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The Yosemite Naturalist

Sunday May 13, 2001

A Miniature Yosemite
The Naturalist Without Buses or Crowds !
John McKinney, Trailmaster

     YOSEMITE VALLEY -- If you have Yosemite National Park firmly in mind, it's a stretch to call this isolated canyon east of Fremont "Little Yosemite."
     The small waterfalls don't resemble Vernal Fall or Yosemite Falls, and the canyon's rock outcroppings don't call to mind Half Dome or Cathedral Rocks.
     On the other hand, Little Yosemite doesn't require shuttle buses, reservations, a long trip and contending with crowds. In fact, few hikers wander the East Bay's Little Yosemite, a narrow gorge cut by Alameda Creek.
     The creek flows through the southern part of Sunol Regional Wilderness, a 6,000-acre preserve of rolling, grassy hills dotted with oak and madrono.
     At first glance the preserve seems to have changed little since rancho days--a perfect pastureland of pastoral hills and valleys. This is a park with room to roam, one grassy hill after another, the pattern interrupted only by occasional rock outcroppings and oak groves.
      From high points whose names suggest the good views they offer--Eagle's View, Vista Grande, Flag Hill--you can gaze out at ever more back country belonging to East Bay Regional Park District.
     Numerous trails wind through the preserve. First-time Sunol sojourners will appreciate Canyon View Trail, which offers the most direct route to Little Yosemite.
     Directions to trail head: From Interstate 680, just south of the community of Sunol, exit on Calaveras Road. Head south five miles to Geary Road.
     Turn left and follow this road to its end and the park entrance. The hike begins by the park's small visitor center. The hike: Indian Joe Nature Trail takes you to a bridge spanning Alameda Creek. Cross to the other side, turn right and hike a flat segment of Canyon View Trail for 0.25 mile to Indian Joe Creek Trail.
     The shortest way to this hike's highlight is to stick with gentle Canyon View Trail for another mile as it crosses Jacob's Valley and delivers you to Ohlone Road at a junction close to Little Yosemite.
     Mile-long McCorkle Trail is a worthy extension to this route. For a longer loop, ascend grassy slopes along the sycamore- and oak-lined Indian Creek.
     A mile out, you'll reach Indian Rock Caves, a basalt-schist conglomerate popular with rock climbers and picnickers. After another 0.25 mile of climbing you'll near the ridge top and bear right on Cave Rocks Road.
     Enjoy the expansive views from the open ridge as you descend to Cerro Este Overlook and Road, and continue on a southern descent to Ohlone Road. Head right to Little Yosemite. Return via Ohlone Road or Canyon View Trail.

    [Editor's Note: For more of John McKinney's hiking tips and trails, visit].

Tuesday May 1, 2001

Muir's Personal Library Saved
The Naturalist's Personal Collection!
By Yosemite News Staff Writers

     YOSEMITE VALLEY -- Richard Hanna, one of Muir's grandsons, gave the University of the Pacific Library over 700 volumes encompassing 509 titles that belonged to John Muir.
      This is approximately half of the books known to have been in the working library that Muir left to his daughters. A bibliography of the collection is available in the Library.
     Many of the books are housed in the ornate, Victorian bookcases that had been in the "scribble den" of the Muir family home in Martinez.
    Some books found in the collection date from Muir's days as a schoolboy in Scotland. Others include family Bibles, textbooks from his days as a student at the University of Wisconsin, books given to him by his friends during his early travel years, and the numerous books he gathered once he settled into life as a family man in Martinez.
      Many volumes contain Muir's handwritten notes and annotations that are indicative of his thoughts and development as a literary creator in his own right.
     Muir often indexed ideas and phrases on the end-papers of his books, indicating the page and a sentence or passage, marking the idea that had captured his attention.
    Thus, Muir himself has given the scholar a guide to the literary origins of many of his important ideas. Until recently the Muir Library had not been accessible because of the condition of many of the books.
     A grant from the Skaggs Foundation funded the restoration of over 200 volumes. The volumes were restored to retain as much of the original book as possible, leaving all of Muir's marks and use evident. Many of the volumes are inscribed

       [Editor's Note: The John Muir Collections at University of the Pacific is the Official repository for the John Muir Papers and related material. On May 4-6, 2001 University of the Pacific will sponsor its fifth conference on John Muir, held at UOP's Feather River Inn located near Quincy, California in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The theme of the conference, the 53rd California History Institute, is John Muir: Family and Friends. For registration information, contact: Bonnie Gisel, John Muir Center for Regional Studies, 3601 Pacific Ave., Stockton, CA 95211, (209) 946-2527, johnmuir@uop.ed].

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Nature Notes
"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."
     -- John Muir, 1901

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