-- When the first heavy storms stopped work on the high mountains,
I made haste down to my Yosemite den, not to "hole up" and sleep the
white months away.
I was out every day, and often all night,
sleeping but little, studying the so-called wonders and common things
ever on show, wading, climbing, sauntering among the blessed storms
and calms, rejoicing in almost everything alike that I could see or
hear: the glorious brightness of frosty morning.
The sunbeams pouring over the white domes
and crags into the groves end waterfalls, kindling marvelous iris
fires in the hoarfrost and spray; the great forests and mountains
in their deep noon sleep; the good-night alpenglow.
The stars; the solemn gazing moon, drawing
the huge domes and headlands one by one glowing white out of the shadows
hushed and breathless like an audience in awful enthusiasm, while
the meadows at their feet sparkle with frost-stars like the sky; the
sublime darkness of storm-nights, when all the lights are out; the
clouds in whose depths the frail snow-flowers grow; the behavior and
many voices of the different kinds of storms, trees, birds, waterfalls,
and snow-avalanches in the ever-changing weather.
Every clear, frosty morning loud sounds are
heard booming and reverberating from side to side of the Valley at
intervals of a few minutes, beginning soon after sunrise and continuing
an hour or two like a thunder-storm.
In my first winter in the Valley I could
not make out the source of this noise. I thought of falling boulders,
rock-blasting, etc. Not till I saw what looked like hoarfrost dropping
from the side of the Fall was the problem explained.
The strange thunder is made by the fall of
sections of ice formed of spray that is frozen on the face of the
cliff along the sides of the Upper Yosemite Fan -- a sort of crystal
plaster, a foot or two thick, racked off by the sunbeams, awakening
all the Valley like cock-crowing, announcing the finest weather, shouting
aloud Nature's infinite industry and love of hard work in creating