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The Old Stagedriver’s Yosemite Yarns (1962) by Laurence Degnan and Douglass Hubbard


THE RATTLESNAKE TREE

Rattlesnake Tree
[click to enlarge]

STAGECOACH DRIVERS were a breed all to themselves. Most were gentle and polite but tough as whang-leather. And some of the best story tellers the world has ever known were included in their numbers. Matter of fact, they took pride in tryin’ to outdo one another in tellin’ the biggest lie. They were so sincere in tellin’ these lies that more often than not their passengers swallered them, hook, line and sinker.

“One favorite story centered around a big old tree which stood up on the Wawona Road near the old Eleven Mile Change Station, not far from what we call Chinquapin today. This old tree had a clump of branches up near the top, and a squirrel had made its nest there. The tree had been hit by lightening, and this left a wide, spiral gosh around it, from top to bottom. Usually a tourist, often the one riding in the shotgun seat beside the driver, would ask what caused the peculiar groove. That was what the drivers would be waitin’ for, and they would explain with much arm wavin’ how for years a couple of old rattlesnakes had had a nest up in the top of the tree and that they had worn the groove carryin’ food up to their little ones!”



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Online Library: Title Author California Geology History Indians Muir Mountaineering Nature Management

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