October 31, 1841

The Bidwell-Bartleson Party was almost out of the hills. Yesterday they had finally spotted the Central Valley, and now knew that the mountains did not go on endlessly. They headed for the nearest timber (which indicated water) and reached a river . . .

” . . . joyful sight to us poor famished wretches!!! Hundreds of antelope in view! Elk tracks thousands! Killed two antelopes and some wild fowls; the valley of the river was very fertile and the young tender grass covered it like a field of wheat in May.”

They feasted on the wild game. It was a stark contrast to the breakfast that John Bidwell had eaten that very morning—the roasted windpipe and lungs of a coyote. Their starvation days were over—they had entered into California.

About nancyleek

Nancy is a retired librarian who lives in Chico, California. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.
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