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Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet epub free

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 changeful beauty.

Our excuse for a third visit to Yosemite was chiefly that we wanted to go 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 not uncommon. 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 a 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 carburetor on this particular car will not work satisfactorily at an elevation of seven thousand feet.

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.

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.

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