August 16, 1863: East of Carson Spur
[Today] we came on nine or ten miles to where we found a little feed. My funds were running so low that I dared not stop over Sunday where we had to buy hay, as we had been obliged to thus far, the cheapest price being four cents per pound.We rose from Silver Lake and crossed the Carson Spur, a high ridge of stratified volcanic ashes and breccia, capped by hard lava. The South Fork of the American has worn a very deep canyon through this cap down into the granite below. The road winds around the side of this canyon, and here we had the most picturesque scenery of the route. Below us, a thousand feet, dashed the river over granite rocks, the cliffs worn into very fantastic shapes—old castles, towers, pillars, pinnacles—all were there; while above, rugged rocky peaks, volcanic, of fantastic shapes, rose a thousand feet more, fearfully steep, the snow lying in patches here and there. We crossed this spur, behind which lies a pretty lake, called Summit Lake, but “Clear Lake” on your maps. Near this we camped, at an altitude of near eight thousand feet, the snow lying just above us and about us—of course a cool night, temperature down to 26°.