May 31, 1864: Near Los Baños
[Today] we came on to Lone Willow, a stage station out on the plain, where there has been a sheep ranch until the present year. The ride was over the plain, which is utterly bare of herbage. No green thing greets the eye, and clouds of dust fill the air. Here and there are carcasses of cattle, but we see few living ones—not twenty during the day, where nearly as many thousands could have been seen two years ago. There is a sink hole of alkaline water, by which stands the “lone willow,” the only tree for many a weary mile. Our camp here is as dirty, dusty, and miserable as the last. There is a well that supplies water for drinking that is poorer than any you ever tasted, yet quite good for the region.