June 10, 1864: Thomas’ Mill
[Today] we came on but four miles to this camp. Up, up, up, over a high ridge, and at last into a dense forest of spruces, pines, firs, and cedars. We then sank into a little depression where there is a beautiful grassy meadow of perhaps two hundred acres, surrounded by dense, dark forests. Here there is a steam sawmill, where two or three families live.
And here let me describe this delightful camp, so refreshing after the monotony, heat, dust, alkali, discomfort, and tedium of the great plain. The level, grassy meadow lies in front, with a rill of pure, cold water. Ridges are all around, clothed with dark pines and firs, with here and there the majestic form of some scattered Big Trees, the giant sequoias that abound here, although so rare elsewhere. We are at an altitude of over five thousand feet, or just about one mile above the sea. We are far above the heat and dust of the plain. It has been cold every night—from 23° to 32°—the days cloudless, the sky of the clearest blue, the air balmy and so cool that it is just comfortable without our coats. You cannot imagine the relief we feel both by day and night after the discomfort of the previous two weeks.