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December 14, 1860: Santa Monica Mountains

December 14, 2010

Hollywood sign from Runyon Canyon

by usestangerines, on Flickr

[Today] we raised our camp and came here1 to explore this range—a small range north of Los Angeles.

We had some most amusing incidents on this trip. A four-mule team drew our wagon, in which two rode; the remaining five were mounted on similar brave animals, some of them scarcely half broken, just half wild from the ranches, with these queer Mexican saddles, still queerer Mexican bridles, and most queer of all Mexican spurs. By a grand streak of good luck, no one was thrown. But there was kicking and jumping, and mules persisting in going the wrong way, and whipping and spurring, then fresh kicking and some swearing. We were in camp by dark. A gentleman from Los Angeles had come out with us, but his horses ran away that night and he is after them still.

1Identified by Brewer as “Hancock’s Canyon”; that name has not survived, so it’s unclear exactly where they camped. My best guess is that the canyon’s name refers to Henry_Hancock, who had recently acquired Rancho La Brea (encompassing much of today’s West Hollywood), and that their camp was in the hills just above Hancock’s spread.

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