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July 10, 1861: Monterey

July 11, 2011
State Theater

State Theater in Monterey; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

[Today], we started for Monterey—Professor Whitney, Averill, and I. We were up at dawn, had our breakfast, and by half past five were in our saddles. I took one of the team mules to ride, being stronger than my little one. The early morn was clear, but soon the fog rolled in from the sea, enveloping the hills.

It was thirty-nine miles to Monterey, but a mountain trail shortened the distance some five miles, so we took that, although neither of us had ever traveled it. First up a canyon, then across the ridge about a thousand feet high, by a steep winding trail, then down on the other side. Our trail was often obscure, mingling with cattle paths, and the dense fog obscured all landmarks, but in about seven miles we emerged on the Salinas plain, where we took the stage road and crossed the plain. There was some wind, and it was cool, but the fog did not entirely obscure the hills. We stopped at Salinas, and fed both ourselves and our mules, then rode on. On striking the valley that leads up to Monterey for about sixteen miles we had hotter air, but not much dust. We arrived before night, and found the town (city, I should say—a city of six hundred or eight hundred population!) in much excitement over a recent discovery of silver mines in the vicinity, but which I don’t think will ever prove of any value.

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