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June 28, 1864: Mt. Silliman

June 27, 2014

Mt Silliman 06

Mt. Silliman summit; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

Camp 169

[Today] we had a fine clear morning, and four of us started to visit a peak a few miles distant. We had a rough trail, over sharp ridges, and finally up a very steep pile of granite rocks, perhaps a thousand feet high, to the peak, which is over eleven thousand feet high, and which we called Mount Silliman, in honor of Professor Silliman, Junior.

Mt Silliman 02

Great Western Divide from Mt. Silliman; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

In crossing a ridge we came on fresh bear tracks, and soon saw the animal himself, a fine black bear. We all shouted, and he went galloping away over the rocks and into a canyon. We had gone but a short distance farther when we saw a very large female grizzly with two cubs. She was enormous—would weigh as much as a small ox. After we looked at her a few minutes we all set up a shout. She rose on her hind legs, but did not see us, as we sat perfectly still. We continued to shout. She became frightened at the unseen noise, which echoed from the cliffs so that she could not tell where it came from, so she galloped away with the cubs. These would weigh perhaps 150 pounds each; she would weigh perhaps 900 pounds or more. We also saw a fine buck during the trip.
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Mt. Silliman summit; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

We reached the summit after a hard climb, and had a grand view of the rough landscape. Great rocky amphitheaters surrounded by rocky ridges, very sharp, their upper parts bare or streaked with snow, constituted a wild, rough, and desolate landscape. Clouds suddenly came on, and a snowstorm, which was a heavy rain in camp. We got back tired enough.

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