In Chapter VIII an idea is given of the movements of the great glaciers that formed Desolation Valley and all the nearby lakes, as well as Glen Alpine basin. These gigantic ice-sheets, with their firmly-wedged carving blocks of granite, moved over the Heather Lake Pass, gouging out that lake, and Susie Lake, in its onward march, and then, added to by glacial flows from Cracked Crag, the southern slopes of the Tallac range, and the Angora Peaks, it passed on and down, shaping this interestingly rugged, wild and picturesque basin as we find it to-day. How many centuries of cutting and gouging, beveling and grooving were required to accomplish this, who can tell? Never resting, never halting, ever moving, irresistibly cutting, carving, grinding and demolishing, it carried away its millions of millions of tons of rocky debris in bowlders, pebbles, sand and mud, and thus helped make the gigantic moraines of Fallen Leaf Lake. The ice-flow itself passed along over where the terminal moraine now stands, cutting out Fallen Leaf Lake basin in its movement, and finally rested in the vast bowl of Lake Tahoe.
To the careful student every foot of Glen Alpine basin is worthy of study, and he who desires to further the cause of science will do well to make a map of his observations, recording the direction, appearance, depth, length and width of all the glacial markings he discovers. On the U.S. Government maps the stream flowing through Glen Alpine basin is marked as Eau Claire Creek. To the proprietors of Glen Alpine, and the visitors, the French name is absurd and out of place. No Frenchman has ever resided here, and if it was desired to call it Clear Water Creek, why not use good, understandable, common-sense English. At the request of those most intimately concerned, therefore, the name has been changed on the map that accompanies this volume, to Glen Alpine Creek, a name that “belongs” and to which no one can possibly have any objection.
FALLEN LEAF LAKE AND ITS RESORTS
Fallen Leaf Lake is a noble body of water, three and a half miles long and about one mile across. Why it is called Fallen Leaf is fully explained in the chapter on Indian Legends. Some people have thought it was named from its shape, but this cannot be, for, from the summit of Mt. Tallac, every one instantly notices its resemblance to the imprint of a human foot. It is shaped more like a cork-sole, as if cut out of the solid rock, filled up with a rich indigo-blue fluid, and then made extra beautiful and secluded with a rich tree and plant growth on every slope that surrounds it.
The color of the water is as richly blue as is Tahoe itself, and there is the same suggestion of an emerald ring around it, as in the larger Lake, though this ring is neither so wide nor so highly colored.
In elevation it is some 80 feet above Lake Tahoe, thus giving it an altitude of 6300 feet.