« PreviousContinue »
Appalachian Mountain Club, Boston and New York.
United States National Parks Service, Washington. Among the common aims, aside from the exploration and mapping of mountain regions and the ascent of leading peaks, are the creation, protection, and proper development of National Parks and Forest Reservations, the protection of bird and animal life, and of trees and flowers. Many of the clubs and societies issue illustrated publications on mountaineering, exploration, and conservation, and are educating their members by lectures to a deeper appreciation of nature.
The bureau publishes an annual bulletin giving the officers, membership, dues, publications, lantern slide collections, outings, and other matters of interest of each club. Data on mountains and mountaineering activities are supplied in response to inquiries.
Acquaintance with the literature of a subject is essential to efficient work in the field, and the bureau sends many important new books on mountaineering and outdoor life to its members free of charge. A large collection of mountaineering literature has been gathered in the central building of the New York Public Library, and the American Alpine Club has deposited its books therein, providing a permanent fund for additions. A bibliography of this collection has been published by the library. An extensive collection of photographs of mountain scenery is being formed and is available to anyone wishing to supplement the literature of a region with its scenery.
Le Roy JEFFERS, Secretary
476 Fifth Avenue, New York
The TEHIPITE VALLEY AND THE KINGS RIVER CAÑON, GREATER SEQUOIA Address delivered at the Washington, D.C., National Parks
Conference by Robert Sterling Yard When I began to study our national parks in preparation for the great work we had undertaken, the glories of the Sierra stood out before my mental vision perhaps in more stupendous relief than any other feature. At this time I was drawing my knowledge from books and men; as yet I had visited no national parks; and the men were enthusiasts.
Almost from the first I learned of the great country between Yosemite and Sequoia, which ought to be a national park some day. In fact that is what I called it, the Ought-to-be-Sequoia, before the name Greater Sequoia was devised. Before I knew anything definite about any other valley in our national parks besides the Yosemite Valley, I was familiar with the fact that the Kings River Cañon and the Tehipite Valley were, next to Yosemite, the grandest valleys on this continent. My teacher was Robert Bradford Marshall, Chief Geographer of the United States Geological Survey, and chief lover of national parks. His splendid enthusiasm kindled the fires in me.
Few whom I had then met had yet seen these valleys, and few I have met since have seen them. They are almost unknown today outside of California, and little known there. Not even Muir, so far as I know, described them, though I have found various references to both in his writings. Yet they are destined to become celebrated next to Yosemite's incomparable valley. I expect to see the day when the three shall inevitably be mentioned together.
Both originate in the everlasting snows of the Sierra summits. The Middle Fork and the South Fork of the Kings River, respectively, have carved them from the living granite. Each lies east and west, a short day's journey, as the trail winds, apart. It was my great fortune to see both last summer, and I can best picture them by reading brief extracts from a record of that trip. (Reads :)
Time will not dim our memory of Tehipite or the august valley or the leaping, singing river as we saw them on that charmed day. Well short of Yosemite, in the kind of beauty that startles and bewilders, the Tehipite Valley nevertheless far excels it in bigness and power and majesty. Lookout Point, a couple of miles south, afforded our first sensation. Here the rising trail emerged upon a broken mass of rock standing well out over the head of the cañon and 3000 feet above it, disclosing Tehipite Dome in full relief. It is one of the great views, in fact it is one of the very greatest of all our views, and by far the grandest valley view I have looked upon, for the rim view into Yosemite by comparison is not so grand as it is beautiful. The cañon revealed itself to the east as far as Mount Woodworth, its lofty diversified walls lifting precipitously from the heavy forests of the floor and sides, and, from our high viewpoint, yielding to still greater heights above. Enormous cliffs abutted, Yosemitelike, at intervals. South of us, directly across the cañon, rose the strenuous heights of the Monarch Divide, Mount Harrington towering 1000 feet higher above the valley floor than Clouds Rest above the Yosemite.
Down the slopes of the Monarch Divide, seemingly from its turreted summits, cascaded many frothing streams. Happy Gap, the Eagle Peaks, Blue Cañon Falls, Silver Spur, the Gorge of Despair, Lost Cañon, these were some of the romantic and appropriate titles we found on the Geological Survey map. And, close at hand, opposite Mount Harrington and just across Crown Creek Cañon, rose mighty Tehipite. We looked down upon its rounded, glistening dome. The Tehipite Dome is a true Yosemite feature. It compares in height and prominence with El Capitan. In fact it stands higher above the valley floor and occupies a similar position at the valley's western gate. It is not so massive as El Capitan and, therefore, not so impressive; but it is superb. It is better compared with Half Dome, though again not so impressive. But it has its own august personality, as notably so as either of these worldfamed rocks; and, if it stood in the Yosemite, would share with them the incomparable valley's highest honors.
From the floor the whole aspect of the valley changed. Looking up, Tehipite Dome, now outlined against the sky, and the neighboring abrupt castellated walls, towered more hugely than ever. We did not need the map to know that some of these heights exceeded Yosemite's. The skyline was fantastically carved into spires and domes, a counterpart in gigantic miniature of the Great Sierra of which it was the valley climax. The Yosemite measure of sublimity, perhaps, lacked, but in its place was a more rugged grandeur, a certain suggestion of vastness and power that I have not seen elsewhere. The impression was strengthened by the floor itself, which contains no suggestion whatever of Yosemite's exquisiteness. Instead, it offers rugged spaciousness. In place of Yosemite's peaceful woods and meadows, here were tangled giant-studded thickets and mountainous masses of enormous broken talus. Instead of the quiet, winding Merced, here was a surging, smashing, frothing, cascading, roaring torrent, several times its volume, which filled the valley with its turbulence.
Once step foot on the valley floor and all thought of comparison with Yosemite vanishes forever. This is a different thing altogether, but a thing in its own way no less superlative in its distinction. The keynote of the Tehipite Valley is wild exuberance. It thrills where Yosemite enervates. Yet its temperature is quite as mild.
The Kings contains more trout than any other stream I have fished. We found them in pools and riffles everywhere; no water was too white to get a rise. In the long greenish-white borders of fast rapids they floated continually into view. In five minutes watching I could count a dozen or more such appearances within a few feet of water. They ran from 8 to 14 inches. No doubt larger ones lay below. So I got great fun out of picking my particular trout and casting specially for him. Stop your fly's motion and the pursuing fish instantly stops, backs, swims round the lure in a tour of examination and disappears. Start it moving and he instantly reappears from the white depth where no doubt he has been cautiously watching. A pause and a swift start often tempted to a strike. These rainbows of the torrents are hard fighters. And
many of them, if ungently handled, availed of swift currents to thresh themselves free. You must fish a river to appreciate it. Standing on its edges, leaping from rock to rock, slipping thigh deep at times, wading recklessly to reach some pool or eddy of special promise, searching the rapids, peering under the alders, testing the pools; that's the way to make friends with a river. You study its moods and its ways as those of a mettlesome horse. And after a while its spirit seeps through and finds your soul. Its personality unveils. A sweet friendliness unites you, a sense of mutual understanding. There follows the completest detachment that I know. Years and the worries disappear. You and the river dream away the unnoted hours.
The approach to Granite Pass en route from the Tehipite Valley to the Kings River Cañon was nothing short of magnificent. We entered a superb cirque studded with lakelets. It was a noble setting. We could see the pass ahead of us on a fine snow-crowned bench. We ascended the bench and found ourselves, not in the pass, but in the entrance to another cirque, also lake-studded, a loftier, nobler cirque encircling the one below.
But surely we were there. Those inspiring snow - daubed heights whose sharply serrated edges cut sharply into the sky certainly marked the supreme summit. Our winding trail up sharp rocky ascents pointed straight to the shelf which must be our pass. An hour's toil would carry us over. The hour passed and the crossing of the shelf disclosed, not the glowing valley of the South Fork across the pass, but still a vaster, nobler cirque, sublime in Arctic glory!
How the vast glaciers that cut these titanic carvings must have swirled among these huge concentric walls, pouring over this shelf and that, piling together around these uplifting granite peaks, concentrating combined effort upon this unyielding mass and that, and, beaten back, pouring down the tortuous main channel with rendings and tearings unimaginable! Granite Pass is astonishing! We saw no less than four of these vast concentric cirques, through three of which we passed. And the Geological Survey map discloses a tributary basin to the east inclosing a group of large volcanic lakes and doubtless other vast cirquelike chambers. We took photographs, but knew them vain.
A long, dusty descent of Copper Creek, which McCormick correctly diagnosed as something fierce, brought us, near day's end, into the exquisite valley of the South Fork of the Kings River-the Kings River Cañon. Still another Yosemite !
It is not so easy to differentiate the two cañons of the Kings. They are similar and yet very different. Perhaps the difference lies chiefly in degree. Both lie east and west, with enormous rocky bluffs rising on either side of rivers of quite extraordinary beauty. Both present carved and castellated walls of exceptional boldness of design. Both are heavily and magnificently wooded, the forests reaching up sharp slopes on either side. Both possess to a marked degree the quality that lifts them above the average of even the Sierra's glacial valleys. But the outlines here seem to be softer, the valley floor broader, the river less turbulent. If the keynote of the Tehipite Valley is wild exuberance, that of the Kings River Cañon is wild beauty. The one excites, the other lulls. The one shares with Yosemite the distinction of extraordinary outline, the other shares with Yosemite the distinction of extraordinary charm. The greater of these two cañons is destined to become famous under the name of its part, the Tehipite Valley; the lesser will have the undivided possession of the title, Kings Cañon. Tehipite is as distinctive and unusual a name as Yosemite. But the Middle Fork of the Kings is by far a greater stream from every point of view than the beautiful South Fork. Looking ahead, this cañon of the South Fork seems destined to the quicker and the greater development. It is broader, Aatter, and more livable. It lends itself to hostelries, of which two already exist. It is more easily reached and already has some patronage. Moreover, from its name and position, it is the natural recipient of whatever publicity grows out of both. Tehipite has to build from the ground up.
There are few nobler spots than the junction of Copper Creek with the Kings. The Grand Sentinel is seldom surpassed. It fails of the personality of El Capitan, Half Dome, and Tehipite, but it only just fails. If they did not exist, it would become the most celebrated rock in the Sierra, at least. The view up the cañon from this spot has few equals. The view down the cañon is not often excelled. When the day of the Kings River Cañon dawns, it will dawn brilliantly. We loped and ambled and galloped down this gorgeous valley, filled to the brim with the joy of its broad forested flats and its soft invigorating air. The walls were glorious. Those in shadow were clothed in purple, streaked and blotched with yellows and many dark ochers. Large areas were frosted with grays of many shades, some on abutting cliffs shining like silver. The walls in sunlight showed interesting differences. The purples of the shaded side now became dark grays; the light grays, white. The yellows faded or acquired greenish tints. Here and there in broad sunlight appeared splotches of vivid green, probably stains of copper salts.
A TRIP TO CRATER LAKE ON SKIS Crater Lake has always proved a powerful magnet in drawing me there at different seasons, and I have made my pilgrimages in various waysby wagon, horseback, mule-team, auto and snow-shoes. I decided last March to attempt the trip on skis. . .
Mr. Frank I. Jones and I left Klamath Falls March 12, 1917. It was a cold, clear day. We followed the shore of Upper Klamath Lake, Mt. Shasta and Mt. McLoughlin, better known as Mt. Pitt, appearing across the broad white expanse, for the lake was a solid sheet of snow-covered