YOSEMITE: Its Discovery, Its Wonders and Its People by Margaret Sanborn

YOSEMITE: Its Discovery, Its Wonders and Its People

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A smooth, likable assemblage of Yosemite lore--chronologically, from the folkways of the native Ahwahneeches to the creation of Yosemite National Park (1905); topically, from Yosemite firsts (first painting, first hostelry, first ascents of the various peaks) to the lives that some noteworthy sojourners lived far beyond the Valley. The history is attended to-the white discovery of the valley, the dispossession of the Indians, the start and spread of tourism, the John Muir-TR alliance to save Yosemite. (And, in a codicil, the 1927 return-visit of Ahwahneeche chief Tenaya's granddaughter-after an absence of 77 years.) A few whites succumb to the Valley's spell, and stay on--not only Muir but editor-innkeeper John Mason Hutchings, who first hired Muir as a handyman (and came to resent his superior knowledge, his greater popularity as a guide). And there are those sojourners: Grizzly Adams--nicknamed after the Yosemite bears he exhibited (and lived with and ""tumbled"" with) in San Francisco; ThÉrèse Yelverton--late of a notorious English divorce case (and followed, into the wilds, by her exhusband's curse); photographer-rivals Watkins and Muybridge; landscape painter Albert Bierstadt; and more. The diverse personalities keep the book perking--even as Sanborn displays the Valley's wonders through their experiences of it. It's a less aspiring, more casual effort than her 1977 The Grand Tetons, and perhaps for that very reason more successful. (But the notes and bibliography are a devotee's guide to the more that's to be known.)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1981
Publisher: Random House