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July 17, 1861: Panoche Pass

July 17, 2011

Panoche Road 04

Panoche Pass; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

Camp 40

We spent the forenoon [today] examining this deposit and measuring the height of one of the hills, and in the afternoon came on twelve or fourteen miles to a well, the only water for thirty-five miles of our road. Our road lay up a canyon, rising, and our camp was near the summit, about two thousand feet above the sea, yet the day had been intensely hot. Over these hills there is scanty pasturage; a man has three thousand sheep which feed there and water is drawn by hand for them during the dry summer. The mountains here are depressed, a “gap” as it were, so the road does not rise above 2,000 or 2,500 feet. We slept in the open air, as usual. How clear the sky was! Never in Switzerland even have I seen so clear a sky of nights. The thermometer fell to 40° F. (only eight degrees above freezing) at night, yet there was no dew, so dry is the air at this season.

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