[Various locations in California. 1911]. 142 silver gelatin photographs, each approximately 4 1/4 x 2 3/4 inches, and fourteen mounted panels of typed descriptions of the individual photographs. Oblong octavo. Contemporary limp pebbled cloth. Minor edge wear. Slight silvering to some images. Withal, very good. Item #WRCAM55505
A fascinating record of a hike up Mt. Wilson in the cold and snow of early March 1911 by two young experienced climbers, in a narrative combining photographs interspersed with a very entertaining descriptive account recorded on typed cards also mounted in the album. The first thirty-six photographs are consecutively numbered and relate to the typed narrative. The photos feature the men posing at the foot of the trail and in various snowy wilderness settings along their journey to the peak, along with shots of the landscape and scenic mountain views. The last few photographs show the men at Strain's Camp, a homestead cabin just north of the Mt. Wilson peak. The printed narrative is evocative, with all thirty-six photographs keyed to certain passages in the text. The narrative begins: "The irresistible call of the wild, I hold entirely responsible for my proposing a trip to Mt. Wilson in winter, and though I knew my reward would be sore muscles and aching limbs, together with bitter cold and snow, the same snow I have often said I wished never to see again since coming to this land of sunshine. Still the more I thought of it, the more determined I became to go." After the two men spend a few days in a hotel in town (photo #1), they head up the mountain, describing and picturing the trail and scenery along the way, the Santa Anita River "on its mad race to the sea" (photos 4 and 5), the haze from the fog and clouds further up the mountain, rock formations, "Martin's Camp" (photo #23), the view from the peak (photo #28), and "Strain's Camp" and hotel at the peak. The author then waxes poetically once they reach the top: "In the direction in which I am looking lie Mt. Lowe and other peaks. I know they are there but in this quite [sic] place, without a breath of wind, with no sound to break the flight of imagination, one can imagion [sic] ones self on the top of the world, and over all the snow, snow more white and pure than I had ever seen before, it is in such places that the insignificance of our small selves is brought out with wonderful prominence as against the vastness of nature." The two men spend about fifteen minutes at the peak, and decide to descend immediately "rather than go to the hotel and get part way warm." They reach the bottom in just over two hours. The remaining 106 photographs appear to be of slightly later vintage, mostly capturing a family obviously enamored with the outdoors. There are many photographs of mountain cabins and tents, some in winter, with the first marked "Our Cabin" (family activities are largely in or around the cabins). There are numerous family group shots (some in front of the cabins, others on a large rock, and some in other settings), an image of a decorated Christmas tree, another photo captures the building of a cabin in progress. There are also several images of people on horseback. The later images seem to capture some of the family in a more urban setting. It is likely that the remainder of the album was utilized by one of the original two hikers or a family member. A wonderful photographically-illustrated nature narrative from the wilds of southern California, showing showing not only a hike up Mt. Wilson, but also a family's life and recreations in the California mountains.