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starvation, and with a fresh supply of the currency set out for Mariposa. At Clark's I learned that our man had camped there about noon on the day he left us, turned his horse and mule loose, instead of picketing them, and spent the rest of the sunlight in a siesta. When he arose, his animals were undiscoverable. He accordingly borrowed Clark's only horse to go in search of them, and the generous hermit had not seen him since.
Carrying these pleasant bits of intelligence, I resumed my way toward the settlements. Coming by the steam saw-mill, I recognized Vance's steed grazing by the way-side, threw my lariat over his head, and led him in triumph to Mariposa. There I arrived at eight in the evening of the day I left the Valley,— having performed fifty miles of the hardest mountain trail that was ever travelled in a little less than twelve hours, making allowance for our halt and noon-feed at Clark's. If ever a California horse was tried, it was mine on that occasion; and he came into Mariposa on the full gallop, scarcely wet, and not galled or jaded in the least.
Here I found our mule, whose obstinate memory had carried him home to his old stable,—also the remaining events in Vance's brief, but brilliant career. That ornament of the Utah and Yo-Semite expeditions had entered Mariposa on Clark's horse,—lost our eighty golden dollars at a single session of bluff, departed gayly for Coulterville, where he sold Clark's horse at auction for forty dollars, including saddle and bridle, and immediately at another game of bluff lost the entire purchase-money to the happy buyer (Clark got his horse again on proving title), — and finally vanished for parts unknown, with nothing in his pocket but buttons, or in his memory but villainies. Nowhere out of California or old Spain can there exist such a modern survivor of the days of Gil Bias!
Too happy in the recovery of Clark's and our own animals to waste time in hue and cry, I loaded my two reclaimed pack-beasts with all that our commissariat needed,—nooned at Clark's, on my way back, the third day after leaving the Valley for Mariposa, and that same night was among my rejoicing comrades at the head of the great Yo-Semite. That afternoon they had come to the bottom of the flourbag, after living for three days on unleavened slapjacks without either butter or sirup. I have seen people who professed to relish the Jewish Passoverbread; but, after such an experience as our party's, I venture to say they would have regarded it worthy of a place among the other abolished types of the Mosaic dispensation. As for me and the mule, we felt our hearts swell within us as if we had come to raise the siege of Leyden. In that same enthusiasm shared our artists, savans, and gentlemen, embracing the shaggy neck of the mule as he had been a brother what time they realized that his panniers were full. Can any one wonder at my early words, " A slapjack may be the last plank between the woodsman and starvation?"
Just before I started after supplies, our party moved its camp to a position five miles up the Valley beyond Camp Rattlesnake, in a beautiful grove of oaks and cedars, close upon the most sinuous part of the Merced margin, with rich pasture for our animals immediately across the stream, and the loftiest cataract in the world roaring over the bleak precipice opposite. This is the Yo-Semite Fall proper, or, in the Indian,
'< Cho-looke." By the most recent geological surveys this fall is credited with the astounding height of twenty-eight hundred feet. At an. early period the entire mass of water must have plunged that distance without break. At this day a single ledge of slant projection changes the headlong flood from cataract to rapids for about four hundred feet; but the unbroken upper fall is fifteen hundred feet, and the lower thirteen hundred. In the spring and early summer no more magnificent sight can be imagined than the tourist obtains from a stand-point right in the midst of the spray, driven, as by a wind blowing thirty miles an hour, from the thundering basin of the lower fall. At all seasons Cho-looke is the grandest mountain-waterfall in the known world.
While I am speaking of waterfalls, let me not omit "Po-ho-no," or " The Bridal Veil," which was passed on the southern side in our way to the second and about a mile above the first camp. As Tis-sa-ack was a good, so is Po-ho-n6 an evil spirit of the Indian mythology. This tradition is scientifically accounted for, in the fact that many Indians have been carried over the fall by the tremendous current both of wind and water forever rushing down a canon through which the stream breaks from its feeding-lake twelve or fifteen miles before it falls. The savage lowers his voice to a whisper and crouches trembling past Poho-n6; while the very utterance of the name is so dreaded by him that the discoverers of the Valley obtained it with great difficulty. This fall drops on a heap of giant boulders in one unbroken sheet of a thousand feet perpendicular, thus being the next in height among all the Valley Cataracts to the Yo-Semite itself, and having a width of fifty feet. Its name