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September 24, 1861: Mount Diablo

September 24, 2011

Distant Snow

North Peak and the Sierra Nevada from the top of Mount Diablo; by Mathesont, on Flickr

Camp 57

[Today], we ascended [Mount Diablo]. It was the easiest mountain to climb we have yet had. A pretty good trail runs to the top, so we could ride our mules most of the way. We carried to the top a new barometer, one made for the government topographical engineers, and an aneroid barometer of the finest construction, to test the accuracy of the other instrument. We found it far less accurate than the mercurial barometer, and it required just as much care to carry it.

The view from the summit was remarkably fine, but the day was not clear and the distant views were shut out. There were no clouds, but a haze or smoke in the air shut out everything over fifty miles distant. But the bay, the valleys of San Joaquin and Sacramento, and the mountains around were fine indeed.

As an instance of how dry this climate is, I found a four-bladed knife on the top that must have been lost by some previous party weeks, or possibly months, ago—there was not a speck of rust on the new and polished blades!

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