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Miscellany: California

Miscellany: California image
Parent Issue
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OCR Text

The road fïom Indcpcndence tp the foot of the California mountains, across the Itocky and Cnlutnet mouutains, is about as guod a road as that from St. Charles 10 Colunibia, (Boon'a Lick road,) and might, wiih a littlc work, Lc made a good deal better. Thcrc is plenty of water and timber for cooking ; ihere is no place where water may not be had - atfarthest evcry twenty-five miles. From the sink of Mary's river about 30 railes to fresn water, are several hot sprmgs and salt springs. From whe e we strike Trucky river toitshead, (Trucky's Lake,) at the fooi of the California mountain, the road is rough and rocky, but perfcctly safe. From the lake to the top of the mountain, about 5 miles, the ascent is yery stcep and rocky, butthalnst emigrants got iheir jfgone over without breaking, by packing jh.0 load up ;lve mountains. The descent on this ridc is about 100 miles to tfie plnins, 80 of that distance being very roggh and hilly. But there is a propegition among the foreigners who expect their friends from the Siate3,to go and.vrork on the road ; if so, we sliall make quite a paseable rood at all eyents, Out of tho 2250 miles from Jndcpondcnce, there is but nbout 100 of bad road. Our party had no troublo from tho Jndijn, and tho omigration had none, except the ocpasional loss of some of thcir stock, and ona man Jtillcd, und that by rushinfl; on the Indions in a fight for shooting the cattle. As there is but one tavern or groccry store on the road, (Fort Hall,)I would adviee persons coming lo this country to provide themsolvea with plenty of provisions, fiour, rice, phecsc, butter, lard and bacon. I can only describe tho gicat valley of the Sacramento, from personal obsorvation. The vnlloy isabout 300 miles long, from 100 to 200 miles wide, orossed by sovoral pretty large rivers, many of them navigable to tho foot of the niountain ; and from that np, tb,o water tumbles from rock to rock, aflordina ' neilhor navigation nor valleya for cultivation. On all the rivers from the mountain to tho wuth, Hiere are rgebóttoms írom one-half to axx, miles wide, paoit'.y tlluvium, and of the most fer tileactor, covered with grass and the richest veg eintijii, with a skirt oí trees near the stream, ino6tly oak, eorne buck-cye, box, eider, and willow. The oaks grow very large, 4 to 7 fect in diameter, but tlie trunka nro very short, seldom more than 8 or 10 feet, and dien it branches into large limbs, good for fire-wood, when sensoned, but poor timber lor farming and building purpees. We makc no fences, but use the ditch, which stands well, as thcrc is no rain from April to December to wash them. The plains,whieh form about threefourthsof :he valley, are icholly unsusceptible of culticatlon. f rom Ütc fact that they are not only barren, but the dry iceuther in summer loould not permit a erop to ie raised. They are covcred now ith email flnvers, and somo bunch grass, which mnkes good pasture until the rainy season sets in, thoiigh it is entirely dry by tlie first of July. Thepopululion xoill forever bc confined to the bunks of the rivers, A gentleman present eays, that the plains betwecn bere and the St. Wankine, are niuch morefertile, and that very much oi them may bo watered ond profitably cultivaed. He tliinks the lower part of Upper California much superior to the val ley, but the difficulty of securing land, and the bad characterof the Indiana, have induced many of us to stop here. This country, taken togelher, is grcully inferior ta the Western States ; but those who get situati'wih on ihe rivers, where they can easily irrigato tho aoil, can do 200 per cent. bctter than in Misiouri. Irrigated lands here will produce fruni -10 io 6J bushels of VVheat to the acreevcry year. Therc is no fly, nor rust, nor rot ; and die only trouble is to have moisturo enough to make it head weil. Tobacco, Coiton, Flax, Potatocs, Bcans, Feae, &c, grow finely, but nol without tcalcring. While un this subject, 1 wül spcak of tlio lnb.r to bo performed. A farmer who is fitled wiih sufficient teams and farming utensils, may employ as inany Indians as lic please, for noihing but their victuals, and that very chenp, and about two shirls and a pair of pamaioons of the coarsest kind. He may keep them while he wants them, which is only at seed time and harvest, and tlien send them to thcir villages again for the romainder of the year. - They are obout half as good os tho negroos of Missouri, with good looking after. So that far.m-fs wtth a capital oí 400 or 500 dollars, can raiscand gather is much grain as the Missourian with 40 negroos. The Indians know nothing of the use of the a.xe, but they are good ditchers, nnd ditches are the only fences we have. The timber is altogeiher in the mountains, which are covered with (he most beautitul pine, rir, and cedur, very tall and straight, but in most placee very difficult to get inlo the valley for use, fiotn the fact tfiat there is generally 15 or 20 miles of hills betweeu the mountain and the valley, which mnke bad roads. Most of the houses lierc are built of adobles or sticks set up endwise and daubcd with mud, 6ometiines covered with boards, and at olhcrs with tooly (bullrush.) So far wc have not much U6e for timber. The country below is suppliud wiih timber from the red woods near the sea coast, which is very good nnd beautiful timber, much like the red cedar. - Tho trees grow very largo and straight, and