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ILLUSTRATED FROM PHOTOS BY THE AUTHOR
T WAS while camping in Yosemite that the inspiration came for a trip to the Tuolumne Big Meadows and Mount Lyell. As we lay stretched out on the top of Cloud's Rest one lazy afternoon,
looking far eastward to the crest of the Sierra Nevada, we could see that majestic cluster of peaks known as the Mount Lyell group, consisting of Lyell, McClure, Kellogg, and Florence, the lowest of which
(Copyright, 1899, by OVERLAND MONTHLY PUBLISHING CO. All rights reserved.)
tops twelve thousand feet. We were told of the vast forests, the mountain meadows, the glaciers, the cañons, the frozen lakes, and the wonderful view from the summit of the highest.
On the authority of those who have explored much in the Sierra, the outlook from Mount Lyell, particularly that southward, is for truly alpine grandeur, unsurpassed, with the possible exception of that from Mount Brewer, sixty miles beyond. There are higher peaks, it is true. Whitney, one hundred miles to the south, with its fifteen thousand feet, can be mounted on horseback, and the effect of its great altitude is to a degree lost in the uniform elevation of that whole plateau region. Shasta, four hundred miles north, is, on the other hand, lonely in its greatness, and lacks comparative heights.
We contemplated the trip for the latter part of July or August, which in ordinary
is as early as the snow permits; but years the unusual dryness of the past season (1898) made June a comfortable possibility. Leaving our team in the Yosemite,
we made the remainder of the trip, or as we felt, the trip proper, on foot. Our tramp took us a distance of ninety miles and from an elevation of four thousand feet to over thirteen thousand, an ascent by no means gradual.
In our quest for a pack-animal, we found ourselves thrown upon the tender mercies of the Valley stables, a popularlyconsidered licensed piracy in horse and mule flesh. However, our membership in the Sierra Club (an organization of mountain-lovers, with multiple good purposes of exploration, map-making, forest preservation, and the like), stood us in good stead and gave us a splendid pack-mule at much below the usual rate.
We left the Valley over the YosemitePoint Trail,-three thousand feet of climbing in the first four miles. The customary late start of a first day, consequent upon the solving of the intricacies of the "diamond hitch" and the arranging of the multitude of details about the camp, made it sundown when we reached Lake Tenaya, sixteen miles from Yosemite.