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April 2, 1861: Dos Pueblos

April 2, 2011

Train Tracks

Coastline west of Dos Pueblos; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

Camp 20

heliotrope - heliotropium curassavicum

Heliotropum curassavicum; by randomtruth, on Flickr

[Today], early in the morning, we started north. Santa Barbara County until now has been nearly isolated from the country around by rugged mountains. During the last few months thirty or forty thousand dollars have been expended by the county on getting a good wagon road through from San Luis Obispo on the north to Los Angeles on the south. The southern part of the road is not yet finished but the north end is, and a fine road connects it with San Luis Obispo. This road we are following—sometimes it is a mere obscure trail across the grassy plain, scarcely visible yet for want of travel, at others well engineered, built over and along high hills and through deep canyons at great expense and labor. Fine bridges of wood span the streams and gulches, the first bridges we have seen in the southern country. Our mules are shy of these, to them, strange structures.

Blue Fiesta Flower 02

Pholistoma auritum; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

We came on about twenty-five miles and camped on the sea-shore, where a fine stream emerges from a canyon, on the ranch of Dos Pueblos. During the day’s ride, the high, rugged mountains ran nearly parallel with the coast, from one to six miles distant from the sea. The space between was made of gentle slopes, and very green grassy hills, on which were a profusion of wild flowers with brilliant colors. Immense herds and flocks of cattle, horses, and sheep were feeding. We passed one herd of over 2,000 head, kept in a close body by a large body of buccaros (herdsmen on horseback), while the owners were separating out cattle for some drover to take north. This fertile, lovely strip is well watered by frequent streams that come down from the mountain at intervals of every two or three miles, and is all occupied, either by rancheros under old Spanish grants or by the recent, wandering, worthless American “squatters.” I found a fine mastodon (or mammoth) tooth during the day’s ride.

We camped in a lovely spot, where the sea was unusually rough, just at a point. The surf was heavy, and its thunder lulled us to sleep.

Specimens collected: Heliotropium curassavicum; Horkelia cuneata subsp. cuneata; Salvia columbariae; Helianthemum scoparium; Cercocarpus betuloides var. betuloides; Gilia capitata subsp. abrotanifolia; Trifolium fucatum; Pholistoma auritum.

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