The Mountains of California eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 313 pages of information about The Mountains of California.
of these forest meadows is a lily—­L. parvum.  The flowers are orange-colored and quite small, the smallest I ever saw of the true lilies; but it is showy nevertheless, for it is seven to eight feet high and waves magnificent racemes of ten to twenty flowers or more over one’s head, while it stands out in the open ground with just enough of grass and other plants about it to make a fringe for its feet and show it off to best advantage.

A dry spot a little way back from the margin of a Silver Fir lily garden makes a glorious campground, especially where the slope is toward the east and opens a view of the distant peaks along the summit of the range.  The tall lilies are brought forward in all their glory by the light of your blazing camp-fire, relieved against the outer darkness, and the nearest of the trees with their whorled branches tower above you like larger lilies, and the sky seen through the garden opening seems one vast meadow of white lily stars.

In the morning everything is joyous and bright, the delicious purple of the dawn changes softly to daffodil yellow and white; while the sunbeams pouring through the passes between the peaks give a margin of gold to each of them.  Then the spires of the firs in the hollows of the middle region catch the glow, and your camp grove is filled with light.  The birds begin to stir, seeking sunny branches on the edge of the meadow for sun-baths after the cold night, and looking for their breakfasts, every one of them as fresh as a lily and as charmingly arrayed.  Innumerable insects begin to dance, the deer withdraw from the open glades and ridge-tops to their leafy hiding-places in the chaparral, the flowers open and straighten their petals as the dew vanishes, every pulse beats high, every life-cell rejoices, the very rocks seem to tingle with life, and God is felt brooding over everything great and small.

BIG TREE (Sequoia gigantea)

Between the heavy pine and Silver Fir belts we find the Big Tree, the king of all the conifers in the world, “the noblest of a noble race.”  It extends in a widely interrupted belt from a small grove on the middle fork of the American River to the head of Deer Creek, a distance of about 260 miles, the northern limit being near the thirty-ninth parallel, the southern a little below the thirty-sixth, and the elevation of the belt above the sea varies from about 5000 to 8000 feet.  From the American River grove to the forest on King’s River the species occurs only in small isolated groups so sparsely distributed along the belt that three of the gaps in it are from forty to sixty miles wide.  But from King’s River southward the Sequoia is not restricted to mere groves, but extends across the broad rugged basins of the Kaweah and Tule rivers in noble forests, a distance of nearly seventy miles, the continuity of this part of the belt being broken only by deep canons.  The Fresno, the largest of the northern groves, occupies

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The Mountains of California from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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