May 28, 1861: Upper Carmel Valley
We were ready early [this] morning, May 28, for a start. Up at daylight—Averill, Peter, and a buccaro for a guide—saddlebags packed, and two pack-mules: Sleepy with blankets and some meat, coffeepots, and bread; Stupid with more blankets, frying pan, and more provisions. We followed a trail about three miles, then struck the road up the Carmelo Valley. We stopped at a house half an hour to wait for Charley, the buccaro, to overtake us. He had been to town for bread for the trip. Mrs. McDougal, where we stopped, insisted on our drinking a pan of milk, which we did, then struck up the valley.
We followed the road about twenty miles. Five ranches were passed; some barley fields along the river, and wild oats in abundance on the hills, supporting many cattle. We lunched at a stream, saddled, and were again off. Here we left the road, and for fifteen miles followed trails, now winding along a steep hillside—steep as a Gothic roof, the stones from the path bounding into a canyon hundreds of feet below—now through a wide stretch of wild oats, now through a deep canyon. We passed two more ranches, where cattle are raised among the hills, and at last struck through a rocky canyon, in which flowed a fine stream, with some glorious old trees. Before dark we arrived at a small ranch owned by a man named Finch, with whom Charley was acquainted. We camped near, and slept well, for we had been ten and a half hours in the saddle in thirteen hours. We frightened up four fine deer just as we went into camp.