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Snake River, for miles above and below the and smooth and undisturbed this time. There falls, flows through a deep, narrow cañon, from is some fretting and foaming, some dashing and one-fourth to one-half mile wide; and its walls breaking of waves, for a short space, and then of dark basaltic rock rise vertically to a hight the current swiftly curves to the south wall, between two thousand and three thousand feet and gradually becomes more quiet. There can From the brink of this cañon, the land runs be no division of waters here; all must be unitback, level and smooth, for several miles, so ed for the last grand leap. Seven hundred feet that, standing a few hundred yards from the further on, and ere the foaming and fretting edge of the precipice and looking across the caused by the last fall has entirely disappeared river, the range of vision passes entirely over from the surface, this mighty volume of water the deep cañon and strikes the level land on the pours over a perpendicular precipice and falls opposite side, and no trace or indication of the vertically a distance of two hundred and sixty river is discernible. Go further back, however, feet. and ascend the foot-hills to an elevation of one Our first object is to reach the base of the hundred or more feet above the level of the main fall, which does not appear to be more plain, and the dark outline of the river is plain- | than a stone's throw distant, but so winding and ly seen, winding its tortuous way through the tortuous is the trail by which we descend that arid plain like some monstrous serpent. we traverse more than a mile before reaching
A party of three, on our return to Nevada the desired point. Securing our animals, and from the Yankee Fork mining regions, allured placing before them a good bait of hay, we by the glowing descriptions we had heard of commence the perilous descent; the Major the falls, determined to visit the place and sat- leading the van, myself next, and the Doctor, isfy our curiosity, although it involved several with shotgun swung loosely over his shoulder, days' travel out of our direct course. We ap- bringing up the rear. Down, down, we deproached the river from the south, and, travel scend, following the zigzag trail over the great ing along a sharply rounded point of table-land, drifts of detached pieces of black lava rocks, drove our team to the very brink of the cañon. which rattle and ring beneath the tread of our From this point, looking up the stream, we ob- heavy-nailed boots like broken pieces of furnace tained the first view of the falls. For a mile or slag; then passing down the craggy comb of a more above the falls, the channel of the river is long narrow ridge, with yawning chasms on plainly seen. It is not a wild, rushing torrent, either side, our course turns abruptly to the beating and breaking and dashing against rocks right, around the sharp corner of a high proand bowlders and the sharp angles of the bank, jecting point of rock, and the pathway gradualand foaming and frothing and fretting, as if ly becomes so narrow that there is barely room anxious to escape to the level plain below, but for a single person to pass. High above, to a majestic body of water, one-fourth of a mile the right, towers lofty columns of rock, which wide, with an average depth of fifteen feet, flow- threaten to topple over, and bury us beneath ing, with not a ripple upon its surface, smooth- their massive weight; while to the left there ly and tranquilly “on its slow, winding way to opens a deep abyss, down which we dare not the sea.”
look from our dizzy hight. Emerging from this The first obstructions which we see to this dangerous pathway, we come out on to a comeven flow are two immense bowlders, or col- paratively level and open piece of ground, umns of rock, which, standing abreast of each whereon are growing a few tall and graceful other across the stream, five hundred feet apart, cedars, whence we obtain another splendid view divide the river into three channels. Swiftly of the river bed, and the rushing, pouring torflowing along the base of these barriers, the rents of water. Here, as the Doctor expresses water, with a gentle bound, drops down a ver- it, we take a breathing spell. I have my fishtical fall of forty feet, when it again unites and ing tackle with me in anticipation of good fishbecomes as smooth and tranquil as above. ing at the base of the falls, but, unfortunately, Thus flowing onward for five hundred feet, the have no bait. This want I make known to the waters are again divided into six channels by Doctor, and soon his quick eye detects a cara row of bowlders of irregular shape, standing rion crow flying overhead, and within gun-shot in a semi-circle about equidistant from each range. (We had been told the fish would bite other.
at any kind of fresh meat.) In an instant his Sweeping past these rocks, which seemingly gun is in position, and the report therefrom attempt to stay its further progress, the water echoes and reverberates from wall to wall of the takes another bound, and leaps down a fall of deep cañon, and, mingling with the roar of the sixty-eight feet, where, at the base, all the chan- waterfall, produces a strange, weird sound. nels commingle together; but it is not so quiet Simultaneously with the report of the gun, the flight of the crow ceases, for the Doctor's aim have undertaken it. At the foot of the tree is unerring, but, unfortunately, the bird falls which, with its limbs running out at right angles into the river, just below the falls, and by the with the trunk, serves the good purpose of a eddying current is carried to the opposite side. ladder, we find the gorge wider and less Scarcely has the echoing sound of the first shot steep than above, and filled to a considerable died away when the second charge is fired; this depth with loose sand, which affords a firm time the crow falls into the stream, a few feet footing, and in a few minutes we stand on the above the falls. We watch the dark object as beach at the very base of the falls, with the it slowly floats down with the current.
cool spray dashing against our heated brows. moment it seems to pause upon the very brink In mute silence, and filled with awe, we stand of the precipice, and then, with a sudden dart, and gaze upon the mighty volume of flashing, it swiftly descends along the face of the flash- foaming, falling waters. It is near meridian, ing sheet of water, its dark color in strong con- and the high south wall casts its dark shadows trast with the bright silvery whiteness of the far out over the river; immense waves from the pouring stream. Again we watch, and see the the whirlpool, caused by the pouring stream, same dark object come to the surface of the beat and break around our feet, while the flyboiling, seething whirlpool, hundreds of feet being spray and mist completely drench our low, and float off down the river. A short dis- bodies. tance along this strip of bench - land, and our No sound is audible above the thunder and trail leads down into a narrow, V-shaped gorge, roar and din of the waterfall, and the Doctor, with smooth, hard bottom, with nothing to af- realizing from his professional experience that ford a foothold, and becomes each step more it is no place for rheumatic persons to linger, steep and more difficult to tread. My fishing- gently pulls my arm, and we move off in silence rod of stout willow serves as an alpenstock with farther down the stream, and out of reach of which I steady myself, and the Doctor, having the flying spray. Soon the Major follows, and discreetly left his shotgun in a friendly cluster here, on a flat, shelving rock, which receives of bushes, is now unincumbered, and with hands the warm rays of the sun through a rift in the clutched against the smooth wall of the hop- high wall above, we find a comfortable resting per-shaped crevice, is descending with a side place, from which a fine opportunity is afforded motion; while the Major, who ever prides him to study the physical details of the falls and self upon his military step and erect, martial their surroundings. The break in the bed of bearing, with much humiliation is compelled the river over which the water falls, is a comto assume the same ungraceful attitude. A plete semi-circle in form, with the arc curving misstep here, and we would be precipitated up the stream, and, following the curve of the headlong down the smooth wall for hundreds of circle, is at least half a mile wide. From side to feet, and, perhaps, landed in the foaming river side the flow of water is of uniform depth and below.
force, and as it pours in wavy, shimmering Suddenly the Major, who still leads the van, fleeces down the smooth, hard rock, it presents calls out, in tones of disappointment, that we the appearance of great folds of snow-white, can proceed no further, for our trail takes a gauzy lace, gently swinging and vibrating in the sheer break off, and drops down vertically for soft autumnal breeze. From all along the base twenty-five feet or more, and we cannot pass it rise immense clouds of trembling, glittering without the use of ropes, and we have none. spray, which gleam and flash through the rays Still he is loth to acknowledge defeat, and, of the sun, forming bright rainbow colors, that bending further over the precipice, again calls constantly shift and change. The basin at the out, this time with exultation, “Yes, we can, for foot of the falls stretches out in irregular shape, a tree has been dragged down, and placed over much wider than the bed of the stream above the break, and if we can only reach that we can or below, and upon its surface great foaming easily get to smoother ground below;" and, with waves roll and chase each other, and dash nerve and daring, he throws himself flat upon against the shore. So rough are the waters of his stomach, and with arms and legs spread this basin, which is a mile wide and two miles wide, imitates the motion of the crawfish down in length, that the Major, who has had some the steep, smooth rock, until his feet catch nautical as well as military experience, gave it against the first limb of the tree. With words as his opinion that no open boat could successof encouragement he calls to the Doctor and fully ride its waves. The south wall of the myself to follow in the same manner. Our cañon, under which we stood, is cut and grooved timidity almost forbids the hazardous venture, with deep indentations, at almost equal disand but for his coaxing words and directions tances apart. These indentations commence at as to where to place our feet we would not I the apex of the wall, with light shallow furrows,
that are hardly perceptible, and gradually deep- | beat with a stronger emotion of love and reveren and widen, until near the base they become ence for the Great Jehovah, must be devoid of deep, broad gorges. Into these gorges the sand all the nobler impulses of humanity. and débris have drifted from above, forming a While the Doctor and Major are hunting good, strong soil, which, being protected from along the beach for rare pebbles or curiously the hot, scorching sun, and moistened by the fly- shaped pieces of driftwood, as souvenirs, I find ing spray, produces a thrifty growth of cedars, a few grubs and millers under under a decayed around which twine, in graceful form, great, log, with which I bait my hook, and in a short lusty vines of the wild grape, now hanging full time pull from the stream a dozen or more silof long, slender bunches of unripe fruit. Inter- very speckled trout. In the capacious pockets woven with these cedars and vines is a dense of the Doctor's hunting-jacket is found a small growth of the hazel, alder, and maple, whose particle of salt and a few broken crackers, and variegated foliage, with the gothic spires of rock it is but the work of a moment to dress the fish,. towering high above for a background, forms a and broil them upon a bed of burning coals; picture of exquisite beauty, in pleasing contrast and upon our shelving rock, in the depths of with the awful grandeur of the river scene. the deep cañon, and within sight and sound of The north wall, on the opposite side, frowns the mighty, roaring, thundering waterfall, we black and forbidding-no groove or indentation partake of our simple lunch with as much zest there. Its dark, columnar structure rises up and relish as though we were feasting upon the thousands of feet, and against its base the rarest viands, served in the most approved style waves of the basin lash with fury, and neither of the culinary art. man nor beast dare attempt to approach the Fain would we linger amid these enchanting river from that side.
scenes, but the rays of the sun, now slanting Between the base of the south wall and the from the west, warn us that time is passing, and edge of the water there intervenes a smooth, we have much to see and many miles to travel sandy, pebbly beach, from one hundred to two before we find rest for the night. Ascending hundred feet wide. Upon this beach has been the narrow gorge, and climbing up the improthrown, by the action of the waves, immense vised ladder, which we find much less difficult piles of driftwood, swept down the river from to pass than in descending, we come again far above during high freshets. These piles of upon the strip of bench-land. Following this driftwood within themselves form a pleasing to the left for a few hundred feet, we turn down and instructive study. Here is the dwarfed and a smoothly rounded ridge of bare rock, which, stunted cedar, which has come from a short in a short distance, abruptly terminates in a distance above. By its side, and lying partly sharp, projecting promontory immediately over across it, is the slender trunk of the cottonwood, the falls. The scene from this point is not so from some of the smaller tributaries, the gnawed terribly grand nor so awe inspiring as from ends of which clearly indicate the work of the below, but, mellowed as it is by touches of soft industrious beaver. A few feet away is the poetical beauty, it is more lovely to gaze upon. gnarled and stubby nut-pine, from the foothills, The sun now strikes directly against the broad with its spreading and crooked branches torn sheet of water, forming a bright-hued rainbow, from the trunk. Reaching far along the beach which hovers over the vortex below, and, in a is the gigantic form of the stately fir, that has graceful curve, spans the river from side to side. been swept from some cañon high up in the The lesser falls above, divided, as they are, into Wind River range; and piled all around, in numerous channels, appear, in comparison to confused masses, are heaps of logs and chunks the great fall below, like miniature cascades, and limbs of every species of tree and shrub and bounding and leaping over the rocks as though bush that grows along the course of the stream, in mere playful wantonness. broken and abraded into all kinds of shape. After listening to some practical remarks of
Nowhere in all this romantic spot has man the Major, as to how this mighty power might marred the beauties of nature by his despoiling be utilized and made subservient to the will of touch; no sickly sentimentalist has attempted man, we again commence the ascent of the to carve the name of any poet, author, hero, or rugged side of the cañon, which we found not divine upon any of these grand old walls, pil- as dangerous as the descent, but far more toillars, or columns; to none of these waterfalls, some. The Major, who is muscular and strong, either great or small, has there been given a relieves the doctor of his shotgun, and slowly name, except the one general term, Shoshone we trudged on up the difficult trail. Will we - and he who stands here amid this awful never reach the top! A few more rests, a few grandeur, within this sublime temple of God, more breathing spells, and we stand upon the and does not feel his soul thrill, and his heart | edge of the broad plain, and within a few rods
of our wagon and team. “Old John," who is and frightful sound. Is this a veritable pandeever on the lookout, catches sight of us as we monium, in which are reveling all the fiends of approach, and utters a loud bray, as if to chide the lower regions? Or are these dark, frownus, in his mule fashion, for leaving him to stand ing walls pierced by a thousand unseen caves, so long in the hot sun, and wage with his stub- in which are hidden wild beasts of prey, howltail an unequal warfare with the voracious flies. ing defiance at each other? The mules cower A drive of three miles up the river, along a and tremble, and it is with difficulty that we smooth, sandy road, brings us to a point oppo- lead them along the steep grade. All efforts site the Little (or Twin) Falls. The river is at conversation are futile. The voice breaks here approached through what is called the into a guttural dissonance, no one sound being Devil's Corral—and surely the whole English distinguishable from another, and all being nomenclature could not afford a more appropri- finally lost in a hollow echo. Passing over the ate name. Back, a little over a mile from the embankment of sand, and around a few jutting edge of the cañon, an immense chasm, or pit, points of rock, we reach the river, and men and has been cleft, or carved, in the solid rock, ob- mules drink long draughts of the pure water. long in shape, two thousand feet deep and three Down the stream a few hundred yards we thousand feet wide. The bed of this chasm is hear the roar of the cataract, and leaving the several hundred feet lower than the present bed | mules to graze upon the bunch-grass that of the river, which cuts across the lower end; grows along the river bank, we clamber down and at one time it undoubtedly received the over immense rocks and bowlders that have water of the stream, forming a deep lake, but slipped down from above, and in a short time now an immense bar, or levee, caused by the we stand up on a rounded point immediately sands drifting from the plain above, has form- overlooking the falls. The river here is nared across the lower end, effectually barring the rowed and compressed by the walls on either further flow of water; and what was inclosed at side to one-sixth its usual width; and as if to the time the bar was formed has long since been further compress the water, and force it through exhausted by evaporation.
a channel as narrow as possible, an island of The walls on each side, and at the outer end, bare rock rises up in the middle of the stream are of the same black basaltic formation that at the narrowest point to a hight of thirty feet characterizes the whole country hereabouts, and
The stream thus divided and narlaid in layers, one above the other, their smooth, rowed, and the depth correspondingly increaseven surfaces standing perfectly vertical, and ed, with a wild roar, plunges down a distance checkered and tesselated with almost regular of eighty-two feet. The channel on the south seams, present the appearance of having been side falls vertically, and the force of the curcut, and chiseled, and laid by human hands. rent is so strong, that as the water rushes through Along the west side there runs a narrow ledge, the narrow chasm, it strikes the bed of the which projects just far enough from the smooth river several feet below the face of the preciwall to form a convenient roadway, and which pice, thus forming a vast cavern behind the has a very steep, but gradual, inclination from pouring sheet of water. the crest of the wall at the outer end, until it The north channel does not fall vertically, strikes half way up the side of the sand - bar. but rushes down the narrow gorge at an angle This roadway is steep and narrow, but loose of near forty-five degrees in its furious course, animals can with caution pass along it, and it throwing great clouds of spray high into the is the only point for miles that cattle can ap- air. Jets of spray from each of these falls proach the river for water. By an unlucky ac- gleam and glisten in the bright beams of the cident, the water in our canteen has leaked out, evening sun, and sparkle like diamonds. A and our lunch of dry bread and fish produces hundred feet or more below where the chanan unusual thirst. Our animals are equally nels unite, and where the mist is in, finer jets thirsty, for they have had no water since early and less dense, the rainbow is formed in a beaumorning; so, in a short time we have them tiful curve, with each end resting against the unharnessed, and are hurrying down the nar- black, smooth wall. row grade to the river. “Old John," who has The Major expresses a strong desire to enter fallen some distance behind, as is his custom the cavern beneath the south fall, and behold on such occasions, calls to his mate in a deep, the beauties there revealed, and commune with loud bray, but such an unearthly sound as it the river nymphs who make it their dwellingproduces startles, and almost paralyzes, both place, and, with his usual daring and impetumen and beasts. The echo of that mulish bray osity, is soon sliding cautiously down the steep rolls from side to side of the rock-walled cav- wall. The Doctor and myself watch his moveern, echo answering echo with the most dismal ments with bated breath, expecting to see him every moment lose his footing, and go dashing into the river. He reaches the edge of the stream in safety, and passes from our view behind the flashing sheet of water. In a few moments he emerges from the dark watery cavern, and beckons us to follow, but we know the consequences of entering there, and do not feel inclined to expose ourselves, in wet clothes, to the chilly air of night, which is fast approaching. The Major, when he again joins us, deprecates our want of nerve, and, in glowing terms, depicts the varied splendors of the scene. The sun is near setting, and we hasten back
Vol. II.- 23.
to our mules, and lead them up the steep roadway. "Old John” is nervous, and continually switches his stump tail, for there lingers in his mule mind a faint memory of the terrible yells and sounds that smote upon his ear in descending this same spot, and it is with difficulty the Major holds him in check. Just as the sun is sinking behind the low horizon that stretches far away down the river we reach our wagon, and a two-hours' drive brings us to Rock Creek Station, where we find good cheer for ourselves and comfortable quarters for our animals.
IN TWILIGHT WOODS.
Bird-songs grow faint with the sun;
As the day fails in the west,
Creeps into his quiet nest.
Rose-songs forever are dear;
Stream - songs are gentle and clear;
Down the swift pulse as a spear.
No more we hear faltering rills,
Smile down in a trustful way;
And sweet are the words they say
CHARLES H. SHINN.