June 23, 1863: Porcupine Flat
[Today] we were on the trail very early, bade adieu to the valley, came up the terrible hill that leads out, where we rose about three thousand feet in less than six hours, and struck east. In crossing some of the ridges the views of the Sierra were sublime. We camped at Porcupine Flat, a pretty, grassy flat, at an elevation of 8,550 feet, surrounded by scrubby pines, and tormented by myriads of mosquitoes. The grand Sierra was in sight, a cluster of rugged peaks that Professor Whitney thought over fourteen thousand feet, and he became excited—could hardly sleep that night—a group of mountains so high, of which absolutely nothing is known! Subsequent measurements, however, prove that we overestimated their height.