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November 25, 1862: East Bay Hills

November 25, 2012

Garin Regional Park; by 1600 Squirrels, on Flickr

[Today] I left…early; a dense fog hung over everything, but it cleared up before noon. I crossed to Oakland, and then rode to Haywards, near the “San Leandro” of your map, then struck across the hills to the southeast toward the Alameda Valley.

I stopped [for the] night at a solitary cabin in the hills. A portion of a ranch, about eight hundred acres here, of hill land, cut by deep and steep canyons, is fenced in one field. On this about ninety head of cattle are kept, mostly cows.

A man is placed here to take care of them, and in the summer make butter and cheese. He has a horse to drive the cows with, a large corral, where he milks them in the season, a milk house, and a cabin to live in. This last is about twelve feet long by ten feet wide, of boards, shingle roof, one window and one door. There is a bunk on one side, of boards—a sort of crib, as it were—for a bed. Everything looks cheerless, dirty, comfortless. Here he lives, alone—he might sicken and die and no one be the wiser for weeks. Here, let me say, the tales of adventures, of hardships, and more than that, and of discomforts, that I have heard related by such men would make a big book. This man was a Norwegian, could not read English, could get no books in his own language except a Bible, so it is no wonder that he said that “te nights pe tampt long, and tis life tampt lonesome.” He got me some supper, bread of his own baking (without butter or sauce), and eggs. We talked a spell, then “retired.” As he had no extra blankets, he went out and got an old ragged piece of canvas that had been used to cover up hay with until too rotten and ragged. It was very dusty and dirty, but kept most of the cold out.

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