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with dark pine and glimpse of white river; the other a cobalt-blue zone, in which the familiar groves and meadows were suffused with shadow-tones.

It is hard to conceive a more pointed contrast than this same view in October and June. Then, through a slumberous yet transparent atmosphere, you look down upon emerald freshness of green, upon arrowy rush of swollen river, and here and there, along pearly cliffs, as from the clouds, tumbles white, silver dust of cataracts. The voice of full soft winds swells up over rustling leaves, and, pulsating, throbs like the beating of far-off surf. All stern sublimity, all geological terribleness, are veiled away behind magic curtains of cloud-shadow and broken light. Misty brightness, glow of cliff and sparkle of foam, wealth of beautiful details, the charm of pearl and emerald, cool gulfs of violet shade stretching back in deep recesses of the walls,

these are the features which lie under the June sky.

Now all that has gone. The shattered fronts of walls stand out sharp and terrible, sweeping down in broken crag and cliff to a valley whereon the shadow of autumnal death has left its solemnity. There is no longer an air of beauty. In this cold, naked strength, one who has crowded on him the geological record of mountain work, of granite plateau suddenly rent asunder, of the slow, imperfect manner in which Nature has vainly striven to smooth her rough work, and bury the ruins with thousands of years' accumulation of soil and débris.*

Already late, we hurried to descend the trail, and were still following it when darkness overtook us; but the animals were so well acquainted with every turn, that we found no difficulty in continuing our way to Longhurst's house, and here we camped for the night.

* Débris (dā-brē'), fragments detached from the summits and sides of

mountains.

By night we had climbed to the top of the northern wall, camping at the head-waters of a small brook, named by emotional Mr. Hutchings, I believe, the Virgin's Tears. A charming camp-ground was formed by bands of russet meadow wandering in vistas through a stately forest of dark green fir-trees unusually feathered to the base. Little mahogany-colored pools surrounded with sphagnum* lay in the meadows, offering pleasant contrast of color. Our camp-ground was among clumps of thick firs, which completely walled in the fire, and made close overhanging shelters for table and beds.

The rock under us was one sheer sweep of thirty-two hundred feet; upon its face we could trace the lines of fracture and all prominent lithological changes. Directly beneath, outspread like a delicately tinted chart, lay the lovely park of Yosemite, winding in and out about the solid white feet of precipices which sunk into it on either side; its sunlit surface invaded by the shadow of the south wall; its spires of pine, open expanses of buff and drab meadow, and families of umber oaks, rising as background for the vivid green river-margin and flaming orange masses of frosted cottonwood foliage.

Deep in front, the Bridal-Veil Brook made its way through the bottom of an open gorge, and plunged off the edge of a thousand-foot cliff, falling in white water-dust and drifting in pale translucent clouds out over the treetops of the valley.

Directly opposite us, and forming the other gate-post of the valley's entrance, rose the great mass of Cathedral Rocks, — a group quite suggestive of the Florence Duomo.

But our grandest view was eastward, above the deep sheltered valley and over the tops of those terrible granite walls, out upon rolling ridges of stone and wonderful granite domes. Nothing in the whole list of irruptive products, except volcanoes themselves, is so wonderful as those domed mountains. They are of every variety of

* Pronounced spăg'nụm. A kind of fragrant moss.

[graphic]

conoidal form, having horizontal sections accurately elliptical, ovoid, or circular, and profiles varying from such semicircles as the cap behind the Sentinel to the graceful infinite curves of the North Dome. Above and beyond these, stretch back long bare ridges connecting with sunny summit peaks.

The whole region is one solid granite mass, with here and there shallow soil layers, and a thin variable forest, which grows in picturesque mode, defining the leading lines of erosion, as an artist deepens here and there a line to hint at some structural peculiarity.

A complete physical exposure of the range, from summit to base, lay before us. At one extreme stand sharpened peaks, white in fretwork of glistening ice-bank, or black, where tower straight bolts of snowless rock; at the other, stretch away plains smiling with a broad honest brown under autumn sunlight. They are not quite lovable even in distant tranquillity of hue, and just escape being interesting in spite of their familiar rivers and associated belts of oak. Nothing can ever render them quite charming, for, in the startling splendor of flowerclad April, you are surfeited with an embarrassment of beauty, at all other times stunned by their poverty. Not so the summits; forever new, full of individuality, rich in detail, and coloring themselves anew under every cloudchange or hue of heaven, they lay you under their spell.

From them the eye comes back over granite waves and domes to the sharp precipice-edges overhanging Yosemite. We look down those vast, hard, granite fronts, cracked and splintered, scarred and stained, down over gorges crammed with débris or dark with files of climbing pines. Lower, the precipice-feet are wrapped in meadow and grove, and beyond, level and sunlit, lies the floor, — that

smooth river-cut park, with exquisite perfection of finish. An excursion which Cotter and I made to the top of the Three Brothers proved of interest. A half-hour's walk from camp, over rolling granite country, brought us to a ridge which jutted boldly out from the plateau to the edge of the Yosemite wall. Here again we were on the verge of a precipice, this time four thousand two hundred feet high. Beneath us the whole upper half of the valley was as clearly seen as the southern half had been from Capitan. The sinuosities of the Merced, those narrow silvery gleams which indicate the channel of the Yosemite Creek, the broad expanse of meadow, and débris trains which had bounded down the Sentinel slope, were all laid out under us, though diminished by immense depth.

The loftiest and most magnificent parts of the walls crowded in a semicircle in front of us; above them the domes, lifted even higher than ourselves, swept down to the precipice-edges. Directly to our left, we overlooked the goblet-like recess into which the Yosemite tumbles, and could see the white torrent leap through its granite lip, disappearing a thousand feet below, hidden from our view by projecting crags; its roar floating up to us, now resounding loudly, and again dying off in faint reverberations, like the sounding of the sea.

I found it extremest pleasure to lie there alone on the dizzy brink, studying the fine sculpture of cliff and crag, and watching that slow grand growth of afternoon shadows. Sunset found me there, still disinclined to stir, and repaid me by a glorious spectacle of color. At this hour there is no more splendid contrast of light and shade than one sees upon the western gateway itself, -dark-shadowed Capitan upon one side, profiled against the sunset

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