When Ten Lakes Hatch

In his survey of glacial lakes in The Mountains of California, Muir writes:

In Lake Hollow, on the north side of the Hoffman spur, immediately above the great Tuolumne canyon, there are ten lovely lakelets lying near together in one general hollow, like eggs in a nest. Seen from above, in a general view, feathered with Hemlock Spruce, and fringed with sedge, they seem to me the most singularly beautiful and interestingly located lake-cluster I have ever yet discovered.

I’ve seen this lake-cluster before on my excursions into Yosemite. It’s magisterial, really. Muir’s description of eggs in a nest is wonderfully apt. Depending on the position of the sun, the quality of light, and one’s vantage point, the lakes glint with egg-shell blues and greens and whites. There are only a handful of places above the canyon where Muir can observe what he describes. And I’ve surely traveled through his lookout, on more than one occasion, and will travel through it again this summer when I venture into Ten Lakes Basin. No matter how hard I look, I won’t find the exact spot where he stood over a hundred years ago now. But it’ll be enough for me to stand on the canyon’s ridge and behold the sparkling eggs below in their granite nest, and recall Muir’s words (now safely committed to memory), and know that in the time-lapsed photography of geological time, I’ll be rubbing elbows with him, as if we were contemporaries, footed there, he and I, before the grandeur of those brilliant lakelets.

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3 Responses to When Ten Lakes Hatch

  1. Dwight says:

    Sounds wonderful. I have not done the Ten Lakes area…if doing alpine lake hikes I’m usually around Mammoth when visiting friends there. On a side note, I’m hoping to do Clouds Rest this summer, simply because I haven’t done it yet and I want to. If staying a few nights I may look into this area.

  2. Lower and Upper Grant lakes may be the ticket. Easier access, just as beautiful. Hope everything is going well at your end, Dwight. Cheers.

  3. […] Interpolations is supposed to be about books and reading, let me just say that I thought about John Muir a lot. Share this:EmailFacebookTwitterLike this:LikeBe the first to like […]

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