.
heard the "harp of the winds" in the trees. This was a wellducked and well-marked trail through woods sometimes open and cheerful, sometimes dark and gloomy. Walking on through Post Corral Meadows, we reached Sand Meadow (Helms Creek), where I prepared for a little nap. H. H. started fishing. I was awakened by wild yells, and as soon as I could get my eyes open beheld H. H., the rod bent almost double, struggling with a large trout. After helping him get it ashore (it was almost a foot long), I returned to my nap. Very soon there was a duplication of the performance, so I gave it up and started supper. We got eleven beauties all told, the first real fishing of the trip. They had the ordinary markings, and what was new to me, the fine bright red spots of the Eastern brook trout.
Next day we went on upward, noting a pair of fine gray foxes on our way through the forest. The trail here passed through magnificent forests of red fir, tamrac, white fir and sugar pine. Near by dozens of beautiful snow plants were We finally left the trail and struck out across country to try to find the McKinley Grove of Big Trees, marked rather indefinitely on the maps. Upon climbing to the top of a huge rock, great was our joy when we made out a number of the sequoias among the thousands of trees visible. After plunging through the brush we came upon one of the giant redwoods and knew that we had found the grove. The impression was that of entering a great cathedral, and we went in with our hats off. The wonderful coloring and size of the trees are always soul-stirring. The grove is a small one, but is almost unspoiled by tourists, and pin-headed officials have not yet labeled the trees "General Wellington," "General Napoleon," etc. We now resumed our journey, and passing down Laurel Creek, approached the Dinkey Ranger Station. The first man we talked with since leaving Bishop Pass was a cook for the outfit of J. Robinson, well known to Sierra Club people. We rested at the station, then trudged on over a dusty road, thinking of the clean and dustless country left behind. Luckily, a delightful camp-spot was found, where a clear stream gushed out of a fragrant group of azalea.
Our walk next day was through a most desolate region of
stumps and rotting timber; the forest had been lumbered and no effort made to burn refuse. It was very depressing all the way to Shaver Lake. At the lumber company's store we got a few luxuries and then went on. The following day brought us to the Stevenson Creek station of the San Joaquin and Eastern, a short distance from where we started. We were not yet out of food, though we had been out just fifteen days from Andrews' Camp. With a little care, we could have gone seventeen or eighteen days.
OW the sun has come out after the storm, how bright, how full of freshness and tender promise and fragrance is the new world! The woods putting forth new leaves; it is a memorable season. So hopeful! These young leaves have the beauty of flowers. . . After a storm at this season, the sun comes out and lights up the tender expanding leaves, and all nature is full of light and fragrance, and the birds sing without ceasing, and the earth is a fairyland. Thoreau's Journal