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Out of Los Gatos we pursued a level, well-improved road to San Jose, running through the great prune and cherry orchards for which the Santa Clara Valley is famous and which gave promise of a bounteous yield. A little after sunset we came into the city of San Jose, closing an unusually strenuous run over steep and dusty mountain roads. We found the new Montgomery Hotel a comfortable haven and its modern bathrooms an unspeakable boon. Our first move was to segregate ourselves from the California real estate which we had accumulated during the day and to don fresh raiment, after which we did full justice to a late dinner, despite very slack service and not altogether unexceptionable cuisine-excusable, perhaps, by the lateness of the hour.

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San Jose is a modern city of forty or fifty thousand people, the commercial capital of the Santa Clara Valley. There is not much within the town itself to detain one on such a pilgrimage as our own. The mission first occurred to us and we learned that it was at Mission San Jose, twelve miles from the city to which it gives its name; our next inquiry was concerning the Lick Observatory, which they told us might be reached by a twenty-five mile jog up the slopes of Mount Hamilton, overlooking the town from the east. It was clear that we should have to take a day for these excursions and early the next morning we were off for the Mount Hamilton climb.

Out of the city we ran straight away on Santa Clara Street for a distance of five or six miles to Junction House, where the mountain road begins. It was built nearly forty years ago by Santa Clara County at a cost of eighty thousand dollars, the work being authorized to secure the location of the Lick Observatory on the mountain. It is a smooth, well-engineered road, with grades not exceeding ten per cent excepting a few steep pitches near the summit. It swings upwards in wide arcs or narrow loops as the topography of the mountain demands. It is broad enough for vehicles to pass easily, presenting no difficulty to a moderate-powered motor, though in places a sheer precipice falls away from its side and there are abrupt turns around blind corners which call for extreme care.

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The winding course of the road up the mountainside affords vantage for endless panoramas of the surrounding country. Indeed, were there no observatory on Mount Hamilton the views alone would well repay the ascent and we paused frequently to contemplate the scene that spread out beneath us. The day was not perfectly clear, yet through the shimmering air we could see the hazy waters of San Francisco Bay some twenty miles to the northwest, and beyond the valley to the southwest, the blue Santa Cruz Range which we crossed the previous day. Just beneath us lay the wide vale of the Santa Clara-surely one of the most beautiful and prosperous of the famous valleys of the Golden State-diversified by orchards and endless wheatfields, with here and there an isolated ranch-house or village. The foothills nearer at hand were studded with oaks and sycamores, with an occasional small farm or fruit orchard set down among them. It was a beautiful day-the partial cloudiness being atoned for by many striking cloud effects and the play of light and color over the landscape.

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Midway of the ascent is a little settlement in a pleasant grassy dell, where a plain though comfortable-looking hotel-the Halfway House-offers the wayfarer an opportunity for refreshments, which can not be obtained at the summit. Here we arranged for a lunch on our return, but we had no idea of eating it in the hotel with the delightful nooks we had passed still fresh in mind. The last three or four miles of the climb are by far the most difficult, reminding us not a little of the Mount Wilson ascent; but we experienced no trouble and soon came to the open summit with the vast dome of the observatory crowning it. Around this clusters a village of about fifty people who live here permanently-the families and assistants of the men who devote their lives to the study of the stars. One of the ladies whom we met in the observatory office said, when we asked her of life on the mountain,

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"We get used to it, though it is cold and lonely at times and we feel a kind of desperation to get back to the world. But we do not complain; the views from the mountain under varying conditions of night and day are enough to atone for our isolation. You can not even imagine the glories of the sunrise and sunset; the weird effects of the sea of clouds that lie beneath us at times, glowing in the sun or ghostly white in the moonlight; the vast wilderness of mountain peaks losing themselves in the haze of distance or mantled in the glaring whiteness of the winter snows. All these and many other strange moods of the weather bring infinite variety, even to this lonely spot." And yet, for all this, she confessed to an intense longing to make a trip to "the earth" whenever occasion presented itself.

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The obliging janitor shows visitors about the observatory, telling of its work and explaining the instruments with an intelligence and detail that might lead you to think him one of the astronomers-if he had not confessed at the outset to being an Englishman in the humble position of caretaker. And we might have known that he was an Englishman, even if he had not told us so, by his thoroughness and pride in his job. Among the instruments which interested us most was the seismograph, which records earthquakes from the faintest tremor hundreds of miles away to the most violent shock-or perhaps this is not strictly correct, for the great quake of 1906 threw the needle from the recording disk and left the record incomplete.

 
 
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