Rev. Dr. Bushnell, speaking of the region in which our trappers were engaged, says, “Middle California, lying between the head waters of the two great rivers, and about four hundred and fifty or five hundred miles long from north to south, is dividend lengthwise parallel to the coast, into three strips or ribbons of about equal width. First the coastwise region comprising two, three, and sometimes four parallel tiers of mountains, from five hundred to four thousand, five thousand or even ten thousand feet high. Next, advancing inward we have a middle strip, from fifty to seventy miles wide, of almost dead plain, which is called the great valley; down the scarcely perceptible slopes of which from north to south, and south to north run the two great rivers, the Sacramento and the San Joaquin, to join their waters at the middle of the basin, and pass off to the sea. The third long strip or ribbon is the slope of the Snowy mountain chain which bound the great valley on the East, and contains in its foothills, or rather its lower half, all the gold mines.”
It was in this middle region called The Great Valley, that Mr. Young and his trappers pursued their vocation. They commenced far south, at the head waters of the San Joaquin, and trapped down that stream, a distance of about one hundred and fifty miles. They then struck the greater flood of the Sacramento, and followed up that stream nearly three hundred and fifty miles. They had now obtained furs enough to load down all the horses and mules at their disposal. They prepared to return to Santa Fe, where they were sure of a ready market for their furs, which would be sent to Europe for their final sale.
Conflicts with the Indians.
The American Trapper.—The Trapper of the Hudson’s Bay Company.—The Return Trip.—Polished Life in the Wilderness.—The Spanish Gentlemen.—Council of the Trappers.—Self-possession of Kit Carson.—The Camp Cleared of Intruders.—Robbing the Robbers.—Sale of the Furs.—Mr. Fitzpatrick’s Expedition.—Pains and Pleasures of Rocky Mountain Life.—Pursuit of Indian Horse Thieves.—Extraordinary Battle.
In the last chapter we have alluded to the friendly meeting, in the valley of San Joaquin, of the American trappers with a party from Canada, sent out by the Hudson’s Bay Company. It is a remarkable fact, but one which all will admit, that the Hudson’s Bay Company maintained far more friendly relations with the Indians than the Americans secured. In fact, they seldom had any difficulty with them whatever. The following reasons seem quite satisfactorily to explain this difference. It is said: