This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
And here let me renew my tribute to the marvellous bounty and beauty of the forests of this whole mountain region. The Sierra Ne-vadas lack the glorious glaciers, the frequent rains, the rich verdure, the abundant cataracts of the Alps; but they far surpass them - they surpass any other mountains I ever saw - in the wealth and grace of their trees. Look down from almost any of their peaks, and your range of vision is filled, bounded, satisfied, by what might be termed a tempest-tossed sea of evergreens, filling every upland valley, covering every hillside, crowning every peak but the highest, with their unfading luxuriance. That I saw during this day's travel many hundreds of Pines eight feet in diameter, with Cedars at least six feet, I am confident; and there were miles after miles of such and smaller trees of like genus standing as thick as they could grow. Steep mountain-sides, allowing these giants to grow, rank above rank, without obstructing each other's sunshine, seem peculiarly favorable to the production of these serviceable giants.
But the Summit Meadows are peculiar in their heavy fringe of Balsam Fir, of all sizes from those barely one foot high to those hardly less than two hundred, their branches surrounding them in collars, their extremities gracefully bent down by the weight of Winter snows, making them here, I am confident, the most beautiful trees on earth. The dry promontories which separate these meadows are also covered with a species of Spruce, which is only less graceful than the Fir aforesaid. I never before enjoyed such a tree-feast as on this wearing, difficult ride.
THE SCUPPERNONG GRAPE.