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Place Names of the High Sierra (1926)
by Francis P. Farquhar

[ A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, Y, & Z. ]


JACK MAIN CAÑON[Dardanelles]
“Some years ago I was discussing a trip I had made through Jack Main Cañon with Mr. C. H. Burt. Mr. Burt was then an old gentleman engaged in mining in Mariposa County. He told me that as a boy he had often herded sheep through Jack Main Cañon and volunteered the information that the cañon was named after an old sheep-herder who ranged sheep in that region whose name was Jack Means. Mr. Burt said that the name of the cañon as it appeared on the maps was incorrect; that all the early sheep and cattle men in that region called the cañon ‘Jack Means Cañon,’ and that the present name of the cañon was a corruption of that name.” (W. H. Spaulding, in S.C.B., 1925, XII:2, p. 126.)

“This was named after John Main, who ran sheep in this cañon for many years, starting in the early ’70s. He lived near what is now known as Warnerville on the old Warner grant.” (J. U. Wulf, Forest Supervisor, Stanislaus National Forest, in letter to District Forester, May 4, 1923.)

Named for Mrs. Jennie Ellis by her husband, S. L. N. Ellis, 1897. (Chester Versteeg, from S. L. N. Ellis.)

In 1915 the California State Legislature, in response to a proposal originating with the Sierra Club, appropriated $10,000 to be expended on construction of a trail from Yosemite to Mount Whitney, to be known as the John Muir Trail, in memory of one of California’s most famous citizens. In 1917 a second appropriation of $10,000 was made for continuing the work.

Selection of following route was made by State Engineer Wilbur F. McClure, after consulting with members of Sierra Club and U. S. Forest Service: Yosemite, Tenaya Lake, Tuolumne Meadows, Donohue Pass, Thousand Island Lake, Devils Postpile, Fish Creek, North Fork of Mono Creek, Bear Creek, Selden Pass, Blaney Meadows, Evolution Creek, Muir Pass, Grouse Meadow, Palisade Creek, Upper Basin of South Fork of Kings River, Pinchot Pass, Woods Creek, Rae Lake, Glen Pass, Bubbs Creek, Center Basin, Junction Pass, Tyndall Creek, Sandy Plateau, Crabtree Meadow, Mount Whitney.

Owing to difficulties on Palisade Creek, a temporary route was adopted from Grouse Meadow to Simpson Meadow; thence, via Granite Basin, to Kings River Cañon and Bubbs Creek.

Work was begun, August, 1915, under supervision of U. S. Forest Service field organization. Specifications: 30-inch minimum width, and 15 per cent maximum grade. Portions of trail already existed in passable condition, although rarely up to these specifications.

Construction done, 1915-1918: Blaney Meadows to Muir Pass, including suspension bridges across Piute Creek and South Fork of San Joaquin near Evolution Creek; Muir Pass to Grouse Meadow, including blasting of Barrier Rock; Grouse Meadow to Simpson Meadow, utilizing trail from Cartridge Creek to Simpson Meadow begun in 1914 with funds contributed by Sierra Club, Fresno County, and U. S. Forest Service; Bubbs Creek to Tyndall Creek, including junction and Shepherd passes, (supplemented by other funds). Some work was also done at Selden Pass, and on west side of Middle Fork of San Joaquin River near Mount Ritter.

The State Legislature made additional appropriations in 1919 and in 1921, but on both occasions the bills were vetoed by Governor Stephens. Again, in 1925, the Legislature appropriated $10,000, and this time the bill was signed by Governor Richardson with the following remarks: “While most of the population is interested in the roads for automobiles, it is good to know that we have a few citizens who are interested in the mountain trails and in visiting the wonderful and inaccessible places. I believe this appropriation will be of great worth.”

Meanwhile work has been done in improving and maintaining certain sections, partly by the U. S. Forest Service, and partly by donated funds.

S.C.B., 1915, IX:4, pp. 306-308; 1916 X:1, pp. 86-92; 1917, X:2, pp. 213-214, 221-225; 1918, X:3, pp. 330, 343-347. Farquhar: Northward Over the John Muir Trail, in S.C.B., 1920, XI:1, pp. 34-38.—Hutchinson: A New Link in the John Muir Trail, in S.C.B., 1923, XI:4, pp. 357-367.—Gleason, in Appalachia, November, 1920, XV:1, p. 36, and plates XII-XV.

The idea of a high mountain trail along the Sierra Nevada, close to the main crest, originated with Theodore S. Solomons. (A Search for a High Mountain Route from the Yosemite to the Kings River Cañon, in S.C.B., 1895, I:6, pp. 221-237.—See, also, S.C.B., 1896, I:7, pp. 287-288.) The search for the best route was later taken up by Joseph N. Le Conte, who established a route practically along the line of the John Muir Trail. (The High Mountain Route Between Yosemite and the Kings River Cañon, in S.C.B., 1909, VII:1, pp. 1-22.)

JOHNSON, MOUNT (12,850)[Mount Goddard]
In 1917, R. B. Marshall, U.S.G.S., named a peak northeast of Parker Pass (Mount Lyell Quadrangle), in memory of Willard D. Johnson. In this it was overlooked that there was already a Johnson Peak in the vicinity, named for another person several years before. It is therefore proposed, with Colonel Marshall’s assent, to transfer the name to a peak on the main crest near the mountains named for other distinguished members of the U. S. Geological Survey, Gilbert, Powell, Thompson, and Goode.

Willard D. Johnson (1861-1917), born at Brooklyn, New York; appointed assistant topographer U. S. Geological Survey, 1882; worked with Israel C. Russell in mapping Mono Lake region and adjacent Sierra Nevada, 1882-1883 (see Russell, in Fifth Annual Report of the U.S.G.S., for 1883-1884, and Eighth Annual Report of the U.S.G.S., for 1886-1887 climbed Mount Lyell and Mount Ritter and made first ascent of Banner Peak, 1883; in Colorado, 1888-1891; topographic work in gold belt, California, 1891-1894; appointed hydrographer, U.S.G.S., 1896; studied glacial features of eastern slope of Sierra Nevada, 1905-1907; visited Evolution Group with G. K. Gilbert, U.S.G.S., and E. C. Andrews, of New South Wales, and climbed Mount Darwin, 1903 (S.C.B., 1924, XII:1, pp. 88-90); studied earthquake faults near Lone Pine, 1909; transferred to U. S. Forest Service, 1913, but returned to U. S. Geological Survey. Owing to failing health, left very little published work. Published The Profile of Maturity in Alpine Glacial Erosion, in Journal of Geology, October-November, 1904, XII:7, pp. 569-578, under title of The Grade Profile in Alpine Glacial Erosion, reprinted, with changes, in S.C.B., 1905, V:4, pp. 271-278.

JOHNSON PEAK (11,000)[Mount Lyell]
Peak between Rafferty Creek and Unicorn Creek, named by R. B. Marshall, U.S.G.S., for a teamster with the survey party in the ’90s, who had been with Professor Davidson’s party at Mount Conness in 1890 and hence was particularly useful as a guide. (R. B. Marshall.)

J. O. PASS[Tehipite]
“About August, 1889, 1 crossed the pass with pack stock. Sheepmen and saddle stock had crossed before. Probably first used by sheepmen in 1875. 1 gave the name to the pass from initials cut on tree some years before by John Wesley Warren. He started to cut his name, ‘John,’ but cut only the first two letters. . . . These letters were never a record for any other sheepmen or herders to follow.” (S. L. N. Ellis, to Chester Versteeg.) Dave Carter told Versteeg that he was with Warren at the time, 1885.

There is also a story, which, in the light of this testimony, appears fictitious, that a Portuguese sheep-herder carved the initials as a sign by which his brother could follow him.

JORDAN, MOUNT (13,316)[Mount Whitney]
Peak on Kings-Kern Divide, south of Lake Reflection, named by Sierra Club, 1925, and ratified by U. S. Geographic Board, 1926.

David Starr Jordan, educator, foremost authority on fishes, advocate of international peace; born at Gainesville, N. Y., 1851; M.S., Cornell, 1872; M.D., Indiana Medical College, 1875; Ph.D., Butler, 1878; LL.D., Cornell, 1886, Johns Hopkins, 1902, University of California, 1913, and others; president, Indiana University, 1885-1891; president, Stanford University, 1891-1913; chancellor, 1913-1916; emeritus since 1916; author of many books and other publications.

In August, 1899, Dr. Jordan, with a party of Stanford associates, spent several weeks in the Bubbs Creek region of Kings River. On this occasion he explored and mapped Ouzel Creek, to which he gave its name, and climbed Mount Stanford. For a portion of the peak now named Mount Jordan he proposed the name Crag Reflection, but this was never adopted. (S.C.B., 1900, III:1, p. 109, and map; Kellogg: A Stanford Party in the Kings River Cañon, in Sunset, November, 1899; Jordan: The Kings River Cañon and the Alps of the Great Divide, in Sunset, April, 1900; Jordan: The Alps of the Kings-Kern Divide, in The Land of Sunshine, March, 1900, republished in book form, 1907; Jordan: The Days of a Man, 1922, Vol. I, pp. 650-655.)

“I feel much honored to be associated in any way with these great granite mountains, and also to get in line with my fellow evolutionists, Dana, Lyell, and the rest of them. I am sure that Agassiz would have been one of us if he had been born a little later or could have lived a little longer.” (Letter from David Starr Jordan, February 9, 1926.)

Probable first ascent, by Norman Clyde, July 15, 1925. (S.C.B., 1926, XII:3, p. 307.)

Named by S. L. N. Ellis for Miss Josephine Perkins. (Jim Barton.)

Named in 1881 by W. B. Wallace. (G. W. Stewart.)

JUNCTION PEAK (13,903)[Mount Whitney]
Named by J. N. Le Conte in 1896. It stands at the junction of the Kings-Kern Divide with the main Sierra Crest. (J. N. Le Conte.)

First ascent August 8, 1899, by Edwin Bingham Copeland and E. N. Henderson. (S.C.B., 1900, III:2, p. 172.)

JUNE LAKE[Mount Lyell]
The name appears in Israel C. Russell’s Quarternary History of Mono Valley, and is shown on the accompanying map by Willard D. Johnson. Eighth Annual Report of the U.S.G.S., for 1886-87, p. 343.)

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