The most interesting peak of the Rubicon ridge is Cathedral. The mountain rises directly back of Emerald Bay, some three thousand feet above the Lake. About six hundred feet above the camp there is a meadow where larkspur grows four and five feet high. But from Eagle Creek the aspect is quite different. There are no soft contours. Huge rocks pile up—one great perpendicular surface adding five hundred feet to the height—into spires and domes for all the world like some vast cathedral which taunts the soul with its aloofness. If, on some sunshiny afternoon you look up from the camp and see a ghost-moon hanging, no more than a foot above the highest spire, you must surely be “citified” if you do not pause to drink in its weird sublimity and wild beauty.
Many winters of storm and snow have loosed the rocks and carried them down the mountain. Those thrown down years ago are moss-covered and have collected enough soil in their crevices to nourish underbrush and large trees. But there are bare rocks along Eagle Creek to-day large enough for a man to hew a cabin from. Standing in awe of their size one surely must look curiously up the mountain to find the spaces they once occupied. Then, taking in the size of the peak it is equally natural that one should be filled with a desire to climb it and look down the other side and across the vista to the neighboring ranges. While we were getting used to the altitude we stood below admiring. Every evening we went out on the wharf, gazed up at its grandeur and discussed the best way to go, for though we knew we should have to break our own trail, we had decided to attempt the climb. We set a day and the hour for rising; the night before laid out our tramping clothes and religiously went to bed at eight. I doubt if any of us slept, for we were used to later hours and excitement kept us awake.
As it was the first trip of the season, we lost some time at the start, admiring each others’ costumes. Two of us adhered to the regulation short skirt and bloomers, but the third girl wore trousers, poked into the top of her high boots. This proved, by far, the most satisfactory dress before the day’s tramping was done. We got started at four-thirty. The first awakened birds were twittering. The shadows of the moraine lay reflected in the unruffled surface of the Bay. Gradually rosy flushes showed in the east. By the time we reached the meadow the sun rose suddenly above the Nevada mountains and some of the chill went out of the atmosphere.
The meadow was flooded with snow-water. Beyond, the mountain rose by sheer steps of rock with slides of decomposed granite between. We avoided the under-brush as far as possible, preferring to take back and forth across the loose granite. The wind came up as we left the meadow, grew in force as we climbed. Some one suggested breakfast, and then there began a search for a sheltered