It will be seen by following on a map the route which Kit Carson planned on this occasion, that it was very circuitous, and led him a great distance out of his way. Indeed he was, at times, far beyond the roaming grounds of the Camanches, but this was necessary. He was not, however, free from danger; but was obliged to be on the lookout for their allies, the Kiowas, who are usually at war whenever the Camanche nation is. His trail led him through a country which is celebrated as abounding in game, and also in being well watered, and last, but not least, the desideratum of finding grass of a good quality, whenever he desired it, was proved a valuable assistant on the march. It may be well to mention here, that one of the most curious of the phenomena of the plains, to the inexperienced traveler, are those mirages which, on every clear day, are sure to meet and delude his eyes. So wonderful are these deceptions, that often the vision leads one to believe he is beholding, in the distance, a beautiful city which is located on the banks of some attractive lake. The outlines of the palaces, spires of cathedrals, and even the lesser buildings themselves, all surrounded with trees, bearing luxuriant and green foliage, together, form an imaginary picture which throws into the background any of the realities which are the work of man. The shading is oftentimes very captivating, and on it the traveler can be entertained for hours, until a change in the rays of light or intervening clouds, or else by approaching the delusion itself, the magic scene fades away. A mirage and a prairie on fire, seen by night, the one a delusion, the other a fearful reality, are two of the grandest sights to be seen in the far West; we might add, on the American continent.
Kit Carson at his Home—The Apache Indians become hostile—An Expedition sent against them—It is not successful—Another is organized, with which, Kit Carson goes as Guide—Two Indian Chiefs captured—Other Incidents of the Trip—Colonel Beall attempts to force the Indians to give up Mexican Captives—Two thousand Savages on the Arkansas River—The Visit to them—Kit Carson emigrates and builds a Ranche at Rayado—Description of the Valley—The Massacre of a Santa Fe Merchant—His Wife is made Prisoner—The Expedition sent to rescue her—The Indians overtaken—Bad Counsel and Management—The commanding Officer wounded—Mrs. White’s Body found—Severe Snow Storm on the Plains—One Man frozen to Death—Kit Carson returns to Rayado—The occupation of a Farmer resumed—The Apaches steal from the Settlers nearly all their Animals—Kit Carson with thirteen others in the Pursuit—The Surprise—A running Fight—The Animals recovered—A gallant Sergeant and his Fate—Kit Carson and Goodel go on a Trading Expedition to meet California Emigrants at Fort Laramie—Humorous Adventures—The Dangers that beset the Road to New Mexico—Hair-breadth