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April 12, 1861: Arroyo Grande

April 12, 2011

Arroyo Grande Hill 01

Arroyo Grande (vicinity of Branch home)

Camp 25

[Today], I sent the wagon on [to San Luis Obispo] with a part of the load, about twelve miles. Mike and I remained….

The camp [is] in a pretty spot, on Mr. Branch’s ranch. He is an American and has a ranch of eighty thousand acres, well stocked with many thousand choice cattle and horses, comparatively well watered, and fertile. I explored the region around and called on him at his house. He lives quite stylishly for this county—that is, about half as well as a man would at home who owned a hundred-acre farm paid for.

Sandwort 01

Minuartia douglasii; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

The advance camp carried the tent, so Mike and I had to take the open air. Rolled in our blankets on the green sod, the stars above in the clearest sky, we slept better than if beds of down supported us and a canopy of silk covered us. I love to watch the stars in the open air as I go to sleep, and see them greet me if I awaken in the night. But the nights are cold here under this clear sky. The thermometer sinks generally forty or fifty degrees lower than it was by day—90° in the shade in the afternoon, and 38° or 40° at night. As a consequence, dew falls, very heavy, almost like rain, which is the most serious drawback in sleeping out. We put an India rubber or oilcloth over us, and the water flows from this like rain, yet it is not so bad as you would think.

Specimens collected: Lonicera involucrata var. ledebourii; Silene gallica; Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum; Minuartia douglasii; Acer negundo var. californicum; Cornus sericea subsp. sericea; Pogogyne serpylloides.

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