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November 2, 1863: Low Divide

November 2, 2013

[Today] we footed it to Low Divide, or Altaville, about eighteen miles. The road was very crooked, running over high ridges and sometimes commanding grand views of the wide Pacific and of the surrounding rough landscape. The hills are covered with low bushes, and here and there in the canyons heavy timber, as we approach the sea.

Low Divide is a little town on a sharp ridge—a “low divide,” in truth, between higher hills. It is a regular mining town, of miners’ cabins, a few stores, saloons, and a “hotel.” At this last I stopped the entire week, and a filthier, dirtier, nastier, noisier place I have not struck in the state. The whole scene was truly Californian—everyone noisy. We found that the landlord had killed a pig that afternoon, and over sixty dollars had been lost or won in betting on its weight!

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