October 9, 1863: Shasta Valley
[Today] we came on to Shasta Valley, over the pass on the east side of Shasta Peak. This pass is about six thousand feet high and very gradual. The views of the peak were the most sublime we have yet had. We were up to within two thousand feet of the lower edge of the snow, in the sparse timber and pure air of this height. The peak rose over seven thousand feet above us, a very sharp cone, against the intensely blue sky. At times light feathery clouds condensed and curled around the peak, but soon dissolved in the warmer air beyond.
We descended into Shasta Valley, a plain of lava, generally barren and desolate, but in places with a thick soil where there are ranches….We camped at Hurd’s Ranch, north of Shasta Peak, which loomed up grandly, over twelve thousand feet above us.