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September 13, 1862: Mount Shasta

September 13, 2012

Panther Meadows Trail

Panther Meadows Trail (vicinity of Camp 99); by TTVo, on Flickr

Camp 98

I believe that I fared the best [last] night. I got my blankets in the shelter of a bushy tree that partly broke the force of the wind, and I slept with my thick clothes on, yet the snow did blow into my blankets—and ugh! how cold it was—but I covered up closer, hauled my head under my shawl, and slept soundly and sweetly, save perhaps an hour spent in shivering.

Everything froze up tight [last] night, ice was an inch thick on the stream near, and in the morning the ground was white with snow in places. But the sky cleared up, and the mountain stood out again in clear outline against the bluest sky….

Silene sp 04

Silene grayi; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

Hoffmann was immediately sent back to Strawberry with a barometer, and all the rest also left in the morning. I alone remained, with a barometer and with my botanical box. I first collected that full of plants near camp, and then for four hours observed barometer quarter-hourly.

How I enjoyed those hours of solitude, so far from men, such a picturesque spot! Near me the grand forests, behind me the lovely valleys below, before me the grand old peak, its outlines so beautifully cut against the intensely blue sky. I gazed on it for hours, as I lay there, not with the awe that I did two days ago, but with even more admiration.

This day closes my thirty-fourth year, the morrow is my birthday. Six years ago yesterday I was on the Great St. Bernard, in Savoy—how unlike that view from this! My mind wanders to the Swiss Alps and the views I saw there. And then it wanders home and to loved ones there, and then to battlefields and scenes of carnage and blood and sorrow in the East, and to hospitals where men are enduring the keenest of physical sufferings—but all is quiet here, so quiet that no wonder thought and imagination wander.

Red Heather 01

Phyllodoce empetriformis; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

At 3 P.M. I started to return—eight weary miles to walk, with barometer, and with botanical box and bag heavy with specimens. It was after dark when I got back.

Specimens collected: Calyptridium umbellatum; Athyrium distentifolium var. americanum; Silene grayi; Sibbaldia procumbens; Carex multicostata; Phyllodoce empetriformis; Phlox diffusa; Luzula subcongesta.

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