An Overland Journey from New York to San Francisco in the Summer of 1859

By Horace Greeley | Go to book overview

XXVI.
CARSON VALLEY--THE SIERRA NEVADA.

PLACERVILLE, Cal., Aug. 1, 1859.

THOUGH the Carson sinks in or is absorbed by the same desert with the Humboldt, a glance at its worst estate suffices to convince the traveler, that the former waters by far the more hopeful region. Large cottonwoods dot its banks very near its sink; and its valley, wherever moist, is easily rendered productive. You feel that you are once more in a land where the arm of industry need not be paralyzed by sterility, obstruction, and despair.

Still, the prevalence of drouth is here a fearful fact. No rain in summer--that is, none that can be calculated on, none that amounts to anything--might well appall the cultivator accustomed to warm, refreshing showers throughout the growing season. We crossed, on our rapid ride up the Carson, a single high plain twenty-six miles long and from six to twelve wide, which drouth alone dooms to sage-bush, sterility, and worthlessness. Two or three other plains or high intervales further up are nearly as scorched and barren. All these may be rendered most productive by irrigation, and here is the water at hand. If the new gold mines in this valley shall ultimately justify their present promise, a very large demand for vegetable food will speedily spring up here, which can only be satisfied by domestic produc-

-275-

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An Overland Journey from New York to San Francisco in the Summer of 1859
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction v
  • Contents xv
  • Preface xvii
  • I. from New York to Kansas. 7
  • Ii. Notes on Kansas. 20
  • Iii. More Notes on Kansas. 35
  • Iv. More of Kansas. 50
  • V. Summing Up on Kansas. 61
  • Vi. on the Plains. 71
  • Vii. the Home of the Buffalo. 80
  • Viii. Last of the Buffalo. 86
  • Ix. the American Desert. 98
  • X Good-Bye to the Desert. 107
  • Xi. the Kansas Gold-Diggings. 115
  • Xii. the Plains--The Mountains. 128
  • Xiii. the Gold in the Rocky Mountains. 139
  • Xiv. "Lo! the Poor Indian!" 149
  • Xv. Western Characters. 157
  • Xvi. from Denver to Laramie. 166
  • Xviii. Laramie to South Pass. 182
  • Xviii. South Pass to Bridger. 190
  • Xix. from Bridger to Salt Lake. 198
  • Xxi. Two Hours with Brigham Young. 209
  • Xxii. the Mormons and Mormonism. 219
  • Xxiii. Salt Lake, and Its Environs. 230
  • Xxiv. the Army in Utah. 245
  • Xxv. Rom Salt Lake to Carson Valley. 258
  • Xxvi. Carson Valley--The Sierra Nevada. 275
  • 1xxvii. California Mines and Mining. 283
  • Xxviii. California--The Yosemite. 295
  • Xxix. California--The Big Trees. 310
  • Xxx. California Physically Considered. 322
  • Xxxi. California-Her Resources. 334
  • Xxxii. California-Summing Up. 344
  • Xxxii. California---Final Gleanings. 361
  • Xxxiv a Railroad to the Pacific. 368
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