California eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 127 pages of information about California.

To-day our horses were quickly saddled and packed, and we started off in the faint grey of the morning.  It was chilly, but the sky was beautifully clear.  When the sun had fairly risen, however, we had no more cold to complain of.  The way was exceedingly difficult.  We toiled along precipitous ravines and gullies, and climbed up steep and rocky ridges, which cut and wounded the feet of the horses, and rendered our progress very slow.  The timber we passed was principally pine trees, with sharp pointed leaves and large cones, and occasionally we came upon a grove of evergreen oaks, more stunted in shape than was the case in the lower regions.  About mid-day we passed the source of the Rio de las Plumas, or Feather River, and after a most severe and in some respects forced march climbed the last rocky ridge which separated us from the Bear Valley.  The sun was near its setting as we pushed down the mountain slopes towards the river.  We found it a small stream flowing swiftly over a shingly bed to the westward, and encamped within hearing of its murmur, well pleased to have performed our toilsome journey.

CHAPTER XVI.

  A rest
  A solitude
  No gold to be found
  An exploring party
  Good fortune
  Food and security
  More cradles
  A fortified shanty in preparation
  A dessert after dinner
  Dejection
  Thoughts about home
  No other gold-finders to be seen
  Mormon trail
  Salt Plain and the Great Salt Lake
  A weary day’s journey without water
  Saline exhalations
  The inland sea and its desolate shores
  A terrible whirlpool
  The shanty finished
  The trapper’s services retained
  The camp visited by an Indian tribe
  A friendly sign
  The pipe of peace
  A “trade” with the Indians declined
  Some depart and some remain
  Provisions run short
  Hunting expeditions
  Something about a bear.

Sunday, July 30th.—­We rested somewhat late upon Saturday morning to make up for the fatigues of the journey from Weber’s Creek.  On surveying the country we found ourselves in a perfect solitude.  Not an Indian, far less a white man, was to be seen.  The fertile valley of the Bear River—­with its luxuriant grass, in which nestled coveys of the Californian quail—­seemed almost untrodden by human foot, and sloped in great beauty between the ridges of rocky hills and peaks of granite, with dark ravines and canones between, which hemmed it in.  Our first care was of course to try the capabilities of the country in the way of gold.  We therefore separated ourselves, and sought different points of the channel of the stream, and different chasms, which in the winter time conducted the mountain torrents into it.

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Project Gutenberg
California from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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