September 26, 1841

“Sunday, 26th. The valley, seen yesterday evening, was but 4 or 5 miles in length and led into another difficult defile, though not so long as the one of yesterday, for we passed it into another valley. Distance 18 miles–the stream continued to increase in size.”

They were by now on Mary’s River, but didn’t know it. They were still unsure of their position.  How do you know you have gotten to the place you have been looking for, when you don’t know what it looks like, and there are no signposts?

In Echoes of the Past Bidwell states that the day after some men climbed up the precipice and saw a valley a few miles ahead, they arrived at the river. This would have been the 26th. “By one o’clock that day [we] came out on what is now known as the Humboldt River.” But this is looking back from the vantage point of 40 years later. At the time, in his journal, the company debates their position for several days before they decide that they are indeed headed in the right direction.

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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