Comparisons with equivalent regions:
Huckleberry Mountain is a ridge of westward-dipping lavas that possibly originated from a vent near the base of Union Peak (Williams 19/42:23). The highest point, at 6370 feet elevation, lies about 2 1/2 air-line miles west of the Park boundary, and from whence the ridge decreases steadily in elevation northwesterly toward the Rogue River a distance of about 6 miles where its slopes descend rapidly from an elevation of about, 4500 feet, to the valley floor. The ridge area, about 30 square miles, supports an optimal ecology for summer-early fall exploitation. A wide variety of fruits and berries are available in season. A partial list which includes the valley floor includes strawberries., black berries., chokecherries, blue elderberry, Oregon grape, salmonberry, thimble berry, black cap, service berry, gooseberry, and huckleberry, Dense tracts of huckleberry are found throughout the region between 5000 and 6000 feet elevation, Taken as a whole the contrast in relative abundance of edible species between Huckleberry Mountain and equivalent elevations around Crater Lake is dramatically sharp and distinct.
The writer is well acquainted with the region, and has talked with many of the members of the Klamath tribe who make the annual trip to Huckleberry Mountain to gather berries and also simply to enjoy the mountain locale. The area has been popular for years, so much so that during the 1920’s a store and dance hall was maintained at Huckleberry City, the largest campground on the ridge. Several of the Klamath maintain that their familes “have always” gathered huckleberries and hunted on the mountain every summer. One of my Klamath friends, now in her seventies, has not missed spending the summer there for 63 years. The attachment the Klamath have for Huckleberry Mountain is very strong, but how far back in time their territorial claims to the region extend is a moot point. In view of the enmity between the Klamath and Upper Takelma, journeys to the area undoubtedly would have involved movement and strength sufficient for self-protection, at least. Before the introduction of horses, and of wagons later on, a visit to the mountain entailed betweeen 30 and 40 miles of foot travel over mountainous terrain. Klamath claims of use of the region “since time immemorial” seem somewhat legendary.
Mt. Rainier National Park in northern Washington lies about 100 miles south of the northern terminus of the Cascade Range. The mountain is a composite volcanic cone reaching a height of 14,408 feet above sea level. Its more northern position gives elevations within the Park an average temperature gradient equal to about 2,000 feet higher than those of equivalent elevations at Crater Lake National Park. A survey team under the direction of Dr. Richard Daugherty, Washington State University, found a stone pipe in a crack in the wall of a rock shelter and launceolate projectile point in situ under a layer of Rainier ash dated at about 8800 years ago (Daugherty 1963) No other evidence of aboriginal use or occupation was found. Daugherty is of the opinion that the most optimum site for occupation would have been during the Altitherimal, or Hypsithermal period. The present essentially periglacial climatic conditions are not favorable for occupation. Rapid thermal spalling of roofs and numerous ash falls have buried any evidence of altithermal occupation under very deep deposits.
Lassen Volcanic NationalI Park was surveyed for archaeological resources by Treganza (1963). The study showed an intensive history of vucanism. The latest eruptions occurred during 1914 to 1917 and devastated some 30 square miles of terrain; ash from the eruptions fell as far as Reno, Nevada. Treganza is of the opinion that most of the prehistoric record is buried under volcanic ejecta. The material evidence found by the survey relates to historic and late protohistoric periods. Ten sites were found -within the Park at elevations between 5500 and 6000 feet. The sites are located on stream banks or along lake shores.
The data shows that the Lassen Peak area yielded food surpluses sufficient to attract a few small groups into the area. The presence of manos and metates and bedrock mortars and the flake strewn campsites indicate the seasonal exploitation of both vegetal and animal foods by small groups, probably composed of related families. The presence of miling implements above the acorn belt is interpreted as evidence for pine nut and manzanita berry processing. The locations along streams and lakes indicate a dependence upon fish. Occupation was during late summer and fall when streams were low and fish could be taken by hand, a method described ethnographically. Obsidian is not found in the region and was imported. The quantities of obsidian waste materials observed indicate that considerable time and effort was devoted to hunting.
Yosemite National Park is located in the central Sierras. The Park ranges in altitude from 3,000 to over 13,000 feet. it lies in the Califoria biotic province. The life belts range from an oak and chaparral belt through montane and subalpine to alpine. (Dice 1 943:47-48). With reference to life zones, the Upper Sonoran ranges up to 3,500 feet, the Transition ranges from approximately 3,500 to 6,500 feet in elevation, and the Canadian from roughly 6.,500 to 9.,000 feet. The shift from one zone to another is so gradual that the biotic districts above the Transition is lumped under the term, “Boreal,”‘ by Bennyhoff (1956:.17).
In aboriginal times the territory was occupied by elements of the Penutian speaking Central and Southern Miwok. Very little is known of the Miwok groups who occupied the mountain regions. Only one group has been positively identified with the Yosemite area, the Awanichi, who occupied Yosemite Valley and the Merced River down to the South Fork (Bennyhoff 19506:2). Early White accounts lump most the local groups under the term- Tuolumne Indians.
The higher altitude bands followed a hunting and gathering way of life very close to the subsistence level. Social organization was apparently not very elaborate, and ceremonial life was minimal. Winter houses was the conical, bark-covered form. Brush shelters were used in summer. Sweat-houses were excavated, but the cover is not described. The bedrock mortar and pestle were the common grinding implements for food preparation. The dead were cremated and the ashes buried.
Occupation of most of this area / Yosemite Nlational Park / of intermediate and microthermal climate had to be seasonal because of the heavy snowfall during the winter months. Certain favorable areas up to 4,000 feet elevation were occupied the year around though the winter population was considerably reduced. Each group had well defined territories for their exclusive use in hunting and gathering, but the higher elevations represented communal areas open to all groups, including Paiute and Washo Indians. Life was rather migratory, the families moving from place to place as seasonal food became available. Hunting and gathering forays into the higher altitudes were frequent from spring to autumn; women accompanied the men on any large trip. Surpluses of food were dried and stored whenever possible. Bulbs, clover, and other greens were important foods during the spring, after the monotony of dried foods eaten during the winter. Hunting and fishing were daily pursuits, while roots, berries, seeds, and varied insect foods were gathered during the summer. In the late summer when the rivers were low, quantities of trout were taken by means of fish poison and weirs at elevations below the high waterfalls, As fall approached an increasing number of crops had to be harvested – fruits, berries, seeds, and nuts, particularly the acorn and pinenuts. During the winter, hunting was the major activity to add some variety to the dried foods prepared the season before (Bennyhoff 1956:3-4).
A total of 401 sites were found the areas surveyed, and detailed information was obtained for 328 of the total. The sites were classified into 5 categories: large villages, small villages, house sites, large campsites, and small campsites. 55 of the 84 villages, both large and small, were located in the Transition Zone; 3 small villages were found in the Upper Sonoran, the remainder of the villages were located in the Boreal zone just above the oak belt. House sites paralleled the small village distribution. Campsites totaled 57.2% of all sites recorded, 80.5% of which are in the Boreal, some as high as 10,700 feet elevation. The campsites appeared to have been primarily hunting bases. Their Boreal concentration coinciding with the summer range of the game herds (Bernnyhoff I 956: 14’19; Table 3, 4), The Transition Zone provided the most favorable habitat, from which the bands moved up into the higher elevations, splitting into smaller groups in order to best exploit available food crops, and to which they returned for the winter.