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river. The road was good; but little timber; and the soil appearing well adapted to agriculture. It was soon evident that we were in close proximity to the river-the ravines all tending in the same direction; frequent rocks of enormous size, and from the more elevated points we could see a range of mountains rising on the other side. Having left the team behind, we pressed forward, eager to get a glimpse of the river and those employed in the golden pursuit; we soon arrived among the pines which stud the banks, but were still obliged to climb a slight ascent forming the immediate bank.
We soon gained the summit, and stood enraptured with the scene around us. The river, saluting our ears with its restless murmurs, meandered at the base of the mountain which had lifted us a mile above it. The banks were dotted with tents and teeming with the Liliputian owners. On the opposite side were mountains piled one above the other, terminating in a range covered with eternal snow, presenting a scene of grandeur and sublimity nothing can excel. The whitened peaks, reflecting the sun, resembled the domes of some vast cathedral. Looking back, the entire valley of the Sacramento was stretched out before us, bounded by the coast range of mountains, beyond which we could look upon the Pacific ocean--presenting a scene which, in extent, diversity, and grandeur is rarely if ever equalled. In the valley we could see extensive fertile plains, deserts of white sand, marshes, numerous lakes, dense forests, marking the water courses; and no doubt, with a glass of sufficient power, could have seen herds of elk, deer, antelope, and wild cattle. There is but little vapor in the atmosphere at this season of the year, and the vision is almost unbounded. Our team soon came up, and we prepared to descend the mountain, which was very precipitous, and the only place within ten miles at which the river can be reached with a team. Our teamster chained the wheel and with much difficulty descended the first step. He having been engaged in the same capacity during the Mexican war, managed the descent with much skill, and reached the base without accident.
We found ourselves at the “Mormon Bar,” forty-five miles from Sacramento city. We pitched our tent and cooked dinner after which I paid the teamster seventy-five dollars for three
hundred pounds freight and started off to visit the miners. I well remember that as I was going down the side of the cañon I saw a hole in a rock, which I thought such an excellent "pocket” that I resolved to pay it a secret visit, not doubting that it contained a rich deposit. I afterward learned that the "pockats” in California had not all been filled, and the one above mentioned was never picked to my knowledge. I found a great many in eager pursuit, some digging up the dirt, carrying it in buckets, or tin pans, and throwing it into the rocker, while their companions would rock the machine and pour in water, which would wash out the dirt, the gold being retained by riffles, or cleats, in the bottom. The first machine I saw in operation was being rocked by Mr. Devoe, and fed by Gen. Winchester and his brother-all of New York. The two last named were in the water knee deep, getting dirt from the bottom of a hole. I loaned them a late New York paper, and we were soon acquainted. They were about to take the gold from their machine and wished me to stay. This was just what I wished to do, and, after a five minutes' detention, they raised the screen, exbibiting the bottom of the rocker, which was covered with gold. I started for the tent, and it seemed that every rock had a yellow tinge, and even our camp kettle, that I had thought in the morning the most filthy one I had ever seen, now appeared to be gilded—and I thought with more than one coat. During the night, yellow was the prevailing color in my dreams. In the morning, hiring out two of the men temporarily at ten dollars per day, I hired a machine at two dollars per day, took the other man, went a short distance above Gen. Winchester's "lead” and soon found myself in a "lead” which I thought much better than his.
“Bent” rocked and I put in the dirt. We resolved to run through twenty buckets before raising the screen, and soon the perspiration began to flow. He had a strong arm and I exerted every nerve to keep the machine supplied. The dirt would pass through the screen almost instantly, leaving the pebbles which he would scan very minutely, but finding no large pieces of gold consoled himself with the thought, "the smaller the more of them.” But now, after an hour's incessant labor, we were about to finish our first task, and had in the machine as