The Mountain that was 'God'
by John H. Williams
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[Transcriber's note: Obvious printer's errors have been corrected, all other inconsistencies are as in the original. Author's spelling has been maintained.

Probable typo: Pages named by the author are under the format (p. xx). Original pagination of the book have been kept under the format {}.

Missing page numbers correspond to blank pages.

Page numbers corresponding to full page illustrations (which have been inserted in the caption of the illustration) may seem out of order; the illustration having been moved out of the paragraph.

The illustrations of the page 31 and 89 share their captions with the illustration above them.]




O, rarest miracle of mountain heights, Thou hast the sky for thy imperial dome, And dwell'st among the stars all days and nights, In the far heavens familiarly at home. —William Hillis Wynn: "Mt. Tacoma; an Apotheosis."

Second Edition revised and greatly enlarged, with 190 illustrations, including eight colored halftones.


Copyright, 1910, 1911, by John H. Williams.



Every summer there is demand for illustrated literature describing the mountain variously called "Rainier" or "Tacoma." Hitherto, we have had only small collections of pictures, without text, and confined to the familiar south and southwest sides.

The little book which I now offer aims to show the grandest and most accessible of our extinct volcanoes from all points of view. Like the glacial rivers, its text will be found a narrow stream flowing swiftly amidst great mountain scenery. Its abundant illustrations cover not only the giants' fairyland south of the peak, but also the equally stupendous scenes that await the adventurer who penetrates the harder trails and climbs the greater glaciers of the north and east slopes. * * * *

The title adopted for the book has reference, of course, to the Indian nature worship, of which something is said in the opening chapter. Both the title and a small part of the matter are reprinted from an article which I contributed last year to the New York Evening Post. Attention is called to the tangle in the names of glaciers and the need of a definitive nomenclature. As to the name of the Mountain itself, that famous bone of contention between two cities, I greatly prefer "Tacoma," one of the several authentic forms of the Indian name used by different tribes; but I believe that "Tahoma," proposed by the Rotary Club of Seattle, would be a justifiable compromise, and satisfy nearly everybody. Its adoption would free our national map from one more of its meaningless names—the name, in this case, of an undistinguished foreign naval officer whose only connection with our history is the fact that he fought against us during the American Revolution. Incidentally, it would also free me from the need of an apology for using the hybrid "Rainier-Tacoma"! * * * Many of the illustrations show wide reaches of wonderful country, and their details may well be studied with a reading glass.

I am much indebted to the librarians and their courteous assistants at the Seattle and Tacoma public libraries; also to Prof. Flett for his interesting account of the flora of the National Park; to Mr. Eugene Ricksecker, of the United States Engineer Corps, for permission to reproduce his new map of the Park, now printed for the first time; and, most of all, to the photographers, both professional and amateur. In the table of illustrations, credit is given the maker of each photograph. The book is sent out in the hope of promoting a wider knowledge of our country's noblest landmark. May it lead many of its readers to delightful days of recreation and adventure.

Tacoma, June 1, 1910. J. H. W.

Second Edition.—The text has been carefully revised, much new matter added, and the information for tourists brought to date. The illustrations have been rearranged, and more {p.008} than fifty new ones included. Views of the west and south sides, mainly, occupy the first half of the book, while the later pages carry the reader east and north from the Nisqually country.

Nearly five thousand negatives and photographs have now been examined in selecting copy for the engravers. In the table of illustrations I am glad to place the names of several expert photographers in Portland, San Francisco, Pasadena and Boston. Their pictures, with other new ones obtained from photographers already represented, make this edition much more complete. For the convenience of tourists, as well as of persons unable to visit the Mountain but wishing to know its features, I have numbered the landmarks on three of the larger views, giving a key in the underlines. If this somewhat mars the beauty of these pictures, it gives them added value as maps of the areas shown. In renewing my acknowledgments to the photographers, I must mention especially Mr. Asahel Curtis of Seattle. The help and counsel of this intrepid and public-spirited mountaineer have been invaluable. Mr. A. H. Barnes, our Tacoma artist with camera and brush, whose fine pictures fill many of the following pages, is about to publish a book of his mountain views, for which I bespeak liberal patronage.

My readers will join me in welcoming the beautiful verses written for this edition by a gracious and brilliant woman whose poems have delighted two generations of her countrymen.

Thanks are also due to Senator Wesley L. Jones, Superintendent E. S. Hall of the Rainier National Park and the Secretary of the Interior for official information; to Director George Otis Smith of the U. S. Geological Survey for such elevations as have thus far been established by the new survey of the Park; to A. C. McClurg & Co. of Chicago, for permission to quote from Miss Judson's "Myths and Legends of the Pacific Northwest"; to Mr. Wallace Rice, literary executor of the late Francis Brooks, for leave to use Mr. Brooks's fine poem on the Mountain; to the librarians at the Public Library, the John Crerar Library and the Newberry Library in Chicago, and to many others who have aided me in obtaining photographs or data for this edition.

Lovers of the mountains, in all parts of our country, will learn with regret that Congress, remains apparently indifferent to the conservation of the Rainier National Park and its complete opening to the public. At the last session, a small appropriation was asked for much-needed trails through the forests and to the high interglacial plateaus, now inaccessible save to the toughest mountaineer; it being the plan of the government engineers to build such trails on grades that would permit their ultimate widening into permanent roads. Even this was denied. The Idaho catastrophe last year again proved the necessity of trails to the protection of great forests. With the loggers pushing their operations closer to the Park, its danger calls for prompt action. Further, American tourists, it is said, annually spend $200,000,000 abroad, largely to view scenery surpassed in their own country. But Congress refuses the $50,000 asked, even refuses $25,000, toward making the grandest of our National Parks safe from forest fires and accessible to students and lovers of nature!

May 3, 1911.

{p.009} CONTENTS.


The Mountain Speaks. Poem Edna Dean Proctor 15

I. Mount "Big Snow" and Indian Tradition 17

II. The National Park, its Roads and its Needs 43

III. The Story of the Mountain 77

IV. The Climbers 113

V. The Flora of the Mountain Slopes Prof. J. B. Flett 129

Notes 139


The * indicates engravings made from copyrighted photographs. See notice under the illustration.


Title. Photographer. Page.

Spanaway Lake, with reflection of the Mountain A. H. Barnes. Frontispiece

View from Electron, showing west side of the Mountain Asahel Curtis 19

View northward from top of Pinnacle Peak Dr. F. A. Scott 46

Looking Northeast from slope of Pinnacle Peak Dr. F. A. Scott 47

* Ice Cave, Paradise Glacier A. H. Barnes 73

* Spray Park, from Fay Peak W. P. Romans 92

Crevasse in Carbon Glacier Asahel Curtis 109

North Mowich Glacier and the Mountain in a storm George V. Caesar 128


* Great crevasses in upper part of Cowlitz Glacier Kiser Photo Co. 6

On the summit of Eagle Rock in winter George V. Caesar 7

Winthrop Glacier and St. Elmo Pass Asahel Curtis 8

White Glacier and Little Tahoma Asahel Curtis 9

White River Canyon, from moraine of White Glacier Dr. F. A. Scott 12

Telephoto view from near Electron, showing plateau on the summit Asahel Curtis 13

View of the Mountain from Fox Island Charles Bedford 14

* The most kingly of American mountains Romans Photographic Co. 16

Party of climbers on Winthrop Glacier Asahel Curtis 17

Ice Terraces, South Tahoma Glacier Rodney L. Glisan 17

Mineral Lake and the Mountain A. H. Denman 18

Storm King Peak and Mineral Lake A. H. Barnes 18

Nisqually Canyon Kiser Photo Co. 21

* North Peak, and South Mowich Glacier A. H. Waite 22 {p.010}

* Basaltic Columns, South Mowich Glacier A. H. Waite 23

Mountain Goat A. H. Barnes 23

West side of summit, seen from Tahoma Fork A. H. Barnes 24

Iron and Copper Mountains in Indian Henry's A. G. Bowles, Jr. 25

Cutting steps up Paradise Glacier Dr. F. A. Scott 25

Great Crag on ridge separating North and South Tahoma Glacier Dr. F. A. Scott 26

The Whistling Marmot Asahel Curtis 26

View from Beljica, showing west side of the Mountain A. H. Barnes 27

* Mountain Pine E. S. Curtis 28

* Mount Wow, or Goat Mountain E. S. Curtis 28

Rounded Cone of Mt. St Helen's A. H. Barnes 29

* View northward from Simlayshe, or Eagle Peak Pillsbury Picture Co. 30, 31

* Simlayshe, or Eagle Peak Linkletter Photographic Co. 30

Exploring Ice Cave, Paradise Glacier Dr. F. A. Scott 31

Junction of North and South Tahoma Glaciers A. H. Denman 32

Anemones Miss Jessie Kershaw 32

* North Tahoma Glacier A. H. Waite 33

* Snow Lake in Indian Henry's A. H. Barnes 34

A fair Mountaineer Asahel Curtis 35

Indian Henry's, seen from South Tahoma Glacier A. H. Denman 36

* Southwest side of the Mountain, seen from Indian Henry's A. H. Barnes 37

Climbing Pinnacle Peak (2) Asahel Curtis 38

A silhouette on Pinnacle Peak Dr. F. A. Scott 39

* Rough Climbing E. S. Curtis 39

Ptarmigan Asahel Curtis 40

The Mountain, from Puyallup river B. L. Aldrich, Jr. 40

Falls of the Little Mashell river A. H. Barnes 41

Old Stage Road to Longmire Springs A. H. Barnes 42

On Pierce County road, passing Ohop Valley S. C. Lancaster 43

Cowlitz Chimneys S. C. Smith 43

* Old Road near Spanaway A. H. Barnes 44

Automobile Party above Nisqually Canyon Asahel Curtis 49

Prof. O. D. Allen's Cottage Dr. F. A. Scott 49

"Ghost Trees" Mrs. H. A. Towne 50

Government Road in the Forest Reserve S. C. Lancaster 51

"Hanging Glacier," an ice fall above the Cowlitz Asahel Curtis 51

Leaving National Park Inn for Paradise Linkletter Photo Co. 52

* On the Summit, showing Columbia's Crest Asahel Curtis 52

Paradise Valley or "Park," and Tatoosh Mountains A. H. Barnes 53

On Government Road, a mile above Longmires Linkletter Photo Co. 54

Road near "Gap Point" Linkletter Photo Co. 54

Snout of Nisqually Glacier, and Road Bridge Paul T. Shaw 55

Pony Trail Bridge across the Nisqually Dr. H. B. Hinman 55

Road a mile above the Bridge Asahel Curtis 56

On the Pony Trail to Paradise Kiser Photo Co. 56

Sierra Club lunching on Nisqually Glacier Asahel Curtis 57

A Mountain Celery Mrs. Alexander Thompson 57

Narada Falls, on Paradise River Herbert W. Gleason 58

Washington Torrents, on Paradise River A. H. Barnes 59

Portion of Paradise Park and Tatoosh Range A. H. Barnes 59

View of the Mountain from the Tatoosh, with key to landmarks Herbert W. Gleason 60

Ice Bridge, Stevens Glacier Dr. F. A. Scott 61

Tug of War Asahel Curtis 61

* Hiking through Paradise Valley in Winter J. H. Weer 62

* Tatoosh Range, from Reese's Camp, in Winter J. H. Weer 62

* Waterfall above Paradise Valley Photo, W. E. Averett; Copyright, Asahel Curtis 63

Looking from Stevens Glacier to Mt. Adams Dr. F. A. Scott 64

Reese's Camp C. E. Cutter 64

Climbing the "Horn" on Unicorn Peak Asahel Curtis 65

Stevens Canyon in October A. H. Barnes 66

Sluiskin Falls A. H. Barnes 67

Eminent scientist practices the simple life J. B. Flett 67

* Nisqually Glacier, with its sources A. H. Barnes 68

Sierra Club on Nisqually Glacier Asahel Curtis 69

* Lost to the World Asahel Curtis 69

"Sunshine" and "Storm" (2) Mrs. H. A. Towne 70 {p.011}

Nisqually Glacier, from top of Gibraltar Asahel Curtis 71

Measuring the ice flow in Nisqually Glacier Asahel Curtis 72

* Miss Fay Fuller Exploring a Crevasse E. S. Curtis 72

Fairy Falls, in Goat Lick Basin A. H. Barnes 75

* Gibraltar and its Neighbors E. S. Curtis 76

Crossing Carbon Glacier Asahel Curtis 77

* Reflection Lake and the Mountain E. S. Curtis 77

Looking up from Cowlitz Chimneys to Gibraltar Asahel Curtis 78

Divide of Paradise and Stevens Glaciers A. H. Barnes 79

Old Moraine of Stevens Glacier Asahel Curtis 79

Preparing for a night at Camp Muir Asahel Curtis 80

The Bee Hive Asahel Curtis 80

Mazama Club on Cowlitz Chimneys Kiser Photo Co. 81

Climbing Cowlitz Cleaver to Gibraltar Asahel Curtis 81

Mazamas rounding Gibraltar Rodney L. Glisan 82

Under the walls of Gibraltar Asahel Curtis 83

One of the bedrooms at Camp Muir A. H. Waite 83

Perilous position on edge of a great crevasse Charles Bedford 84

Climbing the "Chute," west side of Gibraltar Asahel Curtis 85

Looking from top of Gibraltar to the summit A. H. Waite 86

View south from Cowlitz Glacier to Mt. Adams Charles Bedford 87

One of the modern craters Asahel Curtis 88, 89

Steam Caves in one of the craters Asahel Curtis 88

North Peak, or "Liberty Cap." A. W. Archer 89

Goat Peaks, glacier summits in the Cascades Kiser Photo Co 90

Ice-bound lake in Cowlitz Park S. C. Smith 93

Crevasses in Cowlitz Glacier S. C. Smith 93

Crossing a precipitous slope on White Glacier A. W. Archer 94

* Climbing Goat Peaks in the Cascades S. C. Smith 94

Looking up White Glacier to Little Tahoma Dr. F. A. Scott 95

The Mountain seen from top of Cascade Range S. C. Smith 96

Great Moraine built by Frying-Pan Glacier on "Goat Island" J. B. Flett 96

Coming around Frying-Pan Glacier, below Little Tahoma Dr. F. A. Scott 97

Sunrise above the clouds, Camp Curtis Asahel Curtis 97

Looking up from Snipe Lake, below Interglacier Dr. F. A. Scott 98

Passing a big Crevasse on Interglacier Asahel Curtis 98

View North from Mt. Ruth to Grand Park J. B. Flett 99

Camp on St. Elmo Pass, north side of the Wedge Asahel Curtis 100

East Face of Mountain, with route to summit Asahel Curtis 100

Admiral Peter Rainier 101

First picture of the Mountain, from Vancouver's "Voyage" 101

Climbers on St. Elmo Pass A. W. Archer 102

St. Elmo Pass, from north side A. W. Archer 102

Russell Peak, from Avalanche Camp Asahel Curtis 103

Avalanche Camp Asahel Curtis 103

Looking up Winthrop Glacier from Avalanche Camp Asahel Curtis 104

Looking across Winthrop Glacier to Steamboat Prow Asahel Curtis 104

View south from Sluiskin Mountains across Moraine Park Asahel Curtis 105

Part of Spray Park George Caesar 106

Climbing the seracs on Winthrop Glacier Dr. F. A. Scott 107

Ice Pinnacles on the Carbon A. W. Archer 107

Among the Ice Bridges of Carbon Glacier Asahel Curtis 108

Building Tacoma's electric power plant on the Nisqually (3) George V. Caesar 111

Hydro-electric plant at Electron 112

Cutting canal to divert White River to Lake Tapps 112

Mystic Lake, in Moraine Park Asahel Curtis 113

Glacier Table on Winthrop Glacier Asahel Curtis 113

Carbon River and Mother Mountains Dr. F. A. Scott 114

* Oldest and Youngest of the Climbers C. E. Cutter 115

* P. B. Van Trump on his old Camp Ground E. S. Curtis 115

Lower Spray Park, with Mother Mountains beyond Asahel Curtis 116

* John Muir, President of the Sierra Club J. Edward B. Greene 116

Coasting in Moraine Park Asahel Curtis 117

Sunset on Crater Lake George V. Caesar 117

* Amphitheatre of Carbon Glacier Asahel Curtis 118

* Avalanche falling on Willis Wall Photo, Lea Bronson; Copyright, P. V. Caesar 119 {p.012}

* Birth of Carbon River A. H. Waite 120

The Mountaineers building trail on Carbon Moraine Asahel Curtis 121

The Mountaineers lunching in a crevasse Asahel Curtis 121

Looking southeast from Mt. Rose George V. Caesar 122

Looking south from Mt. Rose, across Crater Lake George V. Caesar 123

* Looking up North Mowich Valley Asahel Curtis 124

* Spray Falls Asahel Curtis 125

* A Rescue from a Crevasse E. S. Curtis 126

Returning from the Summit Asahel Curtis 126

* View across Moraine Park and Carbon Glacier to Mother Mountains Asahel Curtis 129

Senecio Mrs. Alexander Thompson 129

A 14-foot Fir, near Mineral Lake A. H. Barnes 130

Indian Pipe J. B. Flett 131

Floral Carpet in Indian Henry's Park A. H. Barnes 131

Mosses and Ferns in the Forest Reserve Charles Bedford 132

A Bank of White Heather Asahel Curtis 133

Hellebore Mrs. Alexander Thompson 133

Alpine Hemlock and Mountain Lilies Mrs. H. A. Towne 134

Mountain Asters A. H. Barnes 134

Studying the Phlox J. B. Flett 135

Squaw Grass, or Mountain Lily Miss Jessie Kershaw 135

Avalanche Lilies Asahel Curtis 136

* Moraine Park, Sluiskin Mountains and Mystic Lake Asahel Curtis 136

Sunrise in Indian Henry's A. H. Barnes 137

Anemone Seed Pods Asahel Curtis 138

Wind-swept Trees on North Side George V. Caesar 139

Lupines Herbert W. Gleason 139

* The Mountain, seen from Green River Hot Springs C. E. Cutter 140

Glacial debris on lower Winthrop Asahel Curtis 142

An Alpine Climbers' Cabin From Whymper's "Chamonix and Mt. Blanc" 144


I am Tacoma, Monarch of the Coast! Uncounted ages heaped my shining snows; The sun by day, by night the starry host, Crown me with splendor; every breeze that blows Wafts incense to my altars; never wanes The glory my adoring children boast, For one with sun and sea Tacoma reigns.

Tacoma—the Great Snow Peak—mighty name My dusky tribes revered when time was young! Their god was I in avalanche and flame— In grove and mead and songs my rivers sung, As blithe they ran to make the valleys fair— Their Shrine of Peace where no avenger came To vex Tacoma, lord of earth and air.

Ah! when at morn above the mists I tower And see my cities gleam by slope and strand, What joy have I in this transcendent dower— The strength and beauty of my sea-girt land That holds the future royally in fee! And lest some danger, undescried, should lower, From my far height I watch o'er wave and lea.

And cloudless eves when calm in heaven I rest, All rose-bloom with a glow of paradise, And through my firs the balm-wind of the west, Blown over ocean islands, softly sighs, While placid lakes my radiant image frame— And know my worshippers, in loving quest, Will mark my brow and fond lips breathe my name:

Enraptured from my valleys to my snows, I charm my glow to crimson—soothe to gray; And when the encircling shadow deeper grows, Poise, a lone cloud, beside the starry way. Then, while my realm is hushed from steep to shore, I yield my grandeur to divine repose, And know Tacoma reigns forevermore!

South Framingham, Mass. March, 1911. Edna Dean Proctor





Long hours we toiled up through the solemn wood, Beneath moss-banners stretched from tree to tree; At last upon a barren hill we stood, And, lo, above loomed Majesty.

Herbert Bashford: "Mount Rainier."

The great Mountain fascinates us by its diversity. It is an inspiration and yet a riddle to all who are drawn to the mysterious or who love the sublime. Every view which the breaking clouds vouchsafe to us is a surprise. It never becomes commonplace, save to the commonplace.

Old Virgil's gibe at mankind's better half—"varium et mutabile semper femina"—might have been written of this fickle shape of rock and ice and vapor. One tries vainly, year after year, to define it in his own mind. The daily, hourly change of distance, size and aspect, tricks which the Indian's mountain {p.018} god plays with the puny creatures swarming more and more about his foot; his days of frank neighborliness, his swift transformations from smiles to anger, his fits of sullenness and withdrawal, all baffle study. Even though we live at its base, it is impossible to say we know the Mountain, so various are the spells the sun casts over this huge dome which it is slowly chiseling away with its tools of ice, and which, in coming centuries, it will level with the plain.

We are lovers of the water as well as the hills, out here in this northwestern corner of the Republic. We spend many days—and should spend more—in cruising among the hidden bays and park-like islands which make Puget Sound the most interesting body of water in America. We grow a bit boastful about the lakes that cluster around our cities. Nowhere better than from sea level, or from the lakes raised but little above it, does one realize the bulk, the dominance, and yet the grace, of this noble peak. Its impressiveness, indeed, arises in part from the fact that it is one of the few great volcanic mountains whose entire height may be seen from tide level. Many of us can recall views of it from Lake Washington at Seattle, or from American or Spanaway Lake at Tacoma, or from the Sound, which will always haunt the memory.

Early one evening, last summer, I went with a friend to Point Defiance, Tacoma's fine park at the {p.021} end of the promontory on which the city is built. We drank in refreshment from the picture there unrolled of broad channels and evergreen shores. As sunset approached, we watched the western clouds building range upon range of golden mountains above the black, Alp-like crags of the Olympics. Then, entering a small boat, we rowed far out northward into the Sound. Overhead, and about us, the scenes of the great panorama were swiftly shifted. The western sky became a conflagration. Twilight settled upon the bay. The lights of the distant town came out, one by one, and those of the big smelter, near by, grew brilliant. No Turner ever dreamed so glorious a composition of sunlight and shade. But we were held by one vision.


Yonder, in the southeast, towering above the lower shadows of harbor and hills, rose a vast pyramid of soft flame. The setting sun had thrown a mantle of rose pink over the ice of the glaciers and the great cleavers of rock which buttress the mighty dome. The rounded summit was warm with beautiful orange light. Soon the colors upon its slope changed to deeper reds, and then to amethyst, and {p.023} violet, and pearl gray. The sun-forsaken ranges below fell away to dark neutral tints. But the fires upon the crest burned on, deepening from gold to burnished copper, a colossal beacon flaming high against the sunset purple of the eastern skies. Finally, even this great light paled to a ghostly white, as the supporting foundation of mountain ridges dropped into the darkness of the long northern twilight, until the snowy summit seemed no longer a part of earth, but a veil of uncanny mist, caught up by the winds from the Pacific and floating far above the black sky-line of the solid Cascades, that

* * * heaven-sustaining bulwark, reared Between the East and West.

And when even that apparition had faded, and the Mountain appeared only as an uncertain bulk shadowed upon the night, then came the miracle. Gradually, the east, beyond the great hills, showed a faint silver glow. Silhouetted against this dim background, the profile of the peak grew definite. With no other warning, suddenly from its summit the full moon shot forth, huge, majestic and gracious, flooding the lower world with brightness. Clouds and mountain ranges alike shone with its glory. But the great peak loomed blacker and more sullen. Only, on its head, the wide crown of snow gleamed white under the cold rays of the moon.


No wonder that this mountain of changing moods, overtopping every other eminence in the Northwest, answered the idea of God to the simple, imaginative mind of the Indians who hunted in the forest on its slopes or fished in the waters of Whulge that ebbed and flowed at its base. Primitive peoples in every land have deified superlative manifestations of nature—the sun, the wind, great rivers, and waterfalls, the high mountains. By all the tribes within sight of its summit, this pre-eminent peak, variously called by them Tacoma (Tach-ho'ma), Tahoma or Tacob, as who should say "The Great Snow," was deemed a power to be feared and conciliated. Even when the missionaries taught them a better faith, they continued to hold the Mountain in superstitious reverence—an awe that still has power to silence their "civilized" and very unromantic descendants.

The Puget Sound tribes, with the Yakimas, Klickitats and others living just beyond the Cascades, had substantially the same language and beliefs, though differing much in physical and mental type. {p.026} East of the range, they lived by the chase. They were great horsemen and famous runners, a breed of lithe, upstanding, competent men, as keen of wit as they were stately in appearance. These were "the noble Red Men" of tradition. Fennimore Cooper might have found many a hero worthy of his pen among the savages inhabiting the fertile valley of the Columbia, which we now call the Inland Empire. But here on the Coast were the "Digger" tribes, who subsisted chiefly by spearing salmon and digging clams. Their stooped figures, flat faces, downcast eyes and low mentality reflected the life they led. Contrasting their heavy bodies with their feeble legs, which grew shorter with disuse, a Tacoma humorist last summer gravely proved to a party of English visitors that in a few generations more, had not the white man seized their fishing grounds, the squatting Siwashes would have had no legs at all!

Stolid and uninspired as he seemed to the whites, the Indian of the Sound was not without his touch of poetry. He had that imaginative curiosity which marked the native {p.028} American everywhere. He was ever peering into the causes of things, and seeing the supernatural in the world around him.[1]

[Footnote 1: Among those who have studied the Puget Sound Indians most sympathetically is the Rev. Mr. Hylebos of Tacoma. He came to the Northwest in 1870, when the census gave Tacoma a white population of seventy-three. In those days, says Father Hylebos, the Tacoma tideflats, now filled in for mills and railway terminals, were covered each autumn with the canoes of Indians spearing salmon. It was no uncommon thing to see at one time on Commencement Bay 1,800 fishermen. This veteran worker among the "Siwashes" (French "sauvages") first told me the myths that hallowed the Mountain for every native, and the true meaning of the beautiful Indian word "Tacoma." He knew well all the leaders of the generation before the railways: Sluiskin, the Klickitat chief who guided Stevens and Van Trump up to the snow-line in 1870; Stanup, chief of the Puyallups; Kiskax, head of the Cowlitz tribe; Angeline, the famous daughter of Chief Seattle, godfather of the city of that name, and many others.]

To the great Snow Mountain the Indians made frequent pilgrimages, for they thought this king of the primeval wild a divinity to be reckoned with. They dreaded its anger, seen in the storms about its head, the thunder of its avalanches, and the volcanic flashes of which their traditions told. They courted its favor, symbolized in the wild flowers that bloomed on its slope, and the tall grass that fed the mowich, or deer.

As they ascended the vast ridges, the grandeur about them spoke of the mountain god. There were groves of trees he must have planted, so orderly were they set out. The lakes of the lofty valleys seemed calmer than those on the prairies below, the foliage brighter, the ferns taller and more graceful. The song of the waterfalls here was sweeter than the music of the tamahnawas men, their Indian sorcerers. The many small meadows close to the snow-line, carpeted in deepest green and spread with flowers, were the gardens of the divinity, tended by his superhuman agents. Strange as it may seem, the nature-worship of the silent Red Man had many points in common with that of the imaginative, volatile Greek, who {p.030} peopled his mountains with immortals; and no wood in ancient Greece was ever thronged with hamadryads more real than the little gods whom the Indian saw in the forests watered by streams from Tacoma's glaciers.

Countless snows had fallen since the mountain god created and beautified this home of his, when one day he grew angry, and in his wrath showed terrible tongues of fire. Thus he ignited an immense fir forest on the south side of the peak. When his anger subsided, the flames passed, and the land they left bare became covered with blue grass and wild flowers—a great sunny country where, before, the dark forest had been. Borrowing a word from the French coureurs des bois who came with the Hudson's Bay Company, the later Indians sometimes called this region "the Big Brule"; and to this day some Americans call it the same. But for the Big Brule the Indians had, from ancient times, another name, connected with their ideas of religion. It was their Saghalie Illahe, the "Land of Peace," Heaven. Our name, "Paradise Valley," {p.031} given to the beautiful open vale on the south slope of the Mountain, is an English equivalent.

Here was the same bar to violence which religion has erected in many lands. The Hebrews had their "Cities of Refuge." The pagan ancients made every altar an asylum. Mediaeval Christianity constituted all its churches sanctuaries. Thus, in lawless ages, the hand of vengeance was stayed, and the weak were protected.

So, too, the Indian tradition ordained this home of rest and refuge. Indian custom was an eye for an eye, but on gaining this mountain haven the pursued was safe from his pursuer, the slayer might not be touched by his victim's kindred. When he crossed its border, the warrior laid down his arms. Criminals and cowards, too, were often sent here by the chiefs to do penance.

The mountain divinity, with his under-gods, figures in much of the Siwash {p.032} folklore, and the "Land of Peace" is often heard of. It is through such typical Indian legends as that of Miser, the greedy hiaqua hunter, that we learn how large a place the great Mountain filled in the thought of the aborigines.

This myth also explains why no Red Man could ever be persuaded to an ascent beyond the snow line. As to the Greek, so to the Indian the great peaks were sacred. The flames of an eruption, the fall of an avalanche, told of the wrath of the mountain god. The clouds that wrapped the summit of Tacoma spelled mystery and peril. Even so shrewd and intelligent a Siwash as Sluiskin, with all his keenness for "Boston chikamin," the white man's money, refused to accompany Stevens and Van Trump in the first ascent, in 1870; indeed, he gave them up as doomed, and bewailed their certain fate when they defied the Mountain's wrath and started for the summit in spite of his warnings.

The hero of the Hiaqua Myth is the Indian {p.035} Rip Van Winkle.[2] He dwelt at the foot of Tacoma, and, like Irving's worthy, he was a mighty hunter and fisherman. He knew the secret pools where fish could always be found, and the dark places in the forest, where the elk hid when snows were deepest. But for these things Miser cared not. His lust was all for hiaqua, the Indian shell money.

[Footnote 2: This legend is well told in "Myths and Legends of the Pacific Northwest," a delightful book by Katharine B. Judson of the Seattle Public Library (Chicago, A. C. McClurg & Co.). See also Prof. W. D. Lyman's papers in "Mazama" Vol. 2, and "The Mountaineer," Vol. 2; and Winthrop's "Canoe and Saddle."]

Now, Miser's totem was Moosmoos, the elk divinity. So Miser tried, even while hunting the elk, to talk with them, in order to learn where hiaqua might be found. One night Moosmoos persuaded him that on top of the Mountain he would find great store of it. Making him two elk-horn picks, and filling his ikta with dried salmon and kinnikinnick, he climbed in two nights and a day to the summit. Here he found three big rocks, one like a camas root, one like a salmon's head, the third like his friendly Moosmoos. Miser saw that Moosmoos had told him truly.

After long digging, Miser overturned the rock that was like the elk's head. Beneath lay a vast quantity of hiaqua. This he strung on elk's sinews—enough of it to make him the richest of men. Then he hurried to depart. But he left no thank-offering to the tanahnawas powers. Thereupon the whole earth shook with a mighty convulsion, and the mountain shot forth terrible fires, which melted the snows and poured floods down the slopes, where they were turned to ice again by the breath of the storm-god. And above the roar of torrents and the crash of thunder, {p.038} Miser heard the voices of all the tamahnawas, hissing: "Hiaqua! Hiaqua! Ha, ha, Hiaqua!"

Panic-stricken at the results of his greed, Miser threw down his load of treasure to propitiate the angry tamahnawas. But the storm-god hurled him down the mountain side. Miser fell into a deep sleep. Many, many snows after, he awoke to find himself far from the summit, in a pleasant country of beautiful meadows carpeted with flowers, abounding in camas roots, and musical with the song of birds. He had grown very old, with white hair falling to his shoulders. His ikta was empty, save for a few dried leaves. Recognizing the scene about him as Saghalie Illahe, he sought his old tent. It was where he had left it. There, too, was his klootchman, or wife, grown old, like himself. Thirty snows, she said, she had awaited his return. Back they went to their {p.039} home on the bank of the Cowlitz, where he became a famous tamahnawas man, and spent the rest of his days in honor, for his tribesmen recognized that the aged Indian's heart had been marvelously softened and his mind enriched by his experience upon the peak. He had lost his love for hiaqua.

Among the familiar myths of the Mountain was one of a great flood, not unlike that of Noah. I quote Miss Judson's version:


A long, long time ago, Tyhce Sahale became angry with his people. Sahale ordered a medicine man to take his bow and arrow and shoot into the cloud which hung low over Takhoma. The medicine man shot the arrow, and it stuck fast in the cloud. Then he shot another into the lower end of the first. Then he shot another into the lower end of the second. He shot arrows until he had made a chain which reached from the cloud to the earth. The medicine man told his klootchman and his children to climb up the arrow trail. Then he told the good animals to climb up the arrow trail. Then the medicine man climbed up himself. Just as he was climbing into the cloud, he looked back. A long line of bad animals and snakes were also climbing up the arrow trail. Therefore the medicine man broke the chain of arrows. Thus the snakes and bad animals fell down on the mountain side. Then at once it began to rain. It rained until all the land was flooded. Water reached even to the snow line of Takhoma. When all the bad animals and snakes were drowned, it stopped raining. After a while the waters sank again. Then the medicine man and his klootchman and the children climbed out of the cloud and came down the mountain side. The good animals also climbed out of the cloud. Thus there are now no snakes or bad animals on Takhoma.

Childish and fantastic as they seem to our wise age, such legends show the Northwestern Indian struggling to interpret the world about him. Like savages everywhere, he peopled the unknown with spirits good and bad, and mingled his conception of a beneficent deity with his ideas of the evil one. Symbolism pervaded his crude but very positive mind. Ever by his side the old Siwash felt the Power that dwelt on Tacoma, protecting and aiding him, or leading him to destruction. Knowing {p.040} nothing of true worship, his primitive intelligence could imagine God only in things either the most beautiful or the most terrifying; and the more we know the Mountain, the more easily we shall understand why he deemed the majestic peak a factor of his destiny—an infinite force that could, at will, bless or destroy. For to us, too, though we have no illusions as to its supernatural powers, the majestic peak may bring a message. Before me is a letter from an inspiring New England writer, who has well earned the right to appraise life's values. "I saw the great Mountain three years ago," she says; "would that it might ever be my lot to see it again! I love to dream of its glory, and its vast whiteness is a moral force in my life."

Perpetual And snowy tabernacle of the land, While purples at thy base this peaceful sea, And all thy hither slopes in evening bathe, I hear soft twilight voices calling down From all thy summits unto prayer and love.

Francis Brooks: "Mt. Rainier."




There are plenty of higher mountains, but it is the decided isolation—the absolute standing alone in full majesty of its own mightiness—that forms the attraction of Rainier. * * * It is no squatting giant, perched on the shoulders of other mountains. From Puget Sound, it is a sight for the gods, and one feels in the presence of the gods.—Paul Fountain: "The Seven Eaglets of the West" (London, 1905).

The first explorers to climb the Mountain, forty years ago, were compelled to make their way from Puget Sound through the dense growths of one of the world's greatest forests, over lofty ridges and deep canyons, and across perilous glacial torrents. The hardships of a journey to the timber line were more formidable than the difficulties encountered above it.

Even from the East the first railroad to the Coast had just reached San Francisco. Thence the traveler came north to the Sound by boat. The now busy cities of Seattle and Tacoma were, one, an ambitious village of 1,107 inhabitants; the other, a sawmill, with seventy persons living around it. They were frontier settlements, outposts of {p.044} civilization; but civilization paid little attention to them and their great Mountain, until the railways, some years later, began to connect them with the big world of people and markets beyond the Rockies.

How different the case to-day! Six transcontinental railroads now deliver their trains in the Puget Sound cities. These are: The Northern Pacific, which was the first trunk line to reach the Sound; the Great Northern; the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy; the Chicago, Milwaukee & Puget Sound; the Oregon-Washington (Union Pacific), and the Canadian Pacific. A seventh, the North Coast, is planned.

Arriving in Seattle or Tacoma, the traveler has his choice of quick and enjoyable routes to the Mountain. He may go by automobile, leaving either city in the morning. After traveling one of the best and most interesting roads in the country—the only one, in fact, to reach a glacier—he may take luncheon at noon six thousand feet higher, in Paradise Park, overlooking great glaciers and close to the line of eternal snow. Or he may go by the comfortable trains of the Tacoma Eastern (Milwaukee system) to Ashford, fifty-five miles from Tacoma, and then by automobile stages, over a picturesque portion of the fine highway just mentioned, to the National Park Inn at Longmire Springs (altitude 2,762 feet). Lunching there, he may then go on, by coach over the new government road, or on horseback over one of the most inviting mountain trails in America, or afoot, as many prefer. Thus he {p.049} gains Paradise Park and its far-reaching observation point, Camp of the Clouds (elevation, 5,800 feet). From the Inn, too, another romantic bridle path leads to Indian Henry's famous Hunting Ground, equally convenient as a base of adventure.

Whether the visitor goes to the Mountain by train or by automobile, his choice will be a happy one. For either route leads through a country of uncommon charm. Each of them, too, will carry the visitor up from the Sound to the great and beautiful region on the southern slopes which includes the Tahoma, Kautz, Nisqually, Paradise and Stevens canyons, with their glaciers and the wonderful upland plateaus or "parks" that lie between.

Here let him stay a day or a month. Every moment of his time will be crowded with new experiences and packed with enjoyment. For here is sport to last for many months. He may content himself with a day spent in coasting down a steep snow-field in midsummer, snowballing his companions, and climbing Alta Vista to look down on the big Nisqually glacier in the deep bed which it has {p.050} carved for itself, and up its steep slopes to its neve field on the summit. Or he may explore this whole region at his leisure. He may climb the hard mountain trails that radiate from Longmires and Paradise. He may work up over the lower glaciers, studying their crevasses, ice caves and flow. He will want to ascend some of the tempting crags of the ragged Tatoosh, for the panorama of ice-capped peaks and dark, forested ranges which is there unfolded. After a week or two of such "trying-out," to develop wind and harden muscle, he may even scale the great Mountain itself under the safe lead of experienced guides. He may wander at will over the vast platform left by a prehistoric explosion which truncated the cone, and perhaps spend a night of sensational novelty (and discomfort) in a big steam cave, under the snow, inside a dead crater.

The south side has the advantage of offering the wildest alpine sport in combination with a well-appointed hotel as a base of operations. Hence the majority of visitors know only that side. Everybody should know it, too, for there is not a nobler playground anywhere; but should also know that it is by no means the only side to see.

One may, of course, work around from the Nisqually canyon and Paradise, east or west, to the other glaciers and "parks." It is quite practicable, if not easy, to make the trip eastward from Camp of the Clouds, crossing Paradise, Stevens and Cowlitz glaciers, and thus to reach the huge White glacier on the east side and Winthrop and Carbon glaciers on the north. Every summer sees more and more visitors making this wonderful journey.

But the usual way to reach the great north side, especially for parties which carry camp equipment, is by a Northern Pacific train over the Carbonado branch to Fairfax. This is on Carbon river, five miles from the northwest corner of the National Park. Thence the traveler will go by horse or afoot, over a safe mountain trail, to Spray Park, the fascinating region between Carbon and North Mowich {p.051} glaciers. Standing here, on such an eminence as Fay Peak or Eagle Cliff, he may have views of the Mountain in its finest aspects that will a thousand times repay the labor of attainment.

A visit to this less known but no less interesting side involves the necessity of packing an outfit. But arrangements for horses and packers are easily made, and each year an increasing number of parties make Spray Park their headquarters, spending, if they are wise, at least a week in this wide region of flowering alpine valleys and commanding heights. From there they go south, over the west-side glaciers, or east, across the Carbon and through the great White river country. They camp on the south side of the Sluiskin mountains, in Moraine Park, and there have ready access to Carbon and Winthrop glaciers, with splendid views of the vast precipices that form the north face of the Mountain. Thence they climb east and south over the Winthrop and White glaciers. They visit the beautiful Grand Park and Summerland, and either make the ascent to the summit from "Steamboat Prow" on the "Wedge," over the long ice slope of the White glacier, or continue around to the Paradise country and Longmire Springs.


The west side has been less visited than the others, but there is a trail from the North Mowich to the Nisqually, and from this adventurous explorers reach North and South Mowich and Puyallup glaciers. No one has yet climbed the Mountain over those glaciers, or from the north side. A view from any of the trails will explain why. The great rock spines are more precipitous than elsewhere, the glaciers more broken; and the summit is fronted on either side by a huge parapet of rock which hurls defiance at anything short of an airship. Doubtless, we shall some day travel to Crater Peak by aeroplanes, but until these vehicles are equipped with {p.054} runners for landing and starting on the snow, we shall do best to plan our ascents from the south or east side.

I have thus briefly pointed out the favorite routes followed in exploring the National Park. The time is fast approaching when it will be a truly national recreation ground, well known to Americans in every State. The coming of new railways to Puget Sound and the development of new facilities for reaching the Mountain make this certain.[3]

[Footnote 3: For details as to rates for transportation, accommodations and guides, with the rules governing the National Park, see the notes at end of the book.]

Every step taken for the conservation of the natural beauty of the Park and its opening to proper use and enjoyment is a public benefit. Outside the national reserves, our lumbermen are fast destroying the forests; but, if properly guarded against fire, the great Park forest will still teach future generations how lavishly Nature plants, just as the delightful glacial valleys and towering landmarks teach how powerful and artistic a sculptor she is. Experienced travelers and alpinists {p.055} who have visited the Mountain unite in declaring its scenery, combining as it does great vistas of ice with vast stretches of noble forest, to be unequaled elsewhere in America, and unsurpassed anywhere. In the fascination of its glacial story, as well as in the grandeur of its features, it has few rivals among the great peaks of the world. The geologist, the botanist, the weary business man, the sportsman, all find it calling them to study, to rest, or to strenuous and profitable recreation. Here is a resource more lasting than our timber. When the loggers shall have left us only naked ranges, without the reserves, the Park may yield a crop more valuable.



Until recent years this was known only to the hardy few who delight in doing difficult things for great rewards. But that day of isolation has passed. The value of the Park to the whole American people is more {p.056} and more appreciated by them, if not yet by their official representatives. While Congress has dealt less liberally with this than with the other great National Parks, what it has appropriated has been well spent in building an invaluable road, which opens one of the most important upland regions to public knowledge and use. This road is a continuation of the well-made highway maintained by Pierce County from Tacoma, which passes through an attractive country of partly wooded prairies and follows the picturesque Nisqually valley up the heavily forested slopes to the Forest Reserve and the southwestern corner of the Park. The public has been quick to seize the opportunity which the roads offered. The number of persons entering the Park, as shown by the annual reports of the Superintendent, has grown {p.057} from 1,786 in 1906 to more than 8,000 in 1910. In the same period, the Yellowstone National Park, with its greater age, its wider advertising, its many hotels, its abundance of government money, increased its total of visitors from 17,182 to 19,575.

For one thing, these roads have put it within the power of automobilists from all parts of the Coast to reach the grandest of American mountains and the largest glaciers of the United States south of Alaska. They connect at Tacoma, with excellent roads from Seattle and other cities on the Sound, as well as from Portland and points farther south. The travel from these cities has already justified the construction of the roads, and is increasing every year. Even from California many automobile parties visit the Mountain. The railway travel is also fast increasing, and the opening this year of its transcontinental service by the Milwaukee Railway, which owns the Tacoma Eastern line to Ashford, is likely soon to double the number of those who journey to the Mountain by rail.

The new government road to Paradise and the trails {p.058} connecting with it have, however made only a fraction of the Park accessible. The most important work for the conservation of this great alpine area and its opening to the public still remains to be done. Congress is now asked to provide funds for the survey and gradual extension of the road to the other plateaus on all sides of the peak. Pending the construction of the road, it is highly important that, as soon as the surveys can be made, bridle trails be built on the easy grades thus established. Not only are these roads and trails much needed for the convenience of visitors to the Mountain, but, with the closer approach of logging operations, they are year by year becoming more necessary to the proper policing of the Park and its protection against forest fires. For want of them, great sections of forest within the Park are liable to be swept away at any time, before the rangers could find their way over the scant and broken trails now existing. The request for better access to the other sides of the Mountain has received the earnest indorsement of the Washington legislature, the commercial organizations of the entire Coast, and the several mountain clubs in different parts of the country. Only Congress remains blind to its importance.

Congressional action affecting this immediate area began in 1899. A tract eighteen miles square, 207,360 acres, to be known as "Ranier National Park,"[4] was {p.059} withdrawn from the 2,146,600 acres of the Pacific Forest Reserve, previously created. The area thus set apart as "a public park for the benefit and enjoyment of the people" (Act of March 2, 1899) was already known to a few enthusiasts and explorers as one of the world's great wonderlands. In 1861 James Longmire, a prospector, had built a trail from Yelm over Mashell mountain and up the Nisqually river to Bear Prairie. This he extended in 1884 to the spot now known as Longmire Springs, and thence up the Nisqually and Paradise rivers to the region now called Paradise Park. Part of this trail was widened later into a wagon road, used for many years by persons seeking health at the remarkable mineral springs on the tract which the Longmires acquired from the government before the establishment of the Forest Reserve.

[Footnote 4: For some years, Congress and the Interior Department spelled it "Ranier"! A well-known Congressman from Seattle corrected their spelling of the name of the forgotten admiral, and it has since been officially "Rainier National Park."]

The Longmire road, rough as it was, long remained the best route; but in 1903 the Mountain found a tireless friend in the late Francis W. Cushman, representative from this State, who persuaded Congress to authorize the survey and construction of a better highway. Work was not begun, however, until 1906. The {p.061} yearly appropriations have been small, and total only $240,000 for surveys, construction and maintenance, to the end of the last session.

The road, as now open to Paradise valley, is a monument to the engineering skill of Mr. Eugene Ricksecker, United States Assistant Engineer, in local charge of the work. Over its even floor you go from the west boundary of the Forest Reserve up the north bank of the Nisqually river, as far as the foot of its glacier. Crossing on the bridge here, you climb up and up, around the face of a bluff known as Gap Point, where a step over the retaining wall would mean a sheer drop of a thousand feet into the river below. Thus you wind over to the Paradise river and famous Narada Falls, switch back up the side of the deep Paradise canyon to the beautiful valley of the same name above, and, still climbing, reach Camp of the Clouds and its picturesque tent hotel. The road has brought you a zigzag journey of twenty-five miles to cover an air-line distance of twelve and a gain in elevation of 3,600 feet. It is probably unique in its grades. It has no descents. Almost everywhere it is a gentle climb. {p.062} Below Longmire Springs the maximum grade is 2.5 per cent., and the average, 1.6 per cent. Beyond, the grade is steeper, but nowhere more than 4 per cent.

The alignment and grades originally planned have been followed, but for want of funds only one stretch, a mile and a quarter, has yet been widened to the standard width of eighteen feet. Lacking money for a broader road, the engineers built the rest of it twelve feet wide. They wisely believed that early opening of the route for vehicles to Paradise, even though the road be less than standard width, would serve the public by making the Park better known, and thus arouse interest in making it still more accessible. It will require about $60,000 to complete the road to full width, and render it thoroughly secure.

Of still greater importance, however, to the safety of the Park and its opening to public use is the carrying out of Mr. Ricksecker's fine plan for a road around the Mountain. His new map of the Park, printed at the end of this volume, shows the route proposed. Leaving the present road near Christine Falls, below the Nisqually glacier, he would double back over the hills to Indian Henry's, thence dropping into the canyon of Tahoma {p.064} Fork, climbing up to St. Andrew's Park, and so working round to the Mowich glaciers, Spray Falls, and the great "parks" on the north. The snout of each glacier would be reached in turn, and the high plateaus which the glaciers have left would be visited.

Crossing Spray Park, Moraine Park and Winthrop glacier's old bed, the road would ascend to Grand Park and the Sour-Dough country—a region unsurpassed anywhere on the Mountain for the breadth and grandeur of its views. More descents, climbs and detours would bring it to the foot of White glacier, and thence through Summerland and Cowlitz Park, and westward to a junction with the existing road in Paradise. Its elevation would range between four and seven thousand feet above the sea. The route, as indicated on the contour map, suggests very plainly the engineering feats involved in hanging roads on these steep and deeply-carved slopes.

Between eighty and a hundred miles of construction work would be required, costing approximately $10,000 a mile. Including the completion of the present {p.067} road to standard width, Congress will thus have to provide a round million if it wishes to give reasonable protection to the Park and fully achieve the purpose of "benefit and enjoyment" for which it was created. Such a road would justify the Congress which authorizes it, immortalize the engineers who build it, and honor the nation that owns it.

Talking with President David Starr Jordan of Stanford University a few weeks ago, I found that famous climber of mountains greatly interested in the project for better roads and trails in the National Park. "How much will the whole thing cost?" he asked. I told him.

"Why, a million dollars would pay for the upkeep of one of our battleships for a whole year!" exclaimed the great advocate of disarmament. Whether Congress can be induced to value scenery as highly as battleships remains to be seen. It has already done very well by the Yellowstone National Park, where $2,142,720 of government money had been spent on road building and administration up to July 1, 1910. No one who knows the glories of that park will deem the amount excessive. But with its still grander scenery, its important glaciers, its priceless forests, and the greater population within easy reach of its opportunities for study and recreation, the claims of the Rainier National Park are at least equal to those of the Yellowstone, and they should be as liberally met.


It is not desired that the whole sum named be appropriated at once. Indeed, the recommendation of the engineers has been far more modest. As far back as 1907, Maj. H. M. Chittenden of the United States Engineer Corps, in charge, wrote as follows in his report to the Secretary of War:

A bridle trail around the Mountain, just under the glacier line, is absolutely essential to the proper policing of the Park, and very necessary for the convenience of tourists, if they are really to have access to the attractions of the Park. The trail should be so located that in time it may be enlarged into a wagon road.

This recommendation has been indorsed by Major Chittenden's successor, Maj. C. W. Kutz, and may be taken as expressing the conviction of the government {p.070} engineers as to the minimum of work needed in the Park at once. For the necessary surveys and the building of the trails, Mr. Ricksecker informs me that $50,000 will probably be enough. This is so insignificant in comparison with the good sought and the value of the national property to be protected and made accessible that its immediate appropriation by Congress should be beyond question. Nevertheless, half that amount has twice been asked for in measures introduced by Senator S. H. Piles, but in neither case did the appropriation pass both houses. It is to be hoped that the present Congress will give the full amount of $50,000, which will enable the surveys to be completed over the entire route, and trails to be built on most, if not all, of that route. Their widening into permanent roads will follow in due time, when the wonders of glacier, canyon and forest which they make accessible are once known.

The road recently completed to Paradise Valley should be widened, by all means, and made safer by retaining walls at every danger point. But it is doubtful whether automobiles will ever be permitted above the bridge at the Nisqually glacier. Some automobile owners regard the Park as an automobile-club preserve, and insist that nothing more be done toward the opening of its {p.072} scenery or the conservation of its forest until it is made safe for them to run their touring cars into Paradise. This is unfortunate, because it betrays ignorance of the purpose of Congress in creating the National Parks, namely, the education and enjoyment of all the people, not the pleasure of a class. Moreover, no matter how wide or well-guarded the road may be above the bridge, it can never be wide enough to prevent a reckless chauffeur from causing a terrible fatality. It is necessarily a very crooked road, hung upon the high ledges of precipitous cliffs. While the road is safe for coaches drawn by well-broken horses and driven by trustworthy drivers, it would be criminal folly to open it to the crowd of automobiles that would rush to Paradise Valley. If automobiles are permitted to go beyond the Nisqually glacier, it should be only when in charge of a park officer.

Even from the older and wider roads of the Yellowstone automobiles have been excluded, although there are no large cities near by, as there are here, to send hundreds of cars into that park on any pleasant day. The automobilists will be wise to accept their privilege of access to the foot of the glacier, and use it with care, too. Several serious accidents have already occurred, and if greater care is not exercised, the Interior Department will apply the Yellowstone rule, at least to the extent of stopping all cars at Longmires.

Questions like this, involving conflict between the interests of a class and the vital needs of the Park as a public institution, {p.075} give especial emphasis to the recommendation made by Secretary Ballinger on his last annual report. Owing to the great number and extent of the National Parks, and the inefficiency of the present "perfunctory policy" in their administration, Mr. Ballinger asked Congress to put the management of these institutions under a Bureau of National Parks, conducted by a competent commissioner, and organized for efficient field administration and careful inspection of all public work and of the conduct of concessionaries. Regarding the need of such a systematic and scientific organization for the development of the parks, he says:

A definite policy for their maintenance, supervision and improvement should be established, which would enable them to be gradually opened up for the convenience of tourists and campers and for the careful preservation of their natural features. Complete and comprehensive plans for roads, trails, telegraph and telephone lines, sewer and water systems, hotel accommodations, transportation, and other conveniences should be made before any large amount of money is expended. The treatment of our national parks, except as regards the Yellowstone, has not heretofore had the benefit of any well-considered or systematic plans. In all of them the road and trail problems for public travel and convenience to enable tourists to obtain the benefits of scenic beauties are primary, but sewage, water, and electric-power problems are after all of equal importance.

In line with Secretary Ballinger's report, Senator Flint of California introduced a bill authorizing the creation of such a bureau in the Interior Department. The bill failed to get through at the last session, but I am informed by Senator Jones that it will be reintroduced. Its purpose is of great public importance, and the indorsement of the very intelligent directors of the Sierra Club in California argues well for its form. Every person interested in the development of our National Parks to fullest usefulness and the proper conservation of their natural beauty should work for the passage of the bill.




I asked myself, How was this colossal work performed? Who chiseled these mighty and picturesque masses out of a mere protuberance of earth? And the answer was at hand. Ever young, ever mighty, with the vigor of a thousand worlds still within him, the real sculptor was even then climbing up the eastern sky. It was he who planted the glaciers on the mountain slopes, thus giving gravity a plough to open out the valleys; and it is he who, acting through the ages, will finally lay low these mighty monuments, * * * so that the people of an older earth may see mould spread and corn wave over the hidden rocks which at this moment bear the weight of the Jungfrau.—John Tyndall: "Hours of Exercise in the Alps."

The life of a glacier is one eternal grind.—John Muir.

Our stately Mountain, in its youth, was as comely and symmetrical a cone as ever graced the galaxy of volcanic peaks. To-day, while still young as compared with the obelisk crags of the Alps, it has already taken on the venerable and deeply-scarred physiognomy of a veteran. It is no longer merely an overgrown boy among the hills, but, cut and torn by the ice of centuries, it is fast assuming the dignity and interest of a patriarch of the mountains.

To some, no doubt, the smooth, youthful contours of an active volcano seem more beautiful than the rugged grandeur of the Weisshorn. The perfect cone of Mt. St. Helens, until recently in eruption, pleases them more than the broad dome of Mt. Adams, rounded by an explosion in the unknown past. But for those who love nature and the story written upon its {p.079} face, mountains have character as truly as men, and they show it in their features as clearly.

Nowhere is this better exemplified than in the monarch of the Cascades. No longer the huge conical pimple which a volcano erected on the earth's crust, it bears upon it the history of its own explosion, which scattered its top far over the landscape, and of its losing battle with the sun, which, employing the heaviest of all {p.080} tools, is steadily destroying it. It has already lost a tenth of its height and a third of its bulk. The ice is cutting deeper and deeper into its sides. Upon three of them, it has excavated great amphitheaters, which it is ceaselessly driving back toward the heart of the peak. As if to compensate for losses in size and shapeliness, the Mountain presents the most important phenomena of glacial action to be seen in the United States.

In its dimensions, however, it is still one of the world's great peaks. The Rainier National Park, eighteen miles square—as large as many counties in the East—has an elevation along its western and lowest boundary averaging four thousand feet above sea level. Assuming a diameter for the peak of only twenty miles, the {p.081} area occupied by this creature of a volcano exceeds three hundred square miles. Of its vast surface upwards of 32,500 acres, or about fifty-one square miles, are covered by glaciers or the fields of perpetual snow which feed them. A straight line drawn through from the end of North Tahoma glacier, on the west side, to the end of White glacier, on the east, would be thirteen miles long. The circumference of the crest on the 10,000-foot contour is nearly seven miles. Its glacial system is, and doubtless has long been, the most extensive on the continent, south of Alaska; it is said by scientists to outrank that of any mountain in Europe. The twelve primary glaciers vary in length from three to eight miles, and from half a mile to three miles in width. There are nearly as many "interglaciers," or smaller ice streams which gather their snow supply, not from the neve fields of the summit, but within the wedges of rock which the greater glaciers have left pointing upward on the higher slopes.

The geological story may be told in a few untechnical words. As those folds in the earth's crust which parallel the coast were slowly formed by the lateral pressure of sea upon land, fractures often occurred in the general incline thus {p.082} created. Through the fissures that resulted the subterranean fires thrust molten rock. In many cases, the expulsion was of sufficient amount and duration to form clearly defined volcanic craters. The most active craters built up, by continued eruptions of lava and ashes, a great series of cones now seen on both sides of the Cordillera, that huge mountain system which borders the Pacific from Behring sea to the Straits of Magellan. Tacoma-Rainier is one of the more important units in this army of volcanic giants.

Unlike some of its companions, however, it owes its bulk less to lava flows than to the explosive eruptions which threw forth bombs and scoriae. It is a mass of agglomerates, with only occasional strata of solid volcanic rock. This becomes evident to one who inspects the exposed sides of any of the canyons, or of the great cliffs, Gibraltar Rock, Little Tahoma or Russell Peak. It is made clear in such pictures as are on this page and the next.

This looseness of structure accounts for the rapidity with which the glaciers are cutting into the peak, and carrying it away. Most of them carry an extraordinary amount of debris, to be deposited in lateral or terminal moraines, or dropped in streams which they feed. They are rivers of rock as well as of ice.

{p.083} That the glaciers of this and every other mountain in the northern hemisphere are receding, and that they are now mere pygmies compared with their former selves, is well known. What their destructive power must have been when their volume was many times greater than now may be judged from the moraines along their former channels. Some of these ridges are hundreds of feet in height. As you go to the Mountain from Tacoma, either by the Tacoma Eastern railway or the Nisqually canyon road, you find them everywhere above the prairies. They are largest on the north side of the Mountain, because there the largest glaciers have been busy. Many of them, on all sides, are covered with forests that must be centuries old.

Even now, diminished as they are, the glaciers are fast transporting the Mountain toward the sea. Wherever a glacier skirts a cliff, it is cutting into its side, as it cuts into its own bed below. From the overhanging rocks, too, debris falls as a result of "weathering." The daily ebb and flow of frost and heat help greatly to tear down the cliffs. Thus marginal moraines built of the debris begin to form, on the ice, far up the side of the peak. As the glacier advances, driven by its weight and the resistless mass of snow above, it is often joined by another glacier, bringing its own marginal moraines. Where the two meet, a medial moraine results. (See illustrations, pp. 68 and 77.) Some medial moraines are many feet high. Trees are found growing on them. In Switzerland houses are built upon them. Often the debris which they transport, as the ice carries them forward, includes rocks as big as a ship.

A glacier's flow varies from a hundred to a thousand feet or more a year, depending upon {p.085} its volume, its width, and the slope of its bed. As the decades pass, its level is greatly lowered by the melting of the ice. More and more, earth and rocks accumulate upon the surface, as it travels onward, and are scattered over it by the rains and melting snow. At last, in its old age, when far down its canyon, the glacier is completely hidden, save where crevasses reveal the ice. Only at its snout, where it breaks off, as a rule, in a high wall of ice, do we realize how huge a volume and weight it must have, far above toward its sources, or why so many of the crevasses on the upper ice fields seem almost bottomless.

These hints of the almost inconceivable mass of a glacier, with its millions of millions of tons, suggest how much of the Mountain has already been whittled and planed away. But here we may do better than speculate. The original surface of the peak is clearly indicated by the tops of the great rocks which have survived the glacial sculpturing. These rise from one to two thousand feet above the glaciers, which are themselves several thousand feet in depth. The best known of them is the point formed by Gibraltar and the ridges that stretch downward from it, Cowlitz Cleaver and Cathedral Rocks, making a great inverted V. Eastward of this, another V with its apex toward the summit, is called Little Tahoma; and beyond, still another, Steamboat Prow, forming the tip of "The Wedge."

Spines of rock like these are found on all sides of the peak. They help us to estimate its greater circumference and bulk, before the glaciers had chiseled so deep.

{p.086} But they do even more. Wherever lava flows occurred in the building of the Mountain, strata formed; and such stratification is clearly seen at intervals on the sides of the great rocks just mentioned. Its incline, of course, is that of the former surface. The strata point upward—not toward the summit which we see, but far above it. For this reason the geologists who have examined the aretes most closely are agreed that the peak has lost nearly two thousand feet of its height. It blew its own head off!

Such explosive eruptions are among the worst vices of volcanoes. Every visitor to Naples remembers how plainly the landscape north of Vesuvius tells of a prehistoric decapitation, which left only a low, broad platform, on the south rim of which the little Vesuvius that many of us have climbed was formed by later eruptions, while a part of the north rim is well defined in "Monte Somma." Similarly, here at home, Mt. Adams and Mt. Baker are truncated cones, while, on the other hand, St. Helens and Hood are still symmetrical.

Like Vesuvius, too, Rainier-Tacoma has built upon the plateau left when it lost its head. Peak Success, overlooking Indian Henry's, and Liberty Cap, the northern elevation, seen from Seattle and Tacoma, are nearly three miles apart on the west side of the broad summit. These are parts of the rim of the old crater. East of the line uniting them, and about two miles from each, the volcano built up an elevation now known as Crater Peak, comprising two small adjacent craters. These burnt-out craters are now filled with snow, and where the rims touch, a big snow-hill rises—the strange creature of eddying winds that sweep up through the great flume cut by volcanic explosion and glacial action in the west side of the peak. (See pp. 14, 27, and 52.)

{p.088} [Illustration: These views show the larger of the two comparatively modern and small craters on the broad platform left by the explosion which decapitated the Peak. Prof. Flett measured this crater, and found it 1,600 feet from north to south, and 1,450 feet from east to west. The other, much smaller, adjoins it so closely that their rims touch. Together they form an eminence of 1,000 feet (Crater Peak), at a distance of about two miles from North Peak (Liberty Cap) and South Peak (Peak Success). At the junction of their rims is the great snow hill (on right of view) called "Columbia's Crest." This is the actual summit. The volcano having long been inactive, the craters are filled with snow, but the residual heat causes steam and gases to escape in places along their rims.]

This mound of snow is the present actual top. Believing it the highest point in the United States south of Alaska, a party of climbers, in 1894, named it "Columbia's Crest." This was long thought to be the Mountain's rightful distinction, for different computations by experts gave various elevations ranging as high as 14,529 feet, with none prior to 1902 giving less than 14,444 feet. Even upon a government map published as late as 1907 the height is stated as 14,526 feet. In view of this variety of expert opinion, the flattering name, not unnaturally, has stuck, in spite of the fact that the government geographers have now adopted, for the Dictionary of Altitudes, the height found by the United States Geological Survey in 1902, 14,363 feet. That decision leaves the honor of being the loftiest peak between Alaska and Mexico to Mt. Whitney in the California Sierra (14,502 feet).


The definitive map of the National Park which was begun last summer by the Geological Survey, with Mr. Francois E. Matthes in charge, will establish the elevations of all important landmarks in the Park. Among these will be the Mountain itself. Whether this will add much, if anything, to the current figure of the Dictionary is uncertain. In any case, the result will not lessen the pride of the Northwest in its great peak. A few feet of height signify nothing. No California mountain masked behind the Sierra can vie in majesty with this lonely pile that rises in stately grandeur from the shores of Puget Sound.


The wide area which the Mountain thrusts far up into the sky is a highly efficient condenser of moisture. Near to the Pacific as it is, its broad summit and upper slopes collect several hundred feet of snow each year from the warm Chinooks blowing in from the west. On all sides this vast mass presses down, hardened into solid granular neve, to feed the twelve primary glaciers. Starting eastward from Paradise Valley, these principal ice-streams are: Cowlitz and Ingraham glaciers; White or White River glacier, largest of all; Winthrop glacier, named in honor of Theodore Winthrop, in whose romance of travel, "The Canoe and the Saddle," the ancient Indian name "Tacoma" was first printed; Carbon, North and South Mowich, Puyallup, North and South Tahoma, Kautz and Nisqually glaciers. The most important secondary glaciers, or "interglaciers," rising within the great rock wedges which I have described, are called Interglacier, Frying-Pan, {p.094} Stevens, Paradise and Van Trump. All of these are of the true Alpine type; that is, they are moving rivers of ice, as distinguished from "continental glaciers," the ice caps which cover vast regions in the Arctic and Antarctic.

In thus naming the glaciers, I have followed the time-honored local usage, giving the names applied by the earliest explorers and since used with little variation in the Northwest. There has been some confusion, however, chiefly owing to a recent government map. For instance, in that publication, White glacier, properly so called because it is the main feeder of the White river, was named Emmons glacier, after S. F. Emmons, a geologist who was one of the first to visit it. It is interesting to note that in his reports Mr. Emmons himself called this the White River glacier. On the other hand, the map mentioned, after displacing the name White from the larger glacier to which it logically belongs, gave it to the ice-stream feeding another branch of the White river, namely, the glacier always locally called the Winthrop, and so called by Prof. Russell in his report to the Geological Survey in 1897.


Similarly, North and South Mowich, names of the streams to which they give birth, were miscalled Willis and Edmunds glaciers, after Bailey Willis, geologist, and George F. Edmunds, late United States senator, who visited the Mountain many years ago. The Mowich rivers were so named by the Indians from the fact that, in the great rocks on the northwest side of the peak, just below the summit, they saw the figure of the mowich, or deer. The deer of rock is there still—he may be seen in several pictures in this volume,—and so long as he keeps to his icy pasture it will be difficult to displace his name from the glaciers and rivers below. The southern branch of the great Tahoma glacier, locally called South Tahoma glacier, this map renamed Wilson glacier, for A. D. Wilson, Emmons's companion in exploration. Finally, the name of General Hazard Stevens, who, {p.097} with Mr. Van Trump, made the first ascent of the peak in 1870, was misplaced, being given to the west branch of the Nisqually, whereas the general usage has fixed the name of that pioneer upon the well-defined interglacier east of the Paradise, and above Stevens canyon, which in its prime it carved on the side of the Mountain. General Stevens himself writes me from Boston that this is the correct usage.

Such errors in an official document are the more inexcusable because their author ignored local names recognized in the earlier publications of the government and its agents. In such matters, too, the safe principle is to follow local custom where that is logical and established. The new map prepared by Mr. Ricksecker, and printed herewith, returns to the older and better usage. Unless good reason can be shown for departing from it, his careful compilation should be followed. Willis Wall, above Carbon Glacier, appropriately recalls the work of Bailey Willis. The explorations of Emmons and Wilson may well be commemorated by landmarks as yet unnamed, not by displacing fit names long current.

In connection with his survey of the Park, Mr. Matthes has been authorized to collect local testimony as to established names within that area, and to invite suggestions as to appropriate names for landmarks not yet definitely named. His report will doubtless go to the National Geographic Board for final decision on the names recommended. Thus, in time, we may hope to see this awkward and confusing tangle in mountain nomenclature straightened out.


The written history of the Mountain begins with its discovery by Captain George Vancouver. Its first appearance upon a map occurs in Vancouver's well-known report, published in 1798, after his death: "Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean and around the World, 1790-1795."

It was in the summer of 1792, shortly after Vancouver had entered the Sound, he tells us, that he first saw "a very remarkable high round mountain, covered with snow, apparently at the southern extremity of the distant snowy range." A few days later he again mentions "the round snowy mountain," "which, after my friend Rear-Admiral Rainier, I distinguished by the name of Mount Rainier." Nearly all of Captain Vancouver's friends were thus distinguished, at the cost of the Indian names, to which doubtless he gave no thought. Sonorous "Kulshan" and unique "Whulge" were lost, in order that we might celebrate "Mr. Baker" and "Mr. Puget," junior officers of Vancouver's expedition.


Happily, the fine Indian name "Tacoma" was not offered up a sacrifice to such obscurity. Forgotten as he is now, Peter Rainier was, in his time, something of a figure. After some ransacking of libraries, I have found a page that gives us a glimpse of a certain hard-fought though unequal combat, in the year 1778, between an American privateer and two British ships. It is of interest in connection with "Mount Rainier," the name recognized by the Geographic Board at Washington in 1889 as official.

On the 8th of July, the 14-gun ship Ostrich, Commander Peter Rainier, on the Jamaica station, in company with the 10-gun armed brig Lowestoffe's Prize, chased a large brig. After a long run, the Ostrich brought the brig, which was the American privateer Polly, to action, and, after an engagement of three hours' duration (by which time the Lowestoffe's Prize had arrived up and {p.101} taken part in the contest), compelled her to surrender. * * * * Captain Rainier was wounded by a musket ball through the left breast; he could not, however, be prevailed upon to go below, but remained on deck till the close of the action. He was posted, and appointed to command the 64-gun ship Burford. (Allen: "Battles of the British Navy," Vol. I., London, 1872).

Before quitting with Vancouver and eighteenth-century history of the Mountain, I note that our peak enjoyed a further honor. Captain Vancouver records an interesting event that took place on the anniversary of King George's birth;—"on which auspicious day," he says, "I had long since designed to take formal possession of all the countries we had lately been employed in exploring, in the name of, and for, His Britannic Majesty, his heirs and successors." And he did!

After Vancouver's brief mention, and the caricature of our peak printed in his work, literature is practically silent about the Mountain for more than sixty years. Those years witnessed the failure of England's memorable struggle to make good Vancouver's "annexation." Oregon was at last a state. Out of its original area Washington Territory had just been carved. In that year of 1853 {p.102} came Theodore Winthrop, of the old New England family, who was destined to a lasting and pathetic fame as an author of delightful books and a victim of the first battle of the Civil War. Sailing into what is now the harbor of the city of Tacoma, he there beheld the peak. We feel his enthusiasm as he tells of the appeal it made to him.

We had rounded a point, and opened Puyallop Bay, a breadth of sheltered calmness, when I was suddenly aware of a vast white shadow in the water. What cloud, piled massive on the horizon, could cast an image so sharp in outline, so full of vigorous detail of surface? No cloud, but a cloud compeller. It was a giant mountain dome of snow, swelling and seeming to fill the aerial spheres, as its image displaced the blue deeps of tranquil water. Only its splendid snows were visible, high in the unearthly regions of clear blue noonday sky.

Kingly and alone stood this majesty, without any visible consort, though far to the north and the south its brethren and sisters dominated their realms. Of all the peaks from California to {p.103} Frazer's River, this one before me was royalest. Mount Regnier[5] Christians have dubbed it, in stupid nomenclature perpetuating the name of somebody or nobody. More melodiously the Siwashes call it Tacoma,—a generic term also applied to all snow peaks. Tacoma, under its ermine, is a crushed volcanic dome, or an ancient volcano fallen in, and perhaps not yet wholly lifeless. The domes of snow are stateliest. There may be more of feminine beauty in the cones, and more of masculine force and hardihood in the rough pyramids, but the great domes are calmer and more divine.

[Footnote 5: Winthrop's error was a common one at that time and has remained current till to-day. The admiral's grandfather, the Huguenot exile, was "Regnier," but his descendants anglicized the patronymic into "Rainier."]

No foot of man had ever trampled those pure snows. It was a virginal mountain, distant from human inquisitiveness as a marble goddess is from human loves. Yet there was nothing unsympathetic in its isolation, or despotic in its distant majesty. Only the thought of eternal peace arose from this heaven-upbearing monument like incense, and, overflowing, filled the world with deep and holy calm.

Our lives demand visual images that can be symbols to us of the grandeur or the sweetness of repose. The noble works of nature, and mountains most of all,

"have power to make Our noisy years seem moments in the being Of the eternal silence."

And, studying the light and the majesty of Tacoma, there passed from it and entered into my being a thought and image of solemn beauty, which I could thenceforth evoke whenever in the world I must {p.104} have peace or die. For such emotion years of pilgrimage were worthily spent. ("The Canoe and the Saddle," published posthumously in 1862).

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