Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/240
228 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
��zation has touched the region around Lake Tahoe, it has not yet cov- ered it, and there are districts near its bowlers which are still as wild and secluded as in the days of the first explorer. There is the Devil's Basin, impassable and almost unapproachable, a great area of rock, rent with chasms and dotted with myriads of lakes. On every hand tower peaks upon whose summits, on a cloudy day, the traveler can feel as lonely as on the tops of the Alps or the Andes. And toward the northern limit of the map lies the historic Donner Lake, where, in the early days, a band of emigrants starved to death in the snows of winter.
But the practical pioneer is setting his seal upon this land, and claiming it as his own. Already the mountain-sides are marked with road, flume, ditch, and saw-mill, and scarred with mine and tunnel, and this lovely tract, fittest of all for a national park, is becoming the home of lumbermen and stock-raisers. The track of the plow is seen in the fertile valleys. The excavated ground of the Virginia City mines shows in the distance. Along the Carson River, at regular intervals, the quartz-mills lie. Log-slide, flume, and railroad carry the lumber from the heart of the forest to the outer world. The Pacific Railway winds between the high caiion-walls of the Truckee River and then follows its circuitous course, through miles of snow-shed and tunnel, across the Sierra ISTevadas. 'Westward from Lake Tahoe runs the old Placerville road, once the main route of travel between California and Nevada, and down the eastern side of the range, in and out with many an escalop, winds the stage-road of the famous Hank Monk. From Virginia northward runs the Geiger Grade, the subject of one of Bret Harte's poems. In Emerald Bay is the little island with the empty grave which old Captain Dick carved for himself in the solid rock before he sunk in the deep water of the lake, to rise no more. Upon the cliff which bears the great poet's name the natural portrait of Shakespeare, done in weather-stain and lichen, is plainly visible. So there is enough of man's interference within the borders of this map to lend lmman interest and topographical variety to the scene.
It is a subject of common remark among travelers that nowhere else have they found a spot at once so easily reached and containing so great a variety of the interesting, the beautiful, and the grand, as here adjacent to Lake Tahoe, and this map will accomplish a not un- important mission if it serves to call attention to a region too often overlooked. Leaving the Pacific Railway at Truckee or Reno, a cir- cuit of one hundred miles will include not only this district, but the silver-mines of Virginia City and the mineral waters of Steamboat Springs as well. Then, from the south end of the lake, it is an easy d&our of but a few miles to the crest of Tallac Peak, which, as if for the especial convenience of the tourist, is surrounded by an epitome of all types of Western scenery, from the placid beauty of Fallen-Leaf Lake, reposing at his feet, to the desolate wastes of rock which extend in chaotic piles behind him.