National Geographic : 1959 Aug
Tony's words made me long to push deeper into the Sierra fastness -to "Go and look be hind the Ranges," as Rudyard Kipling put it. One day my chance came. "How'd you like to come along on a back-country inspec tion trip?" asked District Ranger Bill Briggle, under whom I had worked the year before. Rangers Patrol Rugged Back Country As back-country coordinator for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Bill has under his care more than half a million acres of America's finest scenery. When snows melt, Bill's team of rangers rides over the passes to man a network of wilderness stations and patrol hundreds of miles of trail until winter storms close the mountains again. Bill told me we would head into Evolution Valley in the northernmost part of Kings Canyon National Park; then climb over Muir Pass and down into the heart of the Kings River country. At Florence Lake, Raymond, dean of the park pack mules, sighed stoically at our pile of duffel. Bill's horse, Trixie, made friends with Beauty, the mountain-wise mare I had rented for the trip. We were not to see a road again during our five-day, 90 mile trip; yet we would cover only a fraction of Bill's district. Beyond Blaney Meadows we swung onto the John Muir Trail. The most famous in the Sierra, it begins in Yosemite and follows B. ANTHONY STEWART J. G. MERKEL Giant Forest's Discoverer Lived in This Hollow Tree Indians led Hale D. Tharp to the grove in 1858. For 30 years he summered his cattle in verdant meadows and lived in his fire tunneled log with its shanty foyer (page 159). John Muir, wander ing naturalist of the Sierra, called Tharp's home a "noble den." A few years ago vandals de stroyed the name and discovery (late that Tharp carved on the log. Mother raccoon teaches her baby to burglarize a ranger's cabin. Park raccoons, deer, and bear tame readily, but mountain lions, wildcats, and bighorn sheep shun mankind and keep to the wilds.