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March 28, 1861: Santa Ynez Mountains

March 28, 2011

looking down on santa barbara

Looking down on Santa Barbara; by randomtruth, on Flickr

Camp 19

[Today] we returned. We got a fine view from the ridge—the plain and ocean on the south, the mountains on the north. We were up to the height of snow on other peaks, but we found none. This trail was cut two or three years ago to carry the mail on horseback to Fort Tejon, but never used, and rains and neglect had reduced it to its present condition. The trip was a tiresome one, but most interesting. Could it all be put on one ascent and descent, I doubt not that it would make a twenty thousand or twenty-five thousand foot climb up, and the same back.

Only six things were lacking to make it a very “thrilling tale.” First, to have had it rain hard, and we, with no shelter, to lie out in it—it rained enough but we had the shelter—and to have had said rains so swell the water in the canyons that we could not get out, but have to subsist on mule meat, roots, and “yarbs.” Second, to have met and vanquished several grizzlies, and to have returned triumphant with their skins, and lots of wounds and bites, as trophies—we saw only their tracks. Third, to have had a mule and its rider go tumbling down some precipice, both to be food for the buzzards and a warning to the venturesome—but Old Sleepy only slipped. Fourth, to have killed sundry deer with our pistols and returned fat and portly on eating so much venison—we only saw the deer, and got back hungry. Fifth, to have had our mules get away, and we have to foot it home, packing our saddles, blankets, and specimens on our own backs—alas, they were well picketed. And sixth, to have lost our teapot on the first slope and be obliged to drink cold water—we lost only the lid. Owing to these failures I have no thrilling tale to write. Good night!

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