Updated: Sep 15, 2020
Florence Hutchings, aka Zanita of Yosemite, was the daughter of James Mason Hutchings, owner of the Hutchings Hotel. “Floy” wanted to be a boy, and became an unofficial ambassador of sorts to Yosemite visitors.
In 1870, Viscountess Avonmore, aka Maria Thérèse Longworth Yelverton, visited Yosemite and met Florence. “Florence had a serious nature that belied her youth, and the viscountess was intrigued.” The viscountess wrote the first Yosemite novel, “Daughters of Yosemite” (1871), whose heroine was named Zanita, based on Florence. In 1872, when the book was actually published, the title was changed to “Zanita”.
Floy was described as having “a bold, fearless disposition, warm and generous temperament, far advanced and original in thought beyond her years, with a kind word and pleasant greeting for everyone. Always ready to do a self-denying action, or an act of kindness.”
Mount Florence, a 12,561-foot Yosemite peak between Mount McClure and Mounty Lyell, is named in her memory.
Here, she is pictured scaling one of Yosemite's Sugar Pines.
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