May 6, 1863: Tejon Ranch
[Today] we left Fort Tejon and crossed through the mountains south, to the Liebre Ranch. The pass is a very picturesque one, 4,256 feet high, with peaks on each side rising several thousand feet higher. The valleys are green, the region beautiful, but all changes on crossing the chain. We passed down a valley, dry and alkaline. Two little salt lakes were dry—the salt and alkali produced by the evaporation covering the ground like a crust of ice. For several miles we followed a line of earthquake cracks which were formed in 1856. The ground had opened for several feet wide, no one knows how deep, and partially closed again. We hear that these cracks extend nearly one hundred miles. In the valley we passed down a woman was killed by her house falling in the earthquake.
The Liebre Ranch belongs to Lieutenant Beale. It is eleven leagues (about eighty square miles), and controls nearly all the water and, consequently, feed, for three times that amount, in fact for a hundred miles east. We had a letter from the owner to his Spanish major-domo (head man in charge), and we were hospitably entertained according to the Mexican fashion.