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

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VEGETATION.

The bottom is covered with a luxuriant growth of grass, and the greater part of its surface is a beautiful prairie. Trees and bushes abound near the streams. The timber consists of deciduous oaks, evergreen oaks, pitch pine, sugar pine, willow and cottonwood. The bushes are of many different varieties. The wild strawberry vines and raspberry, thimbleberry, blackberry and gooseberry bushes are abundant. The manzanita is not found in the bottom, but grows on the talus and in the mountains. The pasture is good. Previous to 1864, herds of cattle and sheep were driven into the valley every summer, but they are not admitted now.

The sun is visible about three hours in December and eight hours in June. There are large areas which the sunlight does not strike at all in the winter, and for only a couple of hours daily in summer. The vegetation is a month earlier along the northern than along the southern wall.

Rains visit the valley every summer, but seldom last more than a day. In winter there are terrific thunder storms.

There are deer in the mountains, and many robins and a few quail in the valley. Trout are abundant in some of the streams, but they are very shy of the hook. The Indians catch them in traps, and frequently supply travelers at twenty-five cents per pound. Ground squirrels, ants and mosquitos are very numerous; the last, fortunately give no trouble at night, and for some unexplained reason, are not found within an area of several hundred acres near Hutchings’ Hotel.


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