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

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HINTS TO TOURISTS.

A party intending to go to Yosemite should make special preparation. Those who do not know how to ride should learn; those who know should take a ride every day for a week before starting, so as to be hardened to the saddle. The trip is a hard one, and it can be a very uncomfortable one for those who do not undertake it in the right manner. Both men and women need heavy, thick-soled, calf-skin boots, leather gloves, and stout dress of cheap material, The boots should be well greased with linseed oil thickened with beeswax, as a protection against the water with which the grass is filled every night by the dew. Men who intend to remain long or to climb about much should have duck trowsers. The shirts should be of flannel. Coats are unnecessary. Every lady should have a bloomer dress, or at least a pair of blue drilling pants, and should have the company either of a husband or of another lady. Many ladies ride astride in and near the Valley, and they find it much more comfortable. There is no laundry or laundress at Yosemite, and every tourist washes his own clothes, that is, if they are washed there at all. Ladies who clamber about much usually find their clothes fit only for throwing away by the time they reach Coulterville or Mariposa, and it is well to take a suit that can be thrown away. Clothing should be carried to Coulterville or Mariposa, in a trunk or valise, which can be left there until the return.

Most of the tourists who go from San Francisco stop at one of the hotels, but those from the interior of the State generally camp out, and there are decided advantages in being independent. If the party stay long in the valley, the expenses are less; and there is a great convenience in being able to stop at points remote from the hotel, so as to go further the next day. No tent is necessary; the night air is not dangerous, and abundant protection against the dew can be found under the trees. It is easy to make brush huts if needed. Campers should have a pair of blankets apiece, tin plates and cups, knives, forks, and spoons, a tin bucket or pot, suitable for making coffee or tea, a frying-pan and gridiron, and provisions suited to their tastes. Canned fruits and meats are prized at such times. Trout can frequently be bought of the Indians, and deer meat of hunters, at very moderate prices.

The traveller from San Francisco starts at 4 o’clock in the afternoon on the Stockton boat; reaches Stockton about 3 a.m., and remains on board till 6 o’clock, when he takes the stage for Coulterville or Bear Valley, and arrives there about 8 p.m. The next day he takes horse, and if he starts from Coulterville, rides seventeen miles to Black’s, and the next day rides into the valley, forty miles. A stage starts for Coulterville every day, but only every other day for Mariposa, so the tourist must inquire for the day if he prefers that route. Sometimes the stage runs through to Mariposa on one day, but usually stops at Bear Valley or Hornitos. It is necessary to make inquiry upon this point. From Mariposa, the traveller gets through in two days on horseback. The expense of the trip, at the very lowest, is eighty dollars, but no one should start with less than one hundred dollars for a three days’ stay in the valley, and at least five dollars must he estimated for every additional day—three dollars for board and two dollars for the horse. The steamboat fare is seven dollars; the stage to Coulterville or Bear Valley, including meals, eleven dollars; supper, lodging, and breakfast, at Coulterville, one dollar and a half or two dollars; same at Black’s, two dollars; horse, two or three dollars per day, according to circumstances, such as scarcity and quality of horses and length of stay; and guide, five dollars per day, including his horse. His board in the valley, like that of everybody else, costs three dollars per day. The larger the party, the less the expense of the guide to each. The horses are picketed out in the valley and their food costs nothing, The guide takes care of the horses and is a general servant, but his services are hardly necessary, if the men of the party are able to take care of the horses properly. The trail is so plain that there is little danger of losing it; and, in fact, it can scarcely be lost by keeping to the right after leaving Black’s on the Coulterville route, or to the left after leaving Clarkrsquo;s on the Mariposa side. The safe plan, however, is to take a guide.

It is a common practice with tourists to enter the valley by the Coulterville route and to leave it by the Mariposa trail. On the former they see Bower Cave; on the latter, they got the general view of the valley from Komah and Inspiration Points, and they can also visit the Mariposa Grove. At Mariposa, they can either take the stage to Stockton, or ride across to Coulterville by way of Bear Valley. Near the latter place are the celebrated quartz mills of the Fremont estate, and these are well worth a visit. The distance by the road from Mariposa to Coulterville is twenty-two miles.


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