Tenth day -- August 31. -- The day was spent without moving camp, examining the falls and cañon. Returning in the morning to the upper fall we measured its height, given above, and followed down the cañon. The brink of the lower fall is visible from the ledges of the upper; distance between the falls, a little over half a mile. The cañon between the falls is lava, alternating with the sulphur formation; is 450 deep, and about 200 yards across. The stream flows over lava, granite, and boulders. The lower fall at its brink is 90 feet across, and without rapids above, though the current is very swift. It is precipitated clear of the rock a perpendicular descent of 350 feet, the cañon at its foot being 800 feet in depth. A promontory of the wall rises 120 feet above the brink, and overhanging the basin, from which the view is inconceivably grand; the heavy body of water dissolving into a sheet of foam, pours into an immense circular caldron, overhung by the gigantic walls. From the depths of the abyss comes up a humming sound, very different from the wild roaring of the upper cataract. From a projecting promontory a mile below, the finest view is obtained. Both of these cataracts deserve to be ranked among the great waterfalls of the continent. No adequate standard of comparison between such objects, either in beauty or grandeur, can well be obtained. Every great cascade has a language and an idea peculiarly it own, embodied, as it were, in the flow of its waters. Thus the impression on the mind conveyed by Niagara may be summed up as "Overwhelming power;" of the Yosemite, as "Altitude;" of the Shoshone fall, in the midst of a desert, as "Going to waste." So the upper fall of the Yellowstone may be said to embody the idea of "Momentum," and the lower fall of "Gravitation." In scenic beauty, the upper cataract far excels the lower. It has life, animation, while the lower one simply follows its channel; both, however, are eclipsed, as it were, by the singular wonders of the mighty cañon below. This deepens rapidly; the stream flowing over rapids continually. The ground on the brink rises also to the foot of Mount Washburn, the falls being at a low point in the basin; therefore the cañon walls increase in altitude in following down the stream. Several of the party descended into the chasm a short distance below the fall, but could not reach its foot. A mile below several steam jets play across, a few feet above the water. The walls of the cañon are of gypsum, in some places having an incrustation of lime white as snow, from which the reflected rays of the sun produce a dazzling effect, rendering it painful to look into the gulf. In others the rock is crystalline and almost wholly sulphur, of a dark yellow color, with streaks of red, green and black, caused by the percolations of hot mineral waters, of which thousands of springs are seen, in many instances, flowing from spouts high up on the walls on either side. The combinations of metallic lusters in the coloring of the walls is truly wonderful, surpassing, doubtless, anything of the kind on the face of the globe. The ground slopes to the cañon on the opposite or east side, and from it to the low valley on the west. Three miles below the fall the chasm is 1,050 feet deep. In some places masses of the rock have crumbled and slid down in a talus of loose material at the foot; in others, promontories stand out in all manner of fantastic forms, affording vistas of wonder utterly beyond the power of description. On the caps of these dizzy heights, mountain sheep and elk rest during the night. I followed down the stream to where it breaks through the range, on horseback, threading my way through the forest on game trails, with little difficulty. Selecting the channel of a small creek, and leaving the horses, I followed it down on foot, wading in the bed of the stream, which fell off at an angle of Go to next page

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