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March 28, 1862: Mt. Tamalpais

March 28, 2012

Mt Tam 07 revised

Above the fog on Mt. Tamalpais; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

[Today] we were up early and were off to climb this peak. A trail led through the chaparral on the north side. We reached the summit of the ridge, got bearings from one peak, and started along the crest of the ridge to the sharp rocky crest or peak. The wind was high and cold, fog closed in, and then snow, enveloping everything. We were in a bad fix—cold, no landmark could be seen—to be caught thus and have to stay all night would be terrible, to get off in a fog would be impossible. We waited behind some rocks for half an hour, when it stopped snowing and the fog grew less dense; we caught glimpses of the peak and started for it.

Tamalpais and Diablo

East Peak, Mt. Tamalpais; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

The last ascent was very steep. We climbed up the rocks, and just as we reached the highest crag the fog began to clear away. Then came glimpses of the beautiful landscape through the fog. It was most grand, more like some views in the Alps than anything I have seen before—those glimpses of the landscape beneath through foggy curtains. But now the fog and clouds rolled away and we had a glorious view indeed—the ocean on the west, the bay around, the green hills beneath with lovely valleys between them.

We got our observations, remained two hours on the summit, then started for Sausalito, eight or ten miles in a direct line south. It was a hard walk, over hills and across canyons—our distance was doubled. It was long after dark before we found Sausalito, where we stopped at an Irish hotel. We ate a hearty supper, then sat in the kitchen and warmed and talked. Hogarth never sketched such a scene as that. The kitchen, with furniture scattered about, driftwood in the corner, salt fish hanging to the ceiling and walls, lanterns, old ship furniture, fishing and boating apparatus, a Spanish saddle and riata—but I can’t enumerate all.

Two Eyed Violet 01

Viola ocellata; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

Specimens collected: Arctostaphylos hookeri subsp. montana; Ceanothus cuneatus var. cuneatus; Sequoia sempervirens; Dodecatheon hendersonii; Calochortus umbellatus; Viola ocellata; Saxifraga californica; Trillium chloropetalum; Ribes divaricatum var. pubiflorum; Corylus californica.

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