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Yosemite: Its Wonders and Its Beauties (1868) by John S. Hittell

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BOWER CAVE.

Leaving Coulterville we mount, and canter off to the eastward, along a plain wagon road leading up over a mountain. The ascent is a gentle slope in some places, and a steep one in others. Upon reaching the summit, we find ourselves on a pleasant table land, with an abundart growth of green grass and fine timber. The landscape is in remarkable contrast with the dry, brown plains and low hills over which we rode yesterday. There are neat farm-houses and good fences. The landscape would not be recognized as Californian, except by those who have seen it, so different is it from the typical scenery of the State. We pass several houses and sawmills, and ten miles from Coulterville we reach Marble Springs, near which is Bower Cave. We dismount and go down into the cave, about one hundred and time feet deep from the surface to the surface of the water, which is, in places, forty feet deep. The water is so clear that the bottom can be seen in the deepest spots, and it is very cold. The cave is a crevice one hundred and thirty-three feet long and eighty-five feet wide at the widest, with a slope of about sixty degrees to the horizon. About forty feet from the surface there are three large maple trees which reach up to the mouth of the cave, and give it a singular appearance. We can go to the bottom of the cave with the help of some ladders, and there we find a boat, in which we can row a little for the sake of variety. There are no fine stalactites, stalagmites, crystals, or extensive chambers, and we soon return to the surface and continue our journey. After riding six miles, we reach Blacks Hotel at Bull Creek, and here we stop for the day. We have had a wagon road all the way to Black’s, and might have ridden in a stage from Coulterville, but it is better to come on horseback, so as to be prepared for to-morrow’s ride.


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