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June 10, 1863: Big Oak Flat

June 10, 2013

Hoffmann was to meet us at Sonora with extra animals, with which to cross the mountains. Leaving a letter for him with instructions for him to join us, we went on to Big Oak Flat, twenty miles, between the Merced and Tuolumne rivers—a rough but picturesque road, the last part running up a hill over three miles long.

Big Oak Flat is a little mining village, on a little flat. The “big oak” which gave name to the place has been undermined and killed, although attempts were made to protect it by town ordinance. It was nearly ten feet in diameter, and in the days of its glory must have been a grand tree.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 10, 2013 11:07 am

    I imagine that “last part running up a hill” is the famous Priest Grade. It’s no longer as exciting now that they’ve built New Priest Grade Road, but the old road still exists for the adventurous.

    It’s amazing to me that Brewer was making this trip in mid-June; the weather must have been regularly been 100 degrees or more. Yet he never complains about the conditions!

  2. William H. Brewer permalink*
    June 11, 2013 1:04 pm

    Yes, I expect that’s Old Priest Grade. Still a thrill ride, of sorts.

    And I know what you mean…I’ve been miserable enough going through there in a car with no A/C, so just imagine what they suffered back then…

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