To-night we used our tent for the first time. We were somewhat awkward in pitching it, and three times did the whole structure come down by the run, burying several of us in the flapping canvas, and inflicting some tolerably hard knocks with the poles. However, at length we succeeded in getting it fixed; and, kindling a blazing fire close to it, as a polite intimation to the bears that they were not wanted, cooked our supper over the embers, and then, wrapped in our blankets, slept far better than the fleas had allowed us to do the night before.
This morning I examined Bradley’s arm, and was glad to find the inflammation somewhat reduced. He was bruised a good deal about the body generally, and complained to-day sorely of the pain he felt while being jolted over the broken ground which we crossed in our ascent of the tall mountains that bound the Sacramento Valley. From their summit we obtained a noble view of the broad winding river and its smaller tributaries, thickly studded with islands overgrown with noble oaks and sycamores. We encamped to-night at the foot of these hills, near a little stream which gurgled merrily by. We have seen several herds of elk to-day, and a large quantity of wild fowl.
Sunday, May 28th.—To-day we made a long halt, for we were all exceedingly tired, and some of our pack-horses, which were heavily laden, showed symptoms of “giving out.” We determined, therefore, to stay here till late in the day, and then to follow the course of the creek for a few miles, and there pitch our tent. Turning our horses loose to graze, several of the party went off on a hunting excursion on foot, but their only success was about a score of wild geese, which are very plentiful in the marshy land bordering the creek. I got a shot at an elk which came down to the water to drink, but he made off unhurt.
Encampment for the night
Symptoms of neighbours not far off
Reach the Sacramento River
His offer of accommodation
Various matters to be seen to
A walk through the Fort
Desertion of the guard to the “diggings”
Work and whisky
Indians and their bargains
A chief’s effort to look like a civilised being
Indians and trappers
“Beats beaver skins”
Death to the weakest
A regular Spanish Don and his servant
Captain Sutter a Swiss Guard
His prejudice in favour of “constituted authorities.”
May 29th.—Last night we encamped under a group of oaks, and we “knew by the smoke that so gracefully curled” over other parts of the valley, that there were several other camps pitched at no great distance. When we started in the morning we fell in with a few parties moving towards the Sacramento. A ride of a few hours brought us to the borders of that noble river, which was here