CHAPTER II. Leave New Helvetia for San Francisco
Ford of the San Joaquin
Large droves of wild horses and elk
Arrive at Dr. Marsh's
Mormon settlements on the San Joaquin
Grasses of California
Leave Dr. Marsh's
Arrive at Mr. Livermore's
Comforts of his dwelling
Large herds of cattle
Slaughtering of a bullock
Skeleton of a whale on a high mountain
Arrive at mission of San Jose
Ruinous and desolate appearance of the mission
Gardens of the mission
Empty warehouses and workshops
September 13th. - We commenced to-day our journey from New Helvetia to San Francisco. Our party consisted, including myself, of Colonel Russell, Dr. McKee of Monterey, Mr. Pickett, a traveller in the country, recently from Oregon, and an Indian servant, who had been furnished us by Captain Sutter. Starting about 3 o'clock P.M., we travelled in a south course over a flat plain until sunset, and encamped near a small lake on the rancho of Mr. Murphy, near the Coscumne River, a tributary of the Sacramento, which heads near the foot of the Sierra Nevada. The stream is small, but the bottom-lands are extensive and rich. Mr. Murphy has been settled in California about two years, and, with his wife and several children, has resided at this place sixteen months, during which time he has erected a comfortable dwelling-house, and other necessary buildings and conveniences. His wheat crop was abundant this year; and he presented us with as much milk and fresh butter as we desired. The grass on the upland plain over which we have travelled is brown and crisp from the annual drought. In the low bottom it is still green. Distance 18 miles.
September 14. - We crossed the Coscumne River about a mile from our camp, and travelled over a level plain covered with luxuriant grass, and timbered with the evergreen oak, until three o'clock, when we crossed the Mickelemes River, another tributary of the Sacramento, and encamped on its southern bank in a beautiful grove of live oaks. The Mickelemes, where we crossed it, is considerably larger than the Coscumnes. The soil of the bottom appears to be very rich, and produces the finest qualities of grasses. The grass on the upland is also abundant, but at this time it is brown and dead. We passed through large tracts of wild oats during the day; the stalks are generally from three to five feet in length.
Our Indian servant, or vaquero, feigned sickness this morning, and we discharged him. As soon as he obtained his discharge, he was entirely relieved from the excruciating agonies under which he had affected to be suffering for several hours. Eating his breakfast, and mounting his horse, he galloped off in the direction of the fort. We overtook this afternoon an English sailor, named Jack, who was travelling towards Monterey; and we employed him as cook and hostler for the remainder of the journey.
A variety of autumnal flowers, generally of a brilliant yellow, are in bloom along the beautiful and romantic bunks of the rivulet. Distance 25 miles.