Over the Winter Sierras
AS Frémont must have guessed, the most significant portion of his second expedition lay just before him when he turned south from the Columbia. What he had done thus far was simply to complete a scientific survey of a muchtraveled trail. He was now to make a journey through a region largely unknown, and to execute a peaceful invasion of a foreign country. On November 25, 1843, the party set out on its long journey; twenty-five men in all, besides some Indian guides hired to go part way, and more than a hundred horses and mules. Frémont generously left his instrument wagon as a gift to the mission. They pushed steadily south along the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains, the commander making his usual assiduous notes on topography, botany, zoölogy, geology, and soil-fertility. The scenery was magnificent. But the nights were frigid, the marches laborious; and they soon entered country where the Indians were reputed highly dangerous.
Klamath Marsh in lower Oregon was reached in zero weather, and the lieutenant, in order to explore its banks and give his animals pasturage, lingered there two days. Whether he saw Klamath Lake, which lies thirty miles to the southward, is uncertain. Over the greater part of what he calls the "extensive meadow or lake of grass," at the time of his December visit, the water, or rather the ice, was scattered in shallow pools. The marsh was little more than a wide irregular depression, twenty miles in diameter, which for a short time after the spring melting of the winter snows filled up with water; this subsequently drained away through the Klamath River, leaving