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Title: Oregon the Picturesque
Author: Murphy, Thomas D.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration]



  OREGON
  THE
  PICTURESQUE



_By the Same Author_


British Highways and Byways from a Motor Car

THIRD IMPRESSION

WITH FORTY-EIGHT ILLUSTRATIONS AND TWO MAPS

Sixteen Reproductions in Color, and Thirty-two Duogravures 320 Pages,
8vo, Decorated Cloth Price (Boxed), $3.00 Net


In Unfamiliar England with a Motor Car

SECOND IMPRESSION

WITH SIXTY-FOUR ILLUSTRATIONS AND TWO MAPS

Sixteen Reproductions in Color and Forty-eight Duogravures 400 Pages,
8vo, Decorated Cloth Price (Boxed), $3.00 Net


Three Wonderlands of the American West

SECOND IMPRESSION

WITH FORTY-EIGHT ILLUSTRATIONS AND TWO MAPS

Sixteen Reproductions in Color and Thirty-two Duogravures 180 Pages,
Tall 8vo, Decorated Cloth Price (Boxed), $3.50 Net


On Old-World Highways

WITH FIFTY-SIX ILLUSTRATIONS AND THREE MAPS

Sixteen Reproductions in Color and Forty Duogravures 388 Pages, 8vo,
Decorated Cloth Price (Boxed), $3.00 Net


On Sunset Highways

WITH FIFTY-SIX ILLUSTRATIONS AND MAPS

Sixteen Reproductions in Color and Forty Duogravures 376 Pages, 8vo,
Decorated Cloth Price (Boxed), $3.00 Net


THE PAGE COMPANY, BOSTON



[Illustration: BISHOP’S CAP, COLUMBIA HIGHWAY

Copyright Winter Photo Co., Portland, Oregon]



  OREGON
  THE
  PICTURESQUE

  [Illustration]

  [Illustration]

      A Book of Rambles in the Oregon Country and in the Wilds of
       Northern California; Descriptive Sketches and Pictures of
             Crater and Klamath Lakes, the Deschutes River
                 Canyon, the New Columbia Highway, the
                       Willamette and Rogue River
                         Valleys and the Cities
                      and Towns of Oregon; also of
               the little-known Lakes, Rivers, Mountains,
              and Vast Forests of Northern California, to
            which is added a trip to the Yosemite and to the
    Roosevelt Dam and the Petrified Forest of Arizona, by Motor Car.


  BY
  Thos. D. Murphy

  Author of
  “On Sunset Highways”, “Three Wonderlands of the American
  West”, “In Unfamiliar England” etc., etc.


  With a Map, Covering the Country Described and Showing
  the Author’s Route, and with Forty Plates, of
  which Sixteen are in Color


  [Illustration]


  BOSTON
  THE PAGE COMPANY
  MDCCCCXVII



  Copyright 1917
  By THE PAGE COMPANY
  (Incorporated)

  All Rights Reserved

  First Impression, October, 1917



Preface


I know quite well that there have been books without end dealing with
our great Pacific Coast, and I feel that a writer who adds another
ought to have some good excuse for such action. I flatter myself that I
have sufficient warrant for this modest addition to western literature
in that my book will not deal with the widely traveled and much
heralded sections of this great country, but to a large extent with
its little visited and comparatively unfamiliar regions. Ninety per
cent of existing books on California have dealt with San Francisco and
the region to the south of that city. None, so far as I can discover,
have covered in detail, the vast mountain-studded wonderland that
comprises the northern half of California and very few have dealt with
the eastern half of Oregon, which undoubtedly can boast of some of the
most impressive and picturesque scenery in the whole world. I dislike
that overworked--almost banal--“picturesque,” too, but if there is
any excuse whatever for its use, surely it is in this connection. If
my language is not strong and colorful enough to prove it, I can rest
assured that the forty beautiful plates which grace this book will
settle the question beyond peradventure. There is only one thing more
convincing--a personal visit to this little-known American wonderland,
and this, I hope, every one of my readers will find opportunity to
accomplish some time or other.

In the title to my book I have given Oregon preeminence,--though I
have covered some adjacent territory outside of the state--because I
feel that the predominating interest will be centered in this great
commonwealth. I believe I have covered nearly everything in the state
that will be likely to interest the average tourist and many of those
who make the round by motor will no doubt make San Francisco their
starting-point, as we ourselves did. In such cases, our opinion is that
the routes we pursued through Northern California are well worth while.

In addition to the credit given with each of the splendid photographs
reproduced in this book, I wish to reiterate here my obligation to
Portland’s masters of the camera, the Winter Co., the Weister Co., and
Mr. Fred H. Kiser, who so kindly permitted the use of some of their
most beautiful pictures as illustrations.

October 1, 1917.

                                        THE AUTHOR.



CONTENTS


                                                                    PAGE
     I  AN UNFAMILIAR WONDERLAND                                       1

    II  TO THE LAND OF SKY-BLUE WATER                                 23

   III  RENO TO KLAMATH FALLS                                         57

    IV  THE MARVELS OF CRATER LAKE                                    81

     V  CRATER LAKE TO THE DALLES                                    110

    VI  WHERE ROLLS THE OREGON                                       132

   VII  THE VALE OF THE WILLAMETTE                                   162

  VIII  GRANTS PASS TO EUREKA                                        184

    IX  EUREKA TO CLOVERDALE                                         216

        INTO YOSEMITE BY MOTOR                                       245

        A RUN TO THE ROOSEVELT DAM AND TO THE PETRIFIED FOREST       277



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


  COLOR PLATES

                                                                    PAGE
  BISHOP’S CAP, COLUMBIA HIGHWAY                            Frontispiece

  THE OAKS AT SUNSET                                                   1

  A CORNER OF LAKE TAHOE                                              23

  ACROSS LAKE TAHOE                                                   34

  CRATER LAKE                                                         81

  SHIP ROCK, CRATER LAKE                                              90

  SUNSET ON THE COLUMBIA                                             132

  FROM INSPIRATION POINT, COLUMBIA HIGHWAY                           140

  SHEPPERD’S DELL BRIDGE, COLUMBIA RIVER HIGHWAY                     148

  THE WILLAMETTE NEAR EUGENE, OREGON                                 174

  ON THE PACIFIC HIGHWAY IN OREGON                                   176

  THROUGH THE DEL NORTE REDWOODS                                     194

  SAND DUNES ON THE NORTH COAST                                      216

  THE MENDOCINO COAST                                                234

  EL CAPITAN, YOSEMITE                                               245

  SOLITUDE--THE ARIZONA NATIONAL FORESTS                             277


  DUOGRAVURES

  ON THE LOWER COLUMBIA RIVER HIGHWAY                                 12

  ON THE PACIFIC HIGHWAY                                              16

  CAVE ROCK, LAKE TAHOE                                               48

  THE ROAD TO CRATER LAKE                                             84

  WIZARD ISLAND FROM GARFIELD PEAK                                    96

  CRATER LAKE--WIZARD ISLAND IN DISTANCE                             102

  LLAO ROCK, CRATER LAKE                                             108

  SAND CREEK CANYON PINNACLES                                        110

  THE THREE SISTERS, DESCHUTES CANYON                                112

  THE DESCHUTES NEAR NORTH JUNCTION                                  116

  OVERLOOKING DESCHUTES CANYON. MT. JEFFERSON                        120

  MT. HOOD FROM TYGH VALLEY                                          122

  OR BON DESCHUTES RIVER CANYON                                      126

  THE DESCHUTES RIVER CANYON                                         130

  ONEONTA TUNNEL, COLUMBIA RIVER HIGHWAY                             134

  COLUMBIA HIGHWAY AT MITCHELL POINT                                 136

  AROUND TOOTH MOUNTAIN, COLUMBIA HIGHWAY                            138

  SHEPPARD’S BRIDGE FROM BENEATH--COLUMBIA HIGHWAY                   142

  SHEPPERD’S BRIDGE, COLUMBIA HIGHWAY                                146

  COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE FROM CHANTICLEER INN                          152

  COLUMBIA HIGHWAY NEAR EAGLE CREEK                                  156

  PORTLAND AND MT. HOOD                                              160

  ALONG THE COLUMBIA HIGHWAY                                         162

  PRUNE ORCHARDS NEAR DUNDEE, OREGON, WILLAMETTE VALLEY              166


  MAPS

  MAP SHOWING AUTHOR’S ROUTE                                         314



[Illustration: THE OAKS AT SUNSET

From painting by Gordon Coutts]



Oregon--The Picturesque



I

AN UNFAMILIAR WONDERLAND


Twenty thousand miles of motoring had made us familiar with most of the
highways and byways of California lying south of San Francisco. Some
of these roads we covered but once in our wanderings and others many
times--only a few outlying sections and odd corners have so far escaped
us and these we hope to add to our conquests in due course of time. I
do not think it possible for any motor enthusiast ever to grow weary
of the wonderland of Southern California with its miles and miles of
splendid road, its endless variety of scenery, and its enlivening dash
of historic romance. But we had done all this, and when the wanderlust
came upon us again we cast about, temporarily, of course--for we felt
that Sunset Land would eventually claim us again--for new fields of
adventure with our companion of the wind-shod wheels.

And so it happened with us and we found ourselves scanning with
no small degree of interest and anticipation maps of the vast
mountain-studded country stretching from San Francisco to the Columbia
River. We had met infrequent motorists who had penetrated parts of this
comparatively unfamiliar region and their tales were enough to arouse
our curiosity and to intensify our desire to explore these virgin
fastnesses of shining lakes, vast forests, and rugged hills, but the
contemplation of such an undertaking caused us some uneasiness and
misgiving, we are free to confess.

Here one will not find a system of smooth, well-engineered boulevards,
but is confronted by a series of widely dissevered mountain trails
which climb long, laborious grades or creep along precipitous slopes,
deep with dust in late summer and stony and rough at all times. Indeed,
many of the roads we planned to traverse are closed by snowdrifts
during the greater part of the year and the preferable time for touring
is from July to September inclusive. Later, one may encounter the first
showers of the rainy season--as it happened with ourselves--and many
of these mountain grades are described as “impassable” in wet weather.
One of our informants told us of his harrowing experience in passing a
night in his car on a slippery grade of the so-called Pacific Highway
in Oregon until daylight and a cessation of the shower made it possible
to proceed. He completed his drive to Portland but shipped his car
back to San Francisco by steamer--no one but a fool, he said, would
wish to drive both ways over such a road.

And yet, when we called on the well-informed Automobile Association
in San Francisco, we were assured that the Pacific Highway was the
standard route to Portland and when we proposed to proceed north from
Lake Tahoe on the eastern side of the Sierras through Central Oregon to
The Dalles and to return through Eugene, Grants Pass, Crescent City,
and Eureka, we were regarded as being afflicted with a mild species of
dementia. We were assured that while it might be possible to make the
round with a good car, it was certainly not worth while; we would find
rough, stony roads and endless steep grades, and the trip would try any
machine and driver to the limit--all of which we found to be verily
true save that we can never agree that it wasn’t worth while--a mere
matter of opinion, after all.

A few extracts from our road-book covering some of the route seemed to
prove that the auto people knew what they were talking about. We found
such cheerful information as “Roads poor; many sharp curves and heavy
grades up to thirty per cent” and again, “Roads mountainous, heavy
grades, sharp curves.” Of the hills about Eureka we were cautioned,
“Roads poor, heavy grades up to thirty per cent; sharp curves; use
care,” and I might quote similar data concerning our prospective route
ad infinitum--but we found that really the worst parts of the road were
not charted at all, for the book did not cover our proposed tour in
Oregon.

We had, however, set our hearts too fondly on the trip to be easily
deterred and we determined to proceed, making careful inquiry of local
conditions from town to town; at the worst we would always have the
option of retracing our route. We felt sure that our car, a Pierce
forty-eight, was equal to any road that any motor-driven vehicle could
master--and nobly did it live up to our anticipations; in four thousand
miles of strenuous work, chiefly among the mountains, it did not give
us a moment’s trouble.

For the greater part of our proposed route we were unable to secure
detailed descriptive maps such as cover so many of the main roads
on the coast and we had considerable misgivings about being able to
find our way, though we may anticipate a little by saying that this
misgiving proved quite unfounded. We had no need of such carefully
detailed maps and those we were able to secure met every requirement,
for we found the roads well signed, even in the loneliest and most
remote sections. We were seldom at a loss for our route; we did not
go astray a single time and were never delayed to any extent for
lack of road information. In the wildest and most thinly inhabited
regions there is usually but one road and we found the local garages
an unfailing source of reliable information as to the best route to
the next town. Indeed, many of them were perfectly familiar with
road conditions within a radius of a hundred miles, since in these
isolated villages--some of them to be reached only by automobile--the
garage men are accustomed to drive customers long distances in all
directions. Even the smallest places have one or more garages fairly
well equipped to take care of the travelers’ needs. We found it
unnecessary to carry an extra supply of gasoline with us, though there
were times when we became uneasy lest we should find ourselves short
of that very necessary fluid. A gravity-fed car may fail on some of
the steep grades, even with a goodly quantity of gasoline in the tank,
and this should be borne in mind by the tourist. Cars are not frequent
on many of these roads and a shortage of gasoline might prove a very
inconvenient matter, to say the least.

At one of the remotest points on our trip we were hailed by a
fellow-motorist in distress--twenty-five miles from the nearest supply
station and with a tank so nearly empty that he could not climb the
grades. He had waited long for a passing car and one or two that had
come along could not help him out, being fearful of their own supply.
Then he hired a horse of a ranchman and visited the half-dozen houses
in the vicinity without success. We were able to spare a gallon or two
and he went on his way rejoicing. We always wondered, though, if he did
not meet with more grief before he mastered the nine-mile, twenty-five
per cent grade before him. Of course, it wasn’t twenty-five per cent
all the way, but a twenty-five per cent grade for only fifty yards may
be just as much of an obstacle, if your gasoline is low, as one many
times as long.

We carried five gallons of water in two canvas-covered canteens, but
had little occasion to use it, as our motor seldom heated and we had
cool weather on some of the heaviest grades. An extra supply of water
may be a prime necessity, however, in very warm weather or in case of
motors inclined to heat under heavy work. There are grades where it
is a steady, low-gear grind for most cars for miles at a stretch and
frequently no water to be had. In such cases the canteen or canvas
water bag may prove a God-send, indeed.

With a heavy car one should start out with a new set of tires all
around and a couple of spares, also new. Tires for medium and small
cars can be found at most of the country garages, but few of them stock
the larger sizes. On such a tour one can not afford to take unnecessary
chances with tires--it would be exceedingly inconvenient to experience
a “blow-out” on a narrow, thirty per cent grade. Some of the runs will
keep one busy enough without fooling away time on tires--if it can be
helped. So new tires and the best will be economy in the long run. One
must be prepared to see them suffer severely from the sharp stones
that strew the roads in many places--but we found it possible to make
the three-thousand-mile round without a puncture, though our casings
were sadly cut and scarred at the end and some of them had apparently
reached the limit of their usefulness.

In the recesses of some of these giant hills a serious breakdown is a
calamity, indeed. It is impossible to tow the car to a repair shop and
it must be abandoned until necessary parts are obtained and repairs
completed by the roadside where the accident occurred. We saw quite a
number of these abandoned machines and wondered what luck the owners
had in getting assistance. In some cases it would have been a serious
matter to undertake to walk to the nearest house. In one instance
we had the pleasure of giving an unfortunate a lift just as he was
starting on a seventeen-mile trudge with a broken axle rod over his
shoulder. Another very serious feature of many of these breakdowns
was the time it must have required to get the new parts--all of which
reflections served to make us doubly thankful for the complete immunity
which our sturdy car enjoyed. Undoubtedly, the safest car for such a
tour is the heavy, powerful, and practically unbreakable car of the
type we used, or the light, agile Ford, for which a full line of parts
can be found in even the smaller towns of the remote districts. We did
not meet many cars on the greater part of our trip, but of these, fully
nine-tenths were Fords. In many cases they carried a complete camping
outfit, making the occupants independent of hotels and daily schedules.

As to the hotels encountered in our month’s jaunt through the wilds, we
will deal with them in detail as we proceed with our story--but we may
generalize by saying that the average was wonderfully good. In towns of
a thousand or less we often found comfortable and well-appointed inns
where we could get rooms with private bath, and in the medium-sized
places the hotels were often truly metropolitan in size and
furnishings. In the smaller places the rates for rooms were low and in
the larger towns moderate in comparison with city charges. Nearly all
the hotels, however, were operated on the so-called European plan--you
pay separately for room and meals--and the “high cost of living” was
usually strongly in evidence in the restaurants. Although the touring
season was nearly past when we began our trip, many resorts being
closed at Tahoe and elsewhere, we found the hotels surprisingly well
patronized and in a few cases we secured accommodations with difficulty.

Not being familiar with the hotels, it was not always practical to wire
for reservation--a practice worth while where one has the necessary
information. Sometimes we could get a tip from the hotel people as to
the best stopping-place in the next town, but this did not always prove
reliable, as the inn-keepers sometimes let personal reasons influence
them to recommend a second-rate hotel. Neither can the average hotel
directory be depended upon; many of the towns in the section we covered
are not even listed and improvement marches so rapidly in this country
that any information a few months old may be out of date. We found fine
hotels under construction in two or three towns and they are likely
to spring up almost overnight anywhere in this country. So, if one is
uncertain, perhaps as good a plan as any is to wait until the day’s
destination is reached and then make inquiries. This is usually safe if
you do not arrive too late in the day; we planned our runs, as a rule,
to bring us in well before dark and in several cases we saw later
arrivals turned away from our hotel. We reached one good-sized town,
where there is only one first-class hotel, about four o’clock in the
afternoon and the landlord told us he turned away no fewer than thirty
would-be guests after our arrival.

We might remark here that we almost invariably carried our noonday
luncheon with us and ate it amidst the best surroundings we could
discover at the time. Often no place was at hand anywhere near the
luncheon hour where a meal could be secured, or if there happened to
be it generally proved a poor one, while a few nicely made sandwiches,
with fruit, nearly always to be found in this country, and hot coffee
from our thermos bottles, cost less than hotel meals and was far more
satisfactory; besides, this plan consumed less time and gave us the
advantage of enjoying the great out-of-doors, often with a magnificent
scene before us.

As I have intimated, we met a good many fellow-motorists who carried
the out-of-door idea to a still greater extent, for they had with them
complete camping outfits, including the tents which sheltered them at
nightfall. In some parts of the country very delightful camping sites
could be found with trees and clear spring water near at hand; but
there were long stretches of road where none of these conveniences
existed and nothing save barren, stony soil or sagebrush-studded sand
greeted the wayfarer’s eyes. Occasionally we passed campers who were
making the best of such surroundings, but they did not present the
cheerful appearance of those who had lighted upon some grassy glade
under a group of fragrant balsam pines. A goodly number of the campers
were hunters, for we were in the midst of the season in California and
Oregon--we ourselves saw several deer by the roadside and occasionally
started a long-tailed pheasant or jack-rabbit from cover. Still more
numerous were the beautiful California quail which frequently arose in
large flocks as our car brushed through some dense thicket that skirted
the roadside. Considering the long distance we traveled through virgin
wildernesses, however, we saw little of wild life.

If the hotels along our route averaged quite moderate in charges,
the garages did their best to even things up; gasoline is, indeed, a
precious fluid in this country, prices ranging from thirty to fifty
cents per gallon. We paid the latter figure only once, but thirty-five
and forty cents was quite common and lubricating oil was at least
fifty per cent above the San Francisco price. When one recalls that
in many of these towns supplies have to come by motor truck for long
distances, perhaps these high prices are justified. Garage charges for
our car ran from fifty to seventy-five cents per night. Fortunately,
we are not able to speak from experience as to the cost of repair
work, but the average garage seemed very well equipped to take care of
anything in this line.

As we have already intimated, only an inconsiderable mileage of the
roads covered by our tour has as yet been improved. Most of the
counties that we traversed in Northern California and Oregon are vast
in extent and but thinly populated. For instance, Lassen and Modoc
Counties in California have respectively 4531 and 3823 square miles,
with a population of 4802 for the former and 6191 for the latter named.
Some of the Oregon counties would not show so great a population in
proportion to their area. It would be folly to expect such sparsely
inhabited communities, entirely without large cities, to be able to
match the great bond issues of the counties of Central and Southern
California. They have done much, everything considered, but so vast are
the distances and so great the engineering difficulties that the main
effort has been to keep the present roads in passable condition rather
than to build new ones. A veteran motorist told me that he had covered
a good part of these northern roads several years ago and that in
going over them a second time recently he could not note any great
improvement. Better bridges have been built and the surfacing improved
in places, but little has been done to widen the roads or to eliminate
the heavy grades. If fine highways with moderate gradients and curves
ever penetrate these natural fastnesses, the state will have to do the
work.

[Illustration: ON THE LOWER COLUMBIA RIVER HIGHWAY

From photo by Fred H. Kiser, Portland, Oregon]

The present plans of the California Highway Commission contemplate the
improvement of the Coast Route--though, with the exception of about a
hundred miles, it runs a goodly distance from the coast--practically
to the Oregon line--and some of the grading in Humboldt and Mendocino
Counties is already done. Much work has also been done on the Pacific
Highway, which pursues its course through the central part of the state
and branches from this are projected to the county seats of each of the
eastern tier of counties. Nothing, however, is promised for the extreme
eastern counties in the way of an improved road northward from Lake
Tahoe and roughly following the Nevada, California & Oregon Railroad to
the Oregon border. Probably such a highway would not be justified, for
the population is very scant and the country barren and poor, though
it has much to interest the tourist for all that. With the completion
of the new highways, much of the present road will be practically
abandoned and while this is a consummation devoutly to be wished from
most viewpoints, the tourist of the future will miss many of the most
glorious mountain vistas that human eye has ever rested upon. For
the only way to realize the majesty of the mountains is to climb the
mountains, and though that is sometimes strenuous and even dangerous
work, it is not without its reward to one who delights in these giant
hills.

The success of the second state bond proposition submitted at the
general election of 1916, providing fifteen million dollars to
complete the highway system, insures that the work as outlined in
Northern California will be carried forward as rapidly as possible.
This comprises two trunk lines to the northern border: the Pacific
Highway, traversing the Sacramento Valley, and the Coast Route, roughly
following the ocean to Crescent City. A large part of the former road
is already finished, but a much larger proportion of the Coast road
is still undone. Besides these, several laterals will connect the
county seats not served directly by the main lines, thus reaching the
communities east of the Sierras, where no highway is planned. Much
of the worst road covered in the tour described in this book will
be eliminated when the proposed extensions are completed. This will
probably require three years, or until 1920--and we may confidently
predict that motor touring will become vastly more popular in this now
little-known scenic wonderland.

The highways of Oregon present a still more serious question in that
state than the one which California has to solve. With only one-fifth
the population and with two-thirds the area of her neighbor, Oregon
cannot undertake the vast road improvement plans that are being carried
out south of her border. There is as yet little well-improved road
in the state; a few pieces of macadam about Portland and down the
Willamette Valley--much of it broken and rough--and the wonderful new
Columbia River Highway comprising about all of it at this time. A
number of the more prosperous counties, however, have voted bonds or
are contemplating such a move, especially along the Pacific Highway,
so that in the course of four or five years we may expect some
appreciable results. But Oregon roads generally are desperately bad
and are likely to remain so for some time. There will likely be much
improvement in the way of grading and bridges, but surfacing after the
splendid fashion of California is far off for the vast majority of
Oregon highways. Multnomah County, in which is situated the city of
Portland, has by far the greater mileage of surfaced highways and we
found considerable road work in progress here. The first move toward
a permanent system in this county was the issuance of two and a half
millions in bonds, the proceeds of which were used to build the first
fifty miles of the Columbia River Highway, and it is to be hoped that
other counties will continue the good work until this wonderful road
parallels the mighty river its entire length in the state.

We found the leaven of good-roads sentiment working strongly in Oregon
during our sojourn in that state, and a little less than a year later
it bore substantial fruit in a six-million bond issue which carried by
a safe majority. This is avowedly only the entering wedge--it is safe
to predict a repetition of California’s experience in adopting a second
issue by a far larger popular vote than the first received. Six million
dollars will not improve a very large percentage of Oregon’s immense
road mileage, but it will serve to give the people of this state a
demonstration of the advantages of permanent highways and the good
work is sure to gain an impetus that will result in still more liberal
provision for carrying it forward.

[Illustration: ON THE PACIFIC HIGHWAY

Courtesy of the Southern Pacific R. R. Co.]

Efforts in both California and Oregon are at present being centered on
the Pacific Highway and in the latter state perhaps half the mileage
is improved in some way or other at this time. This is well enough,
since this highway traverses the principal centers of population in
both states and will no doubt serve the greatest number of people. It
does not, however, compare in scenic interest with the coast road and
it closely follows the Southern Pacific Railroad, affording one the
alternative of seeing the country from the window of a Pullman car,
which many will prefer while the highway is in its present state. The
Coast road, however, traverses virgin wildernesses that can not be
reached by railroad train and whose beauty will reward the somewhat
strenuous effort which the motorist must make to penetrate them.

We realize now that our trip was made too rapidly to give us the best
opportunity to see and enjoy the marvels of this wonderful region. For
unavoidable reasons we could not start before the middle of September
and before we made our round we became uneasy on account of the
weather. We ran into showers on some of the worst mountain roads in
California, the weather with its proverbial perverseness in the Golden
State taking a “most unusual” turn. Snow fell in the Tahoe and Crater
Lake regions shortly after we left them and with snow these roads
are impassable for the average motor car. So one will be easier and
practically sure of avoiding adverse weather manifestations if he will
start the latter part of July--though the “unusual” may get him even
then, since on the year of our tour the Crater Lake road was not free
from snow until the first of August. One should plan short daily runs
on such a tour and there are many side trips well worth while if there
is plenty of time to do them. There are, moreover, many delightful inns
and resorts to be found in the region we covered--some of them closed
when we reached them--which might well tempt the wayfarer to tarry
awhile to rest and enjoy at his leisure the surroundings of forest,
lake or mountain stream, as the case may be. There will be many days
on the road when such a respite will be very welcome, especially to
the feminine members of the party. Excepting Portland, there is no
large city in the territory covered by our tour; indeed, in California,
north of San Francisco and Sacramento, there is no town larger than
Eureka, with perhaps fifteen thousand people, while Eugene and Salem
in Oregon and Reno in Nevada have approximately the same population.
The situation of these towns and the territory tributary to them puts
them nearer to the metropolitan class than the average eastern town of
similar size.

Though the tour covered by this book was the most strenuous we have
ever made and the lateness of the season compelled more haste than
we liked, yet we look back upon the month spent among these rugged
hill ranges and wide plains and valleys with unmixed satisfaction.
We saw many things that justly may be rated among the wonders of the
world. We saw enough to convince us that when this region is penetrated
by well-constructed highways, it will divide honors with Southern
California as a tourist resort and motorist’s paradise. It is little
known at present; all the flood of books poured forth about California
have dealt mainly with San Francisco and the country lying south of
that city; and Oregon, aside from the Columbia River, has a very scant
literature. I can not pretend in the limits of this work to have done
the subject anything like full justice. It is a country of magnificent
distances, of endless variety and immense and undeveloped resources,
and volumes would be necessary should one enter into detail. But with
the assistance of our sturdy car we saw much, indeed; we achieved in
one month that which in old days would have required months of tedious
travel.

We saw Tahoe, the gem of the world’s lakes, in its setting of
snow-covered, pine-clad mountains. We saw the strange volcanic plains
and hills of Lassen and Modoc Counties with their wide, shallow lakes.
We saw Eagle Lake, flashing in the sunset like a sheet of molten silver
among the pine forests that crowd up to its very shores. We saw the
vast mountain cauldron with its lapis-lazuli sheet of water--the bluest
bit of water on this mundane sphere--Crater Lake, with its mighty
ramparts of unscaled cliffs and the unmatched vista of mountain forests
and lake from the newly built government road. We saw the vast forests
of Central Oregon, where in a whole day’s run there is little evidence
of human habitation. We saw the great mountain range that skirts
the plain covered by this forest, with here and there a stupendous
peak, white with eternal snow, piercing the azure heavens. We saw the
white, cold pyramid of Mount Hood with the dark belt of pines at its
base, stand in awful majesty against a wide band of crimson sky. For
a hundred miles we followed the vale of the queen river of the west,
mountain-guarded Columbia, and coursed over the famous new highway
with its unrivalled panoramas of stream and wooded hills. We pursued
the western Willamette through its fertile, well-tilled valley and
admired the prosperous, up-to-date towns along the way. We traversed
the rough, sinuous trails over the summits of the rugged Cascades into
the virgin redwoods of Del Norte and Humboldt Counties. For more than a
hundred miles the narrow road twists through these giant trees, coming
at times to commanding headlands from which there are endless vistas
of shining sea. We visited Eureka, the wonder city of the North, long
shut in behind ranges of almost impenetrable hills and dependent on
the sea alone--though now it has a railroad and lives in hopes of the
coming of the new state highway. We saw Shasta of the eternal snows
and Lassen’s smoke-shrouded peak. We followed the rugged coastline
of Mendocino County with its stern headlands overlooking leagues of
glorious ocean. We coursed through the vast vineyards of the Napa and
Santa Rosa Valleys with the terraced hill ranges on either hand showing
everywhere the careful tillage one sees in Italy or along the Rhine. We
crossed the pine-clad hills that shut in beautiful Clear Lake Valley
with its giant oaks and crystal sheet of water--which still lingers
in our memories as the loveliest spot in all California. We traversed
the great plain of the Sacramento, whose pastoral beauty and quiet
prosperity rivals that of the Mississippi Valley.

Nor was the element of historic interest entirely lacking. Old Fort
Ross and the names that still cling to a few places about the Russian
River reminded us that at one time the Czar nearly added Northern
California to his vast domains. We found footprints of the padres at
San Rafael and Sonoma and no doubt they would have carried the chain on
to the Columbia River had not the Mexicans interfered. We came upon
reminders of the terrible privations suffered by the pioneers--for
did we not look down on placid Donner Lake, which takes its name from
one of the saddest of the endless tragedies that befell the emigrant
trains? There are many relics, too, of the romantic days of ’49, and
we came upon places where gold is still being mined, though by methods
vastly different from those of the panhandlers of Bret Harte. We found
many memories of Lewis and Clarke and of Marcus Whitman, who did so
much to put Oregon under the Stars and Stripes, and more than once we
crossed the trail of Fremont, the tireless Pathfinder.

But why anticipate farther, since I shall endeavor to describe in
detail as I proceed with the story of our tour? Even were I to write
nothing more, I hope I have proved my contention that it is well worth
while to explore this new wonderland--but I trust that I shall find
language as I progress to make even more apparent the savage grandeur
of these hills, the weird loveliness of the lakes, the majesty of the
virgin forests, and the glories of rugged coast and restless ocean.



[Illustration: A CORNER OF LAKE TAHOE

From painting by Thos. Moran]



II

TO THE LAND OF SKY-BLUE WATER


There are two routes from Sacramento to Lake Tahoe which carry
nine-tenths of the motor travel to that interesting region. Both
traverse a picturesque mountain country with a spice of historic
and romantic interest and most motor visitors, naturally enough, go
by one route and return by the other. That we did not do so was the
result of the miscarriage of our plans, due to a break-down of the car
we had leased of a Los Angeles dealer for our first trip. This made
it necessary to go part of the way by train and when repairs to the
car were made, we returned by the route over which we had come. The
following year, in our own car, we again visited Tahoe, going from San
Francisco by the way of Sacramento and Placerville and continuing our
journey northward from the lake.

In each instance we passed the night at Sacramento, which is the best
starting point for the day’s run to Tahoe, being about one hundred and
twenty miles distant by either route. We were sure of every comfort and
convenience here--there are a dozen hotels ranging from good-enough
to first-class--and our repeated visits had given us more and more of
a liking for Sacramento. It is a clean, beautiful city, practically
a seaport, so deep and broad is its mighty tide-water river, which
carries a yearly commerce, incoming and outgoing, of an aggregate
value of more than fifty million dollars. The surrounding country
is very fertile, with greatly varied agricultural and fruit-growing
resources which form the basis of the city’s prosperity and assure
its future. Its streets and private and public buildings have a truly
metropolitan appearance which in the east would indicate a city of much
more than fifty or sixty thousand population. The Capitol building, a
white marble structure of purely classic lines, stands in a beautiful
semi-tropic park of about forty acres. This is beautified with endless
varieties of shrubs and trees, among them palms of many species, for
the climate is such that orange groves, olives and almonds flourish
quite as vigorously as in Southern California. The oranges ripen
here from six weeks to two months earlier than in the south, giving
the growers the advantage of early markets, and the quality of the
fruit is equal to the best. Surrounding the city are endless orchards
of peach, pear, prune, apricot, cherry, and many other varieties
of fruit trees; and there are extensive vineyards of both wine and
table grapes. Dairying, stock-raising, gardening, as well as other
branches of farming are carried on--very profitably, if one may judge
by appearances. Manufacturing is also done on a considerable scale in
the city and vicinity and gold mining in the county is an industry
producing about two millions annually. All of which would seem to
indicate that Sacramento has not yet reached the zenith of its growth
and prosperity. It is favorably situated as to railroads, having a
service of three transcontinental lines since the Santa Fe has leased
right of way over the Western Pacific. The new state highway enters
the city from north and south and a direct route has been opened to
San Francisco by the completion of the great Yolo Trestle, shortening
the distance by wagon road--thirty miles less than via Stockton and
Altamont, formerly the standard route. This great engineering feat
bridges the Yolo basin, which is flooded during several months of the
year, with a solid concrete causeway twenty-one feet wide and over
three miles long, carried on re-enforced concrete piles rising twenty
feet above ground. It was completed in about eighteen months and cost
a little under four hundred thousand dollars. We ran over it on our
last trip to Sacramento and it seemed like a fairy tale indeed to
be bowling along twenty feet above the formerly impassable marsh as
safely and smoothly as upon an asphalted city boulevard. In addition
to the state highway, Sacramento County already has many miles of good
road of her own construction, but she is planning still larger things
in the immediate future. A highway bond issue of two million dollars
was authorized late in 1916 by a majority of nearly four to one,
emphatically proving the enlightenment of the citizens of the county on
the question of improved roads. The proceeds of this issue will improve
practically all the main highways and make Sacramento County one of the
favorite touring grounds of the state.

Historically, the capital city is one of the most interesting towns
in the state, since it is the oldest settlement of white men in
the interior of California. It had a population of more than ten
thousand in 1849, though doubtless the majority of the inhabitants
were transient gold-seekers. It was the goal of the greater number of
emigrants who came overland during the “gold fever” period and was a
famous outfitting point for the prospective miners who rushed here
because of the proximity of the gold fields. Ten years earlier a colony
of Swiss emigrants, under the name of New Helvetia, was established on
the present site of the city by Col. John H. Sutter. It soon became
better known as Sutter’s Fort, on account of the solid blockhouse built
by the founder, which still stands in good repair, now containing a
museum of relics of pioneer days. Sutter employed John Marshall, whom
he sent to Coloma, some fifty miles east of Sacramento, to build a mill
on the South American river. Here Marshall picked up the famous nugget
that threw the whole world into a ferment in the late forties and
turned the tide of emigration to California.

But perhaps we are permitting our fondness for Sacramento to detain
us too long on the subject; it did not prevent us, however, from
getting an early start from our hotel on the Auburn road for Tahoe.
Out of the city for several miles through a fertile orchard and farm
country, we pursued a level, well-improved road which led us toward
the great hill range that marks the western confines of the valley.
Entering the rounded brown foothills, we kept a steady ascent through
scattering groves of oak and pine, with here and there along the way
a well-ordered stock farm or fruit ranch. It was in the height of the
peach season and a sign at a ranch house gate tempted us to purchase. A
silver dime brought us such a quantity of big, luscious, rosy-cheeked
fruit that we scarcely knew where to bestow it about the car. It was
just off the tree and ripe to perfection, and by comparison with
the very best one could buy in a fruit market, it seemed a new and
unheard-of variety--ambrosia fit only for the gods. Its fragrance and
savoriness linger with us yet and do much to mitigate the recollection
of divers disasters and disappointments that overtook us ere we reached
our destination. And they told us that so immense was the crop of
peaches and pears in this locality that some of this unequalled fruit
was being fed to the pigs.

Following a winding but fair road through the hills, we soon came, as
we supposed, into the main part of Auburn, for we had taken no pains to
learn anything about the town. At the foot of a sharp hill we paused in
a crooked street with a row of ramshackle buildings on either side and
it was apparent at a glance that the population of the ancient-looking
town was chiefly Chinese. A few saloons and one or two huge wooden
boarding houses were the most salient features and a small blacksmith
shop near the end of the street was labeled “Garage.” We mentally
classed “Sweet Auburn” with Chinese Camp and following the road leading
out of the place began the ascent of an exceedingly steep hill.

We were not destined to pass old Auburn with so short an acquaintance,
for something went wrong with the gearing of the car before we were
half way up the hill and we returned perforce to the wretched little
garage we had passed, never dreaming that at the crest of the hill was
a fine, modern town with one of the best-equipped machine shops we saw
outside of the cities. While the proprietor of the garage, who combined
in his single person the function of consulting engineer and mechanical
repairman, was endeavoring to diagnose our trouble, we learned from
a bystander that there was another Auburn on the hilltop with an
excellent hotel--welcome news, for apparently chances were strong for
passing the night in the town. We found the newer section well built
and attractive, with a handsome courthouse, an imposing high school,
and a new bank building with tall, classic pillars that would hardly
be out of place on Fifth Avenue. Best of all, we found a comfortable
hotel, which did much to mitigate the disappointment of our enforced
sojourn in the town.

Though the trouble with the car was trifling, much time was consumed
by our garage expert in locating it and still more in dissuading him
from making a three-days’ job of it by tearing the machine to pieces,
which he evinced a lively desire to do. A threat to remove the car to
the garage on the hill, however, proved efficacious and by the middle
of the afternoon he pronounced the job complete. And here we may pause
to remark that before we reached Tahoe we had more serious trouble with
this miserable car, which we shall pass over for the double reason that
a recital would vex us with harrowing memories and be of no interest
to the reader. We only registered a silent, solemn vow with good St.
Christopher, the patron saint of all travelers, that our next tour
should be made in our own car and we fulfilled our vow a year later in
the long jaunt to Portland and return covered by this book.

As it was too late in the day to continue our journey after the car
was ready, we contented ourselves with driving about town. The hotel
people especially urged us not to miss the view from a second hill
which dominated the new town and upon which may be found the homes of
Auburn’s Four Hundred. A truly magnificent outlook greeted us from this
hillcrest--a far-reaching panorama of the canyon of the American River,
intersected by the gleaming stream more than a thousand feet beneath.
On either side of the river we beheld range upon range of wooded hills
stretching away to the blue haze of the horizon, the rugged wall of the
Sierras looming dimly in the far distance. From our point of vantage,
we could see the broad vale of the Sacramento to the westward, and,
nearer at hand, the foothills intersected by the pleasant valleys with
orchards and cultivated fields, dotted here and there with white ranch
houses.

Beyond Auburn the road climbs steadily to Colfax, a few short pitches
ranging from fifteen to twenty per cent. The surface was good and we
were delighted by many fine vistas from the hilltops as we hastened
along. At Applegate was a deserted hotel and “tent city,” said to be
very popular resorts earlier in the summer. Colfax was the Illinois
Town of mining times and still has many buildings dating back to the
“days of gold.” The town was given its present name when the steam road
came and it is now a center of considerable activity in railroading.
Here we heard of a new California industry, for tobacco is grown in the
vicinity and cigars made from the home-grown plant may be had at the
local shops. There is also a famous vineyard and winery near the town,
operated by an Italian colony similar to those of the Napa Valley.
There is much beautiful scenery about Colfax. From the nearby summits
across long reaches of forest-clad hills, one may see on one hand the
mighty ranks of the snow-clad Sierras and on the other the dim outlines
of the Coast Range. On exceptionally clear days, they told us, the
shining cone of Shasta may be seen, though it is more than one hundred
and fifty miles away.

Out of Colfax we continue to climb steadily and soon come upon
reminders of the days when this was one of the greatest gold-producing
sections of California. The hillsides everywhere show the scars of
old-time placer mining. Millions of the precious metal were produced
here in the few years following ’49, but operations have long since
ceased and the deserted villages are fast falling into ruin. Dutch Flat
and Gold Run, now stations on the Southern Pacific, could no doubt have
furnished Bret Harte with characters and incidents quite as varied and
picturesque as Angel’s Camp or Sonora had his wanderings brought him
hither. For the disappearance of the good old golden days, the natives
console themselves in this fashion, quoting advertising literature
issued by Placer County: “In days gone by the gold mining industry
made this section famous. To-day the golden fruit brings it wealth
and renown.” And it also holds forth the hope that scientific mining
methods may yet find “much gold in the old river beds and seams of
gold-bearing rock.”

From Dutch Flat to Emigrant Gap, perhaps a dozen miles, the road climbs
continually, winding through pine forests that crowd closely on either
hand. Here is one of the wildest sections of the Sierras accessible
to motor cars, and the weird beauty culminates at Emigrant Gap, a
great natural gash in the Sierras which in early days gave its name
to the road by which the great majority of overland emigrants entered
California. Near this point, a little distance to the right of the
road and some two thousand feet beneath, lies Bear Valley, one of
the loveliest vales of the Sierras--in early summer an emerald green
meadow--lying between Yuba River and Bear Creek, shut in on every hand
by tree-clad slopes. From Emigrant Gap to the summit of the divide, a
distance of twenty-seven miles, the road mounts steadily through the
pines, winding around abrupt turns and climbing heavy grades--the last
pitch rising to thirty per cent, according to our road book, though
we doubt if it is really so steep. Crystal Lake and Lake Van Orten
are passed on the way, two blue mountain tarns lying far below on the
right-hand side of the road. From the summit, at an elevation of a
little over seven thousand feet, we have a wonderful view both eastward
and westward. Behind us the rugged hills through which we have wended
our way slope gently to the Sacramento Valley--so gently that in the
one hundred miles since leaving the plain we have risen only a mile
and a half. Before us is the sharper fall of the eastern slope and far
beneath, in a setting of green sward and stately pines, the placid blue
waters of Donner Lake, beautiful despite the tragic associations which
come unbidden to our minds.

The Donner party of thirty-one people set out from Illinois in April,
1846, and after almost unbelievable hardships, which caused the death
of many of them, arrived in the vicinity of Truckee in October. Here
they were overtaken by a terrific snowstorm that made farther progress
impossible and they camped on the shores of Donner Lake until the
following February. Many other emigrants had joined the party on the
way and in spite of the numerous deaths while enroute, eighty-three
were snowed in at this camp. Forty-nine of these perished before relief
arrived and only eighteen finally survived to reach California. The
first crossing by emigrants over this route was made in 1844 and the
fate of the Donner party was due to being caught by the early winter
rather than the difficulties of the road. Snow fell during that winter
to the depth of twenty-two feet, as proven by a stump of a tree cut by
the emigrants; and a fall of from ten to twenty feet is not uncommon
even now in this vicinity.

Crossing the mountains, one is appalled by the thought of the
difficulties encountered by the pioneer who had neither road nor
signboard, but must make his way over rugged hills and deep valleys,
across wide rivers, and through virgin forests with only a dimly blazed
trail to guide him--and even this was often wanting. If a motor trip
across the continent even now is not without its difficulties and
discomforts, what hardships must the pioneers with the ox-drawn
wagons have endured in that far-off day when neither railway nor wagon
road entered the savage wilderness and the only inhabitants were
hostile Indians and wild beasts.

[Illustration: ACROSS LAKE TAHOE

From painting by H. H. Bagg]

The descent from the summit of the divide to Truckee is gradual, some
twelve hundred feet in nine miles, though there are a few short, steep
grades of from fifteen to twenty per cent, according to our authority.
It was dark when we reached Truckee, but as there was no chance of
going astray on the road to Tahoe Tavern, we determined to proceed.
The road for the entire distance of fifteen miles closely follows the
Truckee River, a swift, shallow stream fed from the limpid waters
of Lake Tahoe. It was a glorious moonlight night and the gleaming
river, the jagged hills on either hand, and the dark pine forests, all
combined to make a wild but entrancingly beautiful effect. As we later
saw the Truckee Canyon by daylight, we have every reason to be glad
that we traversed it by moonlight as well.

Tahoe Tavern, with its myriad lights, was a welcome sight, none the
less, after an exceedingly strenuous trip, the personal details of
which I have forborne to inflict upon the reader. We were given rooms
in the new annex, a frame-and-shingle building, and were delighted to
find that our windows opened upon the moonlit lake. The mountain tops
on the opposite shore were shrouded in heavy clouds through which the
moon struggled at intervals, transmuting the clear, still surface of
the lake from a dark, dull mirror to a softly lighted sheet of water
with a path of gleaming silver running across it. Directly a thunder
storm broke over the eastern shore--very uncommon in summer, we were
told--and we had the spectacle of clouds and lake lighted weirdly by
flashes of lightning. The thunder rolling among the peaks and across
the water brought vividly to our minds Byron’s description of a
thunderstorm on Lake Geneva in the Alps. For a short time it seemed as
if “every mountain peak had found a tongue,” but the storm died away
without crossing the lake.

We may as well admit that we failed to carry out our resolution to see
sunrise on the lake, for we did not waken until the sun was shining
broadly into our window, to which we hastened for a first impression of
Tahoe by daylight. We beheld a smooth, steel-blue sheet of water with
a sharply defined mountain range in the distance--no suggestion of the
color miracle we had heard so much about; we learned that you must see
Tahoe from many viewpoints and at many periods of the day to know a few
of the myriad phases of its beauty.

Tahoe Tavern, a huge, brown, rambling building in a fine grove of
pines, fronts directly on a little bay and commands a glorious outlook
of lake and distant mountains. It is a delightfully retired and quiet
place, ideal for rest and recuperation, while the surrounding country
is unmatched in scenic attractions for those inclined to exploration,
whether by steamer, motor, on horseback, or afoot. We found the service
and the cuisine equal to the best resort hotels in California--and
that is saying a great deal, since California in this particular leads
the world. The Tavern’s popularity is evidenced by the fact that the
main building, capable of accommodating several hundred guests, has
been supplemented by the large annex and even then in season it is
well to engage rooms in advance of arrival. Here we found a quiet yet
exhilarating spot, the toil and tumult of the busy world shut out by
impregnable mountain barriers, where one may repose and commune with
nature in her grandest and most enchanting aspects.

After making the acquaintance of the friendly chipmunks about the
inn--which have so far overcome their natural timidity as to take
morsels from your fingers or even to rifle your pockets in search
of peanuts--and laughing at the antics of the blue jays, almost as
fearless, we decided to board the excursion steamer, which makes a
daily round of the lake. Once out from the shore and well started on
our southward journey, we began to realize something of the wonderful
colorings that no one who has seen Tahoe can ever forget. About us
the water was of the deepest, clearest, ultra-marine blue, shading by
many gradations into emerald green near the shores. The colors were
more intense than we had ever seen before in any body of water and
cannot be entirely due to great depth, for though the bottom of Tahoe
in places is nearly two thousand feet below the surface, the hue is
deeper than that of the ocean. It is more like liquid, transparent
lapis-lazuli, if we may imagine such a thing, than anything else I can
think of. No doubt the depth of the water and the deep azure of the
skies are the chief elements in producing this glorious effect. Yet,
for all its blueness, we could see the bottom of the lake as we steamed
along--indeed, they told us that only in the deepest places is the
bottom invisible on clear, still days.

We followed the coast at a little distance, stopping at the different
stations, chiefly camps and resorts of various degrees. Most of these
are along the west side of the lake between Tahoe and Tallac, and
scattered between them are many summer villas, chiefly of San Francisco
people. This part of the shore is the most picturesque, being well
wooded, while much of the eastern side is lined with barren and rocky
mountains. At Rubicon Point, mighty cliffs rise high above the lake
and their sheer walls extend far beneath the water that laves their
base. Here is the deepest, bluest water that we cross, and they tell
us one of the best fishing spots. Passing from the ultramarine deeps
of the Rubicon Point, we round a sharply jutting promontory and glide
into the jade-green waters of Emerald Bay, a long, oval-shaped inlet
at the southern end of the lake. Surely, it is rightly named, for here
green predominates, from the steep sides of the encircling hills to the
very center of the shallow bay. At the upper end of the bay, rising
almost sheer from the green water, is a rocky, scantily-wooded island
where for many years an eccentric Englishman made his home. Nearly
opposite on the shore is Emerald Bay Camp, perhaps the most popular of
the many permanent camps around the lake. At Tallac the steamer stops
for an hour to give opportunity for luncheon at the huge wooden hotel
built many years ago by the late “Lucky” Baldwin. It stands in a grove
of splendid pines and on a site in some ways superior to that of the
tavern. Certainly the surrounding country is more picturesque and has
more to interest the tourist. Just over the hills is the beautiful
Fallen Leaf Lake and there are several other jewel-like tarns set in
the hills a little to the west, while Cascade Lake and Emerald Bay are
within walking distance. During luncheon one of our party expressed
disappointment that the coloring of the lake hardly measured up to
expectations formed from the enthusiastic descriptions of guidebooks
and railroad literature.

“You can never see the color beauties of a lake at their best from a
boat,” I declared. “We once had the opportunity of making the Great
Glen trip by steamer and a year later of following these splendid
Scotch lakes with our car; the effects of color and light which we saw
on the latter trip were indescribably the more glorious.”

“Then let’s abandon the boat and hire a car for the return trip to the
Tavern,”--a proposition to which all agreed. The car, a good one, was
easily secured and we were soon away on what has been described as the
most beautiful twenty-five mile drive in the world--a true claim so far
as we know; the Columbia River Boulevard or Crater Lake road may rival
it for scenic beauty, though these are perhaps too different for fair
comparison.

The day was perfect, crystal clear except for a few white clouds
drifting lazily across the sky or resting on the summits of the
mountains beyond the lake; a day which our driver, an agreeable and
intelligent young fellow, declared ideal for seeing Tahoe at its best.
For a few miles out of Tallac we ran through a pine forest, catching
fugitive glimpses of the blue water through the stately trunks. As we
ascended the ridge overlooking Emerald Bay, exclamations of delight
were frequent and enthusiastic as the magnificent panorama gradually
unfolded to our view. The climax was reached when our driver paused at
the summit of the ridge, where the whole of Tahoe spread out before us.
Just beneath on one hand lay Emerald Bay; on the other gleamed Cascade
Lake--a perfect gem in glorious setting of rock and tree. And the glory
of color that greeted our eyes! Exaggerated in descriptions? No mortal
language ever conveyed a tithe of its iridescent beauty and never
will. One of the ladies exclaimed, “It is like a great black opal,”
and knowing her passion for that gem, we recognized the sincerity of
her tribute. And, indeed, the comparison was not inapt. There were the
elusive, changeful greens and blues, the dark purples, and the strange,
uncertain play of light and color that characterizes that mysterious
gem. Near the shore line the greens predominated, reaching the deepest
intensity in Emerald Bay, just below. Passing through many variations
of color, the greens merged into the deep blues and farther out in
the lake purple hues seemed to prevail. Along the opposite shore ran
the rugged mountain range, the summits touched by cloud-masses which
held forth the slightest threat of a summer shower--and, indeed, it
came just before we reached the tavern. Overhead the sky was of the
deepest azure and clear save for a few tiny white clouds mirrored in
the gloriously tinted water. Altogether, the scene was a combination
of transcendent color with a setting of rugged yet beautiful country
that we have never seen equalled elsewhere and which we have no words
to fittingly describe. Even the master artist fails here, since he can
but express one mood of the lake--while it has a thousand every day. We
have seen the Scotch, Italian and English lakes; we sailed the length
of George and Champlain; we admired the mountain glories of Yellowstone
Lake; we viewed Klamath and Crater Lakes from mountain heights, but
none of them matched the wonderful color variations of Tahoe.

But we are on our way again, descending and climbing long grades
which pass through pine forests and come out on headlands from which
we gain new and entrancing views of lake and mountains. The road was
completed only recently, but it is good in the main, though there are
steep pitches and some rough and dusty stretches. At times it takes us
out of sight of the lake, but we are compensated by wild and rugged
scenery--towering crags and massive walls of gray stone--rising above
us on every hand. The road must have presented considerable engineering
difficulties; our driver points out a place where a mighty rock of
a thousand tons or more was blasted to fragments to clear the way.
Far above us on the mountain crests we see gleaming patches of snow
which the late summer sun has not been able to dispel. We cross clear
mountain streams and wind through groves of pine and spruce. Often as
we climb or descend the long grades we come upon new vistas of the lake
and mountains and occasionally we ask for a moment’s delay to admire
some especially beautiful scene. Then we descend almost to the level
of the water, which we see flashing through stately trunks or rippling
upon clear, pebbly beaches. We pass various resorts, each surrounded
by pines and commanding a beautiful view of the lake. As we approach
the Tavern the summer shower that has been threatening begins and to
the color glories of sky and lake are added the diamond-like brilliance
of the big drops, for the sun is unobscured by the clouds. Beyond a
stretch of smooth water, dimmed to dull silver by the blue-gray vapor
hanging over it, a rainbow hovers in front of the dim outlines of the
distant hills. It was a fitting climax to the most inspiring drive in
the many thousands of miles covered by our wanderings.

We spent the remainder of the afternoon and the evening about the
Tavern. Especially we admired the casino with its arcade fronting
directly on the lake; here amusements of every description tempt the
guest who finds time heavy on his hands, but we found more enjoyment
in the beautiful scenes from the wide arches. Near by we found a
photograph shop in charge of our friend, Valentine of Los Angeles, some
of whose splendid pictures adorn this book. He had come to Tahoe before
the roads were clear and told us of some desperate work in getting
through, spending the night in his car while stuck in a snowdrift.

Circumstances made it impracticable that we remain longer at the Tavern
and we left the next morning for Sacramento with the mental resolution
that we would come again at our earliest opportunity. That opportunity
came a little more than a year later. We again found ourselves in
Sacramento on the beginning of the northern tour covered by this book.
We had discarded our trouble-making hired car for our own machine,
long, low, and heavy, so solidly built that not a single part gave way
under the terribly severe conditions of the tour.

Out of Sacramento we followed the new state highway, then almost
completed to Placerville. On the way to Folsom we saw much of gold
mining under modern conditions. Monstrous floating steam dredges were
eating their way through the fields and for miles had thrown up great
ridges of stones and gravel from which the gold had been extracted
by a process of washing. Something less than two million dollars
annually is produced in Sacramento County, mainly by this process, and
the cobblestones, after being crushed by powerful machinery, serve
the very useful purpose of road-building. Beyond Folsom the highway
winds through uninteresting hills covered with short brown grass and
diversified with occasional oak trees. We kept a pretty steady upward
trend as we sped toward the blue hill ranges, but there were no grades
worth mentioning west of Placerville. Before we reached the town we
entered the splendid pine forest which continues all the way to Tahoe.

Placerville has little to recall its old-time sobriquet of Hangtown,
the name by which it figures in Bret Harte’s stories. Here, indeed, was
the very storm center of the early gold furor--but five miles to the
north is Coloma, where Marshall picked up the nugget that turned the
eyes of the world to California in ’49. Over the very road which we
were to pursue out of the town poured the living tide of gold seekers
which spread out through all the surrounding country. To-day, however,
Placerville depends little on mining; its narrow, crooked main street
and a few ancient buildings are the only reminders of its old-time
rough-and-tumble existence. It is a prosperous town of three thousand
people and handsome homes, with well-kept lawns, are not uncommon. We
also noted a splendid new courthouse of Spanish colonial design wrought
in white marble, a fine example of the public spirit that prevails in
even the more retired California communities. The site of the town is
its greatest drawback. Wedged as it is in the bottom of a vast canyon,
there is little possibility of regularity in streets and much work
has been necessary to prepare sites for homes and public buildings.
A certain picturesqueness and delightful informality compensates for
all this and the visitor is sure to be pleased with the Placerville of
to-day aside from its romantic history. Two fairly comfortable hotels
invite the traveler to stop and make more intimate acquaintance with
the town, which a recent writer declares is noted for its charming
women--an attraction which it lacked in its romantic mining days.

Beyond Placerville the road climbs steadily, winding through the giant
hills and finally crossing the American River, which we followed for
many miles--now far above with the green stream gleaming through the
pines and again coursing along its very banks. There are many deciduous
trees among the evergreens on these hills and the autumn coloring lent
a striking variation to the somber green of the pines. We had never
before realized that there were so many species besides conifers on the
California mountains. Maples and aspens were turning yellow and crimson
and many species of vines and creepers lent brilliant color dashes
to the scene. There was much indeed to compensate for the absence of
the flowers which bloom in profusion earlier in the season. We passed
several comfortable-looking inns and resorts whose names--Sportsman’s
Hall, for instance--indicated retreats for hunters and fishermen.

Georgetown, some forty miles above Placerville, is the only town
worthy of the name between the latter place and Tahoe. Beyond here we
began the final ascent to the summit of the divide over a road that
winds upwards in long loops with grades as high as twenty-five per
cent. There were many fine vistas of hill and valley, rich in autumn
colorings that brightened the green of the pines and blended into the
pale lavender haze that shrouded the distant hills. From the summit,
at an altitude of seventy-four hundred feet, we had a vast panorama
of lake, forest, and mountain--but I might be accused of monotonous
repetition were I to endeavor to describe even a few of the scenes that
enchanted us. Every hilltop, every bend in the road, and every opening
through the forests that lined our way presented views which, taken
alone, might well delight the beholder for hours--only their frequent
recurrence tended to make them almost commonplace to us.

[Illustration: CAVE ROCK, LAKE TAHOE

From photo by Putnam & Valentine, Los Angeles, Cal.]

The descent to the lake is somewhat steeper than the western slope,
but the road is wide with broad turns and we had no trouble in passing
a big yellow car that was rushing the grade with wide-open “cut-out”
in a crazy endeavor to get as far as possible on “high.” Coming down
to Myers, a little supply station at the foot of the grade, we learned
that the Tavern and many other resorts were already closed and decided
to pass the night at Glenbrook, about midway on the eastern shore
of the lake. For a dozen miles after leaving Myers, our road ran
alternately through forests and green meadows--the meadows about Tahoe
remain green the summer through--finally coming to the lake shore,
which we followed closely for the twenty miles to Glenbrook. Most of
the way the road runs only a few feet above the water level and we
had many glorious vistas differing from anything we had yet seen. In
the low afternoon sun the color had largely vanished and we saw only
a sheet of gleaming silver edged with clearest crystal, which made
the pebbly bottom plainly visible for some distance from the shore.
Here an emerald meadow with sleek-looking cattle--there are many cattle
in the Tahoe region--lay between us and the shining water; again it
gleamed through the trunks of stately pines. For a little while it was
lost to view as we turned into the forest which crowded closely to
the roadside, only to come back in a moment to a new view--each one
different and seemingly more entrancing than the last, culminating in
the wonderful spectacle from Cave Rock. This is a bold promontory,
pierced beneath by the caves that give its name, rising perhaps one
hundred feet above the water and affording a view of almost the entire
lake and the encircling mountains. On the western side the mountains
throw their serrated peaks against the sky, while to the far north they
showed dimly through a thin blue haze. The lake seemed like a great
sapphire shot with gold from the declining sun--altogether a different
aspect in color, light and shadow from anything we had witnessed
before. We paused awhile to admire the scene along with several
other wayfarers--pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists who were alike
attracted by the glorious spectacle.

Two or three miles farther brought us to Glenbrook, a quiet nook at
the foot of mighty hills, pine-clad to the very summits. The hotel
is a large but unpretentious structure directly by the roadside and
fronting on the lake. In connection with the inn is a group of rustic
cottages, one of which was assigned to us. It had a new bathroom
adjoining and there was a little sheet-iron stove with fuel all laid
for a fire--which almost proved a “life-saver” in the sharp, frosty air
of the following morning. The cottage stood directly on the lake shore
and afforded a magnificent view of the sunset, which I wish I were able
to adequately describe. A sea of fire glowed before us as the sun went
down behind the mountains, which were dimmed by the twilight shadows.
Soon the shadows gave place to a thin amethyst haze which brought out
sharply against the western sky the contour of every peak and pinnacle.
The amethyst deepened to purple, followed by a crimson afterglow which,
with momentary color variations, continued for nearly an hour; then the
light gradually faded from the sky and the lake took on an almost ebony
hue--a dark, splendid mirror for the starlit heavens.

The excellent dinner menu of the inn was a surprise; we hardly expected
it in such a remote place. They told us that the inn maintains its
own gardens and dairy, and the steamer brings supplies daily. The inn
keeps open only during the season, which usually extends from May to
October, but there is some one in charge the year round and no one who
comes seeking accommodations is ever turned away. Though completely
isolated by deep snows from all land communication, the steamer
never fails, since the lake does not freeze, even in the periods of
below-zero weather. We found the big lounging room, with its huge
chimney and crackling log fire, a very comfortable and cheery place to
pass the evening and could easily see how anyone seeking rest and quiet
might elect to sojourn many days at Glenbrook. But Glenbrook was not
always so delightfully quiet and rural. Years ago, back in the early
eighties, it was a good-sized town with a huge saw mill that converted
much of the forest about the lake into lumber. There are still hundreds
of old piles that once supported the wharves, projecting out of the
water of the little bay in front of the hotel--detracting much from the
beauty of the scene.

We were astir in the morning, wondering what the aspect of our
changeful lake might be in the dawning light; and sure enough, the
change was there--a cold, steel blue sheet of water, rippling into
silver in places. Near the shore all was quiet, not a wave lapping the
beach as on the previous night. The mountains beyond the lake were
silhouetted with startling distinctness against a silvery sky, and on
many of the summits were flecks of snow that had outlasted the summer.

We had thought to go on to Reno by the way of Carson City, but we could
not bring ourselves to leave the lake and so we decided to go by way of
Truckee, even though we had previously covered the road. It proved a
fortunate decision, for we saw another shifting of the wonderful Tahoe
scenery--the morning coloring was different from that of the afternoon
and evening. We had the good fortune to pick up an old inhabitant of
Tahoe City whose car had broken down on one of the heavy grades and
who told us much about the lake and the country around it. He had
lived near Tahoe for more than thirty-five years and could remember
the days of the prospectors and saw mills. Nearly all the timber about
the lake is of new growth since the lumbering days. This accounts for
the absence of large trees except in a few spots which escaped the
lumberman’s ax. Yellow pines, firs, and cedars prevail, with occasional
sugar pines and some deciduous varieties. It is, indeed, a pity that
Tahoe and the surrounding hills were not set aside as a national park
before so much of the country had passed into private hands.

A fairly good road has been constructed for nearly three quarters of
the distance around the lake and a very indifferent wagon road from
Tahoe City to Glenbrook completes the circuit. The latter we did not
cover, being assured that it was very difficult if not impassable for
motors. Plans are under way for a new road around the northern end of
the lake, which will enable the motorist to encircle this wonderful
body of water--a trip of about eighty miles--and will afford endless
viewpoints covering scenes of unparalleled beauty. The whole of the
road about the lake ought to be improved--widened and surfaced and some
of the steeper grades and more dangerous turns eliminated. It might
then be the “boulevard” that one enthusiastic writer characterizes it,
even in its present condition, but in our own humble opinion it has a
long way to go before it deserves such a title.

At the Tavern we reluctantly turned away from the lake--it seemed to us
as if we could never weary of its changeful beauty--and for the next
dozen miles we followed the course of the Truckee River, at no time
being more than a few rods distant from it. It is a clear, swift stream
with greenish color tones and was still of fair size, though at its
lowest ebb. Our road at times ran directly alongside within a few feet
of its banks; again a sharp pitch carried us some distance above it and
afforded fine views of valley and river. None of the grades were long,
but one or two are steep, exceeding twenty per cent. The railroad,
a flimsy, narrow-gauge affair, closely parallels the river and wagon
road, but it is kept running the year round and keeps the scanty winter
population about Tahoe in touch with the world.

Truckee is a typical wild western village with rather more than its
share of saloons. These are well patronized, for there is a large
working population in and about the town. It is a railroad division;
a saw mill near by employs eight hundred men and a large paper pulp
factory nearly as many. All of which contribute to make it a lively
place and its Chamber of Commerce has organized a winter Ice Carnival
for the purpose of giving those Californians who live on the coast and
in the great central valleys an opportunity of seeing what real winter
is like and enjoying its sports. The carnival opens on Christmas Day
and continues until the middle of March. A huge ice palace is devoted
to skating and dancing, while tobogganing, skiing and sleighing are the
outdoor amusements. They told us that so far the festival has proven a
great success, attracting people from every part of the state.

Out of Truckee we ran for fifteen or twenty miles through a barren
sagebrush country with only an occasional tumble-down abandoned ranch
house to break the monotony of the scene. The road was fine, but it
took a sudden turn for the worse when we entered the straggling yellow
pine forest that covers the hill range between Truckee and Reno. It was
rough and stony in spots and we climbed steadily for several miles.
We saw some pretty scenery, however, for the mighty forest rose to
the very summits of the rugged hills above us and followed the dark
canyon below downward to the river’s edge. Beyond the summit we began
the descent of Dog Canyon--whence its poetical designation we did
not learn--the longest and steepest straight grade we encountered in
several thousand miles of mountaineering. For seven miles or more it
drops down the side of the canyon without a single turn, the grades
ranging from six to twenty per cent, deep with dust and very rough
in places, a trying descent on brakes and driver. We met a few cars
scrambling wearily up with steaming radiators and growling gears, but
what more excited our sympathies were several canvas-covered wagons
drawn by reeking horses that seemed ready to drop in their tracks from
exhaustion. At the foot of the grade just beyond the Nevada line, we
came into the village of Verdi, directly on the river and evidently
the destination of many of the pine logs we had seen along our road,
for here was a large saw mill. Beyond Verdi we followed the Truckee,
bordered by emerald green alfalfa fields just being mown. The yield
was immense, indicating a rich, well-watered soil, but in the main the
ranch houses were small and poor, with squalid surroundings. Nearer
Reno, however, we noted some improvement and occasionally we passed a
neat and prosperous-looking ranch house. Coming into the town we sought
the Riverside Hotel, which is rightly named, for it stands directly on
the banks of the Truckee. We had difficulty in getting satisfactory
accommodations--court was in session and it was opening day of the
races, with a consequent influx of litigants and sports. We learned
later that Reno is always a busy town and advance hotel arrangements
should not be neglected by prospective guests.



III

RENO TO KLAMATH FALLS


Reno has acquired a nation-wide fame for its “wide open” proclivities
and we fear that much of the prosperity we saw on every hand may be due
to its liberal though generally deprecated practices. The 1910 census
gave the town a population of about ten thousand and if we allow a
gain of as much as fifty per cent since then, it is still no more than
a good-sized village so far as people are concerned. However this may
be, its buildings, public and private, its streets and residences, its
shops and hotels, would do credit to the average eastern town of from
thirty to fifty thousand. One bank building we especially noted would
not be out of place on Fifth Avenue and the courthouse, postoffice, the
Y. M. C. A. building, and the theaters are all out of the small-town
class. On the ridge east of the river, surrounded by beautiful grounds,
are numerous handsome residences built by old-time mining magnates,
most of whom are now dead.

Mining was the foundation of Reno’s prosperity and it cuts considerable
figure in the commerce of the town at present. The greater part of its
business activity, however, is due to the rich farming country that
surrounds the city, to the railroad machine shops, which employ over
two thousand men, and to several minor manufacturing establishments
which in the aggregate employ a considerable number of people. These
are resources that may be common to many other live towns, but Reno has
several sources of income quite peculiar to itself that an indulgent
state legislature, largely composed of Renoans, has made possible by
shrewd enactments. Here it is still lawful to race horses as in the
good old days with everything wide open and bookmakers galore. A solid
month each year is devoted to the speed track, during which time the
sportively inclined congregate in Reno from all parts of the West and
squander much ready cash in the town. Prize fighting is also permitted
and here it was that Robert Fitzsimmons plucked the laurel wreath from
the classic brow of Jim Corbet before an appreciative audience of fifty
thousand devotees of the manly art from every corner of the country.

But Reno’s great specialty has been the loosening of the matrimonial
tie--for a consideration--and many well-known and wealthy people
became guests of the town for the six months’ period necessary to
secure a divorce. Yielding to outside public sentiment after awhile,
the legislature extended the period of residence to one year, hoping,
no doubt, to get credit for righteousness--and more cash from
seekers after matrimonial freedom. It killed the infant industry,
however; evidently the idle rich preferred to endure the tortures of
unhappy married life rather than spend a year in Reno, and they quit
coming. The legislature hastened to restore the six-month clause in
the statute and as a consequence the divorce mills are turning out
fair grist again. Our waitress at the hotel pointed out one or two
bejeweled females who were “doing time” in Reno to get rid of their
incompatible mates, and declared that there was a considerable colony
of both sexes in the town waiting for their papers. Some authorities
intimate that two thousand dollars is the minimum sum necessary for an
outsider to secure a decree in a Nevada court, but doubtless many of
the multi-millionaires leave several times that sum behind them, for
the citizens do their full duty in providing entertainment that will
separate their guests from their cash.

It would hardly be expected that the prohibition wave now sweeping the
west coast would be at all likely to cross the Nevada line--in fact, at
this writing Nevada is the only state to contest with New Jersey for
the doubtful honor of being all wet, where even local option has not
succeeded in getting a footing. The saloons of Reno are numerous and
palatial and doubtless contribute not a little to the comfort of those
of the sporting fraternity who make the town their Mecca. The only
attempt at sumptuary legislation is an “anti-treat” law which insists
that everyone must drink at his own expense. As to gambling, I was told
that this pleasant pastime has been little interfered with since the
old mining days, though it is not now conducted so openly except in
connection with the races.

As the metropolis and center of population of the state, Reno should
logically be the capital, but this honor is held by Carson, a village
of five thousand people about twenty miles to the south. Within a
radius of fifty miles is grouped perhaps half the population of the
state, which, with all its vast area of seventy-five thousand square
miles, had but seventy-five thousand people according to the last
census. No other state in the Union has such vast areas of uninhabited
desert, but the natives will strive to impress upon you that a great
future is assured--all that is necessary to make this sagebrush country
bloom like the rose is water, and water can be had from artesian wells
almost anywhere in the Nevada valleys.

However, it is quite outside my province to write a disquisition
on the resources of Nevada, and I have been dwelling on Reno only
because it seemed of unusual interest to me and was a stopping-place
on our tour. Our hotel, the Riverside, is a huge red-brick structure
standing directly on the banks of the Truckee so that its windows
overlook the swift stream, which moves so rapidly that it does not
lose its clearness even in the town limits. We found the Riverside
fairly comfortable--it would have been still more so had we made
reservations in advance--and its rates were very moderate as compared
with the average Western hotel of its class. Reno occupies an important
position in the motor world as a stopping-place on the Lincoln Highway
and an outfitting station for much of the surrounding country. It has
excellent garages with good repair facilities and its streets were
thronged with cars of all degrees.

The next morning we took the road to the north out of the town roughly
following the recently completed Northern California & Oregon Railroad,
which gives Northeastern California and Southern Oregon an outlet
to the Southern Pacific at Reno. The twenty miles in Nevada before
reaching the California line gave us an opportunity to see first-hand
some of the state’s resources of which they talked at Reno. The road
was unexpectedly good, smooth and free from dust, with gently rolling
grades. The view was quite unobstructed and permitted speed ad libitum,
keeping a sharp lookout, of course, for an occasional rough spot or
sandy stretch. A more desolate country than that which stretched away
on either hand would be hard to imagine. A wide valley, without even
sagebrush or cactus to relieve its barrenness, was guarded on both
sides by ranges of bleak, rugged hills which, near at hand, seemed more
like vast cinder heaps than anything else. Only the far distance was
able to transform the scene and to lend something of “enchantment to
the view,” softening the rough outlines with a violet haze and tinging
the desert sands with hues of mauve and lavender. Trees and shrubs
there were none and there were scant indications of vegetation at any
time of the year. At long intervals we passed little deserted ranch
houses which indicated that some hopeful soul had once endeavored to
develop the “resources” of the country, but had given up in despair and
“of his name and race had left no token and no trace.” At one point we
crossed Dry Lake, a vast, level saline deposit as hard and white and
nearly as smooth as polished marble--an ideal auto race course.

Our first town was Doyle, a lonely little place of half a dozen
buildings forty-eight miles north of Reno. Beyond here we entered Long
Creek Valley, our road climbing short, sharp pitches and winding about
sandstone bluffs with stretches of heavy sand here and there. However,
the country soon showed much improvement; there were well-tilled fields
and frequent ranch houses, some of them surrounded by green lawns,
beautified with flowers. Orchards were common and we saw many apple and
pear trees loaded with luscious-looking fruit. The road through this
section was fair, though little had been done in the way of permanent
improvement. There is only one long grade and when we reached the
summit of the hills which it surmounts, we saw a circular valley before
us with an irregular hazy-blue sheet of water in the center. Somehow we
had pictured the northeastern lakes in our minds as rivals of Tahoe in
beauty and color, but never was greater delusion than in the case of
Honey Lake, which lay before us. It is a shallow, characterless expanse
of shimmering water set in the midst of a great basin surrounded on
all sides by naked hills. The shores are flat and marshy and entirely
devoid of trees. It is redeemed from complete unattractiveness by a
narrow ring of fertile and highly cultivated land from one to three
miles wide that completely surrounds it, sloping upwards from the
shore line to the hillsides. Fronting the lake at frequent intervals
are fairly prosperous-looking farmhouses in the midst of poplar and
walnut groves. Cattle raising appeared to be the chief industry, for we
saw many herds grazing in the green meadows around the lake. The name,
they told us, came from the honey-dew which gathers on the grasses
in the vicinity. The lake was alive with wild fowl--ducks, mud hens,
herons, and pelicans--but the frequent “No Hunting” signs apprised the
sportsman that he was not welcome here. The road runs entirely around
the lake, but we chose the west side through Milford, which was fair
though very dusty; in wet weather it must be practically impassable for
motor cars. In winter there is much snow here, the temperature going
sometimes as low as fifteen or twenty degrees below zero, and the lake
usually freezes quite solid. Like all the lakes of this section, it is
said to be gradually receding, due to the drain of numerous artesian
irrigating wells.

Fifteen miles beyond Honey Lake we came into Susanville, where we
planned to stop for the night. We had no very pleasant anticipations,
to be sure, for the town was rated at one thousand people and we were
resigned to put up with primitive accommodations without complaint.
We experienced a pleasant surprise on entering the St. Francis, a
well-kept hotel where we found all modern conveniences. We narrowly
missed being shut out because we failed to make reservations and we
saw other would-be guests turned away later in the day.

Susanville is the capital and metropolis of Lassen, a county of
vast extent but scant population. Here and in Modoc, the county to
the north, the soil is of volcanic origin and Mt. Lassen, the only
active volcano in the United States, is just beyond the hills to the
west. Serving as a center for such a wide tract of country, the town
naturally outclasses places of a thousand people in more populous
sections. It has better stores, theaters, garages, and hotels than are
usually found in places of its size. The most pretentious residence
stands at the head of the main street, a large, crotchety building
which they told us was the home of the chief saloonkeeper, who runs
a palatial bar down the street. North and west of the town the hills
are covered with a magnificent pine forest--a favorite haunt, a local
sportsman informed us, of deer and other game. He also told us that we
would find a good road through the forest to Eagle Lake, some fifteen
miles to the northwest, which he declared the equal of Tahoe for scenic
beauty. We had arrived in the town shortly after noon; there was still
time to drive to Eagle Lake and the car was ordered forthwith.

We had proceeded but a little way when we came upon a force of men
working upon the new state road which is to connect Susanville with the
Pacific Highway at Red Bluff, a distance of about one hundred miles,
making this country far more accessible to the motorist than at the
time of our visit. Three or four miles out of the town we turned from
the highway into the forest, following an excellent mountain road which
climbs a steady but moderate grade for a distance of twelve miles. On
either hand towered gigantic yellow pines, many of which were devoid
of branches for a height of nearly one hundred feet. It was clear
that a fire had swept through them not so very long ago, destroying
the smaller trees and shrubbery and giving the forest a wonderfully
cleaned-up appearance. It had apparently done little damage to the big
trees, though some of the trunks were charred to a considerable height.
Some distance beyond the summit we saw the lake far below us, gleaming
in the low afternoon sun and reminding us of a great gem set in the
dark pines that crowd up to its shores. It was too late in the day to
get much in color effects, but we agreed that Eagle Lake, lovely as
it is, has no claim for comparison with Tahoe. The shores of the lake
abound with curious caves extending for miles underground, some filled
with perpetual ice and others through which icy winds continually roar.
Many have never been fully explored and some of the strange phenomena
have never been satisfactorily accounted for. The lake teems with
trout and bass, affording far better sport for fishermen than the more
frequented waters and its shores, still in their native wildness, offer
ideal camping sites. Returning to the town, we saw a wonderful sunset
through the pines and from occasional points of vantage caught long
vistas of wooded hills stretching away to the crimson sky.

The northbound road out of Susanville climbs a barren hill range with
grades up to fifteen per cent and there is scarcely a downward dip
for over seven miles. Not a tree or shrub obstructs the view from
the long switchbacks and we had a magnificent panorama of the town
and Honey Lake Valley and the far-reaching wooded hills to the south
and west. The road, though unimproved, was excellent and as volcanic
rock is the base, it is probably good the year round except when snow
prevails. It was not so good beyond the hillcrest; boulders began to
crop out, making the descent to Merrillville pretty rough. At the
summit we ran into a fine forest of yellow pine, which continued
for several miles. We then crossed stony, desolate hill ranges--one
after another--alternating with basin-shaped valleys. In one of these
valleys, thirty miles from Susanville, is Horse Lake, an ugly, shallow
sheet of water three or four miles long with barren, alkali-encrusted
shores. A notice was posted by the roadside warning passersby that the
water of the lake is poisonous and it certainly looked like it. The
soil of some of the valleys looked as if it might be fertile if well
watered, but the greater part of it was strewn with ragged volcanic
rocks. There were occasional miserable little huts, apparently long
deserted, which indicated that at some time a settler had endeavored
to wring an existence from the inhospitable earth, and had given up
in despair. A few of the more persistent were still engaged in the
struggle, but there was little indication of prosperity.

Beyond Horse Lake we climbed a second mighty hill range and from the
summit beheld the Madeline Plains, a valley far larger than the ones we
had passed. This wide level tract, comprising over one hundred square
miles, is encircled by volcanic hills which, despite their ugliness and
barrenness when viewed near at hand, faded away in the distance in a
wild riot of coloring. Lavender merged into purple and purple deepened
to dark blue, which finally shrouded the hills from our view. Farming
in this valley appeared to be conducted more successfully, though there
is as yet much unimproved land and none of the ranch houses or their
surroundings showed signs of prosperity. Madeline, on the edge of
the plain, is a dilapidated village of a few dozen people and the big
yellow wooden hotel seemed out of all proportion to any business it
could hope for. Beyond this for many miles the characteristics of the
country continued much the same, hills and valleys alternating until
we entered the Pitt River Valley, a dozen miles from Alturas. Here
the country began to show considerable improvement, which gradually
increased until we came into the town.

Alturas, with about a thousand inhabitants, the capital of Modoc
County, is a good-looking town with a handsome courthouse of classic
design and a modern high school building. It is the only place in the
huge county that can be dignified by being called a town--for Modoc,
with its four thousand square miles of area, can muster only six
thousand people, most of whom live in the narrow valleys between the
volcanic hills or on the plain around the shores of Goose Lake. This
section is at present quite inaccessible to motorists, but the new
highway to be constructed from Redding will do much to put the county
in touch with the rest of the state.

Out of Alturas we followed a level and very good dirt road through
a fair-looking farming section to Davis Creek at the lower end of
Goose Lake, a distance of twenty-two miles. Goose Lake is the largest
of the numerous lakes in this section--about thirty-five miles in
extreme length by ten at its greatest width. The road closely follows
its shores and beyond Davis Creek ascends a steep grade leading up
the mountainside overlooking the lake and affording a glorious view
of the fine sheet of water. We saw it from many angles and altitudes
as we mounted up, each with its peculiar lighting and coloring--all
beautiful and inspiring. We paused to contemplate the scene at a point
from which nearly the whole lake was visible. It lay beneath us in the
low afternoon sun, glistening blue and silver, the hill range running
along the opposite shore wrapped in an indigo haze. The waters of Goose
Lake have not the dark, changeful blue of Tahoe, but seem more like
the azure monotone of the sky, save where the sunlight threw its white
beams across it from the west. Its monotony of color is doubtless due
to the fact that it is quite shallow, its depth in no place exceeding
eighteen or twenty feet, while the average is probably not more
than five or six feet. Around it runs a belt of fertile farm land,
broadest on the eastern side. There are many prosperous ranch houses at
intervals and great numbers of thrifty-looking sheep and cattle grazed
in the meadows which run down to the shore. The water for irrigating is
largely drawn from the lake or artesian wells near by. This has caused
a steady shrinkage in the lake and, indeed, may cause it to ultimately
disappear, an event which the lover of the beautiful in natural scenery
must earnestly deplore. For we all agreed that Goose Lake and its
setting were very beautiful despite its unprepossessing name--and we
recalled how narrowly Tahoe escaped being stigmatized as Lake Bigler.
A rose by any other name might smell as sweet, perhaps, but it does
seem that Tahoe would lose some of its glory if it bore the unmusical
cognomen of the disloyal ante bellum governor.

From the summit of the grade we descended gradually through a fine
pine forest to Willow Ranch and from there continued through the level
farm lands skirting the shore to the village of New Pine Creek just
across the Oregon border. Perhaps if we had been able to anticipate
the fate awaiting us at Lakeview we should have paused at the rather
unattractive wooden hotel in this diminutive burg. In blissful
ignorance, however, we dashed mile after mile over a fairly level but
dusty road, expecting every moment to come in sight of Lakeview. We
had--I hardly know why--a preconceived notion of a picturesque little
town overlooking the lake from a pine-covered bluff and a hotel in
keeping with these imaginary surroundings, equipped with everything to
bring peace and joy to the soul of the motorist after a rough, dusty
run. The road left the lake and the lake gradually receded from view,
and still no town; not until we had left the northernmost mud-puddle of
Goose Lake six or seven miles behind us did we enter the unattractive,
straggling village whose name had so excited our anticipations. We
entered the principal hotel with serious misgivings and came out of
it with the determination to pass the night in the car rather than
to occupy the beds that the unkempt attendant offered us. I forbear
farther comment because conditions change so rapidly in these western
towns; before my book can be published a new management may turn a
dirty, shabby-looking place into a clean, comfortable hotel. It has
happened in several instances to my own knowledge and it may happen in
Lakeview, Oregon.

A friendly native who appreciated our predicament told us that his
people would take us in at their ranch house, some distance in the
country, if we couldn’t find decent accommodations in the town.
He directed us to another hotel, which was full, but the landlady
bestirred herself and secured rooms in a private home where we were
comfortably taken care of. Our host was an old resident of the
section--a local politician, ranch owner, and an enthusiastic hunter
and fisherman. He informed us that the principal resource of the
surrounding country was cattle and sheep raising, largely on government
land, for which the owner of the stock pays a small annual fee. He
declared that there was a fine chance for energetic young fellows to do
well in this line and cited an Irish boy of his acquaintance who had
cleared six thousand dollars on sheep in the two years just past. The
recent extension of the railway to Lakeview, giving direct connection
with the main line at Reno, two hundred and forty-four miles distant,
had given a great impetus to both farming and stock-raising in this
section.

“Why Lakeview for a town from which it is impossible even to see the
lake?” we asked.

“Because the lake originally came up to the town,” he replied, “but it
has been steadily receding until it is now six miles away.”

There is good fishing in the lake, which is stocked with rainbow trout,
though our host declared he much preferred the sport afforded by the
streams of the vicinity and some of the stories he told of his catches
would certainly stir the blood of anyone addicted to the gentle art of
Ike Walton. Quite as good fortune awaits the hunter in the vicinity;
deer, bear, and smaller game abound within easy distance of the town.
The game laws of both California and Oregon are so very stringent, he
declared, that an outsider will do well to post himself thoroughly
before undertaking a hunting expedition in either of these states.

Leaving Lakeview early in the morning, we thanked our hosts for their
kindness in taking the strangers in--for their exceedingly modest
charge showed that it was not done altogether for profit.

“Only a little more than one hundred miles to Klamath Falls,” we were
told, “but a rough, heavy road much of the way and a hard day’s run for
any car”--all of which we speedily verified by personal experience. The
hardest work came in the latter half of the run; for many miles out
of Lakeview we bowled along through a sagebrush country with widely
scattered habitations and no sign of fellow-motorists. We followed
a huge irrigation aqueduct, evidently nearing completion, for some
distance and in one place, where it is carried on a high trestle across
a valley, the road passes beneath it. The land looked fertile enough
and no doubt if the water supply is adequate this irrigation project
will change the appearance of things in this section before many years.
We passed a pine-covered hill range with heavy and stony grades before
reaching Bly, the first village, nearly fifty miles from Lakeview.

This is a trading station of a dozen or two buildings at the eastern
boundary of the huge Klamath Indian Reservation. For several miles we
had been passing the noble red men with all kinds of conveyances--on
horseback, in lumber wagons, spring wagons, carriages, and even two or
three automobiles. Most of them were well dressed in civilized store
clothes, usually with a dash of color--a red bandanna or necktie or a
sporty hat band--and their horses and equipment showed evidences of
prosperity. Many pleasantly saluted as they made way for us to pass
and, altogether, they seemed far removed from the traditional painted
savage of the old-time wild and woolly West. The storekeeper at Bly
said they were coming from an Indian fair and all were returning sober
so far as we could see. He said that many of them were well-to-do
cattlemen and farmers and that he depended on them for most of his
trade. We passed many of their farm cottages beyond Bly and the lady
of our party, who had once been connected with the Indian service,
interviewed one of the women--we were going to say “squaws” but it
almost seems inappropriate. She was accorded the most courteous
treatment by the occupants of the little cabin; her queries were
answered in good English and she declared that everything about the
place was clean and well-ordered.

“Going to Crater Lake--what for?” she was asked. “We going to Crater
Lake, too, next week for huckleberries, much huckleberries, at Crater
Lake; Indians all go there.”

Several miles of level though rough and dusty road after leaving Bly
brought us to another heavily forested hill range with more steep and
stony grades. We paused under a big pine to eat the lunch we had picked
up in Lakeview, congratulating ourselves on our foresight, for we were
hungry and the wayside inn is wanting on this trail. We were truly
in the wild at this point. No railroad comes within fifty miles; the
nearest settler was many miles away--and that settler a Klamath Indian.
At the foot of the long grade we came to a sluggish, green-tinted
stream--Lost River--which we followed nearly to our destination. They
call it Lost River since it vanishes from sight in the vast marshes of
Tule Lake to the south.

The last twelve miles out of Klamath Falls were the most trying of
a hard day’s run. The road bed was hidden in a foot of flour-like
white limestone dust--deep enough to effectually hide the unmerciful
chuck-holes and to make driving a blind chance. A snail’s pace--from
the motorist’s point of view--was enforced. A dense gray dust cloud
enveloped us and the stifling heat was unrelieved by the fresh breeze
that a sharp pace always sets up. As if to make a test of the limits of
our endurance, we were compelled to work our way through a herd of two
thousand cattle that were being driven along the road. We know there
were two thousand of them, for a local paper next day made mention
of this particular herd and the number. Those who have tried to pass
a hundred cattle on a road fairly free from dust can imagine what we
endured; those who have never passed cattle on a road can know nothing
about it. When we finally worked our way out of the stifling dust
cloud, it would have been difficult to recognize the race or color of
the occupants of the car--we would surely have passed for anything but
members of the Caucasian race. As we rolled on to the broad, asphalted
street leading into Klamath Falls, dust begrimed, everything--our
faces, clothing, and baggage--was enveloped by a dirty gray film. It
covered the car from the radiator to tail light--lay an inch deep on
the running boards--and fell in heavy flakes from the wheels.

We had been assured of first-class accommodations in the town, but were
not expecting such a splendid, metropolitan hotel as the White Pelican;
it seemed almost presumptuous for such grimy, besmirched individuals as
ourselves to seek quarters in so cleanly and well-ordered a place. We
were reassured, however, by a sign over the entrance, “Automobile togs
are fashionable at this hotel,” which seemed to indicate that others
before us had been subject to similar misgivings and needed a little
assurance of welcome on the part of the hotel people. In any event, no
insinuating remarks or even smiles greeted our plight, and a light,
airy, beautifully furnished room was assigned us with a perfectly
appointed bath which afforded us every facility for removing such
Oregon real estate as still adhered to our persons. Just how thorough
our dust bath had been was shown by the fact that some of it penetrated
our suit cases, though protected by an outer trunk and an oilcloth
covering--a thing that had not previously happened during our tour.

After we had restored ourselves to the semblance of respectability
with a bath and change of raiment, there was still time to walk about
the town before dinner. It is built mainly along a broad, well-paved
street and both public and private buildings are rather better than
usual in towns of five thousand. The stores, shops, and theaters are
above the average, the school buildings are handsome and substantial,
and a new courthouse of imposing, classic design was nearing completion
at a cost of a quarter of a million dollars. The chief source of the
apparent prosperity of the town is the lumbering business with a pay
roll of more than one hundred thousand dollars monthly. Klamath Falls
is also the gateway to Crater Lake, to which the tide of travel is
constantly increasing, and it lays claim itself to being something
of a summer resort. The White Pelican Hotel, which, we were assured,
cost nearly four hundred thousand dollars, is built over a mineral
spring with a temperature near the boiling point and waters closely
resembling Carlsbad in mineral constituents. There are elaborate baths
and a swimming pool in connection with the hotel and its beautiful
appointments and excellent service make it a delightful home for any
who wish to take advantage of the waters. Motorists will find the White
Pelican Garage, just across the street, quite the equal of the hotel
for excellent service and up-to-date equipment. In fact, both hotel
and garage would do credit to a place ten times the size of Klamath
Falls. To be sure, Klamath Falls expects to be a place of ten times
its present size in the somewhat indefinite future--several railroad
projects are now under way which, when complete, will make accessible
much more of the thirty-one billion feet of standing timber in the
county and double the amount of productive irrigated land. All of which
seems to justify the emphatic claims of the town’s Chamber of Commerce
that “Klamath Falls is bound to grow, bound to grow on account of her
great resources, timber, irrigated lands, water power, Nature’s play
ground (America’s Switzerland) and railroad development!”



[Illustration: CRATER LAKE

From photo by Winter Photo Co., Portland, Oregon]



IV

THE MARVELS OF CRATER LAKE


We left Klamath Falls early in the morning with high anticipation.
Our destination was one of the great objectives of our tour, for were
we not to see Crater Lake, which no competent authority would omit
from a list of the seven greatest wonders of America, if not, indeed,
of the whole world? The run, every mile of the way, is beautiful and
inspiring, a fit introduction to the grand climax that greets you at
the end. A few miles out of the town the road took us to the shores of
Klamath Lake, which we followed to the northern extremity--a distance
of some twenty-five miles. While by no means a perfect highway, we
rejoiced to find it free from the bottomless dust that strangled us
when entering the town--a few sandy stretches and a stony spot here and
there were only pleasant variations compared with our experiences of
the previous clay.

A short distance out of the town we passed two immense sawmills on
the lake shore where the huge logs cut on the surrounding hills and
floated to the mills are converted into merchantable lumber. Great
log-rafts could be seen moored along the banks or being towed by little
steam tugs. A railroad closely following the shore line gives outlet
to the finished product. Klamath Lake is now playing a similar part
in lumbering to that which Tahoe underwent thirty years ago and we
must confess that it does not add to the beauty of the scene. Yet we
realized when we ascended the long grades which brought us to splendid
vantage points commanding practically the whole lake, that Klamath was
very beautiful and picturesque--not the equal of Tahoe, it is true, but
a lake that would attract many pilgrims on its own account were it not
overshadowed by more famous rivals.

The day was rather dull and gave little opportunity to judge what the
play of color might be under a bright, clear sky, but the lake is
shallow and probably the blue monotone that we saw on Goose Lake would
prevail under such conditions. On the opposite side the purple hills
come up to the very shore and beyond them the wooded crests stretch out
in a vast panorama to the blue haze of the horizon. Below us was an
extensive marsh covered with reeds through which a monster steam dredge
was eating its way and rapidly converting the reed-covered swamp into
wonderfully fertile grain fields, some of which were already bearing
bountiful harvests. Between the main body of the lake and Pelican Bay,
an offshoot at the northern end, we crossed Williamson River, a broad,
clear, full-flowing stream whose still surface was occasionally ruffled
by the breeze.

Leaving the lake we sped onward over a level and fairly good road
winding through meadows studded with pine trees and passing Klamath
Agency, the capital of the Indian Reservation. Fort Klamath is a town
of three hundred people just outside the reservation. The Indian
trade and the outfitting and supplies required by tourists make it a
lively place during the season--from July to September inclusive. The
principal resource of the roundabout country, an obliging garage owner
informed us, is cattle raising, in which most of the people of the
town are interested directly or indirectly. It is a wonderful grazing
country, since the grass is green the year round except when covered by
snow, and wild hay provides winter feed in abundance.

The road begins a steady ascent after leaving Fort Klamath, rising over
three thousand feet in the twenty miles between the town and Crater
Lake Lodge on the rim of the lake. The whole distance is through pine
forests and the road was only fair until we reached the confines of the
park. After entering the park we were delighted to find a splendid
new road that might almost be described as a boulevard had recently
been built by the government. It is wide, smooth, and beautifully
engineered and we were told is to be hard surfaced in due time. It
passes some magnificent scenery, following for several miles the canyon
of Annie Creek, whose commonplace name gives little suggestion of the
stupendous gorge through which the diminutive stream dashes. It is a
vast, precipitous chasm hundreds of feet in depth, almost rivaling the
canyon of the Yellowstone in size, though it lacks the glorious color
of the latter. For eight miles the road follows this gigantic gorge
and from many points we had glimpses of its pine-studded depths. At
one point it widens into the “Garden of the Gods” with green meadows
and sparkling waterfalls. Along the sides of the canyon are curious
formations--columns, pinnacles, and weirdly carved forms--all composed
of igneous rock from which the surrounding gravel has at some time
been washed away. Splendid pines border the road throughout the park
and most of the commoner varieties of conifers are seen--red cedar,
hemlock, spruce, white pine, yellow pine, sugar pine, Douglas, silver,
and red firs, and other species--and many varieties of deciduous trees
are also represented. There were some fine individual specimens, but
in the main the trees along the road were smaller, as though they
might be a second growth upon a burned area. Six or seven miles after
entering the park we came to the official Crater Lake station, where
Uncle Sam’s representative issued the proper permits and collected a
moderate fee. While this necessary business was being transacted, the
lady of the party was besieged by a score of hungry chipmunks that
came from crannies about the ranger’s cabin, having learned that auto
visitors are likely to have some odd scraps of lunch about their car.

[Illustration: THE ROAD TO CRATER LAKE

From photo by Kiser’s Studio, Portland, Oregon]

Just after leaving the station, we crossed Annie Creek Canyon, passing
Annie Spring Camp on the opposite side, where tourists who prefer the
out-of-doors can secure a floored tent and have access to a community
dining room. Here we began a steady three-mile ascent to Crater Lake
Lodge over the splendid new road recently completed by the government.
Despite the rise of two or three hundred feet to the mile, heavy
grades and sharp turns are avoided and there is room everywhere for
easy passing. Heavy forests skirted the road; only occasionally was
it possible to catch a panorama of rugged peaks through a momentary
opening in the crowded ranks of somber pines.

Near our destination we came into an open space which revealed Crater
Lake Lodge standing at the summit of a sharp incline. It is a long,
gray building of rustic design, the first story of native stone with
frame construction above. It was not completed at the time of our
visit, which doubtless accounted for some of the shortcomings that we
noticed during our stay. Inside there is a great rustic lounging room
with an immense fireplace capable of taking a six-foot log--a very
necessary convenience in a climate where there is frost every month in
the year.

We were assigned a room fronting on the lake and here it was that
we had our first view of this wonderful natural phenomenon. We
had resolved not to let our first impression be one of piecemeal
glimpses--we did not even look toward the lake until we reached the
splendid vantage-point afforded from our open windows. The lodge
stands on an eminence nearly fifteen hundred feet above the surface
of the lake, commanding almost the entire lake as well as much of the
surrounding country. My first impression is recorded in our “log book”
to the effect that “no comparison seems to me so adequate as to imagine
a huge, flawless lapis lazuli set in a rugged wall of variegated cliffs
whose predominating color is pale lavender.” We did not at first
observe the slight emerald ring running around the shore--we forgot
the play of light and shadow over the still surface; our only thought
and wonder was about the blue, the deepest, strangest, loveliest
blue we had ever seen in any body of water; Tahoe, Como, Constance,
are blue--bluer than the clearest skies--but their blue is not that
of Crater Lake. Around it runs a jagged wall of precipitous cliffs,
ranging from five hundred to two thousand feet in height and out
beyond these lay an endless array of majestic mountains dominated by
the spire-like peak of Mount Thielsen. It is six miles to the opposite
shore, but so clear is the atmosphere that the wall comes out with
startling distinctness and the mountains beyond stand wonderfully clear
against the pale horizon. The clouds, which overcast the sky when we
left Klamath, had vanished and we beheld the glorious spectacle of lake
and mountains in the full splendor of the noonday sun.

When our first shock of admiration and surprise had softened a little,
we observed details more carefully. To the right was Wizard Island,
a cinder cone rising more than nine hundred feet from the water--it
did not appear so high to us. It was covered with straggling pines
and its truncated top showed where the crater in the strange island
might be found. In front of the hotel the slope from the rim was less
precipitous than elsewhere and we noticed a trail winding down to the
water’s edge--we learned later the only practicable descent to the
lake. At the foot of this trail there is a lovely green cove; we had
overlooked it in the overmastering impression of blue that had seized
us at first. Then we noticed the faint emerald rim elsewhere along
the shore, where the cliffs were not so abrupt, and became slowly
aware that there was more of color variation than we first imagined. A
slight breeze swept the surface and a ripple of silver ran across the
dark blue expanse. In the shadow of the almost perpendicular cliffs,
the blue deepened to dark purple, while in the shallow bays and coves
around the shores it shaded into pale green.

Our attention was diverted from the fascinating scene by a call for
dinner and we descended to the dining-room, a huge apartment with
finish and wainscoating in rough pine bark. On one side the windows
commanded a view of Eagle Cove and a large part of the lake and cliffs,
while on the other, down a vast canyon bounded by mighty hills, on
clear days one may see Klamath Valley, with its shimmering lake fifty
miles away, and under especially favorable conditions the gleaming
pyramid of Mt. Shasta, one hundred miles distant.

The view, we agreed, was much better than the meal, of which we have
not the pleasantest recollection, but we made some allowance for
confusion resultant on the incomplete state of the hotel. Conditions
should be better when everything is in order; with proper management,
the Lodge has in it the possibilities of a most delightful resort
during the season, which is usually short--from July to October. On the
year of our visit the road was not open until August first, snow being
ten feet deep about the Lodge on July fourth. One can not remain here
after October first without taking chances of being shut in for the
winter, sudden and heavy snowfalls being probable at any time.

After lunch we descended the trail leading from the Lodge to Eagle Cove
and took the motor-launch trip around the lake. The descent is more
than a thousand feet straight down and by the exceedingly devious trail
must be many times that distance. The downward trek was strenuous and
the return still more so; burros are to be employed later for guests
who dislike to undertake the trip on foot. In many places the trail was
covered by huge snowbanks which had lingered during the whole summer,
and these, with the mud and water, often made considerable detours
necessary. Time will come, no doubt, when the trail will be improved
and made easier, but we found it an exceedingly hard scramble for
people unused to strenuous effort.

From the launch one sees many aspects of the lake not to be had from
any viewpoint on the rim. In the first place you become aware of
the marvelous clearness of the water, despite its almost solid blue
appearance from the shore. They told us that a white object, such as
an ordinary dinner plate, for instance, could be plainly seen at a
depth of one hundred and fifty feet. Fishermen can see the gamy rainbow
trout, the only variety found in the lake, sport about the bait in
the crystal water. One imagines from the rim that a tumbler of the
water dipped from the lake would show a cerulean tint, but it proves
as colorless and clear as the air itself. It follows that the contour
of the bottom may be seen in many places, though the great depth of
the water generally makes this impossible. The deepest sounding made
so far, 1996 feet, is declared by authorities to be the record for any
body of fresh water.

[Illustration: SHIP ROCK, CRATER LAKE

From painting by H. H. Bagg]

The surface was as placid as a mill pond save for occasional ripples
from the slight breeze. Above us towered the steep cliffs and as
we drew nearer to them dashes of bright color--brilliant yellows
and reds--came out in the glowing sunlight. Far above us the rugged
outlines loomed against the pale azure skies and only from beneath
can one get an adequate idea of the stupendous height and expanse of
these mighty walls. From Eagle Cove we followed the southern shore past
Castle Crest, Garfield Peak and Vidal Crest--the latter rising 1958
feet above the lake, the highest point on the rim and corresponding
strangely to the greatest known depth of the water. Beyond these rises
the sheer wall of Dutton Cliff and just in front of it, cut off by a
deep but narrow channel, the weird outlines of the Phantom Ship. The
name does not seem especially applicable to the solid, rocky pinnacles
that tower a hundred feet above the blue water, roughly suggesting the
outlines of an old double-masted sailing ship, but they told us that
under certain conditions of light and shadow the rock seemed to fade
from sight against the background of Dutton Cliff--a fact responsible
for its ghostly name. Though the rugged spires seem almost vertical,
they have been scaled by adventurous climbers, a feat not likely to
tempt the average tourist.

Perhaps a mile farther brought us opposite Kerr Notch, the lowest point
on the rim, and some distance beyond this rose the stern outlines of
Sentinel Rock. Cloud Cap Bay lies almost beneath the mountain of the
same name, which was later to afford us a vantage point for a panorama
of the whole lake and surrounding country. The Wine Glass, which
next engaged our attention, is a queer slide of red sandstone shaped
like a huge goblet against the walls of Grotto Cove. Round Top is a
dome-shaped rock rising above the Palisades, a precipice extending
from Grotto Cove to Cleetwood Cove, a distance of nearly two miles.
Near the latter point, geologists declare, the last great flow of lava
occurred, evidenced by vast masses of black volcanic rock.

Pumice Point, projecting sharply into the lake, cuts Cleetwood Cove
from Steel Bay, over which towers the legend-haunted peak of Llao Rock,
rising nearly two thousand feet above the water. Even to-day many
Indians of the vicinity regard Crater Lake with superstitious fears and
in olden times only their conjurors and medicine men dared approach
the silent shores of the strange blue water. So it is not surprising
that some of their legends linger about it still and that Llao Rock
was reputed the home of a powerful fiend who once held mysterious sway
over the region about the lake. His subjects were giant crawfish whose
practice was to seize in their cruel claws any stranger who approached
their haunts and to drag him under the bottomless waters. Llao and his
retainers did not have everything their own way, however, for Skell, a
powerful rival demon, dwelt in the fastnesses of Klamath marshes far to
the south and he waged deadly and unrelenting war against the guardian
of Crater Lake. Llao, however, after ages of struggle, marked by mighty
feats of prowess and enchantment, finally gained the advantage and tore
Skell’s heart from his body. To celebrate his victory he gave the
reeking heart to his followers, who played a savage ball game with it,
hurling it from mountain to mountain in their glee. But Skell’s swift
eagles seized their master’s heart in mid-air and carried it to his
antelopes, who, with the speed of the wind, bore it over the mountain
ridges to his old haunts in the Klamath marsh. There, wonderful to
relate, Skell’s body grew about the heart again and, stronger than
ever, he planned vengeance against his victorious enemy. Lying in wait,
he captured Llao and to prevent any miraculous reincarnation of his
rival, the cunning Skell cut him into shreds which he cast into the
mysterious cauldron of Crater Lake. The gluttonous crawfish imagined
that their master had demolished his rival and feasted joyously upon
the remains, only to learn, when a few days later the head of Llao was
cast into the lake, that they had devoured their chieftain. Perhaps
they died of grief for their unwitting offense, but be that as it may,
there are none of them to-day in the blue waters of Crater Lake. But
the head of Llao, the Indians assert, is still in evidence to prove
their legend, though white men may call it Wizard Island. Llao’s soul
dwells in the rock bearing his name and sometimes he ventures forth to
stir up a storm on the placid waters which were once his own.

But here is Wizard Island just before us, a symmetrical cinder cone
rising seven hundred and sixty-three feet above the lake and covered
with a sparse growth of stunted pines. Geologists tell a different
story of its origin from the wild legend we have just related, but
surely it is quite as wonderful. They say that ages ago expiring
volcanic forces pushed the island up from the floor of the crater--and
it was only one of many miniature crater-mountains thus formed, though
all the others are hidden by the waters of the lake. One may scramble
up the steep slope of the island and descend into the crater--a
depression one hundred feet deep by five hundred in width. At its
base the island is perhaps two-thirds of a mile in diameter and it is
separated from the rim by a narrow channel which bears the name of the
victorious Skell of the Indian legend. On the landward side of the
island is a black, rough lava bed and in one of its hollows is a dark,
sinister-looking tarn with the weird name of Witches’ Pool. As some one
has remarked, we therefore have a crater within a crater and a lake
within a lake. Just opposite the island rise the Watchman and Glacier
Peak, both of which exceed eight thousand feet in height, and whose
sides slope at a very sharp angle down to the surface of the lake.

Our starting point, just below the Lodge, is only a mile or two
from Wizard Island, and the entire round which we have described can
be made in from two to four hours, according to the desire of the
tourist. It is indeed a wonderful trip and if I have written of it in
only a matter-of-fact way, it is because the temptation to dwell on
the exhaustless theme of its weird beauty is likely to lead one to
monotonous repetition. No one can satisfactorily describe Crater Lake
or adequately express in words the subtle atmosphere of mystery and
romance that hovers about it; one can only hope to convey enough of
these things to his reader to induce him to make a personal pilgrimage
to this strange and inspiring phenomenon of nature.

The ascent of the trail from the lake to the Lodge was less strenuous
than we expected and they told us there was still time to drive over
the new road to the summit of the Watchman, about four miles distant.
It is a fine, well-engineered road, but in the main keeps away from the
rim and presents vistas of endless mountains rather than of the lake.
We were not able to reach our goal, for the road was closed about three
miles from the Lodge on account of blasting. We turned about with some
difficulty and as we retraced our way to the inn we had a superb view
of the setting sun across the long array of wooded crests that stretch
southward toward Klamath Lake. At Victor Rock, a short distance from
the Lodge, we left the car and sought this splendid vantage point to
view the lake at sunset. It was disappointing, if anything about Crater
Lake could be disappointing, for the sun’s rays did not reach the
surface as he sank behind the hills in the southwest. Only a deeper,
duller blue settled over the placid water, relieved a little later by
the reflection of a full moon. The sense of mystery, however, that is
never absent when one views this strange “sea of silence” was deepened
when the blue shadows of twilight settled over it and began a ghostly
struggle with the pale moonbeams. Verily, you shudder and wonder if
there is not some real foundation for these legends of the haunting
spirits of Llao and Skell and perhaps--but the glowing windows of the
Lodge reminded us that dinner time was at hand, something of more vital
interest than speculations about ghosts and demons.

[Illustration: WIZARD ISLAND FROM GARFIELD PEAK

Copyright by Fred H. Kiser, Portland, Oregon]

A great fire of pine logs was blazing in the huge fireplace and it
was grateful, indeed, for there were strong indications of frost in
the air. “Better drain your radiator,” was the admonition to our
driver, who had garaged the car under a group of huge pines a little
distance from the Lodge--no other shelter being ready--but with his
usual carefulness he had already anticipated the suggested precaution.
After lunch the guests crowded about the fire, reading the day-old
newspapers or discussing the various roads over which they had come,
there being several other motor parties besides ourselves. A fisherman
entered, but the only result of his five-hour cruise was a fine
rainbow trout, weighing perhaps six pounds. This started talk about
piscatorial matters and we learned that originally there were no fish
of any kind in the lake. The principal life was a small crustacean
which is found in vast numbers and is probably the basis of the big
crawfish story in the legend of Llao and Skell. Mr. U. G. Steele, some
thirty years ago, first stocked the lake with young rainbow trout which
have thriven greatly, for now the fish are present in large numbers
and many have been taken weighing as much as ten pounds. The fish are
caught by fishing from vantage points on the shore or by trolling from
rowboats. They are usually quick to take the hook and for their size
are exceedingly game fighters. A day’s limit is five, which is quickly
reached early in the season. So clear is the water that the angler can
watch every move of his quarry from the moment it takes the bait until
it is finally “landed.”

Naturally, we were curious to know of the origin, the discovery,
and the geology of Crater Lake, and soon learned that Uncle Sam has
anticipated this curiosity and has issued through the Department
of the Interior a number of illustrated booklets and maps which are
obtainable at the Lodge. A better plan, no doubt, would be to obtain
these and other literature in advance of the trip, but this we had
neglected. With this assistance, a few minutes enabled us to learn much
of the strange lake and region we were visiting.

The name itself is suggestive of the lake’s origin. Ages ago, probably
before higher animal life had appeared on the earth, there was a period
of intense volcanic activity on the western coast of North America. A
vast range of fire mountains extended from Mount Baker in Washington
to Mount Lassen in California and all of them at one time were active
volcanos higher and more terrible than Mount Vesuvius ever was. Among
these were Mount Ranier, Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams, Mount Hood,
Mount Jefferson, the Three Sisters, Mount McLoughlin, Mount Shasta, and
Mount Lassen, of which only the last still shows volcanic activity.
Mightier than any of these was the gigantic peak which stood on the
site of Crater Lake and which has been called Mount Mazama in honor
of the Alpine Club of that name in Portland, whose investigations
have contributed much to our knowledge of this region. It must have
exceeded fifteen thousand feet in height, overtopping every other peak
on the North American continent, and what ages it stood, a sentinel of
fire and snow with no human eye to see its awful majesty, we can not
know, but it must have been for many thousands of years. Nor can we
know with anything like exactness when some vast and almost unthinkable
convulsion of nature tore this mighty mountain from its seat and
leveled its proud bulk far below the lesser rivals that surrounded
it. Nor can we be certain of the exact nature of the disaster that
overtook it; whether it gradually disappeared through long ages or as
the result of some sudden and awful convulsion is now only a matter of
conjecture, though scientific opinion inclines to the latter view. The
theory is that terrific internal forces burst through the slopes of the
mountain well down its gigantic sides and that the shell, weakened by
loss of the molten core, collapsed inwardly and was fused in the white
hot lavas. This theory requires the assumption that much of the debris
escaped in the shape of gases, leaving the vast pit where the lake now
lies.

More generally accepted is the theory of a sudden and terrific
explosion which scattered the mountain top broadcast for hundreds of
miles around, a fate that overtook the volcano Krakatoa in the South
Pacific. In succeeding ages the fiery crater gradually cooled and
was finally filled with water from the heavy snows that fall in this
region. The lake has no other source of supply and no visible outlet,
but since precipitation exceeds any possible evaporation, there must
be some subterranean channel by which the water escapes; otherwise the
lake would eventually fill to the level of the lowest point of the rim.
That all volcanic action has long since ceased is proven by the fact
that at a depth of three hundred feet the temperature remains the whole
year round only seven degrees above the freezing point.

Such, in rough outline, is the geologic story of this weird region and
mysterious lake. When one considers it as he floats on the steel-blue
water, it gives rise to strange thoughts and sensations--here, where
you drift and dream, laving your hand in the clear, cold water, once
raged an inferno of flame so fierce that solid rock fused and flowed
like burning oil. A full mile above the highest skyline of the gigantic
encircling cliffs once towered a stupendous peak which has vanished
as utterly as if it had never existed. Was it all the result of some
mysterious sequence of accidents or did some Power plan and direct it
all to obtain this

  “Fantastic beauty--such as lurks
  In some wild poet when he works
  Without a conscience or an aim?”

The first white man to stumble upon this astounding spectacle was John
W. Wellman, who led an exploring party to this region in 1853. They
were searching for a certain Lost Cabin gold mine which proved as
mythical as DeLeon’s Fountain of Youth. No gold did they discover in
these giant hills, but they gave the world something better than gold
in bringing to light one of the supremest of natural wonders. Not the
slightest premonition did they have of their wonderful find.

“We suddenly came in sight of water,” declares Wellman, “and were much
surprised, as we did not expect to see any lakes in this vicinity. Not
until my mule stopped within a few feet of the rim did I look down and
I believe if I had been riding a blind mule I would have gone over the
edge to my death.”

The discoverers had a lively dispute over a name for the lake and
finally decided to settle by vote whether it should be called
Mysterious Lake or Deep Blue Lake. The latter name won, but in 1869
a visiting party from Jacksonville renamed it Crater Lake, which now
seems obviously the logical title.

It was not until 1902 that Crater Lake National Park was created by
an Act of Congress. This comprises in all two hundred and forty-nine
square miles which include many beautiful and interesting natural
phenomena besides the lake itself. Several of these one may see when
entering and leaving the park and others may be reached by special
trips from the Lodge. Many of the mountain peaks in the vicinity may
be scaled on muleback over safe and fairly easy trails. Union Peak,
about eight miles south of Crater Lake, is one of the favorite trail
trips. This is peculiar in that it is not a cinder cone like most of
its neighbors, but the solid core of an extinct volcano--a very steep,
conical mountain 7689 feet high. Scott Peak, three miles east of the
lake, is the highest point in the vicinity, 8938 feet, and overlooks
Cloud Cap, which the new government road ascends. Mount Thielsen,
9250 feet, the spire-like peak twelve miles to the north, may also be
reached by a trail, passing beautiful Diamond Lake, a favorite spot for
campers.

[Illustration: CRATER LAKE--WIZARD ISLAND IN DISTANCE

From photo by Kiser’s Studio, Portland, Oregon]

The greater number of visitors come to the park by the automobile
stages, which run regularly on alternate days during the season from
Medford, on the main line of the Southern Pacific in Oregon, and from
Klamath Falls over the route covered by ourselves. The former route,
known as the Rogue River road, follows the river of that name
through a wonderfully picturesque mountain country. Out of Medford for
a good many miles the route passes through a prosperous fruit-farming
country, where the famous Rogue River apples are produced. The highway
climbs gradually out of the valley into the foothills and as it leads
up the gorge of the river, the scenery constantly takes on a wilder
aspect, culminating in the virgin wilderness where thunder the Great
Falls of the Rogue. The Indians of this section had a strange custom
with reference to these falls, for it was agreed that no brave of the
Klamath, Shasta, or Rogue River tribes should ever approach within
sound of the roaring waters. A little farther up the river is a natural
lava bridge one hundred feet in length. At Prospect, the only station
on the road, luncheon is served and then the ascent to the crest of
the Cascade is begun. The road is edged with giant evergreens, for
here is one of the greatest yellow pine forests in the world, though
other varieties of conifers are also common. Steadily, the road climbs
upward, winding along the steep slopes of the Cascades and affording
wide views in every direction over densely wooded highlands. About
twenty miles from the lake the road leaves the river and turns into
Castle Creek Canyon. Crossing the western boundary of the park, the
ascent becomes steeper and steeper until the summit is attained, from
which, like a great blue jewel in a sunken setting, the tourist gets
his first vision of Crater Lake. The road is usually very rough and
dusty, especially late in the season; plans are now under way for its
improvement, though the early accomplishment of the work can hardly be
hoped for.

The Klamath Falls road, which was the route pursued by ourselves,
averages better and is fully as picturesque. The usual plan is to come
by the Medford road and leave by Klamath Falls, where the tourist may
take the Shasta branch of the Southern Pacific for Weed on the main
line. The stages do not run beyond Klamath Falls.

A third route known as the Dead Indian Road leaves the Pacific Highway
at Ashland and joins the Klamath Falls route at Fort Klamath. The
altitudes traversed by this road average lower than the others,
generally less than five thousand feet. It passes within a few miles
of Mount McLoughlin, the highest peak of the entire region, and skirts
Pelican Bay at the extreme northern end of the main body of Klamath
Lake. Here E. H. Harriman, the late railroad magnate, built a summer
home which has now become a station on the road known as Harriman
Lodge. It is a singularly wild and beautiful section and Pelican Bay
is the most famous fishing “ground” in Oregon. Only a few tourists,
however, come by this route, as the condition of the road is usually
poor and the distance is greater than either of the alternate routes.
In describing the routes by which the lake may be reached, I am writing
only from the motorist’s point of view. Those who prefer to come by
train will probably find it cheaper and more expeditious to go to Fort
Klamath and take the stage to Crater Lake Lodge.

While I was ascertaining the data which I have just been transcribing,
the guests had gradually retired to their rooms and we soon followed
suit. Despite the very crisp air--there is no heat in the guest rooms
of Crater Lake Lodge--we threw open our windows and contemplated the
weird beauty of the lake by the light of a full moon. Color had given
way to dull, mysterious monotone--the lake had become an ebon mirror
reflecting the moon and stars in its sullen deeps. And such starlight
I never saw elsewhere. The stars flamed and corruscated like diamonds
and the lake reflected them in almost undiminished luster, lending a
weird splendor to the scene. We were back at our posts at the windows
to watch sunrise on the lake, but it was distinctly disappointing. We
saw only a sheet of dull silver which gradually changed to blue as the
sun rose over the rim. Possibly at other seasons, under different
conditions, sunrise on Crater Lake may be a spectacle worth shivering
in the frosty air to witness, but we agreed that the scene is far more
inspiring when viewed by starlight.

There was a great spitting and sputtering of motors out under the pines
as we descended the stairs, for the very crisp weather made starting
no easy task, and when we left the Lodge an hour later, one or two of
the refractory engines were still resisting every effort to set them
going. Taking on a supply of forty-five-cent gasoline and pausing for
one last look at the blue wonder-water before us, we glided down the
little vale into the pines. We followed the road by which we came
for a short distance until we reached the Sand Creek “cut off” which
enabled us to regain the main road to Bend without returning to Fort
Klamath. It also gave us the opportunity to ascend the new government
road to the summit of Cloud Cap, an experience that we prize more than
any other at Crater Lake. The road is part of the new highway which is
ultimately to complete the circuit of the lake, a distance in all of
thirty-eight miles. This road is about half finished at the present
time, extending from the summit of Cloud Cap on the east to the peak
of the Watchman on the west. It is being built with moderate grades
and wide turns, broad enough everywhere for easy passing. It does not
closely follow the lake at all points--that would be hardly possible
and certainly not desirable. One of the delightful features of the road
is the disappearance of the lake when one turns into the hills and its
reappearance in new and often surprising aspects as various vantage
points overlooking it are reached. It strikes the senses differently
and more forcefully after the change afforded by a few minutes in the
wooded hills. The distance from the Lodge to Sand Creek Canyon is about
seven miles; here the road branches off to Kerr Notch on the rim,
four or five miles farther, at which point the ascent of Cloud Cap
begins. A splendid new road--it almost deserves the much-abused term
“boulevard”--climbs to the summit in long, sweeping grades ranging from
five to twelve per cent, yet so smooth and splendidly engineered as to
require only high-gear work for a moderately powered car.

I have already described our impressions of the marvels of Crater
Lake to the best of my ability and I can only say that the series of
vistas presented in our ascent of Cloud Cap were far beyond any we
had yet witnessed. In sheer magnificence, in inspiring beauty and in
overwhelming mystery--never absent in any view of Crater Lake--I have
seen little else that could compare with the seven-mile run. At times
we caught only glimpses of the blue water and mighty cliffs through
a group of trees; then we came out upon some bold headland where the
lake lay shimmering beneath our gaze with an endless panorama of
cliffs and peaks beyond. But the crowning spectacle greeted us from
the summit, where from an elevation of two thousand feet above the
surface our vision covered almost the entire lake and the greater
part of its rugged shore line with an almost unlimited sweep over the
surrounding country. Here a new and strange color aspect entranced
us--the main body of the water took on a deep purple hue, fading into
violet and blue with faint streakings of emerald green near the shores.
Light lavender was the prevailing color tone of the encircling cliffs
in the floods of morning sunlight, while dark blues prevailed where
the shadows fell. Out beyond stretched the densely wooded hills with
here and there a commanding peak on which snow flecks still lingered.
Looking down the slope which we had ascended, we saw Lake Klamath in
the far distance, shining silver-bright in its setting of forest and
marsh and beyond it endless hills which were gradually lost in a purple
haze.

[Illustration: LLAO ROCK, CRATER LAKE

Copyright by Fred H. Kiser, Portland, Oregon]

It was a panorama that held us for some time, despite the fact that
our run for the day was to be a long one, over roads for which no
one had spoken a good word. Reluctantly and lingeringly we gave the
word to depart. I find in my “log book” set down on the spot: “One of
the most glorious and inspiring drives in all our experience and all
that its most enthusiastic admirer has ever claimed for it”--a judgment
we are still willing to let stand. Soberly the big car retraced its
way down the long slopes and we soon bade farewell to Crater Lake,
wondering hopefully if we should not some time have the joy of seeing
its weird beauty again. A few miles through dense forests brought us
to the eastern limit of the park, where we surrendered our permit to
Uncle Sam’s representative and struck the dusty trail to Bend, our
destination for the night--about one hundred and twenty miles distant
from the confines of the park.



V

CRATER LAKE TO THE DALLES


On leaving Crater Lake Lodge we were admonished not to miss the Sand
Creek Canyon Pinnacles, which we would pass just outside the park. Sand
Creek Canyon is a vast ravine several hundred feet in depth with walls
so steep that only an experienced mountain climber would dare attempt
the descent. At a point nearly opposite the eastern boundary of Crater
Lake Park, a multitude of slender sculptured spires ranging up to two
hundred feet in height rise from the sides and bottom of the tremendous
chasm. These weird gray needles of stone are cores of lava rock left
standing after the surrounding sand and silt had been carried away by
the floods which cut this mighty chasm in the sandy plain of Central
Oregon. A sign, “The Pinnacles,” apprised us of our proximity to these
curious natural phenomena; they are not visible from the road, being
hidden in the depths of the canyon. They seem strange and uncanny in
the noonday sun and we wondered how weird and awe-inspiring they must
appear when the pale moonlight filters into the deeps of the great
gulch. At the bottom of the canyon a clear stream dashes through a
fringe of good-sized pines with here and there a little green paddock.
In one of these we saw the only wild animal life--except small birds
and chipmunks--since we had left Reno. A doe eyed us timorously and
then slipped into the cover of the trees. They told us that there were
many deer in this region but they are chary of appearing along the
main-traveled roads.

[Illustration: SAND CREEK CANYON PINNACLES

Copyright by Fred H. Kiser, Portland, Oregon]

For many miles after leaving Crater Lake we pursued a natural dirt
road, innocent of any attempt at improvement save an occasional log
culvert or bridge over a dry gully or small stream. It was fair,
however, except for occasional sandy spots and at times good speed was
possible over its long, level stretches, for there is scarcely a five
per cent grade between the park and Bend. Nearly the whole distance
it runs through forests, chiefly the worthless lodge-pole or “Jack”
pine, which grow almost as thickly as they can stand. One wonders that
they have escaped the fires of whose deadly work we so frequently saw
distressing evidences among the more valuable varieties of evergreens.
We ran through these uninteresting trees for more than fifty miles
without a single village or even ranch house to break the monotony. It
was as wild and lonely a country as we had so far traversed and yet in
a little shack by the road we passed a station of the Bell Telephone
Company--a reminder of the wonderful ramifications of the wires of this
great organization. No railroad had as yet penetrated this wilderness
but one from Klamath Falls to Bend was projected, which will open up a
vast territory to farming and stock-raising. Even now there are many
cattle in this country and we frequently saw notices referring to stock
ranges posted on the trees. Sheep are also common and in one place we
passed a drove of many thousands of them.

Crescent, about seventy miles from Fort Klamath, the only village
on the road, has a dozen scattering houses, a store or two, the
omnipresent sheet-iron garage, and a big wooden hotel. For some
distance about the town the Jack pines were being cleared and
preparations made to till the land, though little had actually been
done as yet in the way of producing crops. Beyond Crescent we followed
the course of the Deschutes River to Bend, a distance of nearly fifty
miles. The river here was only an ordinary stream and gave little hint
of the stupendous scenery that skirts it beyond Bend. On our left,
beyond the river, ran the main range of the Cascades and a little ahead
rose the snow-clad peaks of the Three Sisters and Mount Jefferson.
A few miles from Bend we came into a region once the seat of great
volcanic activity. Here we passed Black Butte, a great conical hill
of volcanic rock about which lie huge ridges of black lava with edges
as sharp as broken glass.

[Illustration: THE THREE SISTERS, DESCHUTES CANYON

Copyright by Fred H. Kiser, Portland, Oregon]

On entering Crook County, about thirty-five miles from Bend, it became
evident that improved highways were to be the order of the day in this
section, but said improvement had not progressed far enough to be of
any benefit to us. A wide, straight road had been graded through the
giant pines that cover this section, but no rain had fallen since the
work was completed and the new “highway” was a wallow of bottomless
yellow dust which concealed myriads of distressing chuck-holes. After
trying the new road for a little while, we again sought the old,
meandering trail and stuck to it as far as possible. However, for a
good many miles there was no alternative and we plunged along, leaving
a blinding dust-cloud behind us--a fine, alluvial dust that hovered
in the air many minutes after we had passed. Fortunately for us, the
road was clear ahead and if anyone was behind us he has our unstinted
commiseration. We did not go scot-free ourselves by any means, for
it was quite impossible to get away from the dust which the front
wheels stirred up and it soon covered the car and its occupants with
a yellow film. Nearer Bend the road improved somewhat and no doubt
after the grades have been thoroughly settled by the rains, they will
be smoothed and perhaps surfaced, in which case the road would be
unsurpassed, as it is quite level and straightaway.

Much active lumbering is being done about Bend, and the fine yellow
pines through which we passed were being slaughtered at a terrific
rate. Temporary railroads were laid among the trees and logging engines
were hauling trains loaded with the mighty boles that had fallen
victim to the ax--or, more properly, the saw, which is generally used
in felling these big trees. We learned later that this industry is
chiefly responsible for the surprise which we experienced on arriving
at Bend. The 1910 census listed the town’s population at five hundred
and we were wondering if we could hope for decent accommodations in a
village of that size located in a comparative wilderness. It was an
agreeable surprise, therefore, to find a town of four or five thousand
inhabitants with many evidences of progressiveness and prosperity.
True, a good deal of the straggling old village was still in evidence,
but the fine new buildings in course of construction made it clear
that such structures would soon elbow the ragged old wooden shacks
out of existence. A beautiful bank building that would grace the main
street of a city of fifty thousand was under way, as was also a fine
mercantile building of white glazed brick with white tile trimming.

Our hotel proved rather better than we expected from its outward
appearance, though our room was somewhat dingy and a private bath was
not to be had. The meal service, however, was excellent. We remarked
that Bend would afford a fine opening for a new and really modern hotel
and only a few days later I read in a Portland paper that such an
enterprise had actually been begun by a local company. The Deschutes
River, a clear, swift stream, runs through the town and the new inn
will have an ideal location on its banks. Bend’s prosperity is, of
course, due to lumbering--one great saw mill employing a thousand
men. So vast are the yellow pine tracts about the town that it will
be long before this resource fails. Farming and stock raising are
also being carried on to a considerable extent in the vicinity and
these industries are bound to grow in importance in such a fertile and
well-watered section.

Another factor contributing to the activity of Bend may be found in
the numerous auto-stage lines that radiate from the town. It is the
terminus of the railroad from the north and passengers’ mail and
freight for the interior towns to the south and west are largely
transferred by automobile. Here they talk of jumps of fifty to two
hundred miles in a day much as a San Francisco commuter might speak of
a trip to Oakland or Berkeley. The auto-stage agency in our hotel was
in charge of a dapper, effervescent little fellow whose nationality
we might have guessed even if he had not advertised himself as
“Frenchy” on the card which he obsequiously offered us. We had no
need of “automobile transportation” so we did the next best thing and
patronized a boot-blacking stand which this same expatriated Frenchman
was running--we were going to say “on the side,” though it may have
been his main business, for that matter. While with the touch of an
artist he put a mirror finish on our pedal extremities, he told us with
a good deal of pride that his son was in the trenches somewhere in
France, fighting to expel the invaders.

Bend, though much the largest town in the county, is not the county
seat. This is at Prineville, forty miles to the northeast and nearly
the same distance from the railroad. The logical thing would appear to
be to move the county capital to Bend within the next few years. Taken
altogether, Bend seems to be a town with an assured future and one
where moderate fortunes are likely to be made.

[Illustration: THE DESCHUTES NEAR NORTH JUNCTION

Copyright by Fred H. Kiser, Portland, Oregon]

Leaving Bend for the north early the next morning, we followed the
Deschutes River for several miles, crossing it three or four times.
It is an extraordinarily beautiful stream, broad, clear, swift, and
so shallow that the mossy boulders over which it dashes are clearly
visible and a keen eye can often detect brightly tinted trout darting
among them. Our road kept near the river for a great part of the day
and in places we were fairly overawed by the wild and stupendous
scenery of the vast canyon through which it courses. Some one has
called it the Grand Canyon of the Northwest, and we who have seen
the Arizona Wonderland can not feel that such a characterization is
altogether far-fetched. Perhaps the element of complete surprise may
have tended to give us a somewhat exaggerated impression, for we never
had the slightest hint of what we were to see. We went to the Grand
Canyon of Arizona expecting much and were not disappointed; we ran
unawares upon the Grand Canyon of the Deschutes and our amazement
may have warped our judgment to some extent. Still, I find reference
to this very region in a recent book by a well-posted Oregonian who
declares it “the most stupendously appealing river scenery in all the
Northwest--this same Canyon of the Deschutes,” and remember that this
same Northwest is the country where “rolls the Oregon,” commonly known
as the Columbia, in all its majesty. At one point, not so very far
from Bend, was the scenery especially overwhelming in its grandeur. I
wish I might adequately describe it, but I doubt if any printed page
could ever convey a true idea of such a spectacle. I can only hope
to direct attention of the tourist to this almost unknown wonder of
America and to assure him that he will never regret a trip between Bend
and The Dalles, which may be made by either motor or rail. In fact,
the railroad follows the bottom of the canyon and in many ways affords
better opportunities to view the scenery than does the wagon road.

The canyon at the point of which I speak is a vast, rugged chasm
many hundreds of feet in width and perhaps a thousand in depth, with
precipitous, rocky walls almost as gorgeously colored as those of the
Grand Canyon itself. At the bottom dashes the vexed river--a writhing
thread of emerald--as though it were in mad haste to escape from such
deadly turmoil. Our road ascended to a vantage point where we could
look for miles down the valley over a panorama of weird peaks whose
crests were surmounted with a multitude of fanciful shapes, pinnacles,
domes, and strange, outlandish figures in stone which the imagination
might fitly liken to a thousand things. Near at hand the hills seemed
harsh and forbidding, but in the distance their drab colors and
rugged outlines were softened by a violet haze that transmuted their
sternness into ethereal beauty. The center of the plain skirted by
these weird hills was rent by the vast chasm of the river canyon, its
sides splashed with gorgeous colorings. Against the silvery horizon to
the westward ran the serrated summits of the Cascades, dominated by
the cold white peaks of the Three Sisters and, farther still, in lone
and awful grandeur, the vast white cone of Mount Hood. And this same
glorious mountain dominated our vision at intervals during the entire
day until we saw it stand in crowning beauty against the wide, crimson
band of the sunset.

Our road soon left the river canyon, though we coursed through the
Deschutes Valley the greater part of the day. The road varied greatly
from fair alluvial dirt surface through great wheatfields to a wretched
stony trail that wound around precipices, forded rock-bottomed streams
and climbed over rugged hills. For a considerable distance we followed
a stream at the bottom of a canyon, fording it several times over a
trail so primitive and neglected that at times it was difficult to find
it at all, but there was no danger of going astray--no one could climb
the precipitous walls that shut us in.

Coming out of the canyon we crossed a hill range into a beautiful
little valley dotted with several prosperous-looking ranch houses.
In front of one of these, under the shade of the immense Lombardy
poplars that surrounded it, we paused for our mid-day lunch. About
the house was a beautifully kept lawn which the owner was watering at
the time. He told us that there was plenty of water for irrigating in
the valley if the rains happened to be too scant and a big yield was
always sure from the wonderfully fertile soil. A small field--about
thirty acres--near his house had just yielded over two thousand bushels
of prime barley and other crops were in like proportion. Fruit trees
thrive, as was evidenced by several heavily laden pear trees near
the house. The greatest drawback was distance from the railroad and
poor wagon roads, making transportation very difficult. This was best
overcome by feeding the products of the farm to cattle, which could
carry their own carcases to a shipping point.

Our road swung still farther from the Deschutes River; we crossed
one rugged hill range after another with the inevitable cultivated
valley between. The upland plains had been tilled in spots and the
irregular yellow patches where the wheat had just been harvested gave
a curious effect to the distant hilltops. Evidently much of the soil
was not tillable--probably due to volcanic ash--which accounted for
the irregularity and scattered aspect of the wheatfields. The heavy
wagons carrying the wheat to market had wrought havoc with the roads,
which were full of chuck-holes and distressingly dusty.

[Illustration: OVERLOOKING DESCHUTES CANYON, MT. JEFFERSON

Copyright by Fred H. Kiser, Portland, Oregon]

Upon one of the highest and bleakest of the hill ranges, we came into
the village of Shaniko--our first town in nearly a hundred miles--a
place of three or four hundred people. It is, however, one of the
oldest settlements of this section and until a few years ago a great
staging center for freight and passengers from The Dalles. The coming
of the Columbia Southern Railroad, of which Shaniko is the terminus,
changed all this and led to the rapid settlement of the surrounding
country, which now produces wheat in considerable quantities. In spite
of the dignity thrust upon it by being made the terminus of a railroad,
Shaniko is a forlorn-looking place, bleak and dusty, with a half-dozen
stores and the inevitable hotel--a huge, red-brick structure seemingly
out of all proportion to the probable needs of the town. The garage
was deserted and it was with some difficulty that we located the owner
to replenish our gasoline supply. He directed us to proceed by way of
Maupin, Tygh Valley, and Dufur, to The Dalles, rather than follow the
railway line.

For twenty-five miles out of the town we ran through the huge, rounded
hills, curiously mottled with the irregular golden patches of the
wheatfields against the reddish brown soil. At Maupin we came back to
the Deschutes, here a lordly river, spanned by a long, high bridge
which afforded fine views of stream and canyon in both directions.
Here again we were directed to take the new Tygh Valley road and had
more reasons than one to be glad that we did, for we saw some splendid
canyon scenery and a wonderfully engineered road through the hills. A
few miles from Maupin we entered Tygh Valley Canyon. A long, steep, and
very rough grade led downward between the stupendous walls of shattered
igneous rock--red and dull brown, splashed with spots of golden yellow.
The sides were rugged in the extreme, and barren except for a few scrub
cedars which clung precariously to the steep slopes. At the bottom of
the canyon many varieties of trees flourished and here and there were
green paddocks.

In one of the greenest of these nooks, at the point where the road
reaches the floor of the canyon, is the village of Tygh Valley, as
snug and sheltered as Shaniko was bleak and windswept. There was a
picturesque little church with a tall spire and the place seemed
reminiscent of New England rather than the far west.

[Illustration: MT. HOOD FROM TYGH VALLEY

Copyright by The Winter Co., Portland, Oregon]

“And what is the most distinctive thing about Tygh Valley?” we later
asked a friend who frequently visits the town and he as promptly
answered, “Rattlesnakes; the canyon is one of the greatest habitats
of this interesting reptile in the whole country. The last time I was
there a local character who makes a practice of hunting the snakes
had just come in with the carcases of forty-five of them, which he
was proudly displaying on the street. He makes a good revenue from
the oil, which is in great demand, and the skins are worth from fifty
cents to a dollar each. The snake hunter once started to breed the
reptiles to increase his gains but the citizens objected. They thought
there were quite enough rattlesnakes in the canyon without raising them
artificially. Since then the hunter has confined himself to catching
the denizens of the wild and is doing Tygh Valley a good service in
reducing the number of the pests.”

We ourselves, however, saw nothing of the valley’s aboriginal
inhabitants, though we might have looked more closely for them had we
known of their presence.

Almost immediately after leaving the town we began our climb out of the
canyon, ascending one of the longest grades that we found in all our
wanderings. This road is a wonderful piece of engineering, swinging its
wide ribbon in long loops around and over the giant hills and affording
some awe-inspiring vistas of barren summits and wooded canyons. It is a
road of thrills for the nervously inclined, for in places at its sides
the slopes drop almost sheer for a thousand feet or more and there are
many abrupt turns around cliff-like headlands. But for all that it is
an easy road, smooth, fairly free from dust, and with no rise greater
than seven or eight per cent. May they do more road work of this kind
in Oregon!

At the summit we paused and caught our breath at the panorama that
suddenly broke on our vision. An endless sea of blue mountains
stretched out to meet the sunset and dominating them all rose the awful
bulk of Mount Hood, sharply silhouetted against a wide stretch of
crimson sky. There was something awful and overpowering in its lonely,
inaccessible majesty--the sunset and the mystery of the blue shadows
that enveloped its feet gave it something more than the fascination
which the lone snow-covered mountain ever has for the beholder--its
relative isolation from other peaks giving it an added grandeur and
individuality. Mount Hood, for example, with an altitude of 11200 feet,
is far more impressive than Mount Whitney, the culminating peak of a
range, though its actual height is 3300 feet greater.

And so, as we contemplated this mystery mountain looming in lonely
majesty in the fading twilight, we could not wonder that Indian myth
and legend made it the subject of many a weird tale. It dominated
the western horizon during the remainder of our run except at short
intervals and presented many fascinating changes of color and light
ere it faded away in the darkness. From a hilltop several miles out of
The Dalles we caught our first glimpse of the Columbia in its mad dash
through the narrow straits that give the name to the town. The valley
and surrounding hills were bleak and cheerless in the extreme and in
the gathering shadows of the distance the mad tumult of the waters was
hardly visible, but if the first view was distinctly disappointing, the
unfavorable impression was to be effaced by our later acquaintance with
the noble river.

We were glad indeed to come into the well-lighted streets of The
Dalles. It had been an exceedingly hard day’s run--nearly two hundred
miles with much bad road, stony and deep with dust in places. The dust
was especially annoying during the last twenty-five miles of our run;
the wind was blowing a perfect gale and there were numerous cars on the
road. When we entered The Dalles Hotel our appearance hardly fitted
us for civilized society, but such a plight creates no comment and
attracts little attention. It is too commonplace here--the party that
preceded us and the one that followed were very like unto ourselves
in unkempt appearance. The hotel with its large comfortable rooms
and well-ordered bath was indeed a haven of rest after the day’s
experience and when we had regained the semblance of respectability we
descended to a late dinner, for which we were quite ready. We found
everything about the hotel decidedly first-class and more metropolitan
than is common in towns of five thousand, for that is all the census
books accord to The Dalles. Of course it claims to have gained
considerably since the last enumeration and its private and public
buildings, well-improved streets and general business activity seem to
bear out the contention.

The town is built on a historic site. Old Fort Dalles was a milestone
of pioneer travel, having been established here in 1838 and about the
same time a mission was founded--not by Father Junipero, whose name
always comes to mind in connection with the word in the west, but by
the Methodist Church. The name was given by Canadian voyagers in the
Hudson Bay service--The Dalles signifying gutter or trough, referring
to the chasms between the great glacier-polished sheets of basaltic
rock which break the river into the wild cascades opposite the town.
A short distance above this broken pavement the river is thousands
of feet in width but where it forces its mad passage through these
rocks it is confined to a few yards and where the channels are most
contracted it sweeps through three rifts of rocky floor, each so
narrow that a child might cast a stone across.

[Illustration: OR BON DESCHUTES RIVER CANYON

From photo by The Weister Co., Portland, Oregon]

The surrounding country is a fit setting for such a wild and turbulent
scene. On either hand lie monotonous plains, now brown with sunburned
grass and studded with gray sagebrush. To the north rise the rugged
peaks of Washington and eastward is the long sweep of the river valley
guarded by rounded hills. Westward we see the broad bright river,
released from the dreadful turmoil of The Dalles, vanish into the giant
hills over which the majestic white-robed form of Mount Hood stands,
an eternal guardian. It is a scene that never failed to arrest the eye
of the observant traveler from the earliest day and even before his
time the “untutored mind” of the poor Indian was impressed with the
weirdness and beauty of the spot. To account for the strange phenomena
of The Dalles and explain how the mighty river was compressed into the
three deep narrow channels, the savage mind was busy with myth and
legend and, like most of the myths of our aboriginees, there appears to
have been a sub-stratum of truth.

The story tells of the fierce volcanic action once common in this
section when Hood, Adams, and St. Helens were lurid fire mountains and
when a great range of hills ran across the valley where The Dalles
now are, damming the waters of the river into a great inland sea.
Naturally enough, fiends of great power and malignancy were fabled to
have congregated in such a spot and to have had much to do with the
manifestations of fire and water. Here, too, is a hint of geologic
truth, for the fiends were huge monsters with very powerful tails,
probably the dinosaurs and mud pythons of the reptilian age, of which
remains have been found in this region.

These fiends, according to the legend, congregated here when the
volcanic furies were subsiding and chief among them was a master fiend
or devil who had been first in malignancy and hatred. Whether he was
sick and would be a monk, as in the old proverb, we do not know, but
the story is that he proposed to the lesser fiends to give up their
wicked revels and assume the role of beneficent spirits and friends
of man. The increasing peacefulness of the elements, he declared,
foreshadowed better things. Why should they not give up wars and
cannibalism, to which they were so terribly addicted, and seek the
quieter pastimes of peace?

A strange story and a strange sentiment to put in the mouth of a devil,
but the consequence was stranger still. Instead of receiving the
beneficent proposal with favor, the fiends turned on their leader in a
furious rage; pacifism was no more popular in that mythical time than
it is now. “He would beguile us into a crafty peace,” they shrieked as
one, “that he may kill and eat us at leisure. Death to the traitor!”

Alarmed at such a sudden and unanimous uproar, which was followed by
an onslaught of all the legions of fiends, this pre-historic Prince of
Darkness lost no time in taking to his heels, pursued by the howling
pack that thirsted for his blood. Swiftly he sped toward the great
ridge of land that held back the inland sea, seeking doubtless to hide
in the rugged hills to the north. But he was pressed too closely by
his enemies, to whom he seemed sure to fall victim unless saved by
some desperate expedient. Summoning all his vast powers as he crossed
the spot where the river now rages among The Dalles, he smote with
his huge tail upon the smooth flat rocks. A great chasm opened, down
which poured a dreadful torrent from the waters of the inland sea,
tearing boulders to fragment. This frightful performance stopped the
greater part of the fiends, but some of the more venturesome were not
to be deterred. With a bound they crossed the chasm and were again
on the heels of the fleeing devil. In desperation he smote once more
upon the rocks and another and still vaster chasm was opened up and a
still greater torrent poured down it. Still the villains pursued him,
for some of them were agile enough to vault across the second rent,
and the Indian Satan was again in danger. With one last and desperate
effort he dealt the rocks a third smashing blow with his caudal
appendage and a third chasm, twice the width of either of the others,
split the rocks behind him and with the speed of lightning the wild
waters rushed in to fill it.

Only a few of the hardiest of the pursuing fiends dared attempt this
awful maelstrom and they fell far short and were ground to powder by
the furious stream. The fiends who leaped the first and second torrents
now essayed to return, but lacking the zeal of pursuit they, too, fell
short and were swept to destruction. Evidently determined to make a
clean sweep, the myth-makers even doomed the hesitating demons who
refused the first leap, for the bank on which they stood gave way,
precipitating them into the mad stream.

And so the whole race of these troublesome fiends perished. The devil
himself had escaped, however, and paused, panting and overcome, on the
opposite bank to take inventory of himself. He was not unscathed by any
means. His tail, the powerful weapon that had wrought his salvation,
was hopelessly crippled by his last gigantic effort. It was of little
consequence, since his enemies were all dead; he was now free to pursue
the peaceful policy which he had advocated. So, leaping back over
the torrents, he went to his home--wherever that may have been--to
found a new race of demons, all of whom, like himself, had flaccid
tails.

[Illustration: THE DESCHUTES RIVER CANYON

From photo by The Weister Co., Portland, Oregon]

Such are the bare outlines of the legend of The Dalles, which shows
no small power of imagination on part of the savage originators. The
fuller details of the story may be found in “Canoe and Saddle,” by the
lamented young New England writer, Theodore Winthrop, who visited this
region about 1857 and no doubt learned the story from the natives at
first hand. Winthrop lost his life in one of the earlier battles of
the Civil War and thus one of the most promising lights of American
letters in that day was forever extinguished. His story of this western
wilderness at the time of his visit is one of the most vivid that has
ever been written and deserves a permanent place in the historical
annals of the Great Northwest.



VI

WHERE ROLLS THE OREGON


Had we known the real character of the road between The Dalles and Hood
River we should never have started on that journey while a light rain
was falling and lowering clouds seemed portentious of much heavier
showers. We had intimations that the road could scarcely be ranked as
a boulevard, but we assumed that the so-called Columbia River Highway
ought to be passable, even in showery weather, and resolved not to be
deterred by the prospect of rain. Luckily for us, the drizzle cleared
and the clouds rifted before we were well out of the town and though we
found some soft spots along the road, we were spared the experience of
trying to negotiate these frightful grades in the rain. We confess that
while we were pretty well inured to mountain roads, this twenty-two
mile stretch of the Columbia Highway occasioned a goodly number of
nervous thrills before we rolled into the trim little village of
Hood River. The grades are long and steep and in places the road is
exceedingly narrow, with a sharp declivity alongside and there are a
number of dangerous turns.

[Illustration: SUNSET ON THE COLUMBIA

Copyright Winter Photo Co., Portland, Oregon]

We had proceeded but a short distance when a decidedly emphatic
signboard admonished us, “Danger! go into low gear,” and low gear
was indeed very necessary for the long, wicked-looking twenty-five
per cent grade before us. Midway in the ascent we were halted by a
commotion ahead of us which we learned had been caused by a head-on
collision--the driver descending the hill having lost control of his
car, due to failure of the brakes. A lively altercation was in progress
into which we declined to be drawn, having no desire for complication
in the damage suit loudly threatened by the aggrieved party. After some
difficulty the road was cleared and we kept on our grind to the summit
of the mighty ridge, only to find another confronting us beyond the
long descent.

During the run to Hood River we caught only fugitive glimpses of the
Columbia, the road keeping mainly to the hills. Most spectacular and
glorious were the vistas from the steep, seven-mile grade descending
into Hood River Valley. We had a wonderful panorama of the greater part
of that prosperous vale with its endless orchards and well-ordered
ranch houses lying between the wooded hill ranges dominated by the
snowy bulk of Mount Hood.

As we descended to the foothills the road entered the apple orchards
and we had the opportunity of viewing the heavily laden trees close
at hand. A record crop was nearly ready for gathering and it seemed as
if it were hardly possible for another apple to find a place on some
of the trees. Every branch and twig was bent with clusters of the dark
red globes and the boughs had to be supported by numerous props. The
air was redolent with the fragrance of the fruit and we realized the
vast extent of the apple industry in the Hood River country. The whole
valley below was covered with just such orchards and they climbed over
most of the rounded foothills. The crop seldom fails and many thousands
of cars of fruit are distributed every year over the entire country.
The orchards in the main were carefully cultivated and looked very
thrifty.

As we continued down the long grade we came once more in sight
of the Columbia with a wide vista down the valley and over the
rugged hills that guard it on either hand. Hood River is a clean,
substantial-looking town of about three thousand people. Besides being
famous for apples, it has the added distinction of being the home
address of the Hon. Billy Sunday when he is recuperating from his
strenuous campaigns against the devil--and Billy’s devil is quite as
crude and primitive as the demon of the Indians who cracked his tail
at The Dalles. Billy has invested a small portion of the proceeds of
soul-saving in an apple ranch a few miles from Hood River, one of
the finest in the valley, a garage man told us. He also gave us the
cheerful information that there were no such mountain grades to be
encountered as those we had just come over. There were twenty miles
of rough and, as it proved, rather muddy road to be covered before we
should come to the splendid new boulevard famous the country over as
the Columbia River Highway.

[Illustration: ONEONTA TUNNEL, COLUMBIA RIVER HIGHWAY

From photo by The Winter Co., Portland, Oregon]

This piece of road, though rather indifferent, passes some delightful
scenery, both of river and shore, and when improved will be a fit link
in the scenic glories of the famous highway. In places the road creeps
through tangles of fern, hazel, and maples, festooned with vines and
brilliant with autumnal red and yellow. At one point we passed beneath
a wonderful bank towering hundreds of feet above us and covered with
a rank, almost tropical tangle of ferns, shrubs, and vines, through
which many clear streamlets trickled down. The rocks and earth were
moss-covered and it was altogether one of the most delightful and
refreshing bits of greenery we ever came across. Again we entered
groups of stately trees crowding closely to the roadside and caught
many entrancing glimpses of the broad, green river through the stately
trunks.

At no place does this part of the road rise to any great height, but
still there were several vantage points affording fine views down the
river. Especially was this true of Mitchell Point, where improvement
is under way. Here a tunnel has been cut for several hundred feet
through the rocky bulwark of Storm Crest Mountain, which gives its
name to the work, and next the river are five great arched windows,
giving an effect very like that of the Axenstrasse on Lake Lucerne. The
Axenstrasse has only three such windows, nor do I think any view from
them is as lovely as that from Mitchell’s Point. Here we had wonderful
vistas of river, hill and forest framed in the great openings, the
river emerald-green and the forests dashed with brilliant colors,
for autumn reds and yellows on the Columbia are quite as bright and
glorious as those of New England. So sheer are the sides of the great
rock which Storm Crest Tunnel pierces that it was necessary to suspend
the engineers from ropes anchored at the summit in order to blast
footings to make the survey. The tunnel, yard for yard, is the most
expensive piece of construction so far completed on the entire road.
Near the place we noted an attractive inn with a glassed-in veranda
overlooking the river, perhaps two hundred feet above it.

[Illustration: COLUMBIA HIGHWAY AT MITCHELL POINT

From photo by The Weister Co., Portland, Oregon]

The completed portion of the highway extends fifty-five miles west of
Portland and as construction was still under way, we had to wallow
through a quarter of a mile of sharp crushed stone before coming to
the finished surface--a performance which left deadly marks on tires.
But once on the wide, smooth stretches of this unequalled boulevard,
we drew a deep breath of relief and proceeded in high anticipation
which in no particular outstripped the reality. For the Columbia River
Highway is one of the world’s supreme feats of engineering, commanding
a series of views of one of the greatest and most beautiful rivers in
the world, and affording unsurpassed panoramas of forest, hill, and
mountain.

So great were the difficulties to be surmounted that up to the opening
of this new highway, on July 6, 1915, no passable road along the
river existed between Portland and Hood River. The great mountain
buttresses, which came almost to the water’s edge, and the intervening
ravines effectually blocked the way. It was determined that a boulevard
following the river was not impracticable, but careful estimates placed
the cost at more than $50,000 per mile. Realizing that such a highway
would be a great drawing card for the city as well as the entire
Northwest, a few leading spirits of Portland began an agitation for
its construction. The cost was provided for by a bond issue of two and
one-half million dollars and when local politicians showed anxiety to
get control of the project, the people thwarted them by taking matters
into their own hands. Mr. John B. Yeon, a retired millionaire lumberman
with wide experience in handling large bodies of labor, offered to take
charge of the construction without remuneration. Other rich Portlanders
were alike generous with their gifts of time and money to such an
extent that the highway is almost as great a tribute to civic spirit
and patriotism as to engineering skill.

The chief engineer, Mr. S. C. Lancaster, had been chosen some time
before and, by the munificence of a wealthy citizen, was given the
benefit of a trip to Europe to inspect the famous highways there.
His selection was a most fortunate one, since in addition to his
extraordinary ability as an engineer, he had a true appreciation of
natural beauty and the happy faculty of so adapting his plans to the
landscape as to preserve and make the most of its scenic features and
to turn every superb viewpoint to the best possible advantage.

[Illustration: AROUND TOOTH MOUNTAIN, COLUMBIA HIGHWAY

From photo by The Weister Co., Portland, Oregon]

For the Columbia Highway was to be more than a mere wagon road along
the river. It was to reveal and emphasize the marvelous beauty of
the mighty gorge and to be a source of uplift and inspiration to
the fortunate wayfarer who directs his course over it. As a mere
utility, possibly it would not be justified; the great navigable
river and the railways skirting both its shores might meet all the
necessities of transportation and travel. They could not, however,
reveal the scenic beauties of the river valley to the best advantage, a
mission which the highway serves to perfection. This aim Mr. Lancaster
kept in view above everything else, and how well he succeeded only he
who truly admires the grand and beautiful and who travels, many times,
the length of the highway can fully appreciate.

In addition to exploiting the superb scenery along its course, Mr.
Lancaster determined that the new highway must conform to the best
traditions of road building. Its construction must be of the solidest
and most permanent character; it must have no grade greater than five
per cent, no curve less than the arc of a one-hundred-foot circle; it
must be guarded by substantial and artistic balustrades and, finally,
its surface must equal the finest city pavement in smoothness and
durability. That all these requirements were fully met we can testify,
if a touring experience covering hundreds of thousands of miles in
Europe and this country will qualify us to judge.

The actual construction work was begun in 1913 and at the time of our
visit the completed road had reached the western limit of Multnomah
County, forty-seven miles from the Portland postoffice. Hood River
County had also done considerable work--the famous Storm Crest Tunnel
is in this county. Apparently nothing had been done in Wasco County,
where we encountered the steep, long grades out of The Dalles. We were
told that the plan is to carry this highway the whole length of the
Columbia River on the Oregon side, a distance of about three hundred
miles, but if the work is to be done by the counties, it will probably
be long in the building. There is at present no road closely following
the river east of The Dalles beyond Celilo, twenty miles distant, where
the government has expended four millions of dollars in building locks
around the falls of the Columbia. This and many other scenic wonders
beyond The Dalles make it most desirable from the tourist’s point of
view that the projected highway may be carried to completion as soon as
possible. It may seem that I am dealing too minutely with the inception
and history of this wonderful road, but I feel that such details
are not out of place in a book dealing with Oregon. The splendid
achievement of this community in carrying forward this great enterprise
is one that should be widely heralded as an example and inspiration to
others.

[Illustration: FROM INSPIRATION POINT, COLUMBIA HIGHWAY

Painting by H. H. Bagg after copyright photo by Kiser, Portland]

After reaching the finished part of the road, we were scarcely for a
moment out of sight of the great river and the hills, rocks, and
forests that make the wild beauty of its shores. Just across the river
is the barren bulk of Wind Mountain, with the shattered stumps of giant
trees known as the submerged forest at its base. A little farther we
came to Cascade Locks, built by the government around the rapids at
this point. Several steamers daily pass these locks, which have a lift
of eight feet. Beyond them writhes the turbulent green river, which
subsides to placid stretches some distance ahead of us.

Then marvels come thick and fast. We pass on to a wonderful viaduct
swinging around the sheer sides of Tooth Mountain, upon which the
road is supported by airy-looking concrete pillars. Above us tower
perpendicular cliffs crowned by mighty pines, and below us a precipice
quite as sheer falls almost to the river level. Beyond this Eagle Creek
is spanned with a graceful arch of gray stone and near by is the cliff
which Indian tradition tells us was the southern abutment of the Bridge
of the Gods. Table Mountain, a rugged, flat-topped cone rising on the
opposite shore, marks the northern end of the bridge which geologists
say may not have been wholly a myth, for there are signs that a great
dyke once held back the waters of the river at this point.

The quaint Indian legend is worth retelling, since every one who
points out the wonders of the Columbia to a stranger is sure to refer
to it. In early days an Indian father with his two sons came to this
region and the youths had a quarrel over the division of the land. To
settle the dispute the father shot one arrow to the east and another
to the west, bidding the sons make their homes where the arrows fell.
The Great Spirit then erected the vast wall of the Cascades between
the two to prevent farther trouble. From one son sprang the tribe of
the Klickitats and from the other the Multnomahs. The Great Spirit had
built a mighty bridge over the Columbia and given it in charge of a
witch named Loowit, and this same lady was entrusted with the care of
the only fire then to be found in the whole world. When Loowit came to
realize how much fire would benefit the two tribes, she besought the
Great Spirit to permit her to offer it as a gift to the poor Indians.
This he did and the condition of the tribes was wonderfully improved;
they built better lodges, made better clothes and, with the aid of
fire, fashioned implements of metal and utensils of pottery. To reward
Loowit for her benefactions, the Great Spirit offered her any gift she
might choose and with true feminine instinct she asked to be young and
beautiful. Her beauty wrought havoc with the hearts of the chieftains
of the region, but none of them found favor in her eyes until one
day Klickitat came from the south and his rival, Wigeart, from the
north and both paid court to the queen of the great bridge. So evenly
matched were these doughty warriors that Loowit could not decide
between them and a bitter war ensued between their respective tribes.
The whole land was ravaged and fire was used to destroy the comforts
which it had conferred on the Indians. So the Great Spirit repented and
resolved to undo his work. He broke down the mighty bridge, damming
the river into a vast lake, and slew Loowit and her rival lovers. He
determined to give them fitting commemoration, however, and reared as
monuments the great white peaks we see to-day, though our names are
different from what the Indians called them. Loowit sleeps under Mount
St. Helens and Wigeart and Klickitat under Hood and Adams. Surely these
red-skinned heroes were given sepulture fit for the gods themselves.

[Illustration: SHEPPERD’S BRIDGE FROM BENEATH--COLUMBIA HIGHWAY

From photo by Fred H. Kiser, Portland, Oregon]

A weird story, but true, no doubt, for can we not see the great cliffs
which formed the approaches of the mighty bridge and the white summits
yonder which mark the resting places of the unfortunate lovers?
Still, there is another story to the effect that when Hood and Adams
were yet fire mountains they quarreled and the vast rock, hurled by
the former at his adversary, fell short and wrecked the bridge.
Marvelous stories! but not so wonderful as the realities that greet our
eyes in the same region--the steam road below us with its luxurious
transcontinental train and the Columbia River Highway with the machines
that glide so smoothly and swiftly over its splendid surface.

At Bonneville--reminiscent of Washington Irving--are the fish
hatcheries where salmon and trout are propagated to repopulate the
river and mountain streams. A good-sized park has been set aside in
connection with the work and this, with the hatcheries, is open to all.

Beyond Bonneville the road drops almost to the river level, a
beautiful, nearly straight stretch guarded by a concrete balustrade of
artistic design. We have a grand vista down the river from this point
with a splendid view of Castle Rock on the Washington side, a vast,
conical rock nearly a thousand feet high, with sides so sheer that
even the hardy pines can scarcely find footing. Its summit was long
considered insurmountable, but it was recently scaled by a venturesome
climber. It can be seen for many miles in either direction.

Not the least enchanting of the highway’s glories are the waterfalls
which flutter from sheer cliffs for hundreds of feet, swaying like
silver ribbons and filling the air with their weird music. The first
of these was Horsetail Falls, a rather unpoetic name for the silver
cascade which dashes for two hundred feet down the side of a sloping
cliff. It is less than three miles farther to Multnomah Falls, the gem
of all the Columbia cataracts, but in that short distance there is much
to enchant and overawe the beholder.

At Oneonta Creek the road builders encountered a vast cliff two hundred
and five feet high, rising sheer a few feet from the water’s edge.
The railway had taken all available space and Mr. Lancaster, nothing
daunted, drove a tunnel through the solid rock. So great was the
danger that the necessary blasting would tumble tons of loose rock on
the railroad that the weak places in the cliff were reenforced with
concrete before beginning the work. A strikingly picturesque touch
is given to Oneonta Cliff by a lone fir which crowns its summit in
solitary majesty--there is no other vegetation except shrubbery.

Near this point is some of the wildest and most grotesque scenery along
the whole road. On the Washington side is Cape Horn and Cigar Rock--a
tall slender pinnacle whose shape suggests the name--which loom like
mighty monuments erected by some titan fire god when the demons of our
legends ruled the land. These stern cliffs, mottled with the rainbow
colorings of autumn and splashed with the soft green of velvet moss
and waving ferns, reach their culminating beauty at the spot where
Multnomah Falls pours its crystal flood over a ledge nearly a thousand
feet above the highway--a sheer fall of eight hundred and forty
feet--into a rocky basin and a second plunge of seventy feet to the
green pool by the roadside.

At a point well above the second fall is a graceful concrete
bridge--the gift of a Portland millionaire--reached by a flight of
steps and affording a wonderful close-at-hand view of the fall as well
as a wide panorama of the valley. We paused here for a better view
of the scene and a drink of the clear, ice-cold water. As we were
about to proceed an officer in khaki approached us. We had no guilt
on our conscience--fifteen miles had been our limit on the Columbia
Highway--and we awaited his coming with equanimity.

“Could you give a fat man a lift to Portland?” he asked, and
then apologized, saying he had mistaken us for some one of his
acquaintances. We urged him, however, to come right along--a motor cop
ought to be a splendidly posted guide--and we proved quite right in
this surmise. A little conversation revealed the interesting fact that
some years ago he came to Portland from the county where the writer
spent his boyhood.

[Illustration: SHEPPERD’S BRIDGE, COLUMBIA HIGHWAY

From photo by Fred H. Kiser, Portland, Oregon]

“I sold my share in a good Iowa farm,” he said, “and invested the
proceeds--some twenty thousand dollars--in a dozen acres near Portland
in a section that they told me was sure to boom--but it hasn’t as yet.
And so I go on waiting and hoping and paying taxes--holding down a
job as motor cop in the meanwhile. O yes, they are mighty strict in
enforcing the speed limit; there are six officers on the highway with
peremptory orders to arrest any driver exceeding twenty-five miles per
hour. No, we don’t make many arrests; local people know the rules and
generally observe them and we usually give strangers fair warning. You
will see how necessary this is when I tell you that there were six
thousand cars on this fifty-mile road last Sunday, and for all our care
there was one serious accident.” Then he told us the history of the
highway and many interesting facts concerning it which I have tried
to recount in the preceding pages. He was even posted on the Indian
legends--just the kind of a courier we needed.

There are four or five waterfalls in the half dozen miles after passing
Multnomah, beautiful, limpid columns of leaping water--Wahkeena Falls,
Mist Falls, Bridal Veil Fall, Tookey Falls and Latourelle Falls--each
of which might attract much attention and admiration were it situated
in some spot less replete with scenic wonders, but they seem almost
commonplace amidst such surroundings. Here, also, is Benson Park,
a tract of land including Larch Mountain, donated by Mr. Benson of
Portland. A trail has been built to the summit of the mountain, 4095
feet above the sea, and the river at this point is only a few feet
above sea level. Here may be gained one of the most extensive views
along the whole course of the highway. One’s vision covers vast tracts
of mountains reaching to Ranier, over one hundred miles to the north,
as well as endless panoramas up and down the river. The summit may be
reached by a mule-back ride of several miles--which we deferred until
some more favorable occasion.

“You will want to stop here,” said our friend when we came to a
beautiful bridge swinging across a crystal stream dashing at the bottom
of a deep ravine, green with fern and moss. “This is Shepperd’s Dell
and you must get the view from beneath the bridge.”

[Illustration: SHEPPERD’S DELL BRIDGE, COLUMBIA RIVER HIGHWAY

Copyright Winter Photo Co., Portland, Oregon]

We descended the stone steps leading down into the ravine and found
ourselves surrounded by a scene of perfect sylvan loveliness. A
picturesque waterfall came dashing from the ponderous crags above us
into a green, moss-bordered pool from which a clear stream ran among
the mottled boulders beneath the bridge. Ferns, shrubs, and trees
covered the cliffs to the summit and the effect of sun and shadow upon
these and the waterfall was indescribably beautiful. Turning toward the
bridge, a different but none the less enchanting scene met our view.
Framed in the wide arch of the graceful structure was a delightful
panorama of river and mountain to which the viewpoint lent a peculiar
charm.

“Shepperd’s Dell is named after the donor of this site,” said our
guide, “Mr. George Shepperd, a poor teamster of Portland, who gave
it in memory of his wife. His disinterested generosity when he had
a chance to demand payment from the county for the right of way
illustrates the spirit of willing help toward this great enterprise
that prevailed among our people, from the millionaire to the
day-laborer.”

With reluctance we left this delightful spot to proceed on our journey.
A mile farther we came to the magnificent bridge spanning Latourelle
Creek, a triple-arched structure two hundred and forty feet long and
one hundred feet above the stream. We remarked on the unique design of
this bridge and our guide told us that no two on the entire highway
follow exactly the same lines, thus giving a pleasing variation.
Opposite this bridge is Latourelle Falls, another of the beautiful
Columbia cataracts, pouring from a cliff two hundred and twenty-four
feet in height.

“We are now approaching what is considered the masterpiece of Columbia
Highway engineering,” said the officer. “The great promontory before us
is Crown Point, over seven hundred feet in height. Before Mr. Lancaster
tackled the problem all plans contemplated getting around this cliff
rather than over it. In accordance with his consistent aim to secure
the most spectacular scenery from the new road, Mr. Lancaster declared
he would scale the cliff, though he was assured that this proposition
had all been threshed over many times and found quite impossible. But
the impossible was done; by patient calculation and careful surveying
and the adoption of some rather revolutionary engineering tactics, the
highway was swung over the great rock without infraction of the limit
of grade or curve. You will see what I mean as you ascend the grade.”

We began the ascent shortly after leaving Latourelle Bridge and without
shifting a gear or accelerating our speed we steadily climbed upward,
swinging around a maze of curves. As we approached the summit our guide
bade us look backward. “See the figure eight,” he cried, and, sure
enough, the outlines of the road below us appeared as a double loop
which from our viewpoint strikingly resembled a gigantic figure eight.

At the summit the road describes a perfect circle, but to maintain the
radius of one hundred feet it was necessary to support a part of the
road-bed on concrete piers built from the lower shelves of the rock. In
the center of the circle “Vista House” is to be erected as a memorial
to the pioneers of Oregon and dedicated to the use and convenience of
travelers on the highway.

But, after all, the wonder of Crown Point is the view from its summit,
which is conceded to be the most beautiful and impressive along the
whole course of the highway. Our vision had unobstructed range for
thirty-five miles in either direction. Mile-wide, the green waters
of the Columbia lay beneath us, stretching away on each hand like a
vast silver ribbon until it vanished in the blue haze of the distance.
On either side rose the mighty hills and rugged castellated cliffs,
dark with the verdure of the pines and splashed here and there with
the crimson and gold of woodbine and maple. Out beyond the cliffs
and hills ran the titan ranks of the Cascades, guarded by shining,
snow-clad sentinels. Looking down the river the scene is not so rugged
and awe-inspiring but none the less pleasing in its pastoral beauty. A
blue haze hangs over the city of Portland, twenty-five miles to the
westward, and shrouds the low hills of Washington on the opposite shore.

“You are fortunate in the day,” said our guide. “This subdued sunlight
gives much better effects of light and color than a perfectly clear sky
and you are lucky to escape the fogs--not at all uncommon here.”

We had ourselves remarked earlier in the day on the peculiarly striking
effects of light and color caused by the varicolored clouds which
covered much of the heavens; we had noted from several viewpoints the
vast white cone of Mount Hood against a broad band of silvery sky with
masses of steel blue vapor hovering above its summit. The wonderful
color effect was also remarked upon by an artist who was endeavoring to
depict them on his canvas. Grays, steel blues and luminous whites with
patches of pale azure shading to crystal near the horizon formed the
dominating color notes of the sky--a day not too brilliant and one that
showed the magnificent scene at its best.

[Illustration: COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE FROM CHANTICLEER INN

From photo by The Weister Co., Portland, Oregon]

The wild and rugged scenery of the river reaches its climax at Crown
Point and beyond this, except in the neighborhood of the unhappily
named Rooster Rock, the highway is devoid of spectacular features. Near
Rooster Rock is an attractive rural inn, The Chanticleer, typical of
many inns and resorts along the highway. Another, Forest Hall, is a
duplicate of one of the hospitable old-time Southern mansions and here,
for the modest sum of two dollars, you will be served by aristocratic
colored people with a genuine Southern chicken dinner and it has the
reputation, our friend declared, of being worth the price. Many of
these inns are first-class in every particular and enjoy good patronage
owing to the great popularity of the highway with local people as well
as to the large number of tourists.

A few miles beyond Crown Point the highway leaves the river and
descends in sweeping curves to the broad, prosperous plain which
adjoins Portland on the north and west and which evidently produces a
good part of the food and milk supply of the city. At the Auto Club
headquarters on Sandy River, some eighteen miles from the Portland
postoffice, the road swings to the north, following Sandy River for
a couple of miles. This route is properly counted as the approach to
the Columbia Highway, but we found it closed for improvement at the
time. We therefore proceeded via the “Base Line” road, which carried
us due west to the heart of the city, where we found the guidance of
our friend, the officer, a decided assistance. He declared that the
hotel we had selected was one of the best in the city, but admitted
that a newer one was probably better. This was the Benson, built
by the millionaire whose name is so prominently connected with the
Columbia Highway and who has had much to do with private and public
enterprise in Portland. Considering our hotel experiences since leaving
San Francisco, we felt that we were entitled to the best and so pulled
up in front of the Benson, a fifteen-story skyscraper of the New York
type. Here our friend bade us adieu with thanks for the “lift” we
had given him; and we assured him that he had more than reciprocated
by the information he had imparted to us. We also came to the mental
conclusion that possibly, after all, a “motor cop” may be a human being!

We asked for good quarters at the Benson but were a little taken
aback when we were ushered into a spacious chamber with a wealth of
solid mahogany and every modern convenience, including a large tile
and enamel bath. We had not asked the rate and settled down with the
rather disquieting conclusion that we would be bankrupt when we paid
the bill. I may anticipate, however, by saying that the surprise was
the other way, for the charge was very moderate--no more than we had
often paid for inferior quarters at hotels certainly no better. In any
event, it was solid comfort and a most welcome relief to the regime we
had been following. We should have been glad to rest a week under such
conditions, but the near approach of the rainy season caused us to
greatly curtail our sojourn in Portland.

We remained long enough, however, to see a good deal of the fine city
and its surroundings. It is a wonderful city, with its three hundred
thousand people and magnificent business and public buildings and it
is hard, indeed, to realize that only a trifle over seventy years ago
two rival sea captains tossed a coin to decide whether the village they
were about to found should be called Boston or Portland, in honor of
their respective home ports. The Portland skipper won and the Maine
town’s name superseded the musical Indian designation of the spot,
“Multnomah” (down the great water). Whether the captains realized
anything of the possible future of the town they thus flippantly named,
is doubtful, but it is easy enough now to see that a city so situated
was bound to grow in almost magical fashion. Though a hundred miles
from the sea, it is still a seaport, for the tide-water river is a full
mile wide here and deep enough for the largest ocean-going vessels. The
river drains a territory of two hundred and fifty thousand square miles
and is now navigable by good-sized boats for over four hundred miles
in the interior. All the transcontinental railroads except the Santa
Fe converge at Portland, giving it the best rail service of any city
on the coast. The principal shipments are of lumber and wheat; in the
former Portland stands unrivalled in the whole world and in the latter
under normal conditions rivals--sometimes even surpasses--New York.

The older sections and business portion of the city lie on the level
plain at the junction of the Columbia and Willamette, extending on both
sides of the latter river. Overlooking this on the north and west are a
series of heights, ranging up to twelve hundred feet, which are mainly
occupied by the newer residence districts and by several public parks.
From Portland Heights, one of the finest of these parks, we had a most
inspiring view of the city and much of its environs at sunset on the
day of our arrival. The viewpoint was reached by comparatively easy
gradients, the road winding through the beautiful park, famous for its
varieties of trees. Just below us lay the city, so near at hand that
streets and buildings were plainly recognizable, and just beyond the
great river and endless hills and mountains.

[Illustration: COLUMBIA HIGHWAY NEAR EAGLE CREEK

From photo by The Weister Co., Portland, Oregon]

Climbing a little higher we came to Council Crest, twelve hundred
feet above the river, famed as Portland’s “show hilltop.” Here one
has much the same view of the city and river as from the Heights and
it was perhaps the best point to catch the full majesty of Portland’s
“Mountain of Destiny,” silver-crested Hood, standing stern and
beautiful against the rosy background of a matchless sunset. It is
fifty miles away as the crow flies, but it seems much nearer, so near
that in the momentary enthusiasm that fills the beholder, he feels he
might reach it on foot in an hour or two. Violet-tinted shadows half
hide the lowlands between and serve to obscure everything that might
distract attention from the solitary mountain which George Palmer
Putnam, an enthusiastic Portlander declares in his charming book, “The
Oregon Country,” “somehow breathes the very spirit of the state it
stands for; its charm is the essence of the beauty of its surroundings,
its stateliness the keynote of the sturdy west. It is a white, chaste
monument, radiantly setting for its peoples round about a mark of high
attainment.”

On Council Crest, Willamette Heights, King’s Heights, and other
elevations, are many of the fine homes of the city, though it hardly
seemed to us as if in this regard Portland is the equal of other
western cities of her class. In the older residence sections our
guide pointed out many matchlessly ugly wooden houses which he said
were residences of the early millionaires, many of whom are now dead.
He also pointed out in Irvington Addition the homes of many whom he
declared were the wealthiest business men of the city, but these
places appeared quite modest. In response to our remarks to this
effect, our pilot seemed somewhat annoyed and declared that Portland
“multis” believed rather in spending their money in business blocks
than in residences. Perhaps he is right, for Portland certainly has
many astonishingly fine business structures that would do credit to any
city in the world. We were especially delighted with a newly completed
bank building done in white marble along purely classic lines, quite
as fine as anything of the kind we ever saw. Other skyscrapers, the
theatres, several hotels, and many public buildings, were architectural
masterpieces built with evident disregard for cost. Nearly all of
these, we were told, had been erected in the last seven or eight years,
and there is no slackening in the march of solid improvement.

Multnomah County has voted a bond issue to improve its main highways,
aside from the Columbia River Road, and this work was in progress
in many places about the city. There are not many drives aside from
the Columbia Highway of great interest to the tourist whose time is
limited. We followed well-paved streets to the ferry leading to old
Vancouver in Washington, just across the Columbia. We saw workmen
giving the finishing touches to the great steel wagon-bridge which now
spans the Columbia at this point, forming a most important link in the
Pacific Highway. The last spans, which were assembled on the shore,
were floated to position on the piers the next day and the stupendous
feat of engineering was nearly complete.

There is nothing of particular interest in Vancouver, which was founded
nearly a hundred years ago by fur traders of the Hudson Bay Company. It
is at present practically a Portland suburb, though the fact that it is
in another state will preclude annexation by the larger city. The new
bridge will greatly facilitate inter-communication and will probably
have an immediate effect in increasing the population and prosperity of
Vancouver.

We are accustomed to think of the Columbia Highway as comprising the
spectacular stretch of road between Portland and Hood River, but as I
have elsewhere intimated, the larger plan of Oregonians contemplates
an improved road running along the river from Astoria on the coast to
Pendleton, three hundred and thirty miles eastward. The portion from
Portland to Astoria has been graded, but at the time of our visit was
in poor condition and we considered it hardly advisable to attempt
it in face of threatening rains. This road, while commanding much
wonderful scenery of river and mountain, does not approach the wild
and enchanting beauty of The Dalles road and no attempts will be made
to beautify the road bed as has been done to the east of Portland. It
will, however, when paved be an easy and delightful run to Astoria,
Oregon’s oldest settlement. Near the site of this town, Lewis and Clark
camped in 1806 while exploring the Columbia River, and five years
later the present town was founded by John Jacob Astor, during the
famous expedition of which Washington Irving became historian. In 1812
Astoria was captured by the British, who held it until 1818--a critical
period in Oregon history, when the chances of the Stars and Stripes and
the Union Jack appeared about equal. Astoria’s chief industry to-day
is salmon fishing and canning, which occupies a season of about one
hundred days during the summer and early fall.

From Astoria a circular tour may be pursued along the ocean shore by
the way of Gearhart, Tillamook, and Dolph, back to Portland or to
Salem if the Pacific Highway is the route to be pursued to the south.
This, they told us, is a very rough, trying trip at present, but the
proposed highway improvement along much of the route will rapidly alter
conditions. The run of fifty miles to Government Camp on the western
side of Mount Hood is not difficult and plans are being perfected to
carry the road around the southwestern slope of the mountain to Hood
River, making the return trip by the Columbia Highway, a total distance
of about one hundred and fifty miles.

[Illustration: PORTLAND AND MT. HOOD

From photo by The Weister Co., Portland, Oregon]

We left Portland with no little reluctance. We were conscious that we
had not seen the City of Roses at its best, coming as we did at the end
of summer, when roses, even in Portland, are not very common--though
we saw them and were told that they bloom every month in the year. We
are already planning a return visit which we hope to make at a more
favorable time and under more favorable conditions.



VII

THE VALE OF THE WILLAMETTE


The old Oregon Territory, comprising the present states of Oregon and
Washington, has the unique distinction of being the only part of the
United States that was actually acquired by exploration and settlement,
and this was not accomplished without lively competition from the
British. The New England States were wrested from the unwilling
hands of Great Britain and we paid the first Napoleon his price for
Louisiana. Spain sold us Florida very reasonably when she saw we were
going to take it in spite of her. California, Texas, New Mexico, and
Arizona were taken at the mouth of the cannon from Old Mexico--pity we
didn’t complete the annexation of the rest of that troublesome country
at the same time. We paid Russia seven millions for Alaska and thought
it a gold brick for a time--Seward’s Folly, they called it--and a
little pressure was exercised on Spain to relinquish the Philippines
and Porto Rico into our keeping. Oregon alone became ours by right of
“discovery,” and this no doubt seemed a curious kind of right in the
eyes of the red men who possessed this goodly land.

[Illustration: ALONG THE COLUMBIA HIGHWAY

From photo by The Weister Co., Portland, Oregon]

We need nothing more to tell us where the Oregon pioneers hailed from
than the nomenclature of towns and rivers of the eastern part of the
state. The Columbia itself was once--and more fitly--the Oregon, which
rolled through “the continuous woods and heard no sound save its own
dashings” until a Boston sea captain decided to honor the mighty stream
with the name of his ship. The New Englander crops out still more
significantly in Portland, Salem, Albany, the Willamette, and other
names familiar in this region which the “down east” Yankee bestowed in
loving memory of the towns and rivers of his native land.

We left Portland by the Pacific Highway, which runs through the heart
of this western New England for one hundred and sixty miles, following
the valley of the Willamette River. This valley is from twenty to sixty
miles wide and is beyond question the garden spot of Oregon, if not of
the entire Pacific Coast. The late J. J. Hill, the “Empire Builder,”
in one of his last public appearances, at a banquet in Portland,
declared, “I consider the Willamette Valley the most favored spot on
earth for its size.” Gov. James Withycombe, who for many years was
connected with the Oregon State Agricultural College, is responsible
for the statement that “The Willamette Valley has a greater variety
of agricultural products than any other section of the whole United
States.” Possibly both of these authorities may have been somewhat
prejudiced--Hill’s railroads and steamships were directly interested
in the products of the valley, and a governor is not likely to minify
the merits of any part of his state. Still, they are authorities on
the matter and the people of the Willamette Valley, at least, are no
doubt quite willing to let these pronunciamentos stand unchallenged.
Nor are we inclined to dispute such authorities from any knowledge that
we ourselves may have for, though we traversed the valley at the most
unfavorable period of the year, we were none the less impressed with
the evidences of its wonderful beauty, fertility, and great variety
of products. The climate, we were told, is very temperate; in winter
the freezing point is seldom touched and while summer days are usually
pretty hot, the relief of cool nights never fails. As to its fertility
and the capability of the valley to sustain a far larger population,
an enthusiastic local authority is responsible for the following
comparison:

“Populous Belgium, which before the German invasion contained about
seven million inhabitants, has an area of only 11,373 square miles,
or less than the aggregate area of the eight counties occupying the
valley of the Willamette, which have a total of 12,526 square miles.
The present population of these counties is about two hundred thousand.
There is no reason why they should not contain as large a number of
people as Belgium, for the climate of both sections is similar and
the soil of the valley, though of different composition, is fully as
productive as that of Belgium.”

A roseate forecast, to be sure, but one to which a careful observer
might reasonably take exception; for while the whole of Belgium is a
level and very fertile plain, more than half the area of the eight
counties of the Willamette is occupied by rugged mountains which can
never be cultivated except in very limited sections. We can agree,
however, more unreservedly with another enthusiast who speaks in terms
of scenic beauty and pastoral prosperity rather than square miles and
population:

“A broad valley, rich, prosperous, and beautiful to look upon is the
Willamette, and a valley of many moods. Neither in scenic charms nor
agricultural resourcefulness is its heritage restricted to a single
field. There are timberland and trout stream, hill and dale, valley
and mountain; rural beauty of calm Suffolk is neighbor to the ragged
picturesqueness of Scotland; there are skylines comparable with
Norway’s, and lowlands peaceful as Sweden’s pastoral vistas; the giant
timber, or their relic stumps, at some pasture edge, spell wilderness,
while a happy, alder-lined brook flowing through a boulder-dotted field
is reminiscent of the uplands of Connecticut. Altogether, it is a
rarely variegated viewland, is this vale of the Willamette.

“You have seen valleys which were vast wheatfields, or where orchards
were everywhere; in California and abroad you have viewed valleys
dedicated to vineyards, and from mountain vantage points you have
feasted your eyes upon the greenery of timberland expanses; all the
world over you can spy out valleys dotted with an unvaried checkerboard
of gardens, or green with pasture lands. But where have you seen a
valley where all of this is mingled, where nature refuses to be a
specialist and man appears a Jack-of-all-outdoor trades? If by chance
you have journeyed from Medford to Portland, with some excursioning
from the beaten paths through Oregon’s valley of content, you have
viewed such a one.

[Illustration: PRUNE ORCHARDS NEAR DUNDEE, OREGON, WILLAMETTE VALLEY

From photo by The Winter Co., Portland, Oregon]

“For nature has staged a lavish repertoire along the Willamette. There
are fields of grain and fields of potatoes; hop yards and vineyards
stand side by side; emerald pastures border brown cornfields; forests
of primeval timber shadow market garden patches; natty orchards
of apples, peaches, and plums are neighbors to waving expanses of
beet tops. In short, as you whirl through the valley, conjure up some
antithesis of vegetation and you must wait but a scanty mile or two
before viewing it from the observation car.

“As first I journeyed through this pleasant land of the Willamette, a
little book, written just half a century ago, fell into my hands, and
these words concerning the valley, read then, offered a description
whose peer I have not yet encountered:

“‘The sweet Arcadian valley of the Willamette, charming with meadow,
park and grove! In no older world where men have, in all their happiest
moods, recreated themselves for generations in taming earth to orderly
beauty, have they achieved a fairer garden than Nature’s simple labor
of love has made there, giving to rough pioneers the blessings and the
possible education of refined and finished landscape, in the presence
of landscape strong, savage, and majestic.’”

Such is George Palmer Putnam’s estimate of the “Valley of Content,” as
he styles it in poetic phrase, and we can testify that his description
is true as well as poetic.

But it may be that our enthusiasm for the Willamette Valley is unduly
delaying the story of the actual progress of our journeyings which I
take it has the “right of way” in this volume.

Out of Portland we encountered considerable highway construction work,
which reminded us that Multnomah County is improving other arteries of
travel besides the Columbia Highway. Such improvement was certainly
needed, for the dozen miles between Portland and Oregon City was badly
broken macadam, enforcing a speed limit that put fear of “cops” quite
out of the question. The road is fairly level, however, following the
river quite closely and crossing it just before it comes into Oregon
City. Here we struck the first of many of the ancient covered wooden
bridges in this section, doubtless another New England inheritance for
which the early inhabitants were responsible. Each of these rickety old
structures bore a warning against crossing “faster than a walk,” with
threat of a liberal fine for violations, though the infernal clatter
of loose boards that seemed to threaten collapse ought to be a most
effective deterrent against speeding.

The road leaves Oregon City by a sharp, winding ascent which brought us
to a fine, rolling upland with a dim mountain range to our left. The
surface, however, was much better, permitting us to do the legal limit
of Oregon--twenty-five miles per hour--with entire comfort. The gently
rounded hills on either hand were occupied by thrifty-looking ranches,
and fruit-laden prune and apple orchards were the most prevalent crop.
The former were being gathered and we met many wagons and trucks loaded
with the purple fruit, which was being taken to the drying houses.
These were odd-looking frame structures with tall, square, latticed
towers projecting above the roofs and the odor of the drying fruit was
noticeable in this vicinity.

Salem, the state capital, fifty miles from Portland, is the first town
of consequence. It is situated directly on the Willamette, which is
navigable to this point by good-sized steamboats and two lines ply
regularly between Salem and Portland. The population is only sixteen
thousand, but still enough to give it second rank among Oregon cities.
The general appearance of the town, its shops and stores, which we
especially observed while making a few purchases, would give the
impression of a much larger place. Salem, like The Dalles, was founded
by Methodist missionaries as early as 1840. This was only seventeen
years later than the founding of the last Spanish mission in California
and we could not help thinking how this beautiful Arcadian valley would
have appealed to the Franciscan padres. There were plenty of natives to
engage the activities of the missionaries and they are more numerous
here to-day than in the vicinity of the old California missions. An
industrial training school for Indians is located near the city. The
town was incorporated in 1853 and made the state capital in 1860. Its
career has been as peaceful and quiet as its name would signify. Indian
fighting and mining lawlessness never disturbed its serenity as in the
case of so many California towns. To-day it still gives the impression
of quiet prosperity and peacefulness with its twenty-five churches and
two denominational schools--the Methodist Willamette University, with
about five hundred students, and the Catholic Sisters’ Academy, with
one hundred and fifty girls in attendance. The state capitol and other
public buildings are not very impressive and apparently not so costly
as state capitols and public buildings average the country over. There
are fifty miles of wide, level, well-paved, tree-bordered streets which
in our mind go farther than almost anything else as an index of civic
pride and progressiveness.

Beyond Salem the valley widens and becomes monotonously level. On
either hand is a dim blue mountain range, above which, eastward,
glimmers an occasional snowy peak. The principal crop in this section
is wheat, large quantities of which were being hauled to the market.
The heavily laden wagons worked havoc with the old stone road, which
was very rough in places. We found considerable stretches of loosely
scattered crushed rock awaiting the steam roller; this made desperately
hard going and wrought havoc with tires. Sometimes we could avoid it by
running to one side of the road, but chuck-holes and dust many inches
deep made this alternative an unpleasant one. The country was a dead
brown hue everywhere except for the enlivening green of occasional
fields of alfalfa or well-watered lawns about some of the handsome
farmhouses. The soil showed every evidence of fertility and we were
assured that crop failures are quite unknown in this favored valley.

Albany, twenty-seven miles from Salem, is a good-looking,
well-built town of five thousand people. There is an astonishingly
large seven-story hotel which seemed to indicate a busy place.
Notwithstanding the opportunities to dine at several apparently
excellent hotels along this route, we did not regret that we had picked
up a lunch at a Portland delicatessen store. It was more enjoyable than
any hotel meal when eaten in the open under a group of towering trees
by the roadside--and, incidentally it cost less. The Willamette at
Albany affords excellent water power, and this has attracted several
manufacturing establishments to the town.

Leaving Albany, the road swings several miles eastward from the river,
returning to it at Harrisburg, thirty miles farther south. Here we
found a ferryboat propelled by a gasoline launch alongside serving in
lieu of a bridge. The service is kept up free of charge by the county
and the ferryman told us that the average is two hundred and fifty
trips per day. As the river is not very wide here and there appeared
to be no great obstacle in the way of bridging it, the ferry seemed a
penny-wise makeshift--and this on the much-vaunted Pacific Highway.
Certainly one need have no difficulty in keeping on this same Pacific
Highway for a more be-signed road we never traveled. At some of the
crossings there would be a half dozen different signboards put up by
enterprising local business men, auto dealers, and the omnipresent
Goodrich Tire Company. And I might incidentally remark that I can
conceive of no better advertising to the motorist than these same road
signs; I have blessed the Goodrich people more than once when we paused
in doubt at the parting of the ways, only to be set aright by their
friendly signboards. We came to the conclusion, as the result of much
observation, that the best material for the sign is a well-painted
pine board about an inch thick. This is little affected by weather,
can be easily repainted, and affords little temptation to the wretched
outlaw who insists on using the signboard as a rifle target. A rifle
bullet will often knock a hole as big as one’s hand in the enamel of a
metal sign, while its ravages can hardly be seen on a wooden sign, and
a putty plug effects an instant repair when painting. In any event,
while few metal signs escaped the vandal’s bullets, we hardly ever saw
a wooden board “shot up.” Of course, it is easy enough to say that the
vandals who damage road signs should be punished severely enough to
break up the practice, but this is a long route to travel in a country
where contempt for law is so general. In all of our European travels,
some twenty-five thousand miles, we never saw a wilfully damaged
signboard.

Twenty miles beyond Harrisburg we found ourselves in the streets
of Eugene, a town nearly the size of Salem and quite its equal in
metropolitan appearance. It is a live-looking, well-improved town,
and, I was going to say, gives the impression of a much larger city,
but I fear I am overworking this expression in connection with these
western towns. It is none the less true, however; the streets, the
stores, the buildings, public and private, would do credit to a city
twice as large as Eugene. Here is the state university of Oregon, with
nearly a thousand students who no doubt contribute much to the evident
activity of the town. The university buildings, beautifully situated
on a grassy slope along the Willamette, are mainly of classic design.
Like the public buildings at Salem, they impressed us as being rather
inferior to what one would expect of a state-supported institution.
Eugene is very pleasantly located at the edge of the foothills along
the wide, level valley and within full view of the rugged coast range
of the Cascades. The streets are wide and well-improved, many of them
shaded by Oregon maples, gorgeous with autumn colorings when we saw
them.

A shopkeeper directed us to the Osborn Hotel as the best in the town
and it proved very satisfactory, indeed. It is a large red-brick
structure fronting a public park and located conveniently to the
business center of the town. We were given a comfortable room at a
moderate rate, but the restaurant prices were quite up to metropolitan
standard, though this was mitigated somewhat by the first-class
service. The city water was exceedingly unpleasant, having been “doped”
with chemicals to counteract impurities. We were assured, however, that
it was quite harmless and suffered no ill after-effects from drinking
it.

[Illustration: THE WILLAMETTE NEAR EUGENE, OREGON

From photo by Winter Photo Co., Portland, Oregon]

Our run for the day had been a comparatively short one--one hundred
and forty miles over roads better than average. We arrived in
Eugene early in the afternoon and remarked that we might easily reach
Roseburg, eighty miles distant, before dark. We went, of course, on the
assumption that the Pacific Highway south of Eugene was quite as good
as to the north of the city--an assumption which we found to be sadly
at variance with facts. A garage man warned us not to expect a “joy
ride” to Grants Pass, for though the actual distance is only a little
greater than we covered on the preceding day, the run was much harder.
All of which we heard with light-hearted unconcern, for it never
entered our heads that on the much-heralded Pacific Highway we should
find some of the roughest and most dangerous road since leaving San
Francisco.

Out of Eugene we encountered hills, but the going was fair to Cottage
Grove, a quiet village which marks the southern extremity of the Vale
of the Willamette. We soon entered Pais Creek Canyon and the road
degenerated into a rough, winding trail, muddy from a heavy rain which
had preceded us only a day or two. The road was often strewn with
boulders and cut up into ruts that gave the car an unmerciful wrenching
as we crawled cautiously along. In places an effort had been made to
get rid of the stones and mud by covering considerable stretches of
road with planks, but these were loosely laid and did not mend matters
a great deal. The road was often dangerously narrow and there were many
sharp turns around blind corners. There was just mud enough to make us
uneasy on the grades and to demonstrate the utter impossibility of the
road for a heavy car in wet weather.

There was little respite from these conditions in the sixty miles from
Cottage Grove to Drain. In places, improvement work was in progress
which will do something to smooth out the highway for the motorist of
the future. The only redeeming feature was the glorious scenery. We ran
along green banks covered with giant ferns whose long fronds swept the
car as we passed and we glided beneath closely standing pines under
which the ground was carpeted with rank mosses. The prevailing green
was varied by the coral-red clusters of honeysuckle berries and the
early autumn reds and yellows of the deciduous trees.

[Illustration: ON THE PACIFIC HIGHWAY IN OREGON

From painting by H. H. Bagg]

A long climb through scattered pine trees and a winding descent brought
us to the lonely little village of Drain, wedged in the bottom of the
canyon. Here a garage man gave us the cheerful information that the
road before us was no better than that over which we had come and
thus, being prepared for the worst, we were agreeably surprised to
find that our friend had exaggerated somewhat. The road was bad, to
be sure, but no match in genuine badness for that north of Drain. We
ran through open oak and fir groves on the Calapooia Mountains, very
closely following the course of the Southern Pacific Railroad and
passing several lonely little stations. We found some road improvement
in progress and a few new stretches with properly engineered grades and
curves, which gave evidence of the determination of Oregon people to
make at least a part of this Pacific Highway worthy of the name.

As we approached Roseburg we found the country well settled, with
many thrifty-looking apple orchards on the rolling hills. Roseburg
is a good-looking town of five thousand people and we passed two
very inviting hotels. A magnificent high school building was under
construction and all appearances in the town pointed to prosperity and
progressiveness. We took on gasoline at a garage that made the somewhat
sweeping claim, “Largest and best-equipped garage between Portland and
San Francisco,” but we had no opportunity of testing its facilities.

We would gladly have paused for the night in Roseburg; eighty miles
of such road as we had covered was quite enough for one day, in our
opinion, but we could not forget that the rainy season was due any time
and prudence behooved us to push onward. There were still seventy-six
miles between us and Grants Pass and, as it proved, every one of them
climbs or descends some giant hill range, for the whole run is through
the heart of the Cascade Mountains. There are many steep, winding
grades, miles long, much narrow roadway creeping beneath overhanging
precipices, with precipices dropping away below, too narrow for passing
except at long intervals and often stony and rough in the extreme.
The compensating feature is the wonderfully beautiful and picturesque
scenery that prevails along the entire run. Wooded hills stretched away
to the lavender-tinted horizon or towered far above us as we dropped
into the depths of cool, green canyons alongside madly dashing mountain
streams--emerald green, crystal clear, or white with foam.

Out of Roseburg we followed the Umpqua River, entering the prosaically
named Cow Creek Canyon at Canyonville--but if the name is prosaic there
is nothing commonplace about the wild and rugged scenery throughout
its entire length. The road frequently descended to the side of the
stream, where there were glorious camping sites galore, some of them
occupied by motor parties. Green sward, pure cold water, fine trees,
and plenty of firewood make this a camper’s paradise and in season the
trout fishing is unsurpassed. There are also plenty of deer and bear
in these rugged hills and many of the campers were evidently on hunting
expeditions, for the season had just begun. Again the road ascended a
stiff grade and rose to splendid vantage points above the vexed river.
We passed several little villages nestling in the canyon and presenting
the same general characteristics. About these were spots of cultivated
land and often prune and apple orchards.

Beyond Wolf Creek, a few miles from Grants Pass, we entered the Rogue
River Valley, which vies with Hood River in producing the big red apple
for which Oregon has become famous and wonderful stories were told us
of the yield of these orchards. Many other varieties of fruit are grown
here and vineyards flourish. The climate is much the same as that of
the Willamette Valley, and general characteristics are much the same
except that the Rogue River country is more rolling.

At sunset we came into the wide main streets of Grants Pass--glad
indeed that our strenuous run had reached its goal--and cast about
anxiously for a hotel. A native directed us to the Josephine, but a
bathroom was not to be had there, nor were we particularly prepossessed
with the general appearance of the place. The Oxford, farther down the
main street, proved a quiet and fairly comfortable haven in charge
of a landlady who was kindly attentive. There was no restaurant in
connection with this hotel--one of several instances which we found
where hotels had given up serving meals, which they declared the least
profitable part of the business, despite the high prices which prevail
on menus in the west.

We found more of the atmosphere of the “boom” towns in Grants Pass than
we noted in any other town since leaving Bend. The citizens seemed to
think that the city was on the verge of a great increase in population
and prosperity. The reasons for the optimism are attractively set forth
in some of the literature circulated by the commercial club, from which
I quote a few paragraphs, with slight modifications:

“Upon the north bank of the beautiful Rogue River in Southern Oregon
is located the up-to-date, prosperous city of Grants Pass, with a
population exceeding six thousand purely American citizens, enjoying
the charms of picturesque scenery the equal of which is not to be
found elsewhere; the clear, spring-like mountain stream, with its
myriads of trout and salmon, coursing along the southern limits of the
city boundary, affords means of recreation which only few of the vast
American populace are permitted to enjoy.

“Grants Pass is surrounded by rich agricultural and horticultural
lands; the low forest-clad hillsides are being rapidly cleared and
planted to Tokay grape vineyards and peach, pear, and apple orchards;
upon both banks of the Rogue River, for a distance of twenty miles, are
large commercial apple orchards, some in full bearing, consisting of
the Spitzenberg and Yellow Newton Pippin apples, for which the section
is world-famous, and others newly planted or from one to five years
old; large tracts of luscious watermelons, nutmegs, and cantaloupes
are to be seen interspersed with strawberries, blackberries, and other
varieties of small fruit; here a field of corn, nodding its tassels
ten and twelve feet high; there a field of hops, smiling fortune to
its lucky owner; and again, rolling meadows of alfalfa and bunches of
dairy cattle, sleek and trim; the azure blue sky above reaching to
the horizon, the lines of which are broken by the majestic peaks of
the Coast Range Mountains. Truly has this been called ‘The Italy of
America.’

“In the hills close to Grants Pass the sportsman finds grouse, quail,
pheasants, and grey squirrels to his hearts content, whilst along the
river and creeks the angler forgets all care when casting his fly to
the invitation of the rainbow, salmon, and speckled trout, which abound
along the numerous riffles and in the deep pools; farther out in the
timber-clad mountains the huntsman may find deer, bobcat, bear, and
mountain lion. A poor hunter is he who does not have venison for dinner
the first day.

“The standing timber of Josephine County is conservatively estimated
at nine billion feet of fir, sugar pine, spruce, cedar, and yellow
pine. A score or more sawmills are operated in the immediate vicinity
of Grants Pass; the product of these mills is manufactured into fruit
boxes and building material at the two large factories in the city,
which employ several hundred men. Mining for gold and copper is carried
on extensively in all parts of the county to a distance of forty miles;
the Grants Pass district supplying at the present time over one-half of
the gold and copper output of the state. Marble, lime, platinum, fire
clay, and asbestos are among the many lesser mineral products.

“The homeseeker looking for an ideal location and an opportunity to
become independent in a really charming city and valley should not fail
to investigate the merits of Grants Pass and vicinity.”

The completion of a million-dollar sugar factory in the past year
had still farther added to the optimism of Grants Pass people. This,
we were assured, would mean the distribution of perhaps five hundred
thousand dollars annually in the community and reclamation of some six
thousand acres of land with an assured income of at least fifty dollars
per acre. Irrigation is necessary to grow sugar beets in this section
and, fortunately, the water supply is practically unlimited. Naturally,
Grants Pass is exceedingly anxious to have an outlet to the sea, which
is less than one hundred miles distant across the Cascades--and a
bond issue to begin work on a railroad to Crescent City in California
has recently been voted. All of which goes to show that Grants Pass
is honest in its belief of a great future and that no effort will be
omitted by its hustling citizens to realize said future at the earliest
possible moment.



VIII

GRANTS PASS TO EUREKA


We may admit that it was with considerable misgiving that we left
Grants Pass in the early morning for Crescent City on the sea. We had
been discouraged in the attempt by the best posted road authorities in
San Francisco, who declared that the trip was too difficult to be worth
while, and the pleasant young lady who was all there was in sight when
we called at the Portland Automobile Club was even more emphatic in her
efforts to dissuade us.

“Don’t try it,” she said. “The road by the way of Crescent City and
Eureka is a rough mountain trail, with grades as high as thirty-eight
per cent and the rains are likely to catch you at any time from now
on,”--all of which, we may remark parenthetically, proved true enough.

Over against this was the assurance of a veteran motorist whom we met
at Crater Lake Lodge and who had just come from San Francisco over
this route, that there was nothing to give the driver of a Pierce
Forty-eight a moment’s uneasiness; though the road was very heavy and
rough, a staunch, powerful car would have no difficulty. We were also
reassured by the garage owner at Grants Pass, who declared that the
natives thought little of the run to Crescent City and that a motor
stage made the trip nearly every day in the year, though sometimes in
bad weather, he admitted, the nearly obsolete but always reliable horse
had to give them a lift.

We learned enough, however, to feel sure that considerably heavier
work in mountaineering than we had as yet done awaited us, and this
naturally caused us some uneasiness. At times when such feelings seized
us concerning roads traveled by some one almost daily, we tried to
realize the sensations of the pioneers, who confronted these awful
solitudes without road or chart and at best with only treacherous
savages to guide them over well-nigh impassable trails through mountain
and forest. Such reflections made our misgivings about roads and routes
seem little short of cowardly, and perhaps at times rather coerced our
better judgment.

We covered forty miles out of Grants Pass with little hint of the road
terrors we expected to encounter before the close of the day. The
road, fair to excellent, ran at first through cultivated fields and
apple-laden orchards; then it entered rounded hills, where the forests,
fragrant with balsam pine, were interspersed with lovely green
valleys dotted with numerous well-improved ranches. There were signs
of considerable activity in lumbering and we passed two large sawmills
along the way.

At Waldo, a tiny village forty miles from Grants Pass, we recalled that
the famous Oregon caves were only twelve miles eastward and regretted
that our schedule did not permit a day’s delay to visit them. From here
a picturesque trail leads to these so-called Marble Halls of Oregon,
deep in the heart of the rugged mountains. These strange caves were
discovered some fifty years ago by a hunter who pursued a wounded
bear into a cavern in the mountain. The caves have not yet been fully
explored, but there is known to be a series of lofty vaulted chambers
rivaling those of the Mammoth Cave and hundreds of smaller apartments,
with walls, ceilings, and pillars in old ivory and lighter colorings,
all as delicately sculptured as though designed and executed by master
artists. The roar of subterranean rivers is heard, seemingly overhead,
and again beneath one’s feet, echoing from mysterious caverns as yet
unentered even by the adventurous guides.

Beyond Waldo our real mountaineering began, and an incident occurred
that caused us no small perturbation nor, looking back, can we feel
that our uneasiness was unwarranted. Here a stranger walking along the
road hailed us and as we paused in response to his signal, asked us to
give him a lift to the next town. As he looked fairly reputable and
carried no baggage, our first thought was that he might be a ranchman
of the vicinity, and as there were four unoccupied seats in the big
car, it seemed churlish to refuse, despite whatever distrust we might
have of a stranger in such a lonely wilderness. So we bade him climb in
beside the driver and began the ascent of the stupendous grade leading
over the first great range of the Cascades. For nearly ten miles we
followed the rough, stony road which flung its narrow loops around
canyon and headland, often with a deep valley alongside. The steep
slopes above and below us were clad with mighty pines and through these
we caught occasional glimpses of an ever widening prospect. It was only
when we reached the summit of the range that the full magnificence of
the scene broke upon our astonished vision. A vast panorama of rugged
peaks--“a sea of wood in wild, unmeasured miles,” to quote the poet of
the Sierras--stretched way inimitably in the thin, clear atmosphere
until it was lost in a violet-blue haze.

Our enjoyment of the wonderful scene was not unmixed, however, for by
this time it had become clear to us that our self-invited passenger
was a lunatic. He had talked much wild and silly chatter about a
wonderful invention of his and a great fortune awaiting him in San
Francisco, and given evidence by other unmistakable signs that he
was more or less demented. It did not seem practicable to attempt to
get rid of him at the time and we began the descent with increasing
uneasiness as he continued to harass the driver with his wild talk.
And if ever a driver needed to keep his head clear it was during this
same descent; the road, a mere shelf in the rock, crawls along the
precipitous mountainside while a vast abyss yawns below with a mad,
boulder-vexed stream at the bottom. It was made far more trying to the
nerves by the absence of trees or shrubbery to screen the precipice--a
bare foot or two lay between our wheels and a sheer drop of say half a
mile.

Our guest noted our perturbation and, turning to the lady, who had
shrunk into the smallest possible space in the end of the capacious
seat and was studiously refusing to even look at the road, he said,

“Gets on your nerves, doesn’t it? Looks mighty scaly, for a fact!”

It was not made the easier by the knowledge that a lunatic sat beside
the driver, harmless, maybe, but we had no way of knowing that he was.
In any event, when he wasn’t looking I slipped the Colt automatic,
which had been our almost forgotten companion since we started, beneath
our car robe, with the resolve that if he should attempt to lay hands
on our driver on these appalling roads, there would be something doing.
Fortunately, except for his incessant chatter, he was quite inoffensive
and we looked forward anxiously to the next station on the road, where
we determined to drop him, willy nilly.

It was a long, slow crawl to Patrick’s Creek, to which an occasional
signboard directed us, for our cautious driver averaged only seven
or eight miles per hour, and, however anxious we were to get rid of
our passenger, it was quite enough. The scenery was inspiring and
picturesque but the road was more or less nerve-racking every mile of
the way. Passing-places were only occasional, but, fortunately, we met
no one after leaving Waldo.

Patrick’s Creek Hotel proved a small ranch house close by the road
where meals are served and auto supplies sold to tourists. As usual,
we had our lunch, but were glad to supplement it with one of the
landlady’s home-made pies, which proved excellent indeed. For once we
regretted having brought our lunch, since they told us that it was
their practice to fry one of the numerous young chickens running about
the place, “while you wait.” Here we had the peculiar sensation that
comes from paying fifty cents per gallon for gasoline--our top notch, I
believe, except in Longwy, France, some years before.

“I get it by parcel post in sealed five-gallon cans,” said the
innkeeper, who is also forest ranger in this district, “which is the
only way the stage people will accept it for shipment.”

“Do you get much patronage here besides meals?” we asked.

“In the hunting season we do,” he replied, “It’s a famous hunting
ground. We could go up on yonder mountainside and start a dozen deer in
an hour.”

“You ought to have plenty of venison at your hotel,” we ventured.

“Not a bit of it,” he replied in disgust. “The game law forbids serving
it for pay and you are not even allowed to have any portion of a deer’s
carcase on hand longer than ten days; you can’t sell it or ship it out
of the county--there isn’t much sport in killing the poor brutes under
such conditions. Still, hunters come here and kill the limit of three
bucks, but most of the venison goes to waste.”

When we resumed our journey our passenger, with considerable rambling
talk, expressed his willingness to continue with us to San Francisco
and even intimated that we might get a slice of the great fortune he
had in prospect there; he evidently did not object to the car or the
company and was quite willing to become a permanent member of our
party. We succeeded in making him understand that we were not running
a stage and that we felt we had done our share in the thirty-five-mile
lift we had given him. We offered him a little financial assistance,
if needed, but it was indignantly declined. He would soon have wealth
beyond the dreams of avarice. And so we bade him a glad farewell, with
the mental resolve that we would pick up no more unknown pedestrians.
We were afterwards hailed by one or two knights of the road who, no
doubt, thought us stingy snobs as we sailed past them in sublime
indifference--but we had had our lesson. We saw added reason for such a
course when we read later in a San Francisco paper that an autoist had
been held up and robbed in the mountains by two foot pads whom he had
generously given a ride.

Leaving the inn, we followed the yellow road which we could see far
ahead, zigzagging up the rough mountainside before us. It led to
another seemingly endless climb over steep, stony grades along the edge
of precipitous slopes. A short distance from the hotel we saw a doe
eyeing us curiously from the chaparral a few yards from the roadside.
She seemed to realize that a lady deer is safe in California, even in
the hunting season, for she showed little signs of fear. Had she been
legitimate game we might probably have killed her with the Colt.

The climb over a stony road--enough to try every rivet in any
car--continued for several miles. On coming to the summit, we did
not immediately descend, but continued for many miles, with slight
ups and downs, along the crest of the Cascades--or is it the Coast
Sierras?--the ranger said the point is still in dispute as to where one
ceases and the other begins. It was a narrow, precarious trail that we
followed, with only thin shrubbery to screen the forbidding slopes at
its side--but what a magnificent and inspiring vista it opened to our
delighted vision! Beneath us lay a vast, wooded canyon, thousands of
feet in depth, and beyond it stretched an infinite array of pine-clad
summits, seemingly without end, for the day was clear as crystal and
only a thin haze hid the distance. They are building a new highway that
will supersede this mountain trail and future tourists will gladly miss
the thrills of the precarious road, but they will also miss much of the
grandeur and beauty; to see the mountains one must climb the mountains
to their very crests. We shall always be glad that we saw the wild and
inspiring vistas from many of these old-time roads which will pass
into disuse when the improved highway comes.

Again we angled slowly down into a vast valley and climbed two more
ranges before the cool, fresh ocean air struck our faces. To tell of
the beauty and charm of the scenes that presented themselves to our
eyes would be continual repetition; they were much like those we had
encountered ever since entering the mighty hill ranges.

We were conscious of a sudden and overpowering change when we came
within a dozen miles of the destination of our day’s run. Here we
entered the Del Norte redwoods and many were the exclamations of wonder
excited by the majesty and loveliness of these virgin forests. Glorious
individual trees, ten to twenty feet in diameter, towering two to three
hundred feet above us, crowded up to the roadside, standing so thickly
that it was impossible to see ahead for any considerable distance.
But most wonderful was the rank--almost tropical--appearance of the
undergrowth. The ground was green with velvet moss, and huge ferns
with fronds several feet in length, intermingled with the metallic
green of the huckleberry bushes. Many other shrubs and plants unknown
to us joined to make up this marvelous tangle of greenery, the like
of which we had never before seen. Occasionally we came upon a fallen
tree cast down by storms of perhaps a century ago, but the dead giant
had become the abode of riotous life, for every foot of his great
trunk was covered with a rank growth of fern and shrub. We even saw
good-sized trees springing out of these long-dead redwoods. We had seen
the redwoods of Tuolumne, Santa Cruz, and Mariposa, larger trees but
utterly lacking the beauty of the riotous greenery of the groves of Del
Norte.

A clear, green river spanned by a high iron bridge served to enhance
the charm of the scene. We paused to drink of the ice-cold waters of a
little roadside waterfall and to felicitate ourselves that we had not
been dissuaded from the Crescent City road. It is a rough, steep, and
dangerous road, we may admit, but this glorious forest repays one a
thousand times. The accumulation of leaves and pine needles deposited
through the centuries had made the soil beneath the trees a deep,
soft mould, and to make the road passable it had been “corduroyed”
for several miles with redwood slabs, which slowed the car down to a
snail’s pace. This was no hardship, however--surely one who does not
expect to pass over the road again would never wish to hasten through
such delightful scenery.

[Illustration: THROUGH THE DEL NORTE REDWOODS

From painting by Martella Lane]

It was still four miles to Crescent City when we came out of the great
forest and for this distance we ran through rather poorly improved farm
lands. The ocean, which flashed into view as we approached the town,
was indeed a welcome sight after our long exile in the hills. For many
miles as we approached the town the trees at frequent intervals had
borne signs calling attention to the merits of the Bay View Annex,
with the constant reiteration of “hot and cold water” as the chief
attraction. So we sought the Bay View, a rambling, wooden building
looking out on the harbor and were forthwith assigned to rooms in the
“Annex” at the rear. While our quarters were far from elaborate, they
were clean and comfortable, though the much-vaunted hot and cold water
proved principally cold.

We had leisure to look about the town before supper and while there was
little in the plain, straggling, wooden village to excite our interest,
we learned that Crescent City has big ambitions and high hopes for the
future.

“We have one of the best harbors on the whole western coast, about
equally distant from San Francisco and Portland,” said a shopkeeper
from whom we made a few purchases. “It is deep enough for ocean-going
vessels, so that little dredging will be necessary, and only needs
protection of a sea wall to offer safe shelter for a whole fleet of
ships. Congress has been interested in the project and only last year a
committee of several of the leading members came here to investigate.
All agreed that the government could well afford to spend five million
dollars to improve the harbor and that the resources of the country
about here warrant an appropriation. If this is done and the railroad
carried through from Grants Pass, Crescent City will become a city,
indeed. There are two hundred billion feet of standing timber within
a radius of two hundred miles from Crescent City, most of which would
be converted into lumber and find an outlet through Crescent City
Harbor. The rich Rogue River Valley, now at the mercy of the Southern
Pacific Railroad, will gladly seek a cheaper outlet for its products
and though it may not be apparent to a stranger, the agricultural
products of Del Norte County are very considerable. Our butter, for
instance, is considered the finest in the country and the Palace Hotel
at San Francisco will not serve any other. Its excellence is due to the
splendid grazing lands watered by an annual rainfall of sixty-eight
inches. This also gives you the secret of the wonderful greenness of
the great redwood forest which you so admired when coming to our city.
Salmon and other fishing and packing are already very extensive and can
be increased indefinitely. There are immense deposits of copper and
iron ore between here and Grants Pass--particularly in the neighborhood
of Waldo. Marble and other building stone are to be found within easy
shipping distance. We have the finest summer climate on the Pacific
Coast and splendid beaches, so that Crescent City is bound to become
more and more of a summer resort--in fact, a great many people come
here now in the summer time. Do you think our hopes for Crescent City’s
future are ill-founded? Isn’t it reasonable to believe that when this
harbor is improved and a railroad completed to both Grants Pass and
Eureka that we may fairly expect a city of fifty thousand people or
more?”

We did not take issue with our enthusiastic informant, though, indeed,
it was hard to imagine a teeming city on the site of the lonely little
village; but perhaps the same thing might have been said of Portland or
Seattle fifty years ago. A start has really been made toward improving
the harbor, for an initial appropriation of three hundred and ninety
thousand dollars has been made by the War Department, to which Del
Norte County has added the proceeds of a one-hundred-thousand-dollar
bond issue. The chief industry of the town at present is lumbering, one
company employing five hundred men, but the output is limited by the
indifferent shipping facilities.

Crescent City has another ambition which is well worthy of
realization--to have a large section of the magnificent forests near
the town set aside as a national park. It would, indeed, be a calamity
to our whole people to have all of this great grove wiped out by ax
and fire, as has occurred near Eureka. The redwood groves already
reserved do not and can not match the Del Norte forests in beauty and
suitability as a natural playground. Here one can camp under the giants
trees and live near to nature indeed, nor will he be troubled by such
pests as flies, mosquitoes, scorpions, rattlesnakes, and the like, for
they are almost unknown in this section. From our own observation we
can heartily second the declaration of a local writer to the effect
that--

“The importance of this proposed Redwood Park to Humboldt and Del
Norte Counties, the State of California, and to the whole of North
America, even to the whole world, can scarcely be estimated. Within
comparatively a few generations the giant redwood forests of California
will be a thing of the past; the woodsman’s ax and the ravenous
sawmills will have swept them away, even as the great pine and hardwood
forests of Michigan and Wisconsin have been wiped out of existence.

“A billion or more feet of these giant forests preserved and protected
for all time from destruction will form a priceless heritage for future
generations--one of the greatest attractions California will then have,
for it will bring pilgrims from all over the world. It will not be
many generations before all the virgin forests on the North American
Continent, save those protected in national and other forest reserves
will be wiped out of existence.”

It would be hard to express the chagrin which we felt on looking
from the window of the Bay View Annex on the morning following our
arrival to find a heavy fog, almost bordering on a drizzle, enveloping
everything and even shrouding the near-by ocean from view. We were told
that such fogs often lasted a week or more, so it did not seem worth
while to wait another day at the Bay View in hope of clear weather. We
set out with the forlorn hope that the fog might clear away as the sun
rose higher.

For the first four or five miles out of the town we skimmed along over
the most perfect boulevard of our tour--a wide, perfectly level, hard,
smooth, dust-free surface, yet a road which cost nothing per mile and
never had an hour’s work expended upon it by any man. It was the hard,
firm, ocean beach which we traversed, so close to the sullen gray water
that it lapped our wheels as we glided onward. And lo, we beheld,
skipping joyously along on this same beach our unwelcome passenger of
the previous day. He had evidently begged or bought transportation from
Patrick’s Creek to Crescent City and was now away on a hundred-mile
hike to Eureka, unless he could work his nerve on some passing car
as he did on us. Nothing daunted by his rebuff at our parting, he
cheerfully signified his desire to continue with us for the day, but we
bade him hail and farewell without slackening the car’s sharp pace.

Our fine beach road ended all too soon in a wild plunge through the
soft deep sand to the mainland, where we almost immediately began the
ascent of a stiff, long grade, winding with many sharp turns through
the closely standing pines. About midway a large car was parked with
a broken axle, leaving barely room to squeeze past. Time and again as
we ascended the mighty slope we came out upon bold headlands which on
clear days afford endless views of the ocean a thousand feet or more
below. We could hear the angry swish of the sea among the broken rocks
at the base of the cliff, but the gray mist hid it from our eager
eyes. It was, indeed, a disappointment, but we found some compensation
as we climbed still higher on the fern-banked road. Near the summit
we again entered the mighty redwoods which towered hundreds of feet
above us. We were rising above the fog and the weirdly glorious effect
of the sun’s rays as they shot through the thin vapor among the hoary
trees was as fascinating as it is indescribable. The forest monarchs
seemed literally ablaze with pale fire. The dull gray fog merged into
a silvery vapor which floated among the titanic trunks and branches
and long shafts of light radiated from their tops like a mighty halo.
As we continued to ascend the air gradually cleared and a sky of the
intensest blue shone above the trees--but it was only due to the
altitude, for, coming out on a headland, we beheld the envious fog
still shrouding the ocean far below. The sullen booming of the surf and
the screams of sea birds came weirdly mingled from the unseen deeps,
giving a strange sensation of mystery.

Back into the mighty forest we turned and for many miles followed the
winding road, closely bordered by the giant trees. The corduroy on
this road was in much better repair, some of it being new and made of
closely laid square slabs. Here, again the riotous greenery beneath the
trees delighted and amazed us. Fern fronds six feet long were common
and moss, shrubbery, and vines flourished in wild profusion everywhere.
We emerged on an open headland covered with bronzed fern and scattered
shrubs, and strained our eyes for a glimpse of the silver sea through
the lightening mass of vapor and we were rewarded with a faint shimmer
here and there. Then came more miles of redwoods crowding the road so
closely that we found difficulty in passing another car which met us
here. The forest was strangely silent; we saw nothing of bird or animal
life and only the boom of the ocean when we happened to come near the
coast broke upon the uncanny stillness.

Again we came abruptly into the open and a long, sinuous descent
brought us to Requa, a forlorn-looking little hamlet on the broad inlet
of the Klamath River. They told us that half the people of the village
were Indians and those whom we saw wore white man’s clothes and had
the appearance of modest prosperity. Salmon fishing and two canneries
employ the population during the fishing season. The wide, still river
is crossed by ferry, a rude barge propelled by a gasoline launch,
lashed alongside and capable of carrying three or four cars.

During our crossing our interest was centered on the ferryman’s
daughter, a little miss of seven or eight summers, who swung on the
chain at the bow of the boat. Utterly unconscious of her picturesque
beauty or that she was being observed, she made one of the most
delightful studies we had seen in many a day and made us long for the
skill to execute a rapid sketch. Her dark olive, oval face was regular
and pleasing in features and her cheeks were tinged with red roses from
the fresh sea air. Her heavy black hair was woven in a long braid and
coiled about her head. She wore a plain slip of a dress and her deft
little fingers were working on a head-dress of red and green cambric,
which at times she fitted over her raven tresses with the air of a
Fifth Avenue belle judging the merits of the latest Parisian creation
in millinery. Then she removed it and eyed it critically; evidently it
did not meet her artistic ideals, for she ripped it to pieces and began
rearranging the brightly colored scraps.

We were so much interested in her beauty and unconscious antics that
we forgot all about the broad, green river we were crossing and
therefore paused when we had scrambled up the opposite bank to gaze
up the valley. We saw a noble stream, gleaming through the thin vapor
that hovered above it and sweeping far up the canyon until it vanished
in the densely wooded hills. The picturesque valley is included in
the proposed Redwood National Park, which the citizens of Northern
California hope to see established before the wholesale slaughter of
these forests is begun.

We ran for a good many miles through a flat, swampy country dotted with
reedy lagoons, re-entering the redwoods near the Humboldt County line.
We encountered a long, steady ascent with grades up to twenty per cent,
which ultimately brought us to the ocean, which we had left for a time.
The road, with occasional bends to the inland, followed the shore for
the remainder of our day’s run and presented a continual panorama of
delightful scenery. The sun was still tempered by the soft white mists
and the ocean shone like burnished silver in the subdued light. The
shore is exceedingly rugged and in many places out in the ocean were
mighty detached rocks upon which the incoming waves broke into white,
foaming masses.

The redwoods continued for many miles--mighty, symmetrical trees whose
dimensions were hard to realize, but many were twenty feet in diameter
and upwards of two hundred and fifty feet in height. It was only by
comparison with some small object that their colossal size could be
realized; we had grown so used to the gigantic that it palled upon
our senses. Often they grew in groups, two, three, or more stems from
a single base whose dimensions were simply staggering. We could not
contemplate the majesty and beauty of these forest giants without a
tinge of sadness--we know that the railroad is daily creeping nearer
and that unless prompt measures are taken to protect them the time is
not far away when only burned and blackened stumps will show where they
stood, as we saw nearer Eureka. We parted company with them as one who
leaves a very old and wise friend whom he feels that he may never see
again, breathing meanwhile the prayer:

  “O, forest Titans, may it be
      Long, long, ere man with steel and fire
      Comes hither on his errand dire
  To end your centuried reverie.”

There were gayer colors on our road than the dull browns and dark
greens of the redwoods, for along the creeks the maples flamed in
autumnal scarlet or glowed with yellow gold in the dark forest aisles.
We passed through occasional open spaces, where we found belated wild
flowers in full bloom--the purple foxglove, daisies, asters, and, more
rarely, wild roses or azaleas smiled on us from the roadside. Not all
the trees were redwoods, for we passed through closely standing groves
where spruce, hemlock, and other varieties predominated.

The road came close to the shore just before we reached Orick, a small
village whose inn is a famous resort for hunters and fishermen, and
from a considerable eminence we looked down on Freshwater Lagoon, a
fine body of water a mile long, literally alive with wild fowl. It is
famous for its fishing, as are Big Lagoon and Stone Lagoon, a few miles
farther on. Here the sportsman may take cut-throat and steel-head trout
to the law’s limit, often in an hour or two, and all kinds of water
fowl are plentiful in season. In this vicinity also, they told us, is
the best quail shooting on the Pacific Coast--quite enough to distress
a devotee of rod and gun whom circumstances forced to hurry onward.
There are splendid camping sites galore along this road, sites which
appealed even to ourselves, who were never strongly predisposed to camp
life.

Trinidad, the next hamlet, dates from Spanish days, when it had the
prefix of Puerto--for it is located on a small but deep harbor, where
the early seafarers occasionally took shelter. Remains of the old
landing-place may still be seen, but no ships disturb the quietude of
Trinidad to-day. There is a rustic resort inn here which caters to
summer visitors and sportsmen.

So far the road has been natural dirt, ranging from fair to good, and
the grades, though often considerable, have not been at all troublesome
to the big car. At Trinidad we caught up with the stage which left
Crescent City some time ahead of us, and were interested to find that
the cars which make this trip nearly every day in the year were of the
same manufacture as our own.

Beyond Trinidad the road had mostly been surfaced and some of it was
really excellent. The country, however, for some miles was dismal,
indeed. Here was every evidence of a great forest fire of comparatively
recent occurrence. Great blackened trunks were still standing,
interspersed with stumps which showed that the country had been at
least partially lumbered before the fire. The effect was melancholy and
depressing, indeed, and brought to mind passages of Dante’s Inferno.
A few poor little houses, many of them deserted, were scattered at
intervals among the blackened stumps, and there were occasional
cultivated patches of ground. No doubt the soil is excellent, but it
will be many years before the giant stumps can be cleared away and
the great holes left when they are burned or dynamited, filled up.
We noted on our maps that we were to cross Mad River and imagined a
dashing cataract in keeping with the name. We found the most prosaic of
tide-water streams, level and almost stagnant, and the name, we were
told, only referred to a quarrel between some early settlers in the
section.

As we approached Arcata, fourteen miles by road from Eureka, though
only half that distance directly across the bay, the country took on
a much more prosperous look. The farm houses were neat with carefully
kept lawns, and the well-cultivated fields ran down to the seashore.
Arcata is a clean, bright-looking town, due to free application
of paint to the wooden buildings, for wooden buildings are almost
universal. A new eighty-thousand-dollar hotel was pointed to with due
pride and one might do quite as well to stop here as in Eureka.

Beyond Arcata fine, level, dairy land prevails, fit for grazing the
greater part of the year, and Humboldt County butter is quite as famous
as that of Del Norte. Much of this land was originally forested with
redwoods, and its splendid state of reclamation at present indicates
that the forlorn, fire-blackened section we passed some miles back may
have a future before it, after all. Huge redwood stumps remained along
the road, each of them bearing a little garden of greenery flourishing
upon the decay. The heavy rainfall of winter and the continual fogs of
summer keep vegetation thrifty and green almost the entire year.

The road from Arcata skirts the shores of Humboldt Bay, which is
nearly land-locked by a slender spit of sand. It is a good-sized body
of water, some fourteen miles long and deep enough for ocean-going
vessels, but an exceedingly treacherous coast in the vicinity militates
against it as a harbor. A few days before our arrival a large steamer
had gone to pieces on the rocks near by and a few months later a
submarine and the cruiser Milwaukee, which undertook to rescue it, were
both destroyed in this neighborhood.

Our first impression on coming into the business part of Eureka was
of surprise to see a city of its size and importance almost wholly
constructed of wood. The business blocks were nearly all of redwood,
sometimes painted and carved to resemble stone, and the hotels,
including the Vance, where we stopped, were of the same material. Of
course, this is not so strange when one considers that redwood is by
far the cheapest and most accessible building stuff in this region, but
it is hard to associate permanence and substantial construction with
huge wooden blocks in the business section of the city.

We reached our hotel about four o’clock, having been just eight hours
in covering the ninety-four miles from Crescent City, including the
half-hour we stopped for lunch--practically the same time occupied by
the stages in making the trip. This may seem pretty slow, but it is all
one should expect on this road if he adheres to sane and conservative
driving.

The Vance, despite the rather unfavorable impression made by its wooden
exterior, proved well-appointed and comfortable inside. A large, cozily
furnished, steam-heated room proved a pleasant haven after a chilly
ride--for the wind had blown strongly all day from the sea, and when
out of the shelter of the forest, it brought our whole supply of wraps
and robes into use. The Vance was the only commercial hotel which we
found operating on the “American plan” since leaving San Francisco, and
its service throughout was very satisfactory, though its rates could
not be classed as cheap. We should say, however, that a thoroughly
modern hotel of approved construction would find a fine opening in
Eureka.

We found time before dinner to look about the city, which was gaily
decorated in bunting and evergreens for an Elks’ Convention to begin
the next day. In fact, we had been warned that our lease on our room at
the hotel could continue only for the night and our plan of taking a
full day’s lay-off at Eureka was thus frustrated. As usual in isolated
California towns of any size, the shops and mercantile establishments
generally seemed entirely to outclass the population figures, which in
case of Eureka are not claimed to exceed fifteen thousand. Like our
hotel, the interior of the business buildings was usually much more
attractive than the exterior, and it was apparent that the merchants
of the town were prepared to take care of all reasonable needs of
the inhabitants as well as of transitory visitors. The necessity
of this is easily apparent when we recall that San Francisco, the
nearest city larger than Eureka, is two hundred and eighty-five miles
distant--twelve hours’ ride over the recently completed railway. For
Eureka at last has a railway, after having for many years enjoyed--or
rather endured--the undesirable distinction of being the largest town
in the United States without railroad service. The Northwest Pacific
“Scenic Route” reached the town in 1915 and has the distinction, it is
said, of being by far the costliest railroad of its length in America,
an average of one hundred and thirty thousand dollars per mile having
been expended in its construction. For nearly half its length it
threads its way through the gigantic canyon of the Eel River, following
the stream so closely that it is seldom out of sight. The scenery along
this road, a local authority insists, is hardly to be surpassed in the
whole country.

“As the train passes over the Eel River Divide, the Pacific, thirty
miles distant, is seen, shimmering in the sunlight across a stretch of
mighty wooded hills. As the descent along the upper Eel River Valley
begins, the views become more and more entrancing. No mountain scenery
in the foothills of the Swiss Alps is more beautiful than that which
greets the traveler’s eyes along the Eel River.”

Perhaps such a digression on the scenery from a railroad train is out
of place in a motor-travel book, but it may be permitted, possibly, in
view of the fact that a far greater number of people go to Eureka by
train than motor. And those who come by motor, if they pursue the Bell
Springs route, will see the same Eel River scenery from even grander
viewpoints, since in places the wagon road rises thousands of feet
above the railway.

Greater numbers of motor cars will come to Eureka when the new state
highway is completed, since the two old roads from the south are as
difficult and dangerous as any in California and are considered quite
impassable, even for horse-drawn vehicles, when the rains set in.
Hence, before the completion of the railroad Eureka was quite cut off
from communication with the rest of the world except by the sea and
often violent storms rendered even that route precarious. Under such
conditions it is marvelous that such an energetic, thriving city could
have sprung up. One of the present roads closely follows the coast
through Fort Bragg and Garberville, a poorly-kept and little used
trail, and the other, farther inland, roughly follows the railroad,
crossing the famous Bell Springs grade, which the state highway
commission describes as “long the terror of motorists.” The new highway
avoids this and will afford a year-round access to the city over safe
and easy grades. It will also continue to Crescent City, placing the
Humboldt and Del Norte redwoods within easy reach of motorists, all of
whom should exert their influence to secure the proposed national park
in this section.

Eureka was founded in 1850 by American settlers. The Spaniards appear
to have overlooked this harbor and so far as known no ship entered
it prior to 1806, when Captain Winship, a fur trader, who learned of
the existence of the bay from the Indians, anchored his ship in its
sheltered waters. The career of the town has been a quiet one, not even
the customary Indian wars disturbing its serenity. There are memories,
however, of two distinguished Americans, for Lieut. Ulysses S. Grant
was at one time stationed at old Fort Humboldt, slight remains of which
may still be seen. It was also in Eureka where the youthful Bret Harte
began his career as a journalist--officiating as compositor, printer’s
devil, and assistant editor of the “Northern California,” then
published in the town. Here he had a rather thrilling experience which
might have cost the world one of its rarest literary geniuses--and
actually cost him his job on the paper.

During the absence of the editor, he was left in charge of the
paper--like Mark Twain under similar circumstances--and, like Mark, he
at once proceeded to break over conventions. Outrages of the Whites
against the Indians of the surrounding country were then common and
were usually winked at by the editor, who thought more of the support
of the citizens than the rights of the red man. A particularly cowardly
massacre was perpetrated while Harte was in charge of the paper. Just
how cowardly may be judged from a letter of one of the offenders, who
declared, “We have been searching the mountains, destroying villages,
killing all males we could find, and capturing the women and children.
We have killed about thirty altogether and now have twenty-eight
captives in camp.” No one hated injustice and cruelty more than Bret
Harte and in an editorial he scathingly condemned the murderers. This
roused the anger of the community and a mob gathered with the avowed
purpose of wrecking the newspaper plant and hanging the youthful
scribe. Harte showed himself game to the last degree and held the mob
at bay with two cocked pistols during probably the longest evening of
his life. The timely arrival of a few cavalrymen from the fort probably
saved his life, but his love of justice brought him a quick dismissal
on the return of the owner of the paper. Perhaps this experience, after
all, was a God-send to Harte’s budding genius. Had things gone too
smoothly in his first essay at journalism he might have missed the rich
experience that came of his nomadic career among the pioneer mining
camps and settled down into the quiet ways of a backwoods editor.



IX

EUREKA TO CLOVERDALE


A very dull morning with streets and walks wet from a light, drizzling
rain greeted our dismayed vision as we hastily glanced from the hotel
windows on rising. The hotel people had duly warned us that they hadn’t
a corner left for us for the coming night and we counted it very likely
that every hotel and lodging house in Eureka was just as “full up,” as
the English say. Furthermore, there was no assurance if it once began
to rain that it would let up for a week, for week-long rains are to be
expected in Humboldt County in season. And from all we could learn, a
long-continued rain meant no thoroughfare for heavy cars through the
mountains to the south.

[Illustration: SAND DUNES ON THE NORTH COAST

From painting by N. Hagerup]

We had a little official information concerning the road over which
we must pass, for a bulletin of the California Highway Commission
declared, “Eureka can be reached during the summer months only under
the most strenuous conditions by means of the road from San Francisco
over the summit of the Bell Springs Mountain, elevation 4100 feet
above the sea level. After the first rains the road is impassable
for motors and even horse-drawn vehicles, traffic on the route being
limited to saddle and pack animals. At Dyerville an ascent of 3937 feet
begins up and down grades as high as thirty per cent to the summit, a
distance of forty-six miles. The descent, up and down grades exceeding
twenty per cent, occupies a distance of twelve miles and ends at the
foot of ‘Rattlesnake Grade,’ 2686 feet below. The high altitudes on
the route afford magnificent views of the surrounding country in all
directions, though the average tourist would no doubt gladly forego
the scenic advantages of the Bell Springs Mountain to travel a less
strenuous route. The terror of the Bell Springs Mountain, however, in
the near future will exist only in memory; the pioneer road of Northern
California will be superseded by the Coast Line of the new highway
system.”

But all this cheerful prospect for the future could not shorten the
Bell Springs road one foot or reduce its frightful grades a single inch
so far as we were concerned. It lay before us with all its terror and
mystery and it was an even gamble whether the heavy clouds would break
away or the drizzle settle down into a steady rain. We tried to realize
what a thirty per cent grade was really like; we had passed twenty and
possibly twenty-five per cent slopes on our trip. “But a thirty per
cent grade,” said the dismayed lady member of the expedition, “that’s
one third of straight up. Will any car do that?” She was assured
that most cars could accomplish this feat if working well and under
favorable conditions, but in a rain--the possible consequences were not
pleasant to contemplate.

We descended to breakfast in a mood of gloomy indecision. It seemed
imperative for us to leave Eureka in any event. We had instructed our
driver to be ready at eight o’clock and he was on hand with his usual
promptness.

“Will she do a thirty per cent grade?” I asked jokingly, knowing his
unwavering faith in the Pierce.

“She’ll do anything she can get traction on,” he said, “but in the
mud--” So his thought was the same as our own, but what was the use
pursuing an unpleasant subject?

“We’ve four wheel chains, in any event,” I said and the big car glided
forth as calmly as if an unbroken boulevard stretched to the metropolis.

As I look back at it now, I must admit that we committed an act of
egregious folly in setting out on this trip in face of what looked like
an all-day rain. If it had been an all-day rain we might have been
marooned many days in these mighty hills, if, indeed, we had not met
with deadly disaster of some sort. Even as it was, we had occasion for
real anxiety more than once, as will appear in due course of my story.
We felt that if the outlook grew more threatening we could stop at
Fortuna, another small wooden town twenty miles distant, where fair
accommodations may be had.

The twenty miles proved over the best of roads through a level,
well-improved country, and when we drove down the main street of the
village we were rejoiced to see that the sky had lightened somewhat
and the rain almost ceased. A garage man still farther reassured us.
“Going to clear off,” he declared in response to our query on weather
probabilities as our gasoline tank was being filled to the limit. “O,
yes, it would be an ugly job if it should rain, but it ain’t going
to rain,” which cheerful assurance we accepted and following his
directions proceeded on a road which, besides its real danger in wet
weather, proved to afford no decent accommodations for over fifty miles.

Just beyond Fortuna we passed a large, deep pool in the Eel River
which is said to afford unequalled sport for fishermen, King Solomon,
steel-head, and mountain trout being taken in large numbers even by
inexperienced anglers. A number of summer cottages have been built
here and the place shows increasing popularity as a summer resort.

We found the new state highway usable between Alton, four miles farther
on, and Dyerville, thus enabling us to avoid the hills via Rio Dell and
Pepperwood, which have some heavy grades ranging up to twenty-five per
cent. The new road was pretty rough and soft in places, as no surfacing
had yet been done. A fine new bridge across the Eel was building near
Alton, but it was not yet open and a very tortuous detour through
deep sand was necessary. Beyond the river we continued for many miles
through closely standing redwoods--great columnar trees which would
have excited our wonder and admiration to a greater degree had we not
seen the more imposing forests of the north.

At Dyerville, a wretched-looking little hamlet of half a dozen
buildings, we bade farewell to the new highway. It had been completed
some distance beyond this point, but a gap of thirty miles remained
to be bridged before it could supersede the Bell Springs road. The
new highway follows the south fork of the Eel River and gradually
rises until it joins the present road at Cummings, elevation 1414
feet, sixty-nine miles from Dyerville. This will entirely avoid the
Bell Springs Mountain and eliminate a climb and descent of nearly
three thousand feet. Construction was in progress at the time of our
visit and the new bond issue insures the completion of the work, which
may be accomplished before my book sees the light. Tourists of the
future, with rarest exceptions, will speed over the new boulevard and
the Bell Springs road will fall into disuse. We shall always be glad,
however--now that it is safely over--that circumstances forced us to
climb the rugged mountain, since from its slopes and summit we beheld
some of the wildest and most beautiful panoramas to be seen in all
California.

Heavy work began immediately after we crossed the river at Dyerville.
A long grade zigzagged up the slope of the mountain, closely following
the Eel for several miles and affording many magnificent panoramas of
the river and rugged ranges of wooded hills that guard it on either
hand. Splendid pines crowded closely up to the narrow road and did much
to lessen the nervous effects of the long, sharp slope at our side.
At the turns of the road, however, there were frequent open spaces
which allowed views of ever-increasing grandeur as we ascended; the
river, far below, lay in still, green pools or dashed in foaming rapids
among the lichen-covered boulders. Beyond were endless hill ranges,
cloud-swept here and there, for, though the rain had ceased, the sky
was still threatening.

A long descent brought us to the railroad; then the road swung away
from the river and followed the crest of the ridge between the Eel and
South Fork for the remainder of the day. Another long, heavy grade
confronted us with two sharp “hairpin” turns which some facetious
wayfarer has dubbed “The Devil’s Elbow,” and we recalled that we had
passed a hill in the Scotch Highlands where a like honor had been paid
to His Satanic Majesty. We thought the latter bad enough at the time,
but it was tame when compared with the twists and grades of this far
western trail. The long wheel base of our car made it necessary to back
up at several of the turns, an operation which excited lively anxiety
on part of our lady passenger. It was disquieting, indeed, to see the
rear wheel of the car approach within a foot or two of the high bank at
the side of the turn with a twenty per cent slope looming ahead, but
the car responded so beautifully to the skill of the driver that she
gradually became reassured.

The forest gradually dwindled and beyond Fruitland--there was little
except the name on the map to indicate the existence of such a
place--we came into a barren, desolate-looking region with little
vegetation except scrub trees and shrubs, through which the road kept
a general ascent, though there were occasional downward dips. At the
foot of one of these we ran on to a most disconsolate party in a Ford
which had been stalled for some hours for lack of gasoline. Only one
car had passed and the occupants had declined assistance on the ground
that they feared a shortage of the very necessary fluid themselves.

“Then I hired a horse,” said the driver, “of the man on the hill yonder
and one of our ladies visited the three other houses in this little
valley, but couldn’t scare up a pint of gas at any of them. I’ll pay
you any price you ask for a gallon or two.”

We freely confessed that price wasn’t the consideration--we feared
a shortage ourselves on some of the hills before us. Our car was
gravity-fed and it might fail on a steep grade with several gallons in
the tank. Still, the obligations of the Golden Rule weighed heavily
upon us in such a case and we granted our friend in distress the two
gallons he so earnestly prayed for. We declined the dollar he tried
to force upon us on the ground that we were not helping him out for
worldly gain--we only hoped we wouldn’t run short ourselves.

He assured us that it was only ten miles over a level road to Harris,
where he had carelessly neglected to replenish his supply, but I fear
that his predicament warped his judgment of distance. It proved a full
twenty miles with many steep pitches which caused us no little anxiety
and which continually increased, for Harris seemed constantly to recede
as we cautiously proceeded over a road that varied from fair to very
bad. There were many stony stretches where the car scrambled over
good-sized boulders still wet from the mists that at intervals swept
across the mountains. It was a wild and lonely road, with no sign of
human habitation for many miles; only the long views across the rugged
hills redeemed it from dreary monotony.

At one point four fine does contemplated us curiously and with little
sign of fear, at a distance of perhaps sixty yards; they, too, seemed
to realize that woman’s rights in California are even extended to
deer--there is a heavy fine for killing a doe. We were told that these
hills are alive with deer, but the exceedingly rugged nature of the
country makes hunting very difficult. The road constantly grew more
tortuous and arduous and we made many remarks about the tendency of
Harris to recede as we advanced--we even began to wonder if we might
not have passed it unaware. It was, therefore, with no small relief
that we beheld Harris finally heave in sight, but our reviving spirits
dropped when we saw a sign posted on the hotel, which is all there is
of Harris, “Positively closed for the season,” and could detect no sign
of life about the place. Was our expected gasoline supply to fail here
with the Bell Springs Mountain now directly before us? A reconnoissance
of the place, however, discovered the man in charge, who gleefully
filled our tank with forty-cent gas and our apprehensions vanished into
thin air.

While we were engaged in this transaction, a Ford car paused and
began to disgorge its contents under a group of trees near by--said
contents consisting of six people and two dogs, and an endless array
of camping and other impedimenta was strapped to the machine at every
available projection, almost concealing it from view. An old-fashioned,
tin-covered trunk was fastened at the rear and several grips were piled
about the engine hood. The wonder of it was that the flimsy-looking car
could stand up under it all, even though two of the passengers were
rather small children and the dogs not very large. The party proceeded
at once to build a fire; a warm dinner and hot coffee were evidently
on the program--which reminded us that we had neglected to provide
ourselves with our usual lunch on leaving Eureka. The man who supplied
gasoline assured us that we would find an excellent hotel still open
at Bell Springs, twelve miles farther on; we ought to reach it in an
hour, he thought.

“O, yes, some pretty stiff going, to be sure, but nothing to worry that
wagon of yours, I guess,” he said.

It proved a steep, stony, winding, wicked dozen miles with one thirty
per cent pitch, according to our road maps, all of which drawbacks
were mightily accentuated in our minds when the rain commenced again
shortly after we left Harris. Tire chains were brought into requisition
and after a steady grind of an hour and a quarter, enlivened by no
end of nervous thrills, we paused with steaming radiator in front of
the attractive-looking Bell Springs Inn. It was about two o’clock
and twenty-three miles from Laytonville, where we proposed, rather
dubiously, to stop for the night.

“Here’s our only chance for luncheon,” I announced--a matter which a
very early and very light breakfast at Eureka no doubt served to keep
in my mind.

“I don’t want any lunch,” came from the rear seat. “I want to get out
of these terrible hills just as quickly as we possibly can. Whatever
induced you to choose this awful road? You always seem to find the
worst possible.” To all of which no adequate answer came to my mind.

With a lingering look at the hotel, I gave the word to proceed, not
without considerable misgiving, for it was still raining and the
information which we had of the road was far from reassuring. True,
it was down hill most of the way, but my experience was that it is
easier to climb a muddy grade than to descend one. The descent began
shortly after leaving the hotel and for some miles we proceeded with
extreme caution down narrow switchbacks with sharp turns, some of which
required backing. The scenery was magnificent, rugged slopes covered
with gigantic pines which often came up to the roadside--but I confess
that we did not pay enough attention to the scenery to warrant much
descriptive writing. The road grew muddier with the incessant rain and
as we came to the steep pitches of Rattlesnake Grade, the car showed an
unmistakable tendency to skid, despite the chains on the rear wheels.
Few things are so likely to make one’s heart sink as the feeling that a
heavy car is not entirely under control on a steep grade, barely wider
than the wheels, with a sharp turn on the verge of a precipice every
few rods. We stopped and applied chains to the front wheels as well,
but even then a tendency to slide on the grades was still noticeable
and extreme caution was necessary. And yet the showers had only
“greased” the road; I do not believe any car could negotiate these
grades in a heavy rain.

Fortune, however, favored us for once, since the rain ceased just as
we were wondering if we might not have to spend a supperless night
on the road--which we certainly should have been compelled to do had
conditions grown much worse. There was a rustic hotel at Cummings, at
the foot of Rattlesnake Grade, but in order to carry out our plans for
the following day, we felt it advisable to push on to Laytonville,
though we realized that night would overtake us before we arrived.
We had consumed nearly three hours in covering the twelve miles from
Bell Springs, but we hoped to make better time over the thirteen miles
still remaining--which we did, as the road was quite dry, though
excruciatingly stony and rough. There was one heavy grade, but in the
main we followed a canyon with a gradual descent. The road was so
narrow that we found great difficulty in passing a belated car which we
met, and so rough that a snail’s pace was enforced much of the way.

The canyon was heavily wooded; vines and shrubbery, rich with autumn
colorings, grew in rank profusion. Despite the lateness of the season,
there were occasional blooms. We saw dogwood and wild rosebushes
bearing both blossoms and bright red berries. Huckleberries were
common, as were also the pale red clusters of the honeysuckle, and
manzanitas. The air was fragrant with the odor of balsam pine and we
felt that it would be a delightful run had we not been tired, cold,
and hungry. But very tired, cold, and hungry we were and the last few
miles done in the dark before we reached Laytonville were long ones,
indeed. It was a time when a truly comfortable inn would be as welcome
as ever in our wanderings, but we did not hope for such a blessing in
Laytonville, an isolated little village of about a hundred people.

The hotel proved a large, wooden building, much larger than the size
of the place would lead one to expect, but comforts and conveniences,
besides bed and board, were not to be found in its brown, clapboarded
walls. No private bath was to be had and no heat in the rooms, though
the night was frosty cold. There was a big wood-stove in the public
room which was surrounded three or four deep by a crowd made up, I
should judge, of village loafers, though there were a few commercial
men among them. It was certainly not very inviting for a lady guest
and the moving-picture show with which we usually beguiled away dull
evenings, was non-existent in Laytonville. Evidently the best program
for us was to eat our supper and go to bed. The evening meal, served at
a common table in country style, proved far better than we expected.
In fact, the pastry was so excellent that our lady manager must needs
have the recipe, which the flattered cook was delighted to supply.

After supper I stumbled along the unlighted street to a little general
store, hoping to find a hot-water bottle to mitigate the rigors of the
climate a little, but the queer old backwoodsman storekeeper declared,

“I’ve heern of them things, but I never had no call for one.”

The store was the queerest jumble I ever saw, groceries, clothing,
dry goods, hardware, patent medicines--just a little of each--and
endless odds and ends that looked as if they had been twenty-five years
accumulating, were piled in hopeless confusion--there seemed a chance
of finding anything but what you wanted.

“Yaas,” the old fellow admitted, “thar’s another store in the town,
just down the street--just down the street.”

The other store was closed, but the next day we found it a large,
well-stocked mercantile concern which evidently did a big volume of
business.

Returning to the hotel, I lounged half an hour about the lobby,
listening to the conversation, which I soon found was almost wholly
made up of humorous anecdotes of the old storekeeper whom I had just
visited and who appeared to be a character of considerable local
notoriety--an honest, simple-minded old fellow fitter for almost
anything than managing a business.

If it was hard to get into the chilly bed at the Laytonville, it
was still harder to get up by twilight in the frosty air of the
room and wash in ice-cold water--for there was no call bell and we
neglected to leave orders for hot water. We rushed through with the
process, however, thinking we would hurry down and thaw out by the big
wood-stove, but we found it stone cold and the room deserted--and it is
safe to say that thousands of cords of wood were rotting within a mile
of the inn. The lady indignantly marched into the kitchen, somewhat to
the consternation of the powers that presided there--but it was not
long until a big fire was roaring in the lobby stove.

A sign above the counter admonished the wayfarer thirsting for
information to “Ask Dad--he knows,” referring to the portly landlord,
whom we found very jovial and accommodating. He apologized for lack of
fire in the morning with some remark about the unreasonable “stumpage”
charge of the people who owned the forest about the place and he also
deprecated the unwillingness of the owner of the building to do a
number of things that would conduce to the comfort of the guests.

When we asked “Dad” about the road to Westport and from thence along
the coast, we found he did “know,” all right, for he assured us that it
was far better than the main highway to the south. And so we resolved
to get back to the sea, for the morning had cleared beautifully and
gave promise of a day full of light and color. It is twenty miles to
Westport and the road runs through a fine forest all the way, though
the redwoods, which are quite common, are only saplings five or six
feet in diameter. There is only one grade of consequence--the long
descent to the coast, which affords many glorious views of the ocean
through occasional openings in the trees.

Westport is a small, bleak-looking lumber town, evidently in a state
of decline; there was nothing to detain us there and we were quickly
away on the road to the south, which keeps in sight of the ocean for
more than one hundred miles, though we were told that it was not then
practicable for motors for more than half that distance. The excellence
of the road for perhaps thirty miles was an agreeable surprise, a
smooth, well graded natural dirt surface very much like a well-dragged
Iowa road at its very best--fine in dry weather, but to be avoided when
it rains.

We skimmed merrily along, enjoying the salt tang of the breeze and
the beauty of Old Ocean in one of his happiest moods. We ran along
rather barren-looking headlands, which at times carried us to wonderful
vantage-points from which we beheld indescribably glorious views of the
sea, resplendent under the pale blue sky of a perfect day. The breeze
had swept away the lingering ghosts of yesterday’s fog, revealing a
shimmering expanse of water, jade-green near the shore and running
through all the shades of green and blue into a deep violet in the far
distance. Looking toward the sun it shimmered and coruscated like a
sea of molten silver, while along the whole irregular shoreline around
the detached rocks and beneath the bold, rugged headlands it rippled
in long white breakers or dashed into wind-swept spray. The air was
redolent with the fresh, pungent smell of the sea--how we enjoy it when
on land and detest it when on shipboard!--and everything conspired
to make us glad that we had made the necessary detour to catch this
glorious stretch of Mendocino coast.

Fort Bragg, of some three thousand people, seventeen miles from
Westport, is the largest and best-appearing town, with handsome public
buildings and good-looking shops--clearly the chief business and
trading center of this section. It is the terminus of a branch of the
Northern Pacific Railroad leading to the main line at Willits, which
is doubtless the secret of its superiority to the other coast towns
we passed through. It is larger than Ukiah, the county seat, which
probably holds the distinction because of its more central situation.

Beyond Fort Bragg we crossed several shallow, emerald-green inlets
at the mouth of creek or river, both the descent and the climb a
sharp scramble. Three or four of the larger inlets were dammed to a
considerable depth and logs were floated from the interior to a busy
sawmill near the sea. The coast, however, with the exception of a few
picturesque little groves near the sea, is quite denuded of timber.
There are a good many farm-houses, some of very comfortable appearance,
but the agricultural resources of the country did not impress us as
very great. The reddish brown soil did not give any special indication
of fertility and live stock was not much in evidence. Directly on the
coast in places there is a wide belt of sand dunes which are slowly
shifting landward and encroaching on the farms a little each year.

[Illustration: THE MENDOCINO COAST

From painting by N. Hagerup]

Mendocino City, the next place of any size, is a rather bleak,
un-American-looking village of a thousand people. Here we paused for
lunch at a large, rambling, wooden hotel which must have been a
lively place in the old lumbering and stage-coach days. Now it seemed
almost deserted and the well-worn floor of its dismantled bar-room
told of the loss of a goodly number of patrons who were formerly wont
to come here to assuage their thirst. It was with some misgivings
that we entered the place, but the sight of the cleanly, kindly-faced
landlady reassured us; and we fared far better than we hoped for in
the scrupulously clean dining-room--which led us to again remark on
the extremely rare instances where we have found slovenly service or
niggardly meals in even the lesser California hotels. The young man who
acted as clerk, when he heard that we expected to reach Cloverdale for
the night, advised us not to go as far on the coast road as Greenwood,
which we planned, but to turn inland at Navarro, six miles north--a
change which he declared would save us some bad road.

We had not gotten far from Mendocino when we agreed that it was
not especially desirable to pursue the coast road any farther than
necessary, for we found it quite unimproved, dusty, and rough, with
very steep grades--especially the one leading out of the deep canyon
just south of the town. After that, every few miles we met with sharp
plunges into deep, narrow canyons, and steep, dusty scrambles out of
them, with some very rough going between.

At Little River and Albion, large sawmills were in operation. The
former village is a pretty little place, with rose-embowered cottages
and apple orchards laden with red and golden globes. The schoolhouse is
situated in a group of fragrant pines and everything combined to give
the village an air of Arcadian quiet and contentment. Perhaps much of
this was only in our imagination, but we did not disturb our pleasant
impressions by making useless inquiries.

The coast beyond the village was exceedingly rugged but beautiful and
inspiring. Bold, wooded headlands rose above us, a deep violet sea lay
in quiet beauty beneath, and we even had to admit that the inlets, with
their steep plunges and rattle-trap bridges, were beautiful. Here is,
indeed, a country for our artists to discover; they will find the color
and rugged beauty of Monterey on a wilder and vaster scale. In fact, we
often remarked that the whole coast from Greenwood to Crescent City,
with its colorful ocean, its rugged, rock-bound shoreline, its giant
forests, and a thousand other sights of beauty and grandeur, offers a
field for the landscape painter such as scarcely exists elsewhere in
the world.

Albion seems the busiest place we have yet discovered. Its excuse for
being is a great sawmill which employs several hundred men and which
is supplied with logs by the river and a railroad extending twenty
miles into the hills. The shriek of the saws, the hiss of steam, and
the rumble of the locomotive, reached us before we descended the steep
slope to the inlet upon which the mill is located, and gave us an
intimation of the principal activity of the town. There is a pretty
little bay into which the river flows and a substantial wharf from
which the finished lumber is shipped by schooner. In crossing the river
we passed directly through the sawmill yards and had a near view of its
giant band-saws traveling through the mighty logs at an astonishing
rate.

Two or three miles beyond Albion we came to Navarro, which we found
a “deserted village,” indeed, for not a human being could be found
about the few gray, weatherbeaten shacks to give us the information
we desired about the road. A little farther on, however, a friendly
signboard made it clear that this was the point where the hotel
clerk had advised us to turn inland. The coast road had been growing
continually more wretched and the deep canyon before us did not look
very inviting. Besides, it was getting late and to go on to Greenwood
would bring us to Cloverdale after dark. We therefore bade a reluctant
farewell to the glorious ocean--it seemed as if we could never tire of
it--and struck the sandy trail that led sharply into a jungle of small
trees and shrubbery. The deep sand and the apparent disuse of the road
caused us some apprehension. The road, however, gradually improved as
it descended to the Navarro River, passing several poor-looking fruit
ranches on the way.

The grade out of the canyon is one of the longest and heaviest that
we covered during our entire tour. It has few turns, climbing the
canyon side in a straight slope several miles long, at places the
rise exceeding twenty-five per cent. It seemed as if it would never
end and we grew very apprehensive of our gasoline supply, which we
expected to replenish at Greenwood, now eliminated from our route. I
confidently looked for the engine to stall for lack of fuel on some of
these appalling grades, and whiled the time in imagining what course
we should pursue if this happened. I did not reach any satisfactory
conclusion, nor have I yet, for we did not meet another car on this
road and the nearest gas station was twenty miles away. But it didn’t
happen and we replenished our supply at one of the little towns. There
were three or four villages on the fifty-mile stretch between the
coast and Cloverdale, all of them rather dilapidated and forlorn,
though there was much activity at Boonville, where a huge sawmill was
in operation. None of the numerous ranches along the road looked very
prosperous and perhaps half of the houses were deserted and falling
into ruin. This, we were told, did not necessarily mean that the owner
had starved out. A great many of them, after “proving up” their claims,
had sold out to the large ranchers, who were buying immense tracts in
this country.

There was much pretty scenery along the way, rich with autumnal
colorings which we might have admired more had we been more comfortable
ourselves. But the road was rough and dusty and the wind had risen to
a perfect gale which chilled us for all our wraps and blankets. A car
was ahead of us for the last several miles and almost strangled us with
dust clouds so dense that even trying to pass was out of the question.

We rejoiced with exceeding joy when eight miles from Cloverdale we came
into the new state highway, smooth and dust-free. Our chance friend at
Crater Lake Lodge had especially admonished us to stop at McCray’s when
we reached Cloverdale, and had noted on our maps, “Very comfortable
country inn two miles out of Cloverdale.” So we kept a sharp lookout,
for a “very comfortable inn” seemed about the acme of our earthly
desires at that particular time. We had no difficulty in finding our
proposed haven, for a huge, rambling frame building bearing the legend,
“McCray’s,” loomed up directly by the roadside and we were received
more like expected guests of the family than commercial patrons.

There was a decided atmosphere of home about the rambling old
place--originally the McCray Homestead--and one very quickly falls in
with the mood of good fellowship that rules everybody connected with
the inn. We were ushered into the family sitting-room with its roaring,
open fireplace--welcome, indeed, after our ride in the piercing
wind--and were cordially greeted by Father McCray, a six-foot-two giant
whom the younger generation designated as “Pap.” He introduced us to
the other guests, mainly members and close friends of the family, for
the season was over, though the inn is kept open the year round. They
all proved very pleasant, jovial people and we soon learned how very
different are the relations between the McCray’s and their guests from
those between the ordinary hotel and its patrons. The inn, we learned,
is conducted on quite an extensive scale during the summer, when two
hundred people can be entertained in the main building and adjacent
cottages. There is a large, well-appointed club-house just across the
road, where the guests may pursue dancing and other amusements to their
hearts’ content, and there is usually enough going on to thoroughly
dispel ennui on part of anyone.

But the crowning feature of McCray’s is the meal service; verily, it
brought back recollections of mother at her best in boyhood days on the
farm. The delicious conserves, never found in any mere hotel, are made
from California fruit right on the premises and nearly everything used
is grown on the farm under Pap’s watchful supervision. A few words with
Pap are all that is necessary to convince you that no detail of service
or entertainment escapes him and that he has more pride in earning
the approval of his guests than a mere desire to get their money. We
liked McCrays of all degrees and already have plans for a trip in
that vicinity again, with the inn as one of our stopping-places. Our
only suggestion for improvement is that a locked garage will make the
average motorist feel easier than the open shed in which our car was
stored during our visit.

The next morning we were away on an easy run to the metropolis through
the famous Santa Rosa Valley, with its endless vineyards now laden
with their purple harvest. Everywhere were signs of activity on part
of the vineyard people and we met many loaded wagons and motor
trucks carrying the grapes to the numerous wineries in this vicinity.
But I will not write in detail of our last day’s run, since I have
covered this country fully in my previous book, “On Sunset Highways.”
We reached San Francisco in the early afternoon, having been absent
from the golden gate city for nearly a month and our strenuous but
delightful and inspiring pilgrimage through the mighty hills and lovely
vales of Northern California and the Oregon country was at an end.



Into Yosemite

by Motor


[Illustration: EL CAPITAN, YOSEMITE

From painting by H. H. Bagg]


Into Yosemite by Motor


When the writer of this book first visited Yosemite a few years ago,
no motor car was allowed to intrude in its sylvan solitudes and it was
freely alleged by the stage drivers that the time would never come
when this noisy, dust-raising demon would be permitted to frighten
their horses and disturb their equanimity. Their attitude was one of
decided hostility, though they affected to laugh at the suggestion--the
roads were too crooked and narrow and the grades too steep for
“automobeels”--no, sir, you’d never see them in Yosemite. Besides, the
horses in the park had never seen these pesky machines; they would
simply go crazy and dump the coaches over the cliffs. All of which
seemed reasonable enough at the time and nothing was farther from my
mind than the idea of piloting a car through the devious trails that
serve for roads in this sylvan wonderland.

But “tempora mutantur,” indeed. Motor cars in California increased in
geometrical ratio and the owners banded themselves together in the live
and efficient organization known as the Automobile Club of Southern
California. This club contended that no good reason could be urged
against admitting motor cars to Yosemite and after a dint of effort
succeeded in bringing the Secretary of the Interior to the same point
of view. True, the decree was issued with apparent fear and hesitation
and the venturesome motorist who wished to explore the park was hedged
about with restrictions and hampered with endless red tape regulations.
The cars came, nevertheless, though probably as many were deterred by
the stringent rules as by the forbidding roads.

The dire results so freely predicted by the stage men did not
materialize in any great degree. There were few serious accidents and
the motors, as a rule, met with little difficulty in negotiating the
roads to and within the park. As a consequence, the rules were relaxed
with each succeeding year and many of the most annoying regulations
abandoned or reduced to mere formalities. We made our trip in September
of the Panama-Pacific year, and during the previous months of the
season nearly two thousand cars had preceded us into the park. We did
not have to demonstrate that “either set of brakes would lock the
wheels to a skid;” in fact, I am very dubious on this point. We did
not have to get up at an unearthly hour to enter or leave the park and
the time schedule imposed on us was so reasonable that none but the
speed maniac would care to exceed it, even had no severe penalty been
attached. It was all simple enough and our trials in doing Yosemite by
motor lay in a different direction than the rules and regulations, as
will appear in due course of my narrative.

There are several routes by which one may enter and leave the park
pending the happy day longed for by the Auto Club when a broad, smooth
road--“no grades exceeding five per cent”--shall convey the joyful
motorist to this Earthly Paradise of the Sierras. You can go from
Fresno via Coarse Gold, from Merced via Coulterville, from Stockton
via Chinese Camp, or from Madera via Raymond. You can now even reach
the park from the east by the new Tioga road, branching off the Sierra
Highway at Mono Lake, should you be seeking the wildest and most
difficult route of all.

We decided, for reasons which may become apparent as I proceed, to make
our entrance by the Madera route and to leave the park with Stockton
as our objective. We still have reason to believe that as things stood
at the time--or even now--these routes were the most satisfactory
and we are quite sure that whatever improvement may be made, the
tourist interested in pioneer days of California and fond of wild and
impressive scenery should choose the Stockton road at least one way.

We did not get away from Fresno, where we passed the night preceding
our start for Wawona, until late in the afternoon. A swift run over
the splendid new highway brought us to Madera about four in the
evening, but there remained little hope of covering sixty miles of
unknown mountain road to Wawona before nightfall. A glance at our maps
revealed Raymond, about twenty-five miles farther on--the terminal of a
branch railroad from Madera. We decided that Raymond would make a good
stopping-point for the night; an early start would easily enable us to
reach Yosemite the next day. So we set out over a choppy and very dusty
dirt road which was conducive to anything but speed and comfort, but
which nevertheless brought us to our objective in the course of an hour.

We found a forlorn-looking hamlet in the edge of the foothills and a
glance at the ramshackle wooden hotel was anything but reassuring.
A short conversation with the proprietor of a little shack labeled
“garage” was not more encouraging. He was very noncommittal about the
merits of the hotel and finally said,

“It’s only thirty miles to Miami Lodge--mighty comfortable place; you
ought to reach there before it gets dark. Shall I telephone them to
hold dinner for you?”

All of which sounded good to us as we contemplated prospective
accommodations in Raymond, and with a speedy acquiescence we were away
for Miami Lodge. Ten miles per hour, said the garage man, would be
a good average for a greenhorn over the road we were to traverse--a
ridiculously low estimate, we thought, but we had not proceeded far
before we agreed with his conservatism. A narrow and exceedingly
tortuous road plunged into the hills, threading its way among giant
pines or creeping precariously along steep hillsides and around abrupt
corners deep with dust and at times laboriously steep. Now and then it
emerged into pleasant little glades and on entering one of these we
saw a young mountain lion trotting leisurely toward the thicket. Of
course our small rifle was under a pile of baggage, unloaded, and the
cartridges in a grip, but we consoled ourselves with remarks about the
extreme improbability of hitting him even if we had the gun.

It was sunset by the time we had covered little more than half the
distance and while we regarded the approaching darkness with some
apprehension, for the road showed no signs of improvement, we forgot
it all in our admiration for the enchanting scene. Many were the
magnificent vistas opening through the pines skirting our road along
the mountainside. Purple hills topped with dark forests stretched
away to a crimson sky; shadowy canyons sloped far beneath us, their
mysterious deeps shrouded in a soft blue haze. It was a constantly
changing yet always entrancing picture until the color faded from the
skies and the canyons were blotted out by the gathering blackness. Then
the road demanded our undivided attention, for we covered the last ten
miles in pitch darkness and our neglected headlights proved in very
poor condition.

About dusk we passed a little store and postoffice bearing the poetic
name of Grub Gulch and later came to a comfortable-looking roadside
inn, the Ahwahnee Tavern, where we should doubtless have stopped
had our accommodations not been ordered at Miami Lodge. We learned,
however, that this was only six miles farther and we crept cautiously
onward over the stiff grades and around the abrupt turns. We were glad
indeed when the lights of the Lodge twinkled through the pines and,
leaving the old car to shift for herself under the stars, made a hasty
toilet and attacked the substantial meal we found ready for us.

The Lodge is a comfortable rustic inn set in the pines on a hillside
which slopes down to a clear creek dammed at one point into a small
lake. The little valley forms a natural amphitheater surrounded
by the forest-clad hills and is altogether a pleasant and restful
spot well away from noise and disturbance of any kind. The creek is
stocked with rainbow trout and big game is fairly common--attractions
which bring many sportsmen to the Lodge. It is easy of access by the
Madera-Yosemite auto stages which run daily during the season.

Beyond Miami Lodge we found the road even more trying than it was
southward. Heavy grades and sharp turns continued, and deep dust and
rough stretches caused much discomfort. We met many motor trucks and
several heavy wagons drawn by six or eight horses, which made ticklish
work in passing on the narrow grades and which stirred up clouds of
yellow dust. As the sun mounted, the day became intolerably hot, making
it necessary to elevate our cape top which combined with the dust to
interfere with our view of the scenery.

The famous Mariposa Grove of giant redwoods lies a short distance off
the main road to Wawona and though we had visited this before, we could
not resist the temptation to do the big trees by motor. An attendant
at the entrance gate demanded a fee of one dollar and admitted us to a
narrow, winding road which steadily climbed a stiff grade for about
three miles before we came to the trees. We renewed our acquaintance
with the Grizzly Giant, reputed the oldest of living things on this
mundane sphere. We found him protected by a high wire fence to ward off
fiends suffering from the name-carving mania or souvenir seekers who
sought to rob him of a chip or twig. He had not aged perceptibly since
our previous visit and looked good for many more centuries, though the
late John Muir once declared his belief that the Grizzly Giant had
passed his zenith of growth and is now in his decline, a point not yet
reached by any other redwood. But the hoar old monarch stands a second
visit well indeed, though one may not experience quite the feeling of
awe always inspired by the first sight of these mighty trees. It quite
overwhelms one to reflect that here is a living thing older than the
oldest records of the human race--a life that was in its infancy at
the beginnings of Egyptian civilization. So impressive to us was the
Giant and the reveries he excited that we hardly gave due attention
to his three hundred and sixty-four companions in this grove, the
least of which, taken by itself, might well excite the astonishment
of anyone who had never before seen a redwood. Of course we had the
novel experience of piloting a motor car through the living arch of the
Wawona while completing the circle through the grove which brought us
again into the road by which we entered.

Wawona is only four miles from the big-tree road, a rough, dusty, and
very winding four miles with a good many steep grades, and it was
an interesting comparison to recall the trip we made over it in a
coach-and-four on our previous visit to the grove. Making due allowance
for all the discomforts one experiences in an automobile during a hot,
dusty day on difficult mountain roads, our present method of travel
made the memory of the snail’s pace and suffocating dust and heat of
our former trip to the grove seem more than ever like a nightmare.

We reached Wawona in time for the noonday luncheon at the pleasant
old inn which has been the haven of sightseers for nearly half a
century. It is delightfully situated in a little vale amidst a group
of towering pines and all about it green meadows stretch away to the
forest-clad hills that surround it on every hand. Through the valley
runs the South Merced, famous for its mountain trout, a delicacy which
guests at the inn sometimes enjoy. About the main hotel building are
scattered several isolated cottages for the accommodation of guests
who may be particular about privacy and plenty of light and air. There
are numerous beautiful drives in the vicinity aside from the Mariposa
Grove trip. One of these follows the river for some distance and
another makes a circuit of the valley.

We had no time for these, as we were intent upon reaching Yosemite
for the night and the regulation is that you check in at the final
station by six o’clock. About a mile from Wawona we found the cabin of
the ranger who issues tickets for the south entrance to the park. The
formalities detained us but a few moments, since with the great influx
of motor tourists during the exposition year, much of the original
red tape was dispensed with. A copy of the rules and regulations was
given us and the time of our entrance was stamped upon the ticket to
be delivered to the superintendent at Yosemite village. The action of
our small rifle was sealed and, with a friendly caution that it would
be unwise to exceed the limit, we were ordered to proceed. Knowing
something of the trip from previous experience we felt no uneasiness
about exceeding the two hours and twenty-seven minutes minimum time
allowed for covering the twenty-eight and nine-tenths miles between the
station and Yosemite garage. No one but a confirmed speed maniac would
care to exceed this very reasonable limit and anyone wise enough to
admire the scenery along the road as it deserves to be admired might
well consume twice the minimum time.

For some miles after entering the park we climbed the long, steady
grade following the South Merced Canyon, always at a considerable
distance above the stream, which we could see at intervals through
the pines, flashing over its rock-strewn bed. There was scarcely a
downward dip in the road for the first half-dozen miles, and we could
not but recall the distressing effort of the horses as they toiled
painfully upward on our former trip while we sat disconsolately
enveloped in smothering clouds of dust. What a contrast we found in
the steady, cheerful hum of our engine as it drove our car onward at
not less than the permitted speed of fifteen miles, leaving the dust
behind us and affording unhindered views of the endless panoramas of
canyons and hills. Despite the heat and some murmurs from the back seat
about the effect of the too ardent caresses of California sunshine on
the complexion, we had lowered the cape top, for no one can get the
full effect of the towering pines that skirt this road unless he has
the open heavens above him. One will not often come across--even in
California--finer individual cedars, sugar pines, and yellow pines
than he will see here--splendid arrow-straight shafts several feet in
circumference, often rising to a height of two or even three hundred
feet. It is, indeed, pleasant to think that they are immune from the
lumberman’s ax and guarded carefully against devastating fires. We
paused at times in the shade of these forest titans and contemplated
the wide range of hills and valleys beyond the canyon--particularly at
Lookout Point, some seven or eight miles from Wawona. Here we beheld a
seemingly endless panorama of forest-clad hills stretching away until
lost in the infinite distance of the lucent afternoon. Once before we
had beheld the same scene--at sunset, the hills shrouded in an amethyst
haze, the valleys dim with purple shadows, and the sky resplendent
with crimson and gold. Nothing could have shown more impressively the
wonderful variations of the same landscape at different hours of the
day, or proven more completely that one must come many times to see the
beauty of Yosemite.

Three or four miles beyond Lookout Point the road branches, the left
fork leading to Glacier Point, a distance of fourteen miles. This is a
magnificent drive through virgin forests and should not be missed by
anyone who has not made the trip. There is an old-fashioned hotel at
Glacier Point where one may be fairly comfortable for the night and it
is worth while to remain for the night to witness the sunrise over the
mountain ramparts of the Valley. We did not undertake this trip, having
made it a few years before by stage, but for all that we are sorry now
that we let slip an opportunity to view the wonderful Glacier Point
panorama a second time and some day, shall have to go back again.

Continuing a few miles farther, we came to the top of the grade
leading down into the valley. We recalled it as a stiff, strenuous
road, winding around sharp curves and often along the edge of sheer
precipices which gave us a great many thrills from our high perch
beside the driver of our four-in-hand. We had traversed mountain roads
so much worse in the meanwhile that Wawona grade really seemed quite
tame from a motor car and even the ladies took only languid interest in
its twists and turns. We paused again for the third time at the famous
Inspiration Point, and, indeed, we can not help envying those who are
fortunate to come into the Yosemite by this road and thus get their
first glimpse of the valley from Inspiration Point. Perhaps the view
from Glacier Point is as glorious but one is not likely to come upon it
so suddenly and is somehow expecting stupendous things, but Inspiration
Point bursts on the wayfarer from the Wawona all unaware and he sees
unfold before him almost in an instant all the marvelous sights that
have made Yosemite a world’s wonder. I have tried elsewhere--in
a previous book--to tell something of my impressions when I first
viewed this unmatched scene and perhaps I may be pardoned for a short
repetition of my words, since I do not know that I can do any better in
describing it.

“Inspiration Point! Well named, indeed, for it must surely be a prosaic
imagination that does not kindle with enthusiasm at the prospect.
‘It comes up to the brag,’ is what Ralph Waldo Emerson said after
contemplating it long in silence--or at least that is what the guide
books and railroad literature credit him with having said. It sounds
strangely unlike our staid and gentle philosopher, whose language
we are wont to admire as the finality in polished English. But it
expresses one’s feelings more strongly, perhaps, than fine words.
We have been led to expect much; they have assured us and we have
often read, that the view from Inspiration Point is surpassed by few
panoramas in the world--if, indeed, by any--for grandeur of mountain,
cliff, and peak and for beauty of contour and color, and all of these
are enhanced by the magic of the hour when we are so fortunate as to
see it.

“The valley lies before us in the soft blue haze of the evening
shadows, and its encompassing walls and towers are kindled with
the purple and golden hues of the sunset. As one contemplates the
glittering peaks and domes and the ranges of glowing mountains out
beyond, he can realize John Muir’s characterization of the Sierras
as the ‘Mountains of Light.’ The grandeur of Inspiration Point seems
more of cliffs and spires, of towering walls and mountain peaks, while
from Glacier Point one is perhaps more interested in the details of
the valley itself. But from either point one may witness a scene that
will possess his soul and whose beauty will linger through the years.
We regret the necessity which hurries us from the scene, for the pause
of the stage coach is but momentary. We have had but a glimpse of a
landscape that might well hold one’s rapt attention for hours.”

It is the third time we have viewed this wonderful scene and we have
been fortunate in coming each time at a different period of the
day--morning and evening and early afternoon. Each has shown us a
different phase of the beauty of Yosemite, for the variation of light
and consequent changes of coloring have everything to do with the view
from Inspiration Point.

We proceeded slowly and cautiously down the steep switchbacks leading
to the floor of the Valley, a long, low-gear grind, for regulations
forbid disengaging gears on roads in the park. The descent did not
seem nearly so precarious as when we first made it in the regulation
coach-and-four--the road appeared to have been widened at the turns;
maybe this was only in our imagination, due to greater familiarity
with mountain roads. We were enough at our ease to enjoy the splendid
vistas of the valley and mountains which were presented from a hundred
viewpoints as we slowly descended, something that we hardly did the
first time. Nor did the time seem so long, though I really doubt if we
went down so quickly as our dashing driver piloted his coach-and-four
over this three-mile grade on our first trip. We soon found ourselves
on the floor of the valley with Bridal Veil Falls waving like a
gossamer thread above us--it was in September and the waterfalls were
all at lowest ebb. The four miles along the floor to Yosemite was a
joy ride indeed and we felt no desire to infringe the low speed limit
imposed on motor cars. What though we had seen this wondrous array of
stupendous cliffs, domes, pinnacles, and towers many times before,
familiarity does not detract from their overpowering majesty and weird
changeful beauty.

When we left Wawona we were somewhat fearful that we would be in danger
of exceeding the seemingly absurdly low minimum time allowed--two hours
and twenty-seven minutes for the twenty-six miles. It seemed as if
we couldn’t help beating it without loafing on the way. However, on
consulting our timepieces on nearing Yosemite station--there is a heavy
fine for coming in ahead of schedule--we found that we had consumed
over three hours and had stopped only a few minutes on the way. At the
checking station we paid the five dollar fee required of motorists who
enter Yosemite and took the car to the official garage forthwith, for
absolutely no motoring is permitted in the park except for ingress and
egress.

The old Sentinel Hotel had not changed in appearance since our last
visit, nor had it improved in service; however, it was comfortable
enough for a short stop in warm weather. We had heard many rumors
of a new modern hotel to be erected on the site of the Sentinel and
one declared that it was to be built and managed by that prince of
innkeepers, Frank Miller of the Glenwood Mission Inn--all of which
we fondly hoped might prove true. We learned, however, that although
Mr. Miller had negotiated with the authorities in regard to building
a hotel in Yosemite, he abandoned the scheme when he found that the
government would not grant a lease for a period of more than ten
years. Later a corporation, the Desmond Company, secured control of
the concessions of the park and among their plans, we were told, is
the erection of a first-class hotel, though at this writing the work
has not begun. The company already has a new hotel at Glacier Point--a
great improvement over the barn-like structure with which Yosemite
tourists have so long been familiar.

Our excuse for a third trip to Yosemite was chiefly that we wanted to
visit it by motor car; we had seen most of the sights and made most of
the trail trips and drives, so there was little to do but lounge about
in the hotel and vicinity for the rest of the afternoon. I visited
the garage, which was merely a huge tent with open sides, where the
cars were parked in care of an attendant. There was apparently a very
good machine shop which seemed to have plenty of work, for break-downs
are exceedingly common. The manager asked us if we would favor him by
carrying a new axle to a motorist who was laid up at Crane Flat, near
the entrance to the park on the road by which we expected to leave the
next morning.

The regulations require that motor cars leave by the Big Oak
Flat road between 6:00 A. M. and 4:00 P. M. and the first-named
hour found us ready for departure, as we had been warned that an
exceedingly strenuous day’s work lay before us. It is only one
hundred and twenty-three miles to Stockton; hence we concluded that
the strenuousness must be due to something besides long distance--a
surmise which we did not have to wait long to verify. About two miles
from the hotel, following the main valley road we came to a sign, “Big
Oak Flat Route” and turned sharply to the right, crossing the Merced
River. Immediately we began a sharp ascent over a dusty trail through
thickly standing pines. Coming out of the trees we find ourselves on a
narrow road cut in the side of the almost perpendicular cliff. It is
fair at first, screened from the precipitous drop alongside by a row
of massive boulders which have the psychological effect of making us
feel much more at ease, though I doubt if they would be of much use
in stopping a runaway car. Nevertheless, they are a decided factor in
enabling us to enjoy the wonderful views of mountain and valley that
present themselves to our eager eyes as we slowly climb the steep
ascent. We are sure that we see many vistas quite equal to the view
from the much vaunted Inspiration Point--but they are not so famous
because far less accessible.

The road grows rougher and dustier as we climb slowly upward; the
boulder balustrade disappears and we find ourselves on a narrow shelf,
with infrequent passing places, running along the edge of a cliff that
falls almost sheer beneath us. We pause occasionally to contemplate the
marvelous scene beneath. The whole floor of the valley is now visible;
its giant trees seem mere shrubs and the Merced dwindles to a silver
thread; across the narrow chasm we now look down on the Cathedral
Spires, the Three Sisters, and Sentinel Rock; we see Bridal Veil Fall
swaying like a gossamer against the mighty cliff, and beyond we have
an endless vista of forest-clad mountains. Three thousand feet above
the valley we enter a forest of mighty pines; the road winds among them
in sharp turns and the grades are very steep and deep with dust. We
are not very familiar with our car--which we leased from a Los Angeles
dealer, and as we near the summit the motor loses power and can not
be cajoled into propelling the car over the last steep, dusty pitch.
After an hour of fruitless effort, we appealed to the foreman of a road
gang which, fortunately for us, was at work close by, and he helped the
balky engine out with a stout team of horses.

“What’s the damage?” we gratefully asked of our rescuer.

“Just a bottle of whiskey, stranger, if you happen to have one along.”

We expressed regret at our inability to meet the very modest request
and our friend had to be content with coin of the realm instead. Later
on an auto expert told us that the particular make of carburetor on
this car will not work satisfactorily at an elevation of more than
seven thousand feet.

We were still several miles from Crane Flat and the descent proved
quite as steep and rough as the climb, but there was no precipice
skirting the road to add nervous disquiet to bodily discomfort.

Crane Flat is nothing more than the ranger station on the road and
the official took up our “time card”--we came by a safe margin of
two or three hours--and removed the seals from our “game getter.” We
delivered the axle entrusted to our care, but found that the owner of
the broken-down car had accepted the situation philosophically and
gone fishing--his third day of this pleasant pastime while waiting for
repairs.

Out of the park we hoped for better things in the way of roads, but
we soon found the dividing line imaginary in more ways than one. The
road speedily became rougher, dustier and steeper than that we had
traversed, but, fortunately, it was down hill.

Two or three miles from Crane Flat we came to the Tuolumne Grove of
Big Trees, where there are numerous giant redwoods, though not so many
or so huge as those of Mariposa. A short detour from the main route
took us to the Dead Giant, the most remarkable tree of this grove. It
is tunneled like the Wawona tree in Mariposa and we had the sensation
a second time of driving through a redwood. The remains of the Dead
Giant are one hundred feet high and one hundred and five feet in
circumference; scientists estimate that the tree must have been at
least forty feet in diameter and perhaps four hundred feet high--larger
and higher than any redwood now living. It was destroyed perhaps three
hundred years ago by fire or lightning. The General Lawton of this
grove is one of the most beautiful redwoods in existence and there is
also a Fallen Giant still growing greenly although lying prone, its
roots not being entirely severed.

Near the grove is the Tioga road which has recently been completed
across the Sierras to Mono Lake on the Sierra Highway so that Yosemite
may be reached from the east, although the entrance must be made at the
west end of the valley. We met a party that had just made this trip and
who declared the road next to impassable at that time.

A few miles beyond Tuolumne Grove one may reach the Hetch Hetchy Valley
by a short side trip--a valley which has been styled a miniature
Yosemite. It attained a nation-wide celebrity by the fight made
to prevent the city of San Francisco from using it as a source of
water supply, but San Francisco finally won and an act of congress
permits the city to retain the water of the valley by a dam across the
entrance. The engineers, however, claim that the work will not destroy
the beauty of the valley nor prevent the public from visiting it.

Beyond Tuolumne Grove we still continue to plunge downward over the
rough, stony trail which tried every rivet in the car and worked havoc
with tires. At one point we had the unpleasant experience of meeting
a car coming at high speed around a corner--the road was very narrow
and as the newcomer was right upon us a collision seemed inevitable.
The wild man at the wheel of the scrambling Ford, however, took long
chances, for he ran upon the sidling bank when we had given him the
last inch we could squeeze from the outer side of the road. It seemed
that he must inevitably turn over on top of us, but the luck that
sometimes is said to shield infants and fools--he was certainly no
infant--favored him and he rolled back into the road right side up
and went plunging along on the narrow grade. My friend, after drawing
a deep breath, referred to the crazy driver as the “wild Irishman”
and though I protested against the reflection on my remote ancestry,
we still identify the road hog who gave us such a scare, by this
appellation.

It was lunch time when we reached Sequoia, though we were only
twenty-nine miles from Yosemite--a pretty insignificant showing for a
half day’s run, from a mileage point of view, but it had been strenuous
enough to make us tired and ravenously hungry. And hunger proved a very
good sauce for the meal which we got at Crocker’s Hotel, which is about
all there is of Sequoia. And I am not complaining of Crocker’s Hotel,
either. I think they did very well when one considers that all their
supplies must be hauled eighty miles by wagon road--naturally canned
stuff and condensed milk prevailed. Another outstanding recollection
is that it cost us forty cents per gallon to replenish our gasoline
and we could not complain of that under the circumstances. The young
fellow who kept the store near the hotel said he “had been the rounds
in California,” but Crocker’s Ranch suited him best of any place he had
seen. It was interesting to know that anyone could be satisfied in this
remote and lonely place; it certainly had the advantage of being near
to nature, if that was what our friend was seeking.

Beyond Crocker’s the characteristics of the country were about the
same. A rough, dusty trail, winding through pine-clad hills with
occasional heavy grades, carried us along for a good many miles. We
occasionally passed a remote little station with a general store and
“garage” bearing evidence of its origin in an old-time blacksmith
shop. Colfax Gate, Smith’s, Garrett, and Big Oak Flat--which showed
little reason for the distinction of giving its name to the road--were
all of the same type, with nothing to invite even a casual glance from
the tourist unless he needed gasoline or oil.

At Priest’s there is a country hotel, a haunt of hunters and ranchmen;
but we recall Priest’s chiefly because it gives its name to one of
the most beautiful bits of road engineering in California. The old
road through this section had some of the steepest grades to be found
in a country of steep grades; in fact, it was all but impassable to
automobiles as bits of it still to be seen from the new highway will
amply prove. The new grade extends for eight miles from Priest’s to
Jacksonville, in which distance it descends fifteen hundred feet, but
in no place does the gradient exceed five per cent. It follows the very
crest of a giant hill range overlooking a beautiful valley some two or
three thousand feet below. Alongside there is nothing to break the full
sweep of one’s vision--not a tree or even a shrub intervenes between
the roadbed and the precipitous slope beneath. Although the road is
wide enough for easy passing at any point, the very baldness of its
outer edge is enough to give a decided thrill to nervously inclined
people and our driver received more advice and caution from the
rear seat than had been offered him on far more dangerous roads with
occasional rocks or trees alongside.

At Jacksonville the road comes down almost to the level of the Tuolumne
River and we found ourselves on the border of the old gold-mining
region made famous by the tales of Bret Harte. There are still several
placer mines in operation along the river--the road passes a very
large one at the foot of Chinese Camp grade, and the river is sullied
for miles by the muddy washings from the mill. Chinese Camp grade
is one of the worst encountered on our entire trip; it is steep and
terribly rough, and dust a foot deep hides the ruts and chuck-holes,
so we were compelled to “go it blind.” It was a four-mile plunge and
scramble around sharp curves, half smothered and blinded by dense dust
clouds which rose before we could get away from them, we made such
slow progress over the dreadful road. At the hilltop, however, we were
rewarded for our strenuous scramble by a magnificent view of the river
canyon and a wide panorama of forest-clad hills with the emerald thread
of the Tuolumne winding through them. Contemplation of the magnificent
scene and a draught of cold water from our thermos bottle revived our
spirits, which had drooped somewhat in the hot, dusty climb to the
summit of the grade.

A short distance over a stony trail brought us into the main street of
Chinese Camp, if we may so designate the wide, dusty section of road
lined with wooden shacks of which every other one seemed a saloon.
The appearance of the buildings warranted the guess on our part that
there has been little change in this primitive hamlet since Bret Harte
visited it, nearly a half century ago. Not far from here are many other
camps and villages which found enduring fame in the stories of this
most representative of all earlier California writers. Sonora, Angel’s
Camp, Tuttletown, San Andreas, Mokelumne, and other places familiar
in Harte’s pages may all be reached in a detour of fifty miles or so
from the Big Oak Flat road. Most of these towns, like Chinese Camp,
have made little progress since they were mirrored in the tales which
appeared in the old Overland and Argonaut of San Francisco.

Beyond Chinese Camp we encountered the worst stretch of road of the
entire day--a mere trail winding through a rough, boulder-strewn
country seemingly having no end or object in view except to avoid
the rocks too large to run over. No effort had been made to remove
the smaller stones from the way and we had an unmerciful jolting,
although we crawled along at a dozen miles per hour. Fortunately, there
are no steep grades, and occasionally smoother stretches afforded
a little respite. It would be hard to use language, however, that
would exaggerate the relief which we felt when, on ascending a sharp
little rise, we came upon a splendid paved highway which the road-book
declared would continue all the way to Stockton. I think that the last
forty miles into the city consumed less time than any ten miles we had
covered since leaving Yosemite that morning.

We certainly presented a somewhat disreputable appearance when we
came into the town. The car and everything about it, including the
occupants, was dirty gray with dust, which I noted was two inches deep
on the running boards and perhaps a little less on our faces, while
it saturated our clothing and covered our baggage. California hotels,
however, are used to such arrivals and we were well taken care of
at the Stockton, despite our unprepossessing appearance. A thorough
cleaning up, a change of raiment and a good dinner put us at peace with
the world and we were soon exchanging felicitations over the fact that
we had done Yosemite by motor car.

The route which we had taken, though strenuous enough, as my narrative
indicates, is the one used by the majority of motorists going into the
park. Of course, earlier in the season this road is not so rough and
is freer from dust; one may make the trip to best advantage in July or
early August. The time of opening the road varies, but the passes are
usually clear of snow by the middle of June, though one is likely to
find mud in places for some time after the snow has disappeared.

There are two other roads into the valley besides the Tioga road from
the east. One of these leaves Fresno and joins the Madera road a few
miles west of Wawona. One may start from either Modesto or Merced for
the Coulterville road, which joins the valley road a little beyond El
Portal. This road has the steeper grades, some as high as thirty per
cent, but it takes one through some magnificent scenery and also passes
the Merced Grove of big trees.

When the new route proposed and surveyed by the Automobile Club
of Southern California is finally completed, the routes which I
have described will probably be obsolete except for the occasional
tourist who prefers the strenuous. The new route proceeds from Merced
to Mariposa, a distance of forty miles, and is already partially
completed. From Mariposa a new route has been surveyed by the club
engineers to El Portal, following Bear Creek Canyon, a distance
of thirty-three miles. Including the fifteen miles from El Portal,
the total distance from the main highway is eighty-eight miles, or
considerably less than any existing route. Better still, no grade
on the new road will exceed five per cent and it will make Yosemite
accessible by motor a much greater part of the year than at present.
The completion of this proposed road is brought measureably nearer by
the fifteen million dollar bond issue voted in 1916, as the Highway
Commission has made the new Yosemite route a part of its pledged
program.



A Run to the Roosevelt

Dam and to the

Petrified Forest


[Illustration: SOLITUDE--THE ARIZONA NATIONAL FORESTS

From painting by Thos. Moran]


A Run to the Roosevelt Dam and the Petrified Forest


Possibly this chapter is out of place in a book of motor travel on the
Pacific Coast, for it has somewhat to do with journeyings by railway
train and shifts the scene of action to the barren hills and green
valleys of Arizona--the land of mystery and contrast without peer among
its sister states. In our goings back and forth to California over
the Santa Fe Trail, we had often laid plans to stop at the Petrified
Forests near Adamana and to visit Phoenix and the great Roosevelt Dam,
which waters the green and fruitful Salt River Valley. It is hard,
however, to wrench oneself from a Pullman car before the journey’s end
when one has become comfortably located, and so our plans were usually
deferred until some indefinite “next time.” Had we taken trouble to
ascertain how easily and quickly such plans can be realized, we should
no doubt have carried them out much sooner.

Leaving Los Angeles in the afternoon in a through sleeper, we awoke the
following morning to see the vivid green of the Salt River alfalfa
fields all about us, reaching Phoenix in time for a late breakfast. We
were not posted on the hotels of the town, but went to the Jefferson
because it was nearest, finding it a modern, fireproof building with
well-appointed, comfortable rooms. There was no meal service, however,
and we were directed to a restaurant farther down the street. We also
inquired about hiring a car to take us to the Roosevelt Dam and the
clerk replied that he would have a driver connected with the hotel
call on us shortly. This party appeared while we were at breakfast and
expressed his willingness to serve us.

“Of course you mean to spend the night at the dam,” he said, “returning
tomorrow.”

We assured him that we didn’t mean anything of the sort--that our
time in Phoenix was limited to two days and that only one of them
could be devoted to the Roosevelt Dam. “They tell us that it is only
seventy-five miles distant,” I asserted. “Surely one hundred and fifty
miles isn’t much of a drive if we get away by 9:30.”

“You may think differently after you’ve made the trip,” he replied,
“but I reckon it can be done if you feel that you can stand it.”

We thought we knew something of bad roads and rough going and
felt sure that the trip couldn’t be much worse than many other
one-hundred-and-fifty-mile jaunts we had done in a day, and, to get
down to business, asked, “What kind of a car have you, and what will
you charge us for the drive?”

“I’ve a Dodge,” he replied, “and the regular price for the trip is
forty dollars.”

The lady of the expedition had not said much so far but the latter part
of the remark aroused her interest and slightly excited her ire. “Forty
dollars for one hundred and fifty miles--a six or seven-hour trip!” she
exclaimed. “We don’t wish to buy your car, thank you.”

We declined to negotiate farther with a party who was such a palpable
would-be robber and on coming out into the street I approached a
jovial-looking old fellow in a Ford labeled “for hire,” thinking
more of getting a little information than of any likelihood of doing
business with him.

“Yes, I can take you to the dam,” he said. “Drive you up to-day and
bring you back tomorrow; forty dollars for the round trip.”

“But we want to get back this evening,” we replied, ignoring the
unpleasant confirmation of the Dodge driver’s “regular fare.”

“Waal, couldn’t do it in the Ford, but my son has a new Buick six and
he can make it all right--but he’d have to charge you fifty dollars.”

We had gotten over the first shock given us by auto rates to Roosevelt
Dam and heard this with fairly steady nerves--we were bound to make
the trip and a few dollars one way or the other were not to deter us.
The young man was hunted up and after some dickering he consented to
pilot the new Buick six, the pride of his heart, on her maiden trip to
the dam for the regular price, but declared it would be well after dark
before he could get us back.

“Do you mean to tell me,” I exclaimed, “that a machine like that will
require twelve hours to do one hundred and fifty miles?”

“You’ll know more about it,” he replied, “when you’ve been over the
road; besides, we’ll have to stop for lunch and of course you’ll want
a little time at the dam.” To all of which we assented--and I may
anticipate here enough to say that I do know more about it since I have
been over the road and that while forty dollars seems pretty high auto
hire for a one-hundred and-fifty-mile trip, I am convinced that it
would have taken all of that out of my own car and tires had we made
the run in it.

A few preliminaries detained us until nearly ten o’clock, but when
we got under way our driver quickly cleared the streets of the town
and we were soon skimming merrily along a fine, level road skirting a
broad, tree-bordered irrigation canal. This is one of the main arteries
carrying the water which gives the valley its green prosperity--an
unruffled emerald river eighty feet broad and eight feet deep. We
crossed a fine bridge over the Salt River at Tempe, nine miles from
Phoenix, and about as far beyond this town we entered Mesa, the second
city of the valley. So far we found the road level and good, some of it
having been surfaced and otherwise improved.

Beyond Mesa we came quickly out of the cultivated part of the valley,
pursuing a good dirt road leading through a sandy stretch of desert,
toward the rugged hill range which rears its serrated crests against
the silvery horizon. Seen from Phoenix, the mountains that encircle
the verdant valley are shrouded in the intensest blue--far away hills
of mystery that suggest some fairyland beyond--but as we drew nearer
to them the blue shadows vanished and the bald, harsh outlines of
mighty wall and towering crag seemingly barred our way. The prevailing
colors were dull browns and reds and the slopes were almost devoid of
vegetation. Great boulder-like hills are tumbled about as though some
giant had flung them in wild confusion to bar the ingress of human
trespassers. The road, however, finds a crevice by which to enter the
mighty barrier and about midway between Phoenix and the dam it begins
its conquest of these forbidding hills. Somewhere we had read that
the government had built a “boulevard” through these mountains to the
dam and our preconceived notions were of a fair mountain road. We
had, therefore, no mental preparation to assist us in enduring one of
the crookedest, roughest, rockiest trails we ever bumped over in all
our experience. The route we followed was known as the “Apache Trail”
in pioneer days and frequently afforded a secure retreat for these
troublesome savages when pursued by the U. S. troopers. In converting
it into a thoroughfare for vehicles, it would seem that little has been
done except to widen the old trail--a real highway to Roosevelt Dam is
yet to be built.

The climb begins at the foot of Superstition Mountain, leaving the
river some miles to the left. Much of the road is natural granite rock,
almost untouched by the hand of man; again it is blasted in the edge
of a cliff, though little has been done to finish the surface to any
degree of smoothness. We scrambled through the Devil’s Kitchen--a wild
array of fantastic, multi-colored rocks--pink, yellow green--withal a
beautiful spot spoiled by a senseless name.

We followed the edge of sheer cliffs or skirted sloping hillsides
overlooking charming little valleys. From one point we had a far-away
glimpse of the vexed river--we crossed the inevitable “hogback” and
the grandest panorama of the whole trip burst suddenly upon our
astonished vision. It is a vast, oval basin more than a thousand feet
in depth, surrounded by parti-colored hills--though golden yellow seems
the predominating color--on every side save for the narrow chasm by
which the stream makes its escape from the canyon. But from our point
of view the creek seemed a silver thread and the pines on the valley
floor shrunk to mere shrubs. Our driver pointed out the ranch house
where we were to have lunch, though we located it with difficulty, for
it seemed no larger than an ordinary dry-goods box. The road here--the
only especially creditable piece of engineering on the route--descends
the mighty hillside in long, swinging loops and with only moderate
grades. It offers many wonderful panoramas of giant crags and towering
pinnacles; at times great cliffs rise far above it and again sheer
precipices fall away at its side. This wonderful vale of beauty and
grandeur goes by the very unpoetical title of Fish Creek Canyon, which
again reminds us how unfortunate the pioneers often were in their
nomenclature. What a pity that the sense of fitness which clung to the
old Indian or Spanish names in the Southwest or the romantic propriety
that gave the oriental titles to the palaces of the Grand Canyon was
not more common.

At Fish Creek Station, we paused at a plain, rustic roadhouse, where
a substantial dinner was served after considerable delay, for the
landlady and her daughter appeared to be sole attendants upon ourselves
and a dozen or more people who came by the stage. While awaiting the
dinner call, we amused ourselves in watching the antics of a pair of
young mountain lions confined in a wire cage. They were graceful,
playful beasts, somewhat larger than a big cat, and about six months
old, our driver said. They were caught in the vicinity, which is noted
for big game, and the very rare mountain sheep can be seen on the
surrounding cliffs at almost any time. The rocks assume many fantastic
shapes against the skyline around the valley and by exercising a little
imagination we finally could see the “Lion” and the “Cross” on the
distant heights. Leaving the station, the road follows the boisterous
creek for some distance, winding among trees and boulders which skirt
its banks. Then we again climbed rugged granite hills almost devoid
of vegetation, save many queer cacti, often gorgeous with blooms, and
finally approached the river, which we followed at no great distance
for the rest of the run. We saw it from the heights, whence it appeared
like a green, fluttering ribbon, as it dashed over its stony bed. As
we proceeded the road dipped down in the valley and finally came to
the very banks of the stream, which it closely followed for several
miles. It is a broad, beautifully clear river, plunging over the stones
in foaming rapids or lying still and deep in emerald green pools. The
road had been washed out for some distance by a spring flood and the
new work was excruciatingly rough and strewn with razor-edged stones
which wrought havoc on the smooth new tires. The scene at this point,
however, is one of wild and entrancing beauty. Far above us rose the
rocky walls, splashed with reds and yellows; below us the river banks
were lined with cottonwoods, aspens, and willows beneath which were
green meadows, with prosperous-looking cattle grazing upon them.

The road swings away from the river for some distance and we again
entered the hills; we crawled up narrow, steep grades and around the
corners of stupendous cliffs. Ere long a deep-voiced roar announced
that the object of our pilgrimage was near at hand. As we came out
upon a promontory, we got a full view of the mighty arc of stone that
shuts the vast wall of water in the heart of the blue hill range before
us. Torrents were pouring from the spillways and a rainbow arched the
clouds of mist and foam that rose at the base of the three-hundred-foot
fall. We paused in wonder and admiration to contemplate the scene--for
once the works of man rival the phenomena of nature in beauty and
grandeur, though we must confess that the natural background is a very
helpful accessory to the wonderful view. Back of the dam the shining
blue lake, twenty-five square miles in area, stretches away between the
granite hills, which show little traces of vegetation save scattered
scrub pines and cedars. Near at hand the reddish-brown volcanic rocks
stand out in bold, bare outlines, but gradually softened by the blue
mists of the distance, they take on the semblance of fairy towers
and domes. Substantial iron bridges two hundred feet long span the
spillways on either side of the dam and afford access to a sixteen-foot
roadway along the top of the mighty structure.

From the road one gets the most adequate idea of the gigantic
dimensions and great solidity of the dam; a few figures illustrating
these may be admissable here. The height from lowest foundation is 284
feet; thickness at base, 168 feet; at crest, 20 feet; total length,
including spillways, 1080 feet. The cost of the entire work was nine
million dollars, of which three and a half millions were spent on the
dam alone. Five and one-half years were required to complete the job
and formal dedication occurred on the eighteenth of March, 1911, with
the redoubtable Teddy himself as master of ceremonies. It was not
until nearly four years later that the reservoir was entirely filled.
There is enough water in reserve to supply all lands now under the
system with sufficient moisture for three years, putting any chance of
crop failure from shortage out of the question. About three and a half
feet of water annually is required to produce crops in the Salt River
Valley and this, with the warm sunshine and fertile soil, brings forth
a yield that is amazing to farmers in rain-watered sections. A valuable
by-product of the system is the water power available at the dam and
at various points on the river. The aggregate will exceed twenty-five
thousand horse power, which will ultimately pay for the maintenance of
the system, giving the land-owner his water service free.

Crossing the dam, we followed the road for a mile or two to Webb Lodge,
a comfortable-looking rustic inn built on a point of land extending
well into the lake. A good many Phoenix people come here to spend the
week-end and enjoy the excellent fishing. A number of stage tourists
also stop at the Lodge for the night, completing the trip to Globe,
forty-five miles farther, on the following day. We may confess that the
thought of a pause for the night here appealed mightily to us, but our
plans did not admit of such a stop, and after a half hour’s rest in
the big chairs on the Lodge veranda we signified our readiness for the
return trip.

The prospect of immediately retracing our way over the cruel road which
we had just covered was not at all alluring and we would recommend to
would-be visitors to make arrangements for a through trip to Globe
by auto-stage, resuming the railroad there. Our return trip was not
entirely without its reward, for we saw many weirdly beautiful effects
as the sun went down over the giant hills and the blue shadows veiled
the mysterious deeps of the savage ravines. Besides, the viewpoints
were so vastly different that it was often hard to believe we were
pursuing the road which we followed in coming. The sky was perfectly
clear and the western horizon was a vast, burning expanse as the sun
disappeared, though there was but little afterglow.

But we were hardly in form to appreciate the weird gradations of light
and color and the almost terrifying beauty of the twilight mountains
about us. The terrible road had worn the lady of the party to the
limit of endurance and our anxiety to get out of the fearful hills
constantly increased. It seemed an age before we rounded the black
bulk of Superstition Mountains and saw the moonlit Mesa glimmering
before us. Even the motor seemed to give a sigh of relief as the car
reached the level plain and settled down to a swift, steady pace after
the strenuous work in the hills. Mesa and Tempe were quickly passed
and we reached the well-lighted streets of Phoenix a little after nine
o’clock. The lady was so thoroughly fagged out that she declared there
was no possible hope that she would be able to leave the hotel the next
day. A night’s rest in a comfortable bed, however, worked wonders and,
though there was considerable complaint about sore joints and muscles
in the morning, she declared herself ready, after a late breakfast, to
carry out our plan to explore the vicinity of Phoenix during the day.

We soon struck a bargain with the old man whose son had piloted us to
the dam, to show us, with the assistance of his trusty Ford, what he
considered worth while in and about the city. He proved an excellent
guide, for he apparently knew every foot of the country by heart,
though perhaps he was a little too much of a “booster” to impart
unprejudiced information about Phoenix. We found it quite impossible
to disabuse him of the idea that we were seeking investments in the
valley--he evidently couldn’t conceive of any other reason for the
interest we were evincing in the country. He first descanted upon the
climate--the practice of every loyal westerner--and we had learned the
futility of disputing the asseverations made in such cases.

“I lived in Missouri several years ago and my wife suffered so terribly
from rheumatism and other ills that we decided on a change of climate.
We moved to Los Angeles and lived there for three years, but there
wasn’t much improvement and on the advice of a friend we came to
Phoenix a few years ago. My wife is perfectly well now and I feel that
I’ve added years to my life. It’s the warm, dry climate that does the
business; California is too wet in the winter months. Pretty hot in
summer?--Well, yes, but we don’t feel it like you do back east. I stay
here the year round and enjoy the weather all the time. The records
prove that the sun shines eighty-four per cent of the possible time and
there is an average of only thirty-seven rainy days in the year. Yes,
it’s good enough for me, and you’ll like it, too, if you decide to come
here.”

We first drove about the town and noted the handsome public and private
buildings, the wide, well-paved streets, and the many comfortable
residences with their pretty grounds. Not many of these could be
classed as pretentious, though there are several fine homes on the
broad avenue leading to the Government Indian School. The State
Capitol, a small but handsome building of classic design, surrounded by
ample grounds, is situated in the center of the town. Tucson has given
up the claim which it once pressed for the capitol, and no doubt a more
adequate structure will be built before many years. There are several
imposing public school buildings, classic lines prevailing in the
architecture of nearly all of them. A beautiful Y. M. C. A. building
with the mission motif predominating, fronts a pretty little park. I
have already mentioned the hotels, which of course greatly outclass
anything one would be likely to find in an eastern town two or three
times as large as Phoenix. Near the city is the Ingleside Country Club,
with a handsome club house where winter visitors are made welcome.
Nor did our guide permit us to overlook the Insane Asylum adjoining
the city and assured us that the big addition then building was made
necessary by prohibition, recently adopted in Arizona--leaving us to
draw any conclusions we might see fit.

Leaving the town we pursued the broad avenue leading to the Indian
school--a splendid road running straight away to the blue mountains,
sixty miles distant. It seems to me that I never saw elsewhere
mountains so intensely blue as those which surround this Arcadian
valley. Perhaps the universal greenness accentuates all colors. Surely
it was an earthly Paradise on the day of which I am writing--a bright,
fresh day with a light breeze laden with the odors of orange blossoms
and new-mown alfalfa. The Indian school is small and the buildings old,
but the surroundings seem ideal for teaching the rising generation of
red men the ways of civilization.

From the Indian school we drove to some orange groves not far distant
and made no attempt to dispute our guide’s emphatic claim that they
were quite the equal of the best groves about Riverside or Azusa.

“They can grow any fruit here that can be grown in California,” he
declared, “and some that can’t be matured there--dates, for instance.
We have frosts sometimes, but I’ve seen worse ones about Los Angeles.
Our main crops never fail, though; we can always count on a full yield
of grain, alfalfa, sugar beets, or a dozen other staples. And I want to
ask you if you ever saw finer cattle than those right before your eyes.”

We followed a road along one of the canals which spread like a network
over the valley and furnish unlimited water for the 182,000 acres now
under irrigation. About 30,000 additional acres can be reclaimed by
pumping water to a slightly higher level and this will comprise about
all the available land in the valley. None of it remains in possession
of the government and prices of improved land now range from $100 to
$500 per acre--very low, our enthusiastic informant asserted, when
you consider that a single year’s crop will often pay twenty-five to
fifty per cent of the original cost of the land. And this did not seem
unreasonable when we saw the enormous crops of wheat and alfalfa which
are being harvested--and the latter yields two to six cuttings per
year. Of course, there may be another side to the story of Salt River
Valley’s prosperity--as there is to nearly everything on this mundane
sphere--but our interest was too casual to spur us to any careful
investigation.

We were back to our hotel in the early afternoon, after having covered
a large part of the roads, good, bad, and indifferent, in the immediate
vicinity of the town. If we had time to go farther afield, we were
assured that there is much of interest within a radius of one hundred
and fifty miles about Phoenix. Tucson, one hundred and twenty miles
to the southeast, has the State University and one of the oldest and
most picturesque of Spanish missions in the Southwest--that of San
Xavier Del Bac, still in charge of the Franciscan monks. Granite Reef
Diversion Dam is thirty miles to the northeast and just beyond that are
the ruins of old Fort McDowell, established in the days of the Apache
wars. About it is an Indian reservation where the sons and daughters
of these fierce red warriors now pursue the arts of peace--they are
famous basket-makers and some of them are prosperous farmers and
cattle raisers. The Gila Indian Reservation is seventeen miles to the
southwest and is remarkable for its excellent buildings, which were
erected by the Indians themselves. One tribe, the Pimas, is noted for
its pottery, and its proudest boast is that it has never been at war
with the whites.

All of these points may be reached by motor over roads ranging from
fair to bad--but whatever their condition, constantly improving, for
Arizona, despite her limited population as compared with her vast
areas, is making every effort to improve her highways. Our old driver
left us at the hotel with the earnest plea that we give the merits of
Phoenix as a place to live our careful consideration and we assured
him that if we did not become citizens of the town it would not be his
fault.

Our plans were already made for a stop at the Petrified Forests of
Arizona--for these are in Arizona, though it takes a night’s run on
the Santa Fe to reach them in this land of magnificent distances. We
were met at the little goods-box station of Adamana by a short, swarthy
individual who seized our grips and piloted us to the bungalow-like
inn across the track, where the proprietor, Mr. Chester B. Campbell,
welcomed us and assured us that in response to our telegram he had
reserved “the best in the house for us.” We found the best to be had
in the Campbell Hotel quite primitive enough to suit the taste of the
most ardent advocate of the simple life; bath-rooms and running water
were taboo and telephone and call bells minus in rooms. But things were
clean and one is hardly entitled to Waldorf-Astoria accommodations for
two-fifty per day--“American plan.”

We barely paused to deposit our baggage in the room assigned to us
before signifying to Mr. Campbell our desire to visit the wonders which
had brought us to Adamana and we were assured that nearly everything
worth while could be done in a day--since Fords had superseded horses
and spring wagons. And I suppose it was fortunate for me that this
shift in transportation methods had been made; otherwise what excuse
could I have found for including the story of our experiences in a
chronicle of the motor car? And there was no time lost in “hitching
up.” Almost immediately we heard the familiar growl of the Ford engine
and were told that our car was ready. We found the swart, stocky
individual who met us at the station in charge of the steering wheel
and he proved an encyclopaedia of information, useful and otherwise, as
well as an artist in piloting the little machine over the sandy wastes.

“We’ll take in the North Sigillaria first,” he declared, “and there’ll
be plenty of time after dinner to do the others.”

It was the last of May--a clear, fresh day with a rather stiff breeze,
and the desert sand along our route was starred with many beautiful
blooms which elicited exclamations of admiration from the ladies of
the party. They must needs pause to gather a few of the flowers and
inquired as they climbed back into the car,

“Are there any rattlesnakes in this country?”

“Plenty of ’em,” responded our pilot. “I just shipped a big fellow east
yesterday.”

“Do you make a business of catching snakes?” I asked.

“Not much--but a young lady who was here said she’d like to have one
and I promised to send it,” he replied with the air of a man whose
promise is always equal to performance, and went on to regale us with
other weird stories of adventure with deadly reptiles.

“Any mountain lions in this section?” I asked, thinking to afford him
subject-matter for further stories of his experiences.

“Never heard of any,” he promptly answered.

“Roosevelt in his new book tells about hunting them near the Grand
Canyon,” I began, but he interrupted me with a snort of disgust.

“Roosevelt is the biggest ---- faker in the whole country. You can bet
your life he never hunted mountain lions in Arizona.”

“But I read it yesterday in his new book,” I insisted.

“Mebbe you did--he may write about it, all right, but I’ll gamble this
Ford agin a copper cent that he never did it.”

I saw there was no use trying to defend the veracity of our strenuous
ex-president to a man with such a righteous horror of a faker and
therefore desisted.

In the meanwhile the Ford had scrambled up a short incline to the
verge of a gigantic chasm and paused. From the gorgeous colorings--the
vivid dashes of red, yellow, purple, orange, and all the gamut of the
mingling of these--we might have fancied before us a section of the
Grand Canyon in miniature, save that the floor of the great depression
was comparatively level. Looking westward down this weird prismatic
valley, our view was unobstructed for twenty-five miles or more and the
vivid color belts gradually melted into a lavender haze which formed
the horizon.

“That’s a corner of the Painted Desert,” said our guide, “and those
black stumps and blocks you see down yonder, a mile or so, are pieces
of the petrified trees. There’s a trail so you can walk down if you
want to.” Nobody exhibited any keen anxiety to hit the trail and the
driver confirmed the general disinclination by saying that the trip was
hardly worth while; we should see the other forests, far larger and
more interesting, at close range. So, after due contemplation of the
scene--for this stretch of the Painted Desert is far more worth while
than the forest at this point--we gave word for the return.

On the way the driver pointed out the line of the original Santa Fe
Trail which we crossed and I made some remark about the improvement
in roads and transportation methods which enabled a transcontinental
driver only a week before to complete the ocean-to-ocean trip in a
little over seven days. Our driver had not heard of this feat and as
the purport of my remark percolated to his brain he burst out,

“Don’t believe it; clean impossible for a single driver to do it. He’d
have to average five hundred miles a day.”

I assured him, however, that it had been done; that the Los Angeles
papers were full of it when we left that city.

“Don’t care if they were; there’s a fake of some sort about it,” and he
expressed his disapproval of fakes in general by urging the Ford at a
vicious rate over the sandy trail.

As we came near the hotel we saw signs of great activity in the stable
yard--the girls mounting saddle horses and cowboys dashing hither and
thither in the valley beyond.

“Big cattle round-up to-day,” said our driver, and we were seized with
a desire to see as much as possible of said round-up. Mr. Campbell
assured us that we still had time before dinner to visit the scene
of the round-up and that our driver could take the Ford anywhere a
mustang could go. So we struck out across the broad, sandy wash of
the Rio Puerco in face of stinging gusts of sand, for the wind had
been steadily rising all morning. We pursued our way across the desert
toward the scene of activity, jumping over hummocks, plunging in and
out of little ravines, and crawling through the sagebrush, but making
progress all the time at an astonishing rate.

Our driver in the meanwhile was regaling us with blood-curdling tales
of his experiences as a cowpuncher--stories of thrilling fights with
Indians, of how he was lost for days in a blizzard to be rescued in
last extremity, and similar harrowing adventures. He was interrupted
by a cowboy who rode up to us, touching his sombrero to the ladies.
“Hello, Gulliver,” he cried, “How’s the Ford for rounding ’em up?” Our
pilot now had little to say, but the newcomer was very courteous in
answering our queries and explaining the maneuvers of the round-up.

They were now coming in from every side, bringing about a thousand
cattle in all--the object being to separate--“cut out”--the cows with
young calves for branding and the merchantable steers for shipment to
the east. The herd was assembled in a level plain near a corral and the
cowboys, some three or four dozen in number, dashed furiously about,
dexterously singling out the proper animals and turning them into the
corrals. Sometimes a calf, bawling wildly, would bolt for the hills,
followed by his terrified mama. It was astonishing how fast and how far
the little beast’s spindling legs could carry him, but his pursuer soon
had him lassoed and dragged him, in spite of his stiff legs, to the
corral. Poor fellow, if he could have realized the fate awaiting him,
he would probably have increased his desperate struggles for freedom;
a little later he was thrown to the ground and his owner’s brand
imprinted on his smooth hide with a red-hot iron.

One of the ladies of our party had a kodak and, being anxious to have a
few snaps at closer range, asked one of the cowboys to take the camera
and ride nearer the herd.

“I’m afraid I don’t know how to work the machine. Say, Gulliver, you
take my horse and try it,” which Gulliver did with sublime assurance.
In the meanwhile perhaps a dozen girls from the hotel and vicinity
came cantering to the scene and were the recipients of most respectful
attention on part of the cowboys. A couple of heavy covered wagons came
lumbering on the scene a little later and paused beside a pond filled
by windmills on the opposite side of the herd.

“Them’s the grub wagons,” said Gulliver, “Shall we drive round and see
them get dinner?” To which proposal we readily assented. The two cooks
had some difficulty in getting a fire started on account of the wind,
which had increased to a veritable gale, driving the sand in stinging
gusts. One of the cooks dipped a bucket of water from the pool and
poured a quantity of the murky liquid into a dishpan of flour which
he vigorously stirred with his hands. He soon had some biscuits which
looked quite good and his compeer was busy frying steak in huge pans.
Canned vegetables and fruits were produced from the wagons and a very
passable meal was soon ready for serving on wooden picnic plates. True,
everything was liberally sprinkled with the sand which constantly
filled the air, but it was clear from the husky boys flocking in to the
repast that Arizona sand isn’t deleterious to the constitution. We were
invited to join in the repast, but the ladies decided it was time to
return to the hotel and we departed with profuse thanks to our would-be
hosts.

We did not fare any too well at the hotel--the help had gone almost
en masse to the round-up, leaving most of the work to be done by the
proprietor and his wife.

“A round-up means a holiday to almost everyone in Adamana,” explained
Mr. Campbell. “It’s no easy matter to keep help at the very best, and
when anything occurs to break the monotony of our life, we have to let
our people make the most of it.”

We agreed that a chance to see the round-up ourselves more than
compensated for any inconvenience we experienced on account of it, and
everybody took it good-naturedly.

Gulliver, however, expressed contempt for the round-up; it was
hopelessly tame and civilized compared with those of old days, in which
he had participated, when every man wore a big gun and cartridge belt
and shootings were delightfully common. He was ready after lunch with
his Ford to pilot us to the forests lying south of Adamana. Had not
our time been limited, we should have demurred; the wind had risen to
a perfect gale, clouds of sand obstructed our view, and gave a faint
yellow tinge to the sky. Crossing the river wash, the Ford stalled in
a fresh sand drift and Gulliver requested us to dismount and “give her
a lift.” A little sagebrush thrown under the wheels, an energetic push
by the passengers, some vigorous growling, and more or less snorting
and scrambling on part of the car brought it out of the drift and we
went on our way rejoicing. A wide waste of sand-blown desert stretched
before us; not a tree was visible save a few small cottonwoods along
the Rio Puerco, which, being interpreted, means “river of mud”--though
sand would be more appropriate just now. In the rainy season it often
becomes a raging torrent, cutting off access for the time to the
southern forests, but Mr. Campbell hoped to have a bridge before long.
For six miles we followed the desert trail, often nearly obliterated by
the drifting sand. No human habitations were in sight, only rocks and
sagebrush-studded sand with fragments of a pre-historic Indian village
or two.

The first forest is not of great extent, but is interesting for
its famous natural log bridge, sixty feet long, spanning a deep,
tree-fringed chasm. The great trunk is four or five feet in diameter
and despite earnest protests from the female contingent I walked across
it in face of the gale, which was, of course, the only element of
danger.

The second forest is larger, comprising about two thousand acres.
It has many huge trunks almost intact, including the “Twin Sisters,”
the most distinguishing feature of this forest. Gulliver assured us,
however, that the third forest, six or seven miles farther, was the one
most deserving of our attention and if, when we had done this, we still
hankered for petrified forests, we could stop again at the first two on
our return. He took occasion to regale us with additional chapters from
his personal experiences--some of which might indeed have fitted very
appropriately in the career of his namesake. I suggested that he ought
to wear goggles to protect his eyes from the sand--one of them was
badly blood-shot.

“The sand hain’t got nothing to do with that eye,” he said. “One time
when I was on the range I got into a little dispute with another
cow-puncher and he shoved his gun in my face. I knocked it to one side
but the bullet grazed my cheek, and I got a bad powder burn in the eye.”

“Well, I suppose you didn’t do a thing to that fellow,” I ventured.

“Just took his gun away from him and told him to be more keerful next
time--but here’s the third forest. We’ll just leave the Ford and take a
little round on foot.”

And, indeed, we soon agreed that one who wishes to see the real wonder
and beauty of the petrified forests may well devote most of his time to
the third, or Rainbow Forest, as it is known locally. Here are hundreds
of huge stone trunks, many five or six feet in diameter, and over
two hundred feet long, lying as they fell, but broken by some mighty
convulsion into sections a few feet in length. Every detail of the bark
is preserved, in some cases in apparently its original colors, so that
except for the fractures one might imagine before him a great redwood
log of comparatively recent date. But the great marvel of color is seen
in fractures--every tint of the prism, with blood-red and golden yellow
predominating, combine to astonish and delight the beholder. The grain
and annual rings of growth are plainly marked on many of the gigantic
blocks, enabling scientists to judge pretty accurately of the age of
the trees when destruction overtook them--and some of them had surely
attained their millennium. Everywhere on the sands were scattered
millions of jewel-like fragments, glittering in the sun and exciting
our cupidity to possess specimens of these curious prismatic gems. We
picked up what seemed the most beautiful specimens only to discard them
for others that happened to strike our fancy more forcibly, and in the
end we had stowed away several pounds of the wonderful stone-wood in
Gulliver’s Ford. Of course we knew that only the smallest fraction--a
few glistening chips--could be taken with us, but Sinbad the Sailor in
the valley of diamonds must have experienced much the same feelings as
ourselves amidst these exhaustless jewels. For there is no danger of
the tourists depleting the supply. Millions of tons, covering square
miles in area, are scattered about on the surface and perhaps as much
more is buried just beneath it. Commercial exploitation of the wood was
prohibited since December 1906, when the forests were made a national
monument and the preservation of these wonderful deposits is thus
assured for all time to come.

Many solutions have been offered to the question, How did natural
forces operate to produce this almost incredible spectacle which our
eyes behold? “The wise guys say that these trees grew hundreds of miles
from the place,” said Gulliver, “and some big flood washed them here
and buried them under a half mile of sand. There they laid a million
years or so, changing into stone, and then along comes another flood
and washes the sand off from ’em.”

There are other explanations in the books, but perhaps this is as
good as any; it all must have happened before the advent of the human
race upon earth and before the surface of the earth had assumed the
definite shape which now confronts us. Some declare that a great inland
sea overwhelmed this prehistoric forest and the petrification took
place beneath its waters, which deposited deep layers of rock and sand
over the trees. But however it occurred, the great marvel is before
our eyes, acres and acres, profusely covered with chalcedony, agate,
onyx, cornelian, and amethyst, for all of these are here in color if
not in actual composition. Though no habitation now greets the eye--the
only structure being a covered platform on a little eminence affording
a view of a wide area of this strange prostrate forest--human beings
once lived among these weirdly-colored stone trees. Skeletons and
rare old potteries are often unearthed and ruins of Aztec villages
are found in this vicinity. How these primitive men subsisted here is
hard to conjecture, for it would be difficult to imagine a land more
inhospitable for the support of animal life.

When we were preparing to return, I asked Gulliver if it were not
possible to visit the Blue Forest, to complete our round of the wonders.

“The Blue Forest,” he snorted in disgust, “that’s one of John Muir’s
fakes. Nothing there worth seeing and would take you another day; have
to make the trip with a team.”

The latter assertion was sufficient to quench our desire to visit the
Blue Forest and the question whether it was one of John Muir’s fakes or
not became a matter of indifference.

“There’ll still be time for you to visit the hieroglyphics after you
get back if you want to,” said Gulliver, “but that’s another trip that
even a Ford can’t make; it’s only a four-mile round, though, and the
team can do it in an hour. No, I don’t drive the team myself; I just
officiate as chauffeur. Alkali Ike will do it about right, though, and
he knows more about them hieroglyphics than the fellers that scratched
them on the rocks. They’re mighty curious, and you’ll miss it if you
don’t see them.”

We didn’t propose to miss it and a small charabanc was ordered
forthwith on our return to the hotel, as several others proposed to
join our party. The wind was raging stronger than ever and the whole
river wash was hidden in clouds of driven sand. Through this we had
to pass at a snail’s pace, for it was heavy going. We could scarcely
see a foot ahead and the stinging sand filled our eyes and hair and
when anyone tried to speak he got a mouthful of it. The driver bowed
his head and let the horses wallow along at their own pace until they
finally scrambled up the opposite bank.

A few rods beyond the river the driver asked us to dismount and led us
among the huge sandstone ledges which overlook the valley. He first
conducted us to the prehistoric ruins of an Aztec community house,
where walls of rough stone about a foot in height laid in mortar mark
the outlines of numerous dwellings which fronted a plaza one hundred
and thirty feet wide by two hundred and ten feet long. Near the center
of this court has been found a small “kiva” or underground ceremonial
chamber similar to those of the pueblos to-day, and the flagstone
pavement is still in good preservation.

Near this ruin the hieroglyphics may be seen; they are cut in the
stones of the cliffs along the river for the distance of more than a
mile. The “cutting,” however, of the smooth sandstone has been done
with some hard substance, probably bits of petrified wood, rather than
any metal instrument. Some of the carvings are probably symbolical, and
the meaning is not easy to decipher. Others, however, tell their story
plainly enough. The most ambitious effort is supposed to represent
a royal wedding. The figures indicate dancing and rejoicing and the
priest may be distinguished by the symbolic “bird of wisdom” which he
holds in his hand. There are also representations of flocks and herds
and many individual birds and animals, some quite cleverly done. There
is a long-legged stork, and what he holds in his bill is evidently
intended for a frog, though it might pass for a baby by a stretch of
the imagination. Altogether, these strange carvings are as interesting
as they are mysterious. Their age can only be guessed at, but few
authorities put it at less than a thousand years. No history exists of
the people whose lives are represented here; even tradition is silent.

After inspecting the ruins and the hieroglyphics in the immediate
vicinity, we were driven for a mile or so beneath the mighty cliffs
along the river. At intervals additional carvings were to be seen,
often high up on the rocks. Returning, we passed near the scene of
the round-up, where a few cowboys were still engaged in branding the
calves--a scene which none of the ladies of the party wished to linger
over. It was nearly dark when we recrossed the river--if we may use
the name for the wide strip of sand where the Puerco rages at rare
intervals. The wind had slightly subsided, though the sand was still
disagreeable enough.

We were quite ready for a substantial dinner, but things were still
badly disarranged at the hotel. A dance always follows a round-up and
of course none of the hotel girls were willing to miss such an event.
Even the cook had disappeared and the guests had to be satisfied with
the efforts of Mr. Campbell and wife, who rose to the occasion in a
very creditable manner.

After dinner the guests lounged about the comfortable lobby of the
hotel; there was little to attract one to the rooms until he was
ready to go to bed. I don’t know whether it was a representative
petrified-forest crowd or not, but it was certainly cosmopolitan. There
was a Dutch doctor and his wife from Java--exceedingly non-committal on
the subject of the European War; a middle-aged English lady, professing
to be an invalid but doing the hardest “stunts” everywhere--she
even ate the cowboy dinner at the round-up--accompanied by a very
intelligent Danish lady as a companion and manager; and several plain
American citizens like ourselves from widely scattered sections of
the country. The conversation, as may be imagined, was varied and
generally interesting. The proprietor, who joined us later, told many
entertaining anecdotes of his experiences in the Indian country to
which he made frequent visits to purchase blankets for his store. He
said that he made it a rule never to decline the hospitality of the
Indians or traders, no matter how filthy they might be, since they were
sure to resent any squeamishness on part of a visitor.

“I was invited to eat in one shack,” he said, “where conditions
beggared description (I fancy the principal dish was dog); and where
the table was simply black with flies, but I joined in as if it had
been a repast at the Waldorf-Astoria. That’s the only way to get the
confidence and the genuine friendship of these people. Of course, I
was situated differently from the ordinary tourist, for I have regular
dealings with both the Indians and the traders.”

The guests generally joined in expressing the hope that circumstances
might not arise to put their good manners to such a test.

Mr. Campbell has occasionally outfitted and conducted parties to the
various Indian reservations and particularly to the Moki Snake Dance.
On his last excursion to Moki-land he conducted a party of some thirty
people at a round rate of two hundred and fifty dollars per head, and
the general impression prevailed among them that he was coining money
a la Rockefeller. The fact was, he assured us, that so great were the
difficulties in securing supplies and especially forage for the horses,
that his profits on the trip were negligible.

The round trip to the Navajo country can be made via Ford in two days
and Gulliver had orders to be ready to take the “invalid” English lady
and her companion on this excursion the following day, but it was
deferred on account of the wind storm which raged in even greater fury
than the day before.

Campbell is an expert on Navajo blankets, of which he has a very large
collection in the little store which he runs in connection with his
hotel. There are blankets of all degrees, ranging up to three hundred
dollars in price. During the holidays he does a considerable mail-order
business in all parts of the country by means of a magazine advertising
campaign.

At breakfast we found the serving girls again on the job, looking a
little blase after the dissipation of the round-up and dance. They
declared the latter a disappointment; it was too tame and uneventful.
“Why, there wasn’t even a fight,” said a blonde-haired German damsel
who brought our coffee and hot cakes. To elucidate her remark, Mr.
Campbell explained that while “gun toting” in Arizona is entirely
obsolete and bloodshed quite as uncommon and unpopular as in any
part of the country, few dances in Adamana end without a fist-fight
between some of the cowboys. Naturally, the men greatly outnumber
the maidens and contests for favors are almost sure to result in
warlike demonstrations. The ladies have doubtless come to consider
these collisions between rivals as in some degree a tribute to the
popularity of the female sex and when a dance passes off too peaceably
they feel as if their charms have not been adequately appreciated.

We boarded the California Limited about noon to resume our eastward
journey. We agreed that the Petrified Forests are well worth while; we
are sure that if the traveling public was generally aware how easily
these strange stone trees can be reached and how well visitors are
taken care of by Mr. Campbell and his helpers--not forgetting the
efficient and entertaining Gulliver--a far greater number of passengers
would “drop off” for a day or two at Adamana.


[Illustration: Map Showing Author’s Route in California

Oregon Map on Reverse of Sheet

    By Courtesy of
  THE OREGON JOURNAL
   Portland, Oregon
]

[Illustration]



INDEX


  A

  Adamana, 294, 314.

  Albany, 171.

  Albion, 236.

  Alturas, 69.

  Annie Creek Canyon, 84–85.

  Applegate, 31.

  Arcata, 207–208.

  Astoria, 160.

  Auburn, 28–30.


  B

  Bear Valley, 33.

  Bell Springs Mountain, 216–218, 220–228.

  Bend, 112–116.

  Bly, 74–76.

  Bonneville, 144.


  C

  Celilo, 140.

  Chinese Camp, 270–271.

  Clear Lake Valley, 21.

  Cloverdale, 238–241.

  Colfax, 31.

  Coloma, 45.

  Columbia River Highway, 135–153.

  Cow Creek Canyon, 178.

  Crater Lake, 17, 81–109.

  Crescent, 112.

  Crescent City, 195–199.


  D

  Dalles, The, 125–132.

  Del Norte Redwoods, 20, 193–194.

  Deschutes River, 112, 115–120.

  Donner Lake, 22, 33–34.

  Dutch Flat, 32.

  Dyerville, 217, 220.


  E

  Eagle Lake, 65–66.

  Emigrant Gap, 32.

  Eugene, 173–175.

  Eureka, 18, 21, 184, 209–219.


  F

  Fort Bragg, 233–234.

  Fortuna, 219.

  Fresno, 248.


  G

  Glenbrook, 48–51.

  Globe, 287–288.

  Gold Run, 32.

  Goose Lake, 69–72.

  Grant, Ulysses S., 213.

  Grants Pass, 179–185.


  H

  Harriman, E. H., 104.

  Harris, 223–225.

  Harrisburg, 172.

  Harte, Bret, 22, 45, 213–215, 270.

  Hetch Hetchy Valley, 266–267.

  Honey Lake, 63–64.

  Hood River, 132–135.

  Horse Lake, 67–68.


  J

  Jacksonville, 270.


  K

  Klamath Falls, 74–81.

  Klamath, Fort, 83.

  Klamath, Lake, 81–83.


  L

  Lakeview, 72–74.

  Lancaster, Mr. S. C., 138–139, 145, 150.

  Latourelle Falls, 149–150.

  Laytonville, 229–232.

  Little River, 236.

  Lost River, 76.


  M

  McCrays, 239–241.

  Madeline Plains, 68.

  Mariposa Grove, 251–253.

  Mendocino City, 234–235.

  Multnomah Falls, 146.


  O

  Oregon City, 168.

  Orick, 205.


  P

  Painted Desert, 298.

  Pais Creek Canyon, 175.

  Patrick’s Creek, 189.

  Petrified Forest, 294.

  Phoenix, 277–294.

  Placerville, 45–46.

  Portland, 154–161.

  Priest’s, 269.

  Putnam, George Palmer, 167.


  R

  Reno, 57–61.

  Requa, 202.

  Rogue River, 102–103, 179.

  Roosevelt Dam, 277–289.

  Roseburg, 175, 177.


  S

  Sacramento, 23–27, 44.

  Salem, 169–170.

  Sand Creek Canyon, 110.

  Santa Rosa Valley, 21, 241–242.

  Sequoia, 268.

  Shaniko, 121.

  Shepperd’s Dell, 148–149.

  Stockton, 272.

  Storm Crest Tunnel, 136.

  Sunday, Billy, 134.

  Susanville, 64–65.

  Sutter, Col. John H., 26.


  T

  Tahoe, Lake, 17, 23, 35–44, 71.

  Tallac, 38, 39.

  Trinidad, 206.

  Truckee, 35, 54.

  Tuolumne Grove, 265–267.

  Tygh Valley, 122, 123.


  V

  Vancouver, 159.


  W

  Waldo, 186.

  Wawona, 248, 253.

  Wellman, John W., 101.

  Westport, 232.

  Willamette Valley, 163–167.

  Winthrop, Theodore, 131.


  Y

  Yolo Trestle, 25.

  Yosemite Valley, 245–274.



Transcriber’s Notes


Punctuation, hyphenation, and spelling were made consistent when a
predominant preference was found in the original book; otherwise they
were not changed.

Simple typographical errors were corrected; unbalanced quotation
marks were remedied when the change was obvious, and otherwise left
unbalanced.

The index was not checked for proper alphabetization or correct page
references.

The illustration at the beginning of the book is the cover; the first
two illustrations on the Title Page are decorative; the third is the
publisher’s logo.

Page 215: “in his first essay” was misprinted as “in first his essay”;
corrected here.





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