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Guide to Tuolumne Meadows Trails (1960) by Allan Shields


Largest exposed granite area in the park, the slope of Clouds Rest gently glides to the floor of Tenaya Canyon, 4500 feet below. McCrary, NPS Largest exposed
granite area in
the park, the
slope of Clouds
Rest gently glides
to the floor of
Tenaya Canyon,
4500 feet below.
[click to enlarge]

    McCrary, NPS

XI. CLOUDS REST

(5-very strenuous all-day, climb 1800 ft., 14 miles).

Granite domes
surrounding
Tenaya Lake
make it one of
the most photo-
genic spots in
Yosemite.
[click to enlarge]

McCrary, NPS
Granite domes surrounding Tenaya Lake make it one of the most photogenic spots in Yosemite. McCrary, NPS

Seen from many vantage points in the region, one can experience an unsurpassed 360 panorama of most of Yosemite National Park from its summit. This fact alone makes the trip worthy of the effort involved. From here one can also look down the face of Half Dome into Yosemite Valley, and easily sweep the full distance of Tenaya Canyon, the largest exposed granite area in the Park. The slope of Clouds Rest, extending into the bottom of Tenaya Canyon 4500 ft. below your vantage point, is said to be one of the largest continuous rock slopes in the world.

Directions: Drive eight miles to the outlet of Lake Tenaya. Walk across the outlet. Immediately on your right is the start of the Forsyth Trail. Rarely travelled by animals, the trail becomes obscure in some places during wet seasons, or times of lush growth. Follow the trail until it branches, one leading left and down toward Little Yosemite and Yosemite Valley, the other to the right to Clouds Rest Summit. Return by the same route.

Special Features: This trail travels through a wide variety of habitats for trees, plants, and animals. Such variety means that you may expect to find most of the conifers, a great number of birds, and most of the wild flowers of the higher region. From the wettest meadows, to the parched south-facing slope of Clouds Rest Mountain, there range forests and open slopes in between those extremes.

Very soon after starting along the Forsyth Trail, you will be able to see Tenaya Canyon, and are near it all day long. No grander place can be imagined for viewing the power of water erosion and glacial activity.

Old Chief Tenaya (10, 1ff.) himself seems to speak again from the start to end of your trip, from the peak above the Lake (Tenaya Peak), from the lake, and from the canyon. On being captured, Chief Tenaya was brought into camp in the Valley, where he found that his youngest son had been killed by the soldiers in an unfortunate misjudgment. His tribe broken, his way of life lost forever, he is reported to have said to Captain Boling, in part:

“Kill me, sir Captain! . . . Yes, kill me, as you killed my son; as you would kill my people if they were to come to you! You would kill all my race if you had the power. Yes, sir, American, you can now tell your warriors to kill the old chief; you have made me sorrowful, my life dark; you have killed the child of my heart, why not kill the father? But wait a little; when I am dead I will call to my people to come to you. I will call louder than you have had me call, that they shall hear me in their sleep, and come to avenge the death of their chief and his son. Yes, sir, American, my spirit will make trouble for you and your people, as you have caused trouble to me and my people. With the wizards, I will follow the white men and make them fear me.” He here aroused himself to a sublime frenzy, and completed his rhapsody by saying: “You may kill me, sir Captain, but you shall not live in peace. I will follow in your footsteps, I will not leave my home, but be with the spirits among the rocks, the waterfalls, in the rivers, and in the winds; wheresoever you go I will be with you. You will not see me, but you will fear the spirit of the old chief, and grow cold. The great spirits have spoken! I am done.” (47, 172-173).



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