Monday, March 22, 2010

Retracing History

Inspired my John Muir's writing, Kona and I set out to the Creek. Today, we retraced the steps of the man who set the spiritual fire of the conservation movement.

Here are Mr. Muir's words, written in the 1918 book, Steep Trail. He talks first about our backyard mountain range, then takes us up the Creek as he saw it so many years ago.

In the mountains of San Gabriel, overlooking the lowland vines and fruit groves, Mother Nature is most ruggedly, thornily savage. Not even in the Sierra have I ever made the acquaintance of mountains more rigidly inaccessible. The slopes are exceptionally steep and insecure to the foot of the explorer, however great his strength or skill may be,

but thorny chaparral constitutes their chief defense. With the exception of little park and garden spots not visible in comprehensive views, the entire surface is covered with it, from the highest peaks to the plain. It swoops into every hollow and swells over every ridge, gracefully complying with the varied topography, in shaggy, ungovernable exuberance, fairly dwarfing the utmost efforts of human culture out of sight and mind.

On the first day of my excursion I went only as far as the mouth of [the Creek],

[The next day,] Half an hour’s easy rambling up the canyon brought me to the foot of “The Fall,” famous throughout the valley settlements as the finest yet discovered in the range.

It is a charming little thing, with a voice sweet as a songbird’s, leaping some thirty-five or forty feet into a round, mirror pool. The cliff back of it and on both sides is completely covered with thick, furry mosses, and the white fall shines against the green like a silver instrument in a velvet case. Here come the Gabriel lads and lassies from the commonplace orange groves, to make love and gather ferns and dabble away their hot holidays in the cool pool. They are fortunate in finding so fresh a retreat so near their homes. It is the Yosemite of San Gabriel. The walls, though not of the true Yosemite type either in form or sculpture, rise to a height of nearly two thousand feet. Ferns are abundant on all the rocks within reach of the spray, and picturesque maples and sycamores spread a grateful shade over a rich profusion of wild flowers that grow among the boulders, from the edge of the pool a mile or more down the dell-like bottom of the valley, the whole forming a charming little poem of wildness — the vestibule of these shaggy mountain temples.


Sara said...

What a cool post. I love how your photos match Muir's words perfectly. And I really loved listening to the sound of that waterfall. Awesome.

I don't think I've ever read much by John Muir, but I have visited Muir Woods. Spectacular.

Sam said...

Wow, that's beautiful! I've never heard of John Muir, but it appears I'm missing out.

That looks like such a beautiful place to go. Just the sound of your breath, your dog's collar tags, and the waterfall - no people. I'm imagining it now and it is spectacular!

Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart said...

Love the waterfall.