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December 18, 1860: Santa Monica Mountains

December 18, 2010

This morning we sent four men, with wagon and one tent, to find another camping place near the end of the ridge at the sea, while Professor Whitney and I remained here, with our cook. After the morning observations, a cloudy sky coming up, we followed. He walks much better than Ashburner, so we did much more, but a fog came on and so enveloped the peaks that nothing was to be seen. However, we found some new fossils, traced up the granite core of the mountains, the backbone as it were, then returned this evening. We leave here tomorrow.

And now, of our company—I believe I have not yet told you of them.

First, Professor Whitney, a capital fellow—I think the best man in the United States for this gigantic work. I like him better each day.

Second, the botanist, etc., of the Survey, your humble servant will not describe.

Third, Mr. Ashburner, of Stockbridge, Mass., a good fellow, graduate of the School of Mines, in France, about my age, or younger. He is field assistant.

Fourth, Averill, a young man, a graduate of Union College; then spent a year and a half on a voyage around the world, visited South America, East India, China, etc., and is now here seeking his fortune. He is a capital fellow. He keeps accounts and assists in general at whatever he can do.

Fifth, Guirado, a Spanish-Mexican-Californian, about twenty, a brother-in-law of the Governor, a regular Spaniard, a good fellow, just the one to ride a wild mule and to shoot our game, yet by far the least valuable of our crew.

Sixth, Mike, a jolly young Irishman, our cook, just getting broken into the harness, and I think with practice will do well.

Seventh, last, but by no means least, Pete, our jolly mule driver—a capital fellow in his line—young, game, posted as to mules, can tell a story, sing a song, shoot rabbits (and dress, cook, and eat them)—a most valuable man. Has been over the plains, was with Colonel Lander on his wagon-road expedition, etc. I pride myself on choosing him out of the host of applicants.

Oh, how still it is! No sound but the hooting of owls, or the sound of other night birds. No house near, and but few signs of civilization. Good night!

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