Puslapio vaizdai

sugar-pine, and, though not half so tall, it constantly suggests its noble relative in the way that it extends its long arms, and in general habit. The mountain-pine is first met on the upper margin of the fir-belt, growing singly in a subdued, inconspicuous form, in what appear as chance situations, without making much impression on the general forest. Continuing up through the two-leaved pines in the same scattered growth, it begins to show its character, and


at an elevation of about ten thousand feet attains its noblest development near the middle of the range, tossing its tough arms in the frosty air, welcoming storms and feeding on them, and reaching the grand old age of a thousand years.




(Juniperus occidentalis.)

THE juniper is preeminently a rock-tree, occupying the baldest domes and pavements where there is scarce a handful of soil, at a height of from seven thousand to nine thousand five hundred feet. In such situations the trunk is frequently over eight feet in diameter, and not much more in height. The top is almost always dead in old trees, and great, stubborn limbs push out horizontally that are mostly broken and bare at the ends, but densely covered and imbedded here and there with bossy mounds of gray foliage. Some are mere weathered stumps, as broad as long, decorated with a few leafy sprays, reminding one of the crumbling towers of some ancient castle scantily draped with ivy. Only upon the head-waters of the Carson have I found this species established on good moraine soil. Here it flourishes with the silver and twoleaved pines, in great beauty and luxuriance, attaining a height of from forty to sixty feet,


and anxious, like stubborn wrestlers, to rise again..

and manifesting but little of that rocky angularity so characteristic a feature throughout the greater portion of its range.

Two of the largest, growing at the head of Hope Valley, measured twenty-nine feet three inches and twenty-five feet six inches in circumference, respectively, four feet from the ground.

The bark is bright cinnamon colored, and, in thrifty trees, beautifully braided and reticulated, flaking off in thin, lustrous ribbons, that are sometimes used by Indians for tent-matting.

Its fine color and odd picturesqueness always catch an artist's eye, but to me it seems a singularly dull and taciturn tree, never speaking to one's heart to excite love. I have spent many a day and night in its company, in all kinds of weather, and have ever found it silent, cold, and rigid like a column of ice. Its broad stumpiness, of course, precludes all possibility of waving, or even shaking; but it is not this rocky steadfastness that constitutes its silence. In calm sun-days the sugar-pine preaches the grandeur of the mountains like an apostle, without moving a leaf.

On level rocks it dies standing, and wastes insensibly out of existence like granite, the wind exerting about as little control over it, alive or dead, as it does over a glacier bowlder. All the trees of the alpine woods suffer, more or less, from avalanches, the two-leaved pine most of all. Gaps two or three hundred yards wide, extending from the upper limit of the treeline to the bottoms of valleys and lake-basins, are of common occurrence in all the upper forests, resembling the clearings of settlers in the old backwoods. Scarce a tree is spared, even the soil is scraped away, while the thousands. of uprooted pines and spruces are piled upon each other heads downward, and tucked snugly in along the sides of the clearing in two windrows, like lateral moraines. The pines lie with branches wilted and drooping like weeds. Not so the burly junipers. After braving the storms of perhaps a dozen centuries in silence, they seem in this, their last calamity, to become somewhat communicative, making sign of a very unwilling acceptance of their fate, holding themselves well up from the ground on knees and elbows, seemingly ill at ease,

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(Abies Williamsonii.)

THE Williamson spruce is the most singularly beautiful of all the California coniferæ. So slender is its axis at the top, that it bends over and droops like the stalk of a nodding lily. The branches droop also, and divide into innumerable slender, waving sprays, and are arranged in a varied, eloquent harmony that is wholly indescribable. Its cones are purple, and hang, free, in the form of little tassels from all the sprays from top to bottom. Though exquisitely delicate and feminine in expression, it grows best where the snow lies deepest, far up in the region of storms, at an elevation of from nine thousand to nine thousand five hundred feet, on frosty northern slopes; but it is capable of enduring the stormy exposure of alps considerably higher, say ten thousand five hundred feet-never attaining in such locations a greater height than fifty or sixty feet. The tallest specimens, growing in sheltered hollows somewhat beneath the heaviest wind-currents, are from eighty to a hundred feet high, and from two to four feet in diameter. The very largest specimen I ever found is nineteen feet seven inches in circumference, four feet from the ground, growing on the



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edge of Lake Hollow, at an elevation of not in the faintest degree heavy or bunchy, nine thousand two hundred and fifty feet towering in unassuming majesty, and in above the level of the sea. At the age of its drooping, satisfied habit seemingly untwenty or thirty years it becomes fruitful, affected with the aspiring tendencies of its and hangs out its lovely purple cones, about race, as if loving the ground while transtwo inches long, at the ends of the slender parently conscious of heaven and joyously sprays, where they swing free in the breeze, receptive of its blessings,-reaching out its and contrast delightfully with the cool, branches like sensitive tentacles, feeling the green foliage. They are translucent when light and reveling in it. Storm-enduring young, and their beauty is delicious. After strength combined with feminine beauty they are fully ripe, they spread their shell-this is the most interesting characteristic like scales and allow the brown-winged of the species. No other of our alpine seeds to fly in the mellow air, while the conifers approaches it in veiled power. Its empty cones remain to beautify the tree delicate branches yield to the mountains' until the coming of a fresh crop. gentlest breath; yet is it strong to meet the wildest onsets of the gale,-strong not in resistance, but compliance, bowing snowladen to the ground, gracefully accepting burial month after month in the darkness beneath the heavy mantle of winter.

The staminate cones of all the coniferæ are beautiful, growing in bright clusters yellow, and rose, and crimson. Those of the Williamson spruce are the most beautiful of all, forming little conelets of bluish flowers, each on a slender stem.

When the first soft snow begins to fall, the flakes lodge in the leaves, weighing down the branches against the trunk. Then the axis bends yet lower and lower, until the slender top touches the ground, thus forming a fine ornamental arch. The snow still falls lavishly, and the whole tree is at length buried, to sleep and rest in its beautiful grave as though dead. Entire groves of young trees, from ten to forty feet high, are thus buried every winter like slender grasses. But, like the violets and daisies which the heaviest snows crush not, they are safe; for this is only Nature's method of putting her darlings to winter sleep instead of leaving them exposed to the biting storms.

Thus warmly wrapped they await the sum

Under all conditions, sheltered or stormbeaten, well-fed or ill-fed, this tree is always singularly graceful in habit. Even at its highest limit upon exposed ridge-tops, though compelled to crouch in dense thickets, huddled close together as if for mutual protection, it still manages to throw out its sprays in irrepressible loveliness; while on well-ground moraine soil it develops a perfectly tropical luxuriance of foliage and fruit, and shows itself beyond question to be the very loveliest tree in the forest.

Now fancy you see this specimen at home on the mountain-side. It is seventy-five feet high, poised in thin white sunshine, clad with branches from head to foot, yet


mer resurrection. The snow becomes soft in the sunshine, and freezes at night, making the mass hard and compact like ice, so that during the months of April and May you might ride a horse over the prostrate groves without catching sight of a single leaf. length the down-pouring sunshine sets them free. First the elastic arches begin to appear, then one branch after another, each springing loose with a gentle rustling sound, and at length the whole tree, with the assistance of the winds, gradually unbends and settles back into its place in the warm airdry, and feathery, and fresh as young ferns just out of the coil.

Some of the finest groves I have yet found are on the southern slopes of Lassen's Butte. There are also many charming companies on the head-waters of the Tuolumne, Merced, and San Joaquin; and, in general, the species is so far from being rare that you can scarce fail to find groves of considerable extent in crossing the range, choose what pass you may. The mountain-pine grows beside it, and more frequently the twoleaved species; but there are many beautiful groups, numbering a thousand individuals or more, without a single intruder.

I wish I had space to write more of the surpassing beauty of this favorite spruce. Every tree-lover is sure to regard it with special admiration; apathetic mountaineers, even, seeking only game or gold, stop to gaze on first meeting it, and mutter to themselves: "That's a mighty pretty tree," some of them adding "d- -d pretty!" The little striped tamias, and the Douglas squirrel, and the Clark crow make a happy stir in autumn, when its cones are ripe. The deer love to lie down beneath its spreading branches; bright streams from the snow that is always near ripple through its groves, and bryanthus spreads precious carpets in its shade. But the best words only hint its peculiar beauty. Come to the mountains and see.


(Pinus albicaulis.)

THIS species forms the extreme edge of the timber-line throughout nearly the whole extent of the range on both flanks. It is first met growing in company with Pinus contorta, on the upper margin of the belt, as an erect tree from fifteen to thirty feet high and from one to two feet in thickness; hence it goes straggling up the flanks of the summit peaks, upon moraines or crumbling VOL. XXII.-73.

ledges, wherever it can gain a foot-hold, to an elevation of from ten thousand to twelve thousand feet, where it dwarfs to a mass of crumpled, prostrate branches, covered with slender, upright shoots, each tipped with a short, close-packed tassel of leaves. The bark is smooth and purplish, in some places almost white. The fertile cones grow in rigid clusters upon the upper branches, dark chocolate in color while young, and bear beautiful pearly seeds about the size of peas, most of which are eaten by two species of tamias and the notable Clark crow. The staminate cones occur in clusters, about an inch wide, down among the leaves, and, as they are colored bright rosepurple, they give rise to a lively, flowery appearance little looked for in such a tree.

Pines are commonly regarded as sky-loving trees that must necessarily aspire or die. This species forms a marked exception, creeping lowly, in compliance with the most rigorous demands of climate, yet enduring bravely to a more advanced age than many of its lofty relatives in the sun-lands below. Seen from a distance, it would never be taken for a tree of any kind. Yonder, for example, is Cathedral Peak, some three miles away, with a scattered growth of this pine creeping like mosses over the roof and around the beveled edges of the north gable, nowhere giving any hint of an ascending axis. When approached quite nearly it still appears matted and heathy, and is so low that one experiences no great difficulty in walking over the top of it. Yet it is seldom absolutely prostrate, the lowest usually attaining a height of three or four feet, with a main trunk, and branches outspread and intertangled above it, as if in ascending they had been checked by a ceiling, against which they had grown and been compelled to spread horizontally. The winter snow is indeed such a ceiling, lasting half the year; while the pressed shorn surface is made yet more complete by violent winds, armed with cutting sand-grains, that beat down any shoot that offers to rise much above the general level, and carve the dead trunks and branches in beautiful patterns.

I have oftentimes camped snugly beneath the low, interlacing arches of this little pine during stormy nights. The needles which accumulate for centuries make fine, wholesome beds, a fact well known to other mountaineers, such as deer and wild sheep, who paw out oval hollows, and lie beneath the larger trees in safe and comfortable concealment.

It is first met at an elevation of between

The longevity of this lowly dwarf is far greater than would be guessed. Here, for example, is a specimen, growing at an elevation of ten thousand seven hundred feet, which seems as though we might pluck it up by the roots, for it is only three and a half inches in diameter, and its topmost tassel is hardly three feet above the ground. Cutting it half through and counting the annual rings with the aid of a lens, we find its age to be no less than two hundred and fiftyfive years. Here is another telling specimen about the same height, four hundred and twenty-six years old, whose trunk is only six inches in diameter; and one of its supple branchlets, hardly an eighth of an inch in diameter inside the bark, is seventy-nine and ten thousand feet, and runs up to five years old, and so filled with oily balsam, eleven thousand without seeming to suffer and so well seasoned in storms, that we may greatly from the climate or the leanness of tie it in knots like a whip-cord. the soil. It is a much finer tree than its companion. Instead of growing in clumps. and low, heathy mats, it manages in some way to maintain an erect position, and usually stands single. Wherever the young trees are at all sheltered, they grow up straight and arrowy, with delicately tapered bole, and ascending branches terminated with glossy, bottle-brush tassels. At middle age, certain limbs are specialized and pushed far out for the bearing of cones, after the manner of the sugar-pine; and in old age these branches droop and cast about in every direction, giving rise to very picturesque effects. The trunk becomes deep brown and rough, like that of the mountain-pine, while the young cones are of a strange, dull, blackish-blue color, clustered on the upper branches. When ripe they are from three to four inches long, yellowish brown, resembling in every way those of Pinus monticola, to which this species is closely allied. Excepting the sugar-pine, no tree on the mountains is so capable of individual expression, while in grace of form and movement it constantly reminds one of Williamson spruce.

The largest specimen I measured was a little over five feet in diameter and ninety feet in height, but this is more than twice the ordinary size.

This species is common throughout the Rocky Mountains and most of the short ranges of the Great Basin.


(Pinus flexilis.)

THIS species is widely distributed throughout the Rocky Mountains, and over all the higher of the many ranges of the Great Basin, between the Wahsatch Mountains and the Sierra, where it is known as whitepine. In the Sierra it is sparsely scattered along the eastern flank, from Bloody Cañon southward nearly to the extremity of the range, opposite the village of Lone Pine, nowhere forming any appreciable portion of the general forest. From its peculiar position, in loose, straggling parties, it seems to have been derived from the Basin ranges to the eastward, where it is abundant.

This species has long been confounded with the Pinus albicaulis of Engelmann, though quite distinct. It is a larger treeunder favorable conditions, at an elevation of about nine thousand feet above the sea, often attaining a height of forty or fifty feet, and a diameter of from three to five feet. The cones open freely when ripe, and are twice as large as those of the albicaulis, and the foliage and branches are more open, the latter having a tendency to sweep out in free, wild curves, like those of the mountainpine, to which it is closely allied. It is seldom found lower than nine thousand feet above sea-level, but from this elevation it pushes upward over the roughest ledges to the extreme limit of tree-growth, where, in its dwarfed, storm-crushed condition, it is more likely to be mistaken for its companion, Pinus albicaulis.

Throughout Utah and Nevada it is one of the principal timber-trees, great quantities of it being cut every year for the mines. The famous White Pine Mining District, White Pine City, and the White Pine Mountains have derived their names from it.

Pinus aristata.

This species is restricted to the southern portion of the range, about the head-waters of Kings and Kern rivers, where it forms extensive forests, and in some places accompanies the dwarf-pine to the extreme limit of tree-growth.


(Pinus Fremontiana.)

THE nut-pine covers, or rather dots, the eastern slopes of the Sierra, to which it is

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