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November 11, 1861: Knight’s Valley

November 11, 2011

Knights Valley 05

Mt. St. Helena; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

Camp 66

I awakened several times, each time to hear the wind howling through the pines, the rain pattering on the thin roof and sides of our cabin, and dripping on the floor. But it stopped before dawn, and the morn was tolerably fair. We packed our saddlebags with specimens, and two boxes besides, which were packed on my mule, so all the mules were loaded. We mounted the hill for our return, visited the Pioneer Mine, were shown the trail to take over the mountains, bade adieu to our kind but rough host, and started on our way.

The feature of our return was the grand view we had of the rocky peak of St. Helena. We found the best view from a ridge over 2,000 feet high, where we could take in the whole mountain from base to top at a glance—its 4,500 feet of crags and rocks furrowed in canyons.

We got back before night and made our preparations for departure. The rainy season had set in, we must hurry back to San Francisco. In our absence Hoffmann had attempted the ascent of Mount St. Helena. He got within 400 feet of the top, and reckoned it about 4,500 feet high or a little less.

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