128 VOL. XI! LATE SPRING IN LAKE VALLEY By MILTON $. RAY WITH TWO PHOTOS URING the spring of 1909 I spent some few days in the field with Club mem- bers Cartiger, Pemberton and Heinemann, at various points in the Bay Counties; but it was not until I boarded the overland, at Oakland Pier, on the evening of May 24, 'with the vision of six weeks in the High Sierras before me, that I felt the important work of the season had begun. The High Sierras, be- sides possessing the most interesting and varied avifauna in the State, have a cer- certain wildness, due principally to altitu.de, that is noticeably lacking in the much lower Coast Ranges. Only those who have known the wild beauty of their snowy and precipitous mountains, crystal lakes and roaring torrents can appreciate the peculiar fascination of this wonderful region. This Sierran enchantment was now upon me, and when, sometime after mid- night, the train whirled in among the foothills above Roseville, sleep became out of the question. It was a beautiful night without, and the foothill country, a land of grain fields, orchards, great spreading oaks and picturesque villages, rolled by, dreaming in the moonlight. As the train wound higher the valley oak and dig- ger pine were replaced by the black oak and yellow pine, while these in turn at higher levels gave way to the sugar pine, fir and tamarack. While much of the timber close to the railroad was stunted second-growth, there were neighboring ridges and canyons that showed a wealth of woodland. Higher and higher the train toiled, past Gold Run (3224 feet), Towle (3700 feet), until Blue Canyon at an alti- tude of 4701 feet was reacbt. At this point dawn began to faintly streak the east, and shortly after there was sufficient light to observe the proverbial early bird in search of the early worm. The frequent stops and slow speed of the traifi gave considerable opportunity for a sort of "moving picture" field work. Every tree and every brook was scanned With interest and even the commonest birds, seen for the first time alter a long absence, seemed rather new and strange. Still higher wound the train and soon we were on the Sierran Summit. The snowy sheds did not allow much chance for observation; but thru the openings one could see a never ending world of snow, so deep in places that the tops of small saplings were just peeping above it; while an open car window would admit a frigid breeze that almost seemed impossible in California. After one has recently been in the torrid Sacramento Valley, to be in a few hours here where even spring has not appeared seems almost the work of magic; for with a team this ascent is a matter of five days, which the train accomplishes in about as many hours. This altitude (7018 feet), however, could hardly be reacht by team as early as the 25th of May on account of the deep snow on the roads. Winding out and down from the snowy crest of the Sierras, the train reacht Truckee (5819 feet), where a branch line was taken to Tahoe City on the lake. The scenery along the famous Truckee River, which the railroad follows to the lake, is well worthy of a long description if the space would allow. To Lake Tahoe itself, however, no pen can ever do justice; for who can truly describe this magni- ficent body of water, so wonderfully clear, or the great forests and snow-mantled mountains that encircle it? The day of my arrival was warm and sunny and the steamer made fast time over the placid, sparkling waters. In shady places along the lake shore some snow
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