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THE YO SEMITE VALLEY IN CALIFORNIA.

1. This wonderful region, situated near the south-west base of the Sierra Nevada, almost directly inland from San Francisco, at a distance of 170 miles, is thus described by Mr. Frederick Law Olmsted:

2. “The main feature of the Yo Semite is best indicated in one word- La chasm. It is a chasm nearly a mile in average width, however, and more than ten miles in length. The central and broader part of this chasm is occupied at the bottom by a series of groves of magnificent trees, and meadows of the most varied, luxuriant, and exquisite herbage, through which meanders a broad stream of the clearest water, rippling over a pebbly bottom, and eddying among banks of fern and rushes; and sometimes narrowed into sparkling rapids; and sometimes expanding into placid pools, which reflect the wondrous heights on either side.

3. “The walls of the chasm are generally half a mile, sometimes nearly a mile in height above these meadows, and, where most lofty, are nearly perpendicular, sometimes overjutting. At frequent intervals, however, they are cleft, broken, terraced, and sloped, and in these places as well as everywhere upon the summit they are overgrown by thick clusters of trees. There is nothing strange or exotic in the character of the vegetation, most of the trees and plants, especially those of the meadows and water side, are closely allied to, and are not readily distinguished from, those most common in the landscapes of the Eastern States or the Midland Counties of England.

4. “The stream is such a one as Shakspere delighted in, and brings pleasing reminiscences to the traveller of the

Avon or the upper Thames. Banks of heart's-ease and beds of cowslips and daisies are frequent, and thickets of alder, dogwood, and willow often fringe the shores.

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several points streams of water flow into the chasm, descending at one leap from 500 to 1400 feet. One small stream falls in three closely consecutive pitches a distance of 2600 feet, which is more than fifteen times the height of the falls of the Niagara. In the spray of these falls superb rainbows are seen.

5. “At certain points the walls of rock are ploughed in polished horizontal furrows, at others moraines of boulders and pebbles are found; both evincing the terrific force with which, in past ages of the earth's history, a glacier has moved down the chasm from among the adjoining peaks of the Sierras. Beyond the lofty walls still loftier mountains rise, some crowned by forests, others in simple rounded cones of light gray granite.

6. “The climate of the region is never dry like that of the lower parts of California. Even when for several months not a drop of rain has fallen 20 miles to the westward, and the country there is parched and all vegetation withered, the Yo Semite continues to receive frequent soft showers and to be dressed throughout in living green.

7. "After midsummer a light transparent haze generally pervades the atmosphere, giving an indescribable softness and exquisite dreamy charm to the scenery, like that produced by the Indian summer of the East. Clouds gathering at this season upon the snowy peaks which rise within 40 miles on each side of the chasm to a height of over 12,000 feet, sometimes roll down over the cliffs in the afternoon, and, under the influence of the rays of the setting sun, form the most gorgeous and magnificent thunderheads. The average elevation of the ground is greater than that of the highest peak of the White Mountains or the Alleghanies, and the air is rare and bracing; yet its temperature is never uncomfortably cool in summer, nor severe in winter.

8. "Flowering shrubs of sweet fragrance and balmy herbs abound in the meadows, and there is everywhere a delicate odour of the prevailing foliage in the pines and cedars. The water of the streams is soft and limpid, as clear as crystal, abounds with trout, and, except near its source, is, during the heat of the summer, of an agreeable temperature for bathing. In the lower part of the valley there are copious mineral springs, the water of one of which is regarded by the aboriginal inhabitants as having remarkable curative properties. A basin still exists to which weak and sickly persons were formerly brought for bathing

9. "The water has not been analysed, but that it possesses highly tonic as well as other medicinal qualities can be readily seen. In the neighbouring mountains there are also springs strongly charged with carbonic acid gas, and said to resemble in taste the Empire Springs of Saratoga. Associated with this valley in the grant of Congress to California for public purposes are four sections of land, about 30 miles distant from it, on which stand, in the midst of a forest composed of the usual trees and shrubs of the western slope of the Sierra Nevada, about 600 mature trees of the giant Sequoia (Wellingtonia). Among them is one known through numerous paintings and photographs as the Grizzly Giant, which probably is the noblest tree in the world.

10. “Besides this, there are hundreds of such beauty and stateliness, that to one who moves among them in the reverent mood to which they so strongly incite the mind, it will not seem strange that intelligent travellers have declared that they would rather have passed by Niagara itself than have missed this grove.

11. “In the region intermediate between the two districts the scenery generally is of a grand character, consisting of granite mountains and a forest composed mainly of coniferous trees of great size. These are often more perfect, vigorous, and luxuriant than trees of half the

size on the Atlantic side of the continent. It is not, however, in its grandeur or in its forests' beauty that the attraction of this intermediate region consists, so much as in the more secluded charms of some of its glens, formed by mountain torrents fed from the snow banks of the higher Sierras."

region, country.
Sierra, a Spanish name applied to

mountains whose summits pre

sent a saw-like appearance. San Francisco, the capital of

California, and the chief seaport on the W. coast of N.

America. main, chief, indicated, described. chasm, a wide opening. magnificent, very grand. luxuriant, very rich. exquisite, very choice. meanders, winds about. perpendicular, upright. exotic, foreign. reminiscences, reminders. Falls of Niagara, one of the

finest waterfalls in the world, on the river St. Lawrence, between Lake Erie and Lake

Ontario in North America. superb, most beautiful.

moraines, stones deposited by the

melting of a moving glacier. evincing, showing California, a large country in the

western part of N. America. glacier, an ice field. transparent, that can be seen

through pervades, spreads throughout. Alleghanies, a range of moun

tains in the eastern parts of the

United States in N. America. indescribable, not to be expressed. fragrance, smell. foliage, leaves. consecutive, one after another. aboriginal, primitive. analysed, examined chemically. Saratoga, a town in the state of

New York, United States of

America. coniferous trees, i.e. trees bear

ing cones, as the fir. secluded, retired.

In what part of the world is the Yo Semite valley situated ? How far is it from San Francisco? What is its length? Width? How high are the rocks on its sides? What flows through it? Wnat vegetation is found there? What flowers found in England grow on the banks of the stream ? Describe the climate after mid

What sort of shrubs are found in this valley? In what part of the valley are the mineral springs found? What qualities does the water possess ? What great trees are found near this valley?

summer.

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