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August 14, 1861: New Almaden

August 14, 2011

Camp 46

[Today] I went to the Enriquita Mine, about six miles distant. It is a poor mine, but yields some quicksilver. It is twelve miles or more distant by the road, but not half that distance by the trail we took across the hills. My knee was much better, but I refrained from using it much.

It was desirable to ascend the mountains about five miles back, in a direct line, from the mines. Professor Whitney was anxious to have them examined. They form a long ridge, covered with chaparral, rugged, forbidding, but not so steep as some we have seen. The highest point, Mount Bache, is the highest point of this chain, and as it was a Coast Survey signal station its height had been carefully ascertained. Because of its known height, we wanted to test our aneroid barometer.

A good trail had once been cut to the top, and the view was so grand that several ladies wished to make the ascent with us; Mr. Day and several other gentlemen also wanted to go. A man was sent the day before to reconnoiter part way. He declared it to be impossible for ladies, so they were left behind. Five were to go, and five o’clock named as the hour of starting. I suggested a later hour, as previous experience had taught me the uncertainty of getting the outside party out so early, although we could start at any time; but five was the hour set.

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