Here, on the right, is a tiny swinging foot-bridge over the river. This is the beginning, the suggestion, for the vast suspension bridges that have allowed the world to cross the great North River from New York to Brooklyn, and that span great rivers and gorges elsewhere in the world. Nay! scarcely the beginning. That you find further up and deeper down in the High Sierras and their shaded and wooded canyons, where wild vines throw their clinging tendrils across from one shore to another of foaming creeks, and gradually grow in girth and strength until they form bridges, over which chipmunks, squirrels, porcupines, ’coons, coyotes, and finally mountain lions, bears, and even men cross with safety. There is the real origin of the suspension bridge. But this is a miniature, a model, a suggestion of the big bridges. It affords ready access to the house on the other side. In winter, however, the boards are taken up, as the heavy snows that fall and accumulate might wreck it.
It is hard to realize that, a few months from now, when winter begins, this railroad must perforce cease its operations. Snow falls, here, where the sun is now smiling so beneficently upon laughing meadows, dotted here and there with dainty flowers, to a depth of ten and even twenty feet. The mail—necessarily much reduced in winter—is first of all carried in sleighs, then, as the snows deepen, on snow-shoes, so that those who stay to preserve the “summer hotels” from winter’s ravages may not feel entirely shut out from the living world beyond.
But there is nothing that suggests snow now. We are enjoying the delights of a summer day or evening, and know that we are near our journey’s end. Suddenly there is a long call of the whistle, a short curve, and if in the daytime, the Lake suddenly appears, or, if at night, the lights of the Tavern, and our rail journey is done. We are deposited in Fairyland, for whether it be day or evening, the Lake or the Tavern, our senses are thrilled and charmed by everything that appears.
THE WISHBONE AUTOMOBILE ROUTE TO AND AROUND LAKE TAHOE
This is the name given to the 260-mile automobile route to and from Lake Tahoe, going in from Sacramento over the world-famed Emigrant Gap and Donner Lake road, around the western shore of Lake Tahoe, from Tahoe Tavern to Tallac, and thence back to Sacramento over the historic and picturesque Placerville road. While both of the two main arms of the “wishbone” carry the traveler over the Sierras, the roads are wonderfully different. On the Emigrant Gap arm the road seems to have been engineered somewhat after the Indian fashion, viz., to allow the wildest and most expansive outlooks, while the Placerville route is largely confined to the picturesque and beautiful canyon of the South Fork of the American River. Both have honored histories and both are fascinating from the scenic standpoint and the difference in the two routes merely accentuates the charm of the trip, when compared with the new portion of the road, the connecting link that binds them together and now makes possible the ride around the lake shore. Experience has demonstrated, however, that it is better to make the circuit as herein outlined.