Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/82

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
72
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

during the months of December, January, and February the summit may be covered with sleet or snow for a day or two at a time.

Mount Tamalpais is therefore a point of great interest to the sight-seer, the tourist, and the student of Nature.

Modes of reaching the Summit.—For many years a trail has existed from Mill Valley to the summit, and another from Ross

PSM V57 D082 View of summit sixteen hundred feet above tide.png
View of Summit from a Point Sixteen Hundred Feet above Tide.

Valley, both practicable for pack mules. Later the Ross Valley trail was improved so as to be practicable for light vehicles, but these did not answer the needs of the increasing travel, and in 1895 the Mill Valley and Mount Tamalpais Scenic Railway Company was organized. The purpose of this company was bold—to construct a traction railroad from tide level to the summit of a peak not two miles off and nearly half a mile high appeared visionary, if not impossible, to many. But with persevering skill a road was located upon a line 8.19 miles long, having an average grade of five and a half per cent and maximum grades of seven per cent, and overcoming 2,353 feet elevation in this distance. Four and nine tenths miles are curved, the minimum radius being seventy feet. Owing to the rough and ravine-cut topography, twenty-five trestles were necessary, the curvature and grade being maintained over these.

In order to reduce the cost of grading and to develop sufficient length to overcome the elevation, the grade contour was followed as closely as possible. The very short radius employed