October 1, 1863: Hat Creek
I felt anxious enough about the next three days’ ride. We were to pass through a desolate region and among Indians reputed to be bad. I could get no definite information about them. Some thought them safe if one were careful and well armed, others thought it dangerous to go through with so small a party. If I could strike a road near Pit River and get to Fort Crook it would save two hundred miles of travel, but we expected that it would take us three days in the “hostile Indian country.” Nevertheless, I resolved to try it, although we had no gun and only two working revolvers. We made every preparation, even put on a pistol that would not go off, as a “dummy,” put notebooks in pockets, so that if the worst came we might save them, etc.
[Today] we started on our route of supposed peril, and I will anticipate the trip by saying that of the terrible Hat Creek Indians we saw but two poor fellows gathering grasshoppers for food! Thus vanished the perils and dangers of such a trip.
Well, we started over the ridge, went up among the snow, and struck the headwaters of Hat Creek. We went among rocks, down canyons, along ridges, across treacherous swamps, through chaparral, and at last struck an old emigrant road that looked as if it had not been used for years. We followed along this for some miles and at last struck the Hat Creek road from Battle Creek to Honey Lake, having come through the woods from the Red Bluff road about thirty miles. We struck a band of teamsters passing through to Red Bluff. They told us about the roads, and we had to return some miles to find feed for camp. [Tonight is] very cold.