The articles that have appeared in this paper recently about Yosemite
Valley were the result of a three days' visit to that wonderful place. There
are many attractions in the valley, many points of interest to be seen, that
we have not mentioned at all.
However, it is fitting now that we should say something about how to
get into the valley and out of it, for that is a subject in which all
prospective visitors are vitally interested.
The quickest and cheapest way into the valley is via the Yosemite
Transportation Company's route, from Merced. This company has grown
into one of large proportions during the past two seasons. Originally it was
the Stoddard stage line, running between Merced and Coulterville. Mr. D. K.
Stoddard conceived the idea of establishing a stage line between Merced
and Yosemite Valley, so he incorporated the company, got considerable
capital into it, purchased a number of new stages and a large number of
additional horses, and began the operation of a carrying business on a very
large scale. Then he interested the officials of the Santa Fe railroad
company in the project to such an extent that now the stage line is
advertised far and wide throughout the United States and tickets may be
purchased in and out of Yosemite from any Santa Fe office in the country.
The stage leaves Merced every day a little before two o'clock, upon
arrival of the Santa Fe limited. The drive to Snelling is made in two hours,
where a change of horse is made. Another hour takes passengers to
Merced Falls, where horses are changed again. Then the route leads up the
foothills, reaching Webb Station about 6:30, where a good dinner awaits
the traveler. Continuing the journey another hour brings you to Baxter,
where four fresh horses are in waiting. From there on to Coulterville you
enjoy a twilight or a moonlight ride that is delightful. The night is spent in
a comfortable hotel in Coulterville, and early the next morning the
refreshed traveler begins the second day's ride through the upper hills and
higher mountains of the Sierras. Fresh horse await the arrival of the stage
| Cave, Hazel Green and big Meadows. This ride is through a
beautiful mountain country, where there is something to rest and please
the eye at every turn of the road. Bower Cave is an interesting sight. Hazel
Green is also attractive and is the dinner station. About four o'clock in the
afternoon the stage road winds down a mountain side into the Merced
river canyon, which is followed through the entrance to Yosemite Valley
and along the floor of the valley to the hotel and camps. Near the hotel is
the stage company's office with a genial young man in charge who takes
great pleasure in giving the passengers all necessary information and
directions. Excuse my negligence in not introducing him before - Mr.
Orville Seely, formerly of Merced.
Each stage requires a team of four horses. Starting from Merced with
four horses and changing at Snelling, Merced Falls, Baxter, Coulterville,
Bower Cave, Hazel Green, and Big Meadows, require thirty-two horses for
the single trip into the valley, with one stage. Frequently two stages are
run, and sometimes three or more. This makes necessary the maintenance
of eight stable stations en route, and with a man in charge of each, and
with each stable accommodating from four to sixteen horses. The number
of drivers employed varies of course with the number of stages in use.
The stages are all large, heavy, and comfortable, and the drivers are the
most sociable and agreeable liars you will find anywhere. It is a pleasure
to know them, and a genuine treat to hear them talk about the tamale
orchards and other points of interest along the way. Mark Twain once said
that "it is better not to know so much, than to know so darned much ain't
so." But evidently Mark Twain never had the pleasure of meeting and
talking with Ben Cook, or any of the other drivers for the Yosemite
All this costs a heap of money, and one would naturally suppose the
stage fare would be high. On the contrary, the fare from Merced to
Yosemite Valley and return is only $20, and the hotel bills enroute are
only $2 each way. The trip provides the cheapest summer outing you can
take, and the best.