August 2, 1864: Mono Creek
[Today] we were off in good season. As soon as we started the signal smokes again showed that we were watched. I will not repeat, but let it suffice to say that all of our movements up to the present time have been thus telegraphed. As soon as we stop, smokes rise, when we start they appear, and at night their blaze is seen on the heights—so the Indians know all of our movements.We crossed the summit [today]. As we approached it, it seemed impassable—great banks of snow, above which rose great walls and precipices of granite—but a little side canyon, invisible from the front, let us through. The pass is very high, nearly or quite twelve thousand feet on the summit. The horses cross over the snow. So far as I know it is the highest pass crossed by horses in North America. There is no regular trail, but Indians had taken horses over it before the soldiers did. The region about the pass is desolate in the extreme—snow and rock, or granite sand, constitute the landscape. We came down a very steep slope 2,500 feet and camped on the middle fork of the San Joaquin, near its head.