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Tenaya Lake, Yosemite National Park

The Moon is Waxing Gibbous (92% of Full)



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avatar Guidebooks
April 03, 2009 06:43AM
Bee has mentioned guidebooks several times. I have yet to find the perfect guidebook. However, when I search the forum, I cannot find a thread dedicated to guidebooks.

Some may be interested in this very old guide from the Yosemite History site (Dan Anderson)

Yosemite: Its Wonders and Its Beauties (1868) by John S. Hittell


What are these places (answers in guide, although kahchoomah is ambiguous name now):

Kahchoomah Rock
Toloolewack Fall

A party intending to go to Yosemite should make special preparation. Those who do not know how to ride should learn; those who know should take a ride every day for a week before starting, so as to be hardened to the saddle. The trip is a hard one, and it can be a very uncomfortable one for those who do not undertake it in the right manner. Both men and women need heavy, thick-soled, calf-skin boots, leather gloves, and stout dress of cheap material, The boots should be well greased with linseed oil thickened with beeswax, as a protection against the water with which the grass is filled every night by the dew. Men who intend to remain long or to climb about much should have duck trowsers. The shirts should be of flannel. Coats are unnecessary. Every lady should have a bloomer dress, or at least a pair of blue drilling pants, and should have the company either of a husband or of another lady. Many ladies ride astride in and near the Valley, and they find it much more comfortable. There is no laundry or laundress at Yosemite, and every tourist washes his own clothes, that is, if they are washed there at all. Ladies who clamber about much usually find their clothes fit only for throwing away by the time they reach Coulterville or Mariposa, and it is well to take a suit that can be thrown away. Clothing should be carried to Coulterville or Mariposa, in a trunk or valise, which can be left there until the return.
Most of the tourists who go from San Francisco stop at one of the hotels, but those from the interior of the State generally camp out, and there are decided advantages in being independent. If the party stay long in the valley, the expenses are less; and there is a great convenience in being able to stop at points remote from the hotel, so as to go further the next day. No tent is necessary; the night air is not dangerous, and abundant protection against the dew can be found under the trees. It is easy to make brush huts if needed. Campers should have a pair of blankets apiece, tin plates and cups, knives, forks, and spoons, a tin bucket or pot, suitable for making coffee or tea, a frying-pan and gridiron, and provisions suited to their tastes. Canned fruits and meats are prized at such times. Trout can frequently be bought of the Indians, and deer meat of hunters, at very moderate prices.
The traveller from San Francisco starts at 4 o’clock in the afternoon on the Stockton boat; reaches Stockton about 3 a.m., and remains on board till 6 o’clock, when he takes the stage for Coulterville or Bear Valley, and arrives there about 8 p.m. The next day he takes horse, and if he starts from Coulterville, rides seventeen miles to Black’s, and the next day rides into the valley, forty miles. A stage starts for Coulterville every day, but only every other day for Mariposa, so the tourist must inquire for the day if he prefers that route. Sometimes the stage runs through to Mariposa on one day, but usually stops at Bear Valley or Hornitos. It is necessary to make inquiry upon this point. From Mariposa, the traveller gets through in two days on horseback. The expense of the trip, at the very lowest, is eighty dollars, but no one should start with less than one hundred dollars for a three days’ stay in the valley, and at least five dollars must he estimated for every additional day—three dollars for board and two dollars for the horse. The steamboat fare is seven dollars; the stage to Coulterville or Bear Valley, including meals, eleven dollars; supper, lodging, and breakfast, at Coulterville, one dollar and a half or two dollars; same at Black’s, two dollars; horse, two or three dollars per day, according to circumstances, such as scarcity and quality of horses and length of stay; and guide, five dollars per day, including his horse. His board in the valley, like that of everybody else, costs three dollars per day. The larger the party, the less the expense of the guide to each. The horses are picketed out in the valley and their food costs nothing, The guide takes care of the horses and is a general servant, but his services are hardly necessary, if the men of the party are able to take care of the horses properly. The trail is so plain that there is little danger of losing it; and, in fact, it can scarcely be lost by keeping to the right after leaving Black’s on the Coulterville route, or to the left after leaving Clarkrsquo;s on the Mariposa side. The safe plan, however, is to take a guide.
It is a common practice with tourists to enter the valley by the Coulterville route and to leave it by the Mariposa trail. On the former they see Bower Cave; on the latter, they got the general view of the valley from Komah and Inspiration Points, and they can also visit the Mariposa Grove. At Mariposa, they can either take the stage to Stockton, or ride across to Coulterville by way of Bear Valley. Near the latter place are the celebrated quartz mills of the Fremont estate, and these are well worth a visit. The distance by the road from Mariposa to Coulterville is twenty-two miles. "

The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
Re: Guidebooks
April 03, 2009 11:58AM
Thanks for posting this.

Local history in the Motherlode is of interest to me.

Also, the photographs in the book are by Muybridge! He is a very famous photographer.

In the quote, Hittell describes the adventure (some would say ordeal) that visitors had to go through to get to Yosemite. Visitors needed to bring some clothes to be destroyed en route!

Some of the places mentioned still exist.

Coulterville is a small town. It's worth a visit to the Hotel Jeffery. (They used to have very good prime rib dinners on Fridays. They probably still do.) The decor is Victorian. It's very interesting.

Not sure what "Black's" was. Sounds like a trading post. Perhaps this is what is now Buck Meadows?

They mention the trail having sawmills. Groveland was probably one of the places that was not named. It used to have a prominent sawmill.

Bower Cave is still there. I've seen it. There aren't any boats there. I wonder if this is an exaggeration. There were platforms in the cave that were used as a restaurant and dance floor. It was a place for weddings, hence the name. You can visit the cave, but you need to make arrangements with the Groveland Ranger Station. It is on "Old 120" which is the old stagecoach road.

There is a lot of interesting history in the area.
avatar Re: Guidebooks
April 03, 2009 04:26PM
RobE wrote:

> Some of the places mentioned still exist.
> Coulterville is a small town. It's worth a visit to the Hotel
> Jeffery. (They used to have very good prime rib dinners on
> Fridays. They probably still do.) The decor is Victorian.
> It's very interesting.
> Not sure what "Black's" was. Sounds like a trading post.
> Perhaps this is what is now Buck Meadows?
> .
I too am interested in history (probably because I am getting old enough to have lived through some of it). A preliminary search on Google with Black's in quotes brought up the following information. The Black's Hotel appears to be in the park, so probably it was the mine that was the layover.

Black's Hotel (also known as Lower Hotel)
from NPS website:
"When one considers that the Yosemite Valley is to-day famed the world over, he finds it difficult to realize that it has been known scarcely more than 50 years. The valley was discovered in 1851, when a detachment of mounted volunteers under Capt. John Boling, in an effort to put an end to the depredations of the Indians that infested the region, pursued them to their mountain stronghold. The tales the soldiers brought hack of the marvelous scenery of the valley induced J. M. Hutchings, who was then gathering data on California scenery, to organize in 1855 an exploratory expedition to the Yosemite Valley. The next year a trail was opened across the mountains from Mariposa and the regular tourist travel may be said to have begun. That year also the first house in the valley (just below the Sentinel Fall) was built, the same house that subsequently be came known as Black's Hotel.
For many years all goods taken into the Yosemite region were carried by pack mules 50 miles over rough mountain trails from Mariposa or from Coulterville. It. was not until 1874 that the first wagon roads were completed. The tourist travel then increased by leaps and bounds. The stage traffic, which at first was small, soon became a vast, well-organized business. Indeed, the Yosemite stages, especially to those who visited the valley during the decade preceding 1906, the year the railroad was constructed, are likely ever to remain prominent in mind as one of the features that added picturesqueness and pleasure—though often also weariness—to the excursion."

Reference also to:
Black's Mine nr Coulterville, Mariposa Co.

The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Guidebooks
April 03, 2009 10:06PM
(shamelessly trying to keep my thread alive)

On the subject of "Best Guidebook", I think based on the formula

value = (information/weight) X 1/cost ,

the Yosemite Association "Guide to Yosemite High Sierra Trails" folded map-guide is the best.

The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Guidebooks
April 03, 2009 11:47PM
I should be more supportive of your thread, FF, but now I am so caught up in the the prose of John Muir, that my mind is completely useless to think on its own at this point....!

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