The Yosemite Guide-Book (1869)

Nov 1, 2013 by

yosemite guidebookThe Yosemite Guide-Book: description of the Yosemite Valley and the adjacent region of the Sierra Nevada, and of the big trees of California by J.D. Whitney was originally published in  1869. This is fascinating find most especially of course if you are someone who love Yosemite National Park.   There is much information in this volume that is not easily found anywhere else.  Enjoy!

a few lines from the book:

“The next prominent object, in going up the Valley, is the triple group of rocks known as the Three Brothers. These rise in steps one behind the other, the highest being 3,830 feet above the Valley. From the summit of this, there is a superb view of the Valley and its surroundings. The peculiar outline of these rocks, as seen from below, resembling three frogs sitting with their heads turned in one direction, is supposed to have suggested the Indian name PomiDompasus, which means, we are informed, ” Leaping Frog Rocks.”

Nearly opposite the Three Brothers is a point of rocks projecting into the Valley, the termination of which is a slender mass of granite, having something the shape of an obelisk, and called, from its peculiar position, or from its resemblance to a gigantic watch-tower, the “Sentinel Rock.” Its form may be seen in Fig. 3, which was taken from a point on the Merced somewhat farther down *the Valley.

The obelisk form of the Sentinel continues down for a thousand feet or more from its summit ; below that it is united with the wall of the Valley. Its entire height above the river at its base is 3,043 feet. This is one of the grandest masses of rock in the Yosemite. From near the foot of Sentinel Rock, looking directly across the Valley, we have before us what probably most persons will admit to be, if not the most stupendous, at least the most attractive feature of the Yosemite ; namely, ” the Yosemite Fall ” par excellence, that one of all the falls about the Valley which is best entitled to bear that name.

The woodcut, Plate I, was taken among a group of oaks near the Lower Hotel, a point of view directly in front, and from which the various parts seem most thoroughly to be blended into one whole of surprising attractiveness. Even the finest photograph is, however, utterly inadequate to convey to the mind any satisfactory impression or realization of how many of the elements of grandeur and beauty are combined in this waterfall and its surroundings and accessories. The first and most impressive of these elements is, as in all other objects about the Yosemite, vertical height. In this it surpasses, it is believed, any waterfall…”


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