The Lake of the Sky eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 364 pages of information about The Lake of the Sky.
The creek acquired a regular breadth of about 20 feet, and we soon began to hear the rushing of water below the icy surface, over which we traveled to avoid the snow; a few miles below we broke through, where the water was several feet deep, and halted to make a fire and dry our clothes.  We continued a few miles further, walking being very laborious without snowshoes.
I was now perfectly satisfied that we had struck the stream on which Mr. Sutter lived; and, turning about, made a hard push, and reached the camp at dark.  Here we had the pleasure to find all the remaining animals, 57 in number, safely arrived at the grassy hill near camp; and here, also, we were agreeably surprised with the sight of an abundance of salt.  Some of the horse-guard had gone to a neighboring hut for pine nuts, and discovered unexpectedly a large cake of very white, fine grained salt, which the Indians told them they had brought from the other side of the mountain; they used it to eat with their pine nuts, and readily sold it for goods.
On the 19th, the people were occupied in making a road and bringing up the baggage; and, on the afternoon of the next day, February 20, we encamped, with the animals and all the materiel of the camp, on the summit of the pass [Carson Pass, at the head of Hope Valley] in the dividing ridge, 1000 miles by our traveled road from the Dalles to the Columbia.

    The people, who had not yet been to this point, climbed the
    neighboring peak to enjoy a look at the valley.

    The temperature of boiling water gave for the elevation of the
    encampment, 9338 feet above the sea.

This was 2000 feet higher than the South Pass in the Rocky Mountains, and several peaks in view rose several thousand feet still higher.  Thus, at the extremity of the continent, and near the coast, the phenomenon was seen of a range of mountains still higher than the great Rocky Mountains themselves.  This extraordinary fact accounts for the Great Basin, and shows that there must be a system of small lakes and rivers scattered over a flat country, and which the extended and lofty range of the Sierra Nevada prevents from escaping to the Pacific Ocean.  Latitude 38 deg. 44’, longitude 120 deg. 28’. [This latitude is that of Stevens Peak, the highest in that ridge, 10,100 feet, and of course he did not go over the top of that peak, when Carson Pass, 1600 feet lower, was in plain view; this pass is the lowest one visible from the route on which they had come; another pass much lower leads out from the other or northern end of Hope Valley, but was not visible from their trail.  The summit of Carson Pass is approximately latitude 38 deg. 41’ 50”; longitude 119 deg. 59’.  Fremont’s longitude readings are unreliable, owing to error in his chronometer.]

From this point on, following the south fork of the American River, sixteen days from the summit landed Fremont and his party at Sutler’s Fort, March 8.  Of their arrival Fremont says: 

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The Lake of the Sky from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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