June 27, 1862: San Juan Bautista
[Today] we went on to San Juan, twenty-seven miles, first down the canyon for six miles, then across the plain over twenty miles. As soon as we left the toll road we struck the plain and most of the way had a good road, but where the raod belongs to the public the bad places had received just as little work as would possibly make them passable. We had to cross four bad gulches, or arroyos—decidedly bad places—from ten to twenty-five feet deep, with very steep sides. In one instance, where we crossed the San Benito, the bank is perpendicular for over twenty feet, and down this the narrowest possible road was cut—steep, sidling, and narrow. We got down safely by tying a long rope to the wagon, passing it over the top, and three of us holding on from the top of the bank, to keep the wagon from capsizing. The leaders were taken off and the wagon was got down by two mules. The San Benito is now a small creek, but last winter it must have been a river twenty or twenty-five feet deep and from a quarter to a third of a mile wide.
The plain of San Juan is vastly greener and more luxuriant now than it was last year at this time, owing to the wet winter. We camped on the old spot where we were camped a year ago.