August 4, 1864: Vermillion Valley
[Today] we came down the valley to this camp, eighteen miles. In places the canyon widens into a broad valley. There are many beautiful spots, but they have been rarely seen by white men before. It is the stronghold of Indians; they are seldom molested here, and here they come when hunted out of the valleys. We saw their signs everywhere; their fires and smokes on the cliffs near showed their presence, but we saw not a man, woman, or child. Once we came on a camp fire still burning, but the Indians were out of sight.
In this valley hundreds of pine trees have the earth dug around them to protect them from fire, for pine seeds or nuts form an important article of food with the Indians. One species has very large cones, with large seeds—hundreds of bushels of seeds are gathered for food.