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October 14, 1861: Corral Hollow

October 14, 2011

Camp 61

[Today] Averill, Hoffmann, and I visited a hill to the southwest, over three thousand feet high and over two thousand feet above camp. We rode up the canyon, then mounted a ridge and crossed several knobs, but the air was so filled with dust that we could see but a few miles, scarcely ten in any direction. The first hills crossed were over the sandstone, but the soil is clay, dry and cracked.

A fine rattlesnake sounded his alarm and then retreated into one of the cracks in the soil. I punched him with the tripod of our compass, the only stick we could get, until he ceased rattling, but we could not get him.

We soon struck other hills, where the sandstones had been twisted and baked by volcanic heat for miles, and here the scene changed—some trees scattered here and there, canyons more narrow, and hills more sharp.

We took a circuitous route up, which we thought we could shorten several miles on the return by descending into the Corral Hollow canyon above its curve and following it down. We descended into it, a narrow gorge more than a thousand feet deep, down a very steep slope, our mules sliding and getting down as best they could—it was too steep to ride them—a slope of thirty degrees or more—then struck down the stream. We got into a fix.

The gorge got narrow, huge rocks had fallen in and choked it up in places, but we got our mules down nearly to the road, when the route became absolutely impassable. We spent two hours in getting them about a mile through the rocks, and then had to get them out by making them climb a slope having a average incline of forty-seven degrees, and in places over fifty degrees, for five or six hundred feet. Think of that! But they did it, and we got out safely.

We were without lunch…and got no dinner until dark, and far from a sumptuous one then.

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