October 2, 1863: Fall River Mills
[Today] we were up before four o’clock; the moon was bright and the thermometer down to 20°. We ate our breakfast by moonlight, in the cold morning air, and were off in the twilight. Soon the sun gilded Lassen’s Peak. This valley is a surface of lava flow, its top of porous rock, raised in great “blisters”—sort of domes rising from the general surface. In one place there was a cavern where the lava had cooled on the top and the melted interior had run out from beneath the crust, then the top had fallen in.From Hat Creek (Canoe Creek on your maps) we rose on another lava flow, a table eight hundred feet above Hat Creek, and struck north on this for twenty or twenty-five miles—a dry, rocky slope, no water, and with thin soil. As we sank into the valley of Pit River we had most grand views of Mount Shasta; it looked very sharp and steep and towered up an immense height—it is truly the grandest mountain I have ever seen.
We struck Pit River at the junction of Fall River, and stopped until the next noon. A man named Kaler, a Kentuckian, lives here, and keeps a ferry. He lives alone, and a lonely life he must lead. Bats flitted around his cabin, and spiders crept over the wall.