October 17, 1841 — The Ascent

Sunday, 17th. This morning we set forth into the rolling mountains; in many places it was so steep that all were obliged to take it on foot. Part of the day we travelled through vallies between peaks, where the way was quite level — passed down and up through forests of pine, fir, cedar, &c; many of the pines were 12 ft. in diameter and no less than 200 ft. high. Encamped on the side of the mountain, so elevated that the ice remained all day in the streams — but we had not yet arrived at the summit. Killed another ox this evening — made 12 miles.

Jimmy John gave a similar account, and said, “These forests and fine streams of water have to us a beautiful appearance after traveling so long through an almost entire desert.” According to Michel Gillis, the company followed river drainages as much as possible, rather than attempting to scale mountains.

They began by climbing steeply due west out of Little Antelope Valley . . . up to Rodriguez Flat. From there they dropped down the Snodgrass Creek drainage to Silver King Creek. After a four-and-one-half mile descent along Silver King Creek, they arrived in Silver King Meadows. Heading west across this flat, timbered expanse they intersected the East Fork of the Carson River . . . The trail up the East Fork proved to be relatively flat for the first several miles with some grassy areas available to graze their jaded animals.

“The Trans-Sierra Route of the Bidwell-Bartleson Party”, Overland Journal, Winter 1998.

As they made their way up the East Fork of the Carson, the canyon became more and more narrow, until they branched off into a Golden Canyon, and there camped for the night. The ox they killed for dinner left them with two.

Silver King Meadows http://www.ecoangler.com/habitat/Silver_King_Creek.html

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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