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Love in the High SIerra
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Paul Wagner
(balzaccom) - F

Locale: Wine Country
Love in the High SIerra on 06/13/2013 19:03:27 MDT Print View

Just finished reading a great book, "Up and Down California" by William F. Brewer. You may recognize Mr. Brewer, because there is a mountain in Kings Canyon named for him. There's another one named for the professor who supervised his project, a Josiah Dwight Whitney. Yes, that Whitney.

And along as part of the team were such notables as William Gabb, James Gardiner, Clarence King, and Charles Hoffman, all of whom also have notable peaks named for them in the Sierra Nevada.

As you might guess from the title, the book is a collection of his letters as he undertakes the geologic and topographic survey of California in 1860-1864--and covers just about every part of the Golden State. It's a great glimpse into what this place looked like right after the Gold Rush.

And did we mention that Charles Hoffman was in his party? That's Mt. Hoffman in the photo below, with May Lake nestled in its lap.


You might wonder where May Lake got its name...

And we know that answer. It was named by that same survey team for Lucy Mayotte Brown of Oakland. She married Charles Hoffman in 1870, and they lived happily ever after.

How sweet is that?

That's May in the foreground of the photo--looking lovely as ever.

We climbed to the top of Mt. Hoffman in 2009, only a few days after the new trail had been built to the top of the peak. The trail was pretty sketchy in places, but the views from the top of Mt. Hoffman are simply among the best in all of Yosemite.

And May Lake is beautiful, too.

Edited by balzaccom on 06/13/2013 19:03:58 MDT.

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"Love in the High SIerra" on 06/13/2013 22:48:48 MDT Print View

"Up and Down California" is a great read. King, another member of the expedition, also wrote a book about his sierra adventures (I'm blanking on the title) which is terrific too. Like Twain, King in particular had a penchant for exaggeration, but all to make a good story. Also, there's a book called The Explorer King that's about this geologic survey. It's o.k. but I think Brewer and King's books are better.

Edited by book on 06/13/2013 22:49:21 MDT.

David W.
(Davidpcvsamoa) - MLife

Locale: East Bay, CA
Re: Love in the High SIerra on 06/13/2013 22:52:31 MDT Print View

Thanks Paul. I added it to my reading list.

David T
(DaveT) - F
Brewer. on 06/13/2013 23:38:17 MDT Print View

If you love California and its history, "Up and Down" is an amazing book. Such a window into a time that seems both forever ago, and not very long ago. Los Angeles was tiny, with grizzly bears in the hills the Spanish were gone, the indigenous peoples were living post-Mission system on the fringes of the Gold Rush hordes, and Brewer, Hoffman, and the crew were discovering amazing places every day, especially in the High Sierra. Fortunately for us, Brewer was a thoughtful and careful journalist and documenter. It's an amazing read and highly recommended.


Edited by DaveT on 06/13/2013 23:39:46 MDT.

Paul Wagner
(balzaccom) - F

Locale: Wine Country
King;s book on 06/14/2013 08:32:45 MDT Print View

Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada. It's more fun than Brewer, and has more to do with the Sierra as well. Great fun, great read.

Free on Nook and Kindle.