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October 7, 1863: Pilgrim Camp

October 7, 2013

[Today] we came on twenty-six miles, over tables of lava, the decomposed top forming a rather fertile soil covered with forests, not dense, but of large and beautiful trees—pines, cedars, spruce, and fir—in places the more rocky hills covered with chaparral.

One plain, Elk Valley, three or four miles in width, is without trees, and the views of Mount Shasta rising in its single cone, very sharp, eleven thousand feet above us, its top covered with snow, would delight the painter and enchant the lover of the grand.

There have been some Indian troubles on the road during the summer, and all the people—consisting of but one family, however—have been run off.

We camped by a stream, by a hunter’s cabin, known as “Pilgrim Camp.” The hunter came in just as we arrived, bringing with him five deer, which he had just shot. We bought the half of a fine, large, fat buck and again luxuriated on venison. We camped in front of his cabin. In the evening an old man came along, a German, from the Moselle, old and gray, who had served ten years under Napoleon. He regaled us with stories of his youthful campaigns. He crossed the plains this summer, from Kansas; the bushwhackers had driven him out and he has taken up a ranch, the previous owners of which were killed by the Indians last year.

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