CHAPTER II. OFF FOR ARIZONA—SCENES ON THE WAY...


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OFF FOR ARIZONA—SCENES ON THE WAY—THE LIVERMORE VALLEY—YOSEMITE—THE GREAT TEHACHAPI PASS—THE ORANGE DISTRICTS—ACROSS THE DESERT TO FORT YUMA.

BY the time my spirits had been mellowed down into their accustomed equilibrium, the time had come to depart. ‘‘“Klick-er-de-klick; chit-er-de-chat: chit-er-de-chat; klick-er-de-klick,”’’ rattled our ladened train over the wonderful Meiggs wharf which extended two and a quarter miles out across the bay. Klick-er-de-klick, chit-er-de-chat, rolled our cat wheels, like the prattle of a lot, of merry school girls let loose, and had the same effect of merriment upon its listeners. Then the old smoke-stack bellowed forth, ‘‘“Hush!Hush!—Hush!—ush!—ush!—ush!—ush! sh, sh, sh, sh, sh,”’’ as if warning his charge against useless gossip, and admonishing them not to make such a noise.


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Thus we sped, twenty miles away, across the charming Livermore valley—one of the chosen spots of California's richest soils.

If one's spirits are in a ruffled state as mine had been, ‘‘these sights and these sounds’’ would prove a soothing balm.

As we approached the end of this valley, which narrowed down to about the width of a good sized farm, we felt that one of the Eldorados of our trip had been seen. All the diversity for the richest rural effects and of husbandry, were here combined. We had seen the sweet maiden daughter of the hardy husbandman, standing in the threshold of his humble cottage admiring with unwitting zeal, the fruits of her sire's sturdy arm and sweaty brow. One charming picture particularly attracted my notice. A maiden of some fourteen Summers, with her golden hair flowing over her shoulders, and a neat, clean pin-a-fore clasping jealously her form, stood on one of these thresholds, breathing the balmy atmosphere from the mountains wafted over the waving corn and blooming wheat, from which it received its perfume. As the train passed, this little creature pulled from a pocket in her apron her handkerchief, and waved it. This was the


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climax of this valley scene. Perhaps the handkerchief had something to do with it. We all know how far this token of welcome, as a flag of truce, will put new life into the soul. Behind the little hamlet, rose a spur of the mountains, one peak of which seemed rite maiden's special guardian. On we sped through the Canyon; witnessed the shades of evening transformed into Luna's night, and arrived at Merced, the place of departure for the Yosemite valley, just before midnight. Many left, our train here. The name of Yosemite has not ceased to allure, nor its sights to charm. I was a little allured myself, but as the train moved on, I contented myself by reciting the lines contributed to fair Tissaack's abode while with the Leslie party, when we were there in the Spring. We hand, on that occasion just reached the summit of the Sierras from which we were to descend into the valley.

Yosemite! How wells the heart,
When o'er the Sierras' summit height,
The sense of sight, to the soul imparts
Fair nature's gift, this grand, this gorgeous sight.
Behold! we near the crested edge;
Our every breath held by a spell.
We fain would make a solemn pledge,
To all the world this vision tell.


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Down! down! the mountain's side we prance,
Each steed, sure-footed, marks his pace.
To the right—to the left—yes, all around,
Bold rocks command, and waters run their race.
To the left, ‘‘El Capitan’’ rears its ponderous head,
Carved out by some gigantic power!
To the right, ‘‘Fort Rocks’’ commands the valley front,
Beneath lies Tissaack's chosen bower.
Down in the very depths of this colossal vale
Hemmed in by sybil's choicest charms,
Our soul would break from its fettered chains
And with its praise, the mortal man disarm.
With hair unfurled and ribbon tossed,
Across the ‘‘Bridal’’ stream we bound,
And with hats in hand we give one shout!
For our Mecca we have found.

In the night the train enters the Tehachapi Pass—enters, as it were the last remnants of chaos; enters one of nature's grandest caprices; as treacherous as it is wonderful, as interesting as it is beautiful, and as capricious as it is grand. The Tehachapi Pass is one of the greatest pieces of railroad engineering in the world. It includes, perhaps, the wonderful features of all other railroads combined.

In this Pass, comprising a distance of nineteen miles, you have your high tressels, chasms, horse shoes, Cape Horns, tunnels, &c., &c. In fact these things in themselves constitute this entire section. The train will


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jump from mountain dome to pinnacle; from peak to peak, with as much agility as a man on the trapeze. In the last mile of this section the train passes through five tunnels. By the curves and the angles, the crossing of ravines, and the rounding of pinnacles; with high towering mountains on the one side, and precipitous gorges on the other; all theories of trigonometry and the calculus are demonstrated, and practically too. The locomotive fairly plays tag with the tail end of the train in the wildest commotion. You are held spellbound. In its fury Mr. Smokestack again belches forth its Hush, Hush, Hush, as if warning you to hold your breath and not venture a whisper until we are over safely. Standing on some of the elevations over which the train passes, in this wild and elevated region, a most imposing view of the surrounding country may be had. It suggests that the whole of God's footstool might be comprehended, so vast is the extent. The eye peers over hill, dale, mountain peaks and ranges, until it is lost in its own vision, and seems to comprehend infinity. How grand the sensation! How your soul grasps'pants, for just a something more. From Yosemite to Tehachapi your mind reverts. We have often heard how the West in its broad


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expanse, captures the emigrant and traveler in mind and spirit, and weans him from his eastern home. We have all tried to define what this influence is; I think it is just such scenes as this. As the mind, in comprehending and retaining its mental observations, and as the field becomes broader and he clings to those observations with a zeal proportionate to its vastness, so does the soul expand with what it sees, in proportion to its own vastness. How often this condition forces itself upon the traveler in Arizona. And perhaps this is the reason one finds so many whole-souled men in this interesting Territory. Many of them were perhaps whole-souled before they went there, but we are rather inclined to think the most of them have become so from the very soul-spirit of all nature in this beacon land. As the mind is wont to grasp after what lies beyond its present sphere, so does the emigrant and the traveler jealously long for the blessing, the freedom, the liberty, the wide expanse, that these scenes suggest to his nature.

The traveler takes a last, lingering look at the region of the Tehachapi Pass, this being the last mountainous scenery until he reaches Central Arizona. This region is commonly known as the famous


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‘‘Loop,’’ from the fact that in circling itself, it crosses its own track to reach a high, elevation of mountain.

At daylight you strike a portion of the great Mojave Desert, the word ‘‘desert’’ striking dimly on your ear, and feeding the mind with imaginary evils always associated with that name. This gradually dies away, however, with the remarkable and interesting characteristics peculiar to the so-called desert, gleaned later from our facetious friends—the pioneers and frontiersmen of our countr , and from the natives. A chapter on the deserts of our country will be found in its proper place.

Further south four hundred and seventy miles from San Francisco, the far famed orange, region is reached. The conglomerate city of Los Angeles tells you of the adventurous days of the chivalrous Fremont. Eight miles below Los Angeles you pass through the fertile San Gabriel Valley, where the greatest orange groves of the State thrive in luxurious splendor. Here are located the great orange groves of E. J. Baldwin, Esq. All kinds of semi-tropical fruits are raised on this ranch, which covers sixteen thousand acres.

One of the original aims of Mr. Baldwin was to supply his own culinary wants of the hotel. This self


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sustaining principle enables him, in adding to the luxuries of his hotel, to do so at a less cost than any other method, or in other words, to give a greater amount of luxuries for the same price. This system of Mr. Baldwin's explains the query made by the many patrons of his house, ‘‘How can he afford to run this extravagance at the regular hotel rate?’’

To get an invitation from Mr. Baldwin to visit his ranch in Southern California, and to actually visit it is a treat, and one can get, an extended and—exalted did we say—at least a flattering idea of a bonanza farm of Southern California. On this ranch or farm can be found all products indigenous to the coast. Mr. Baldwin has, also, other ranches in different parts of the State. The orange blossoms and groves throw their fragrance broadcast through the air and with their emblematic influences, charm the senses.

An orange tree in blossom is a gorgeous sight. ‘‘Gorgeous sight,’’ did I say? Well! it depends. To some, each blossom is transformed into a little cupid plumed and armed, and holding high carnival in the tree top: while to many these are, by some misordained condition of nature, transformed into little devils. Owing to the present jogging condition


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A SCENE IN THE ORANGE GROVES OF E. J. BALDWIN, ESQ., OF SAN FRANCISCO.


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of the world, this orange growing section will not loose its interest for some time to come. We are told of both young and old having fainted at the sight and perfume of this marital emblem. At least, we can say by our own experience, a drive from Los Angeles to the beach at Santa Monica through the orange groves, is a most condign place for a young man, who wants to have a lady taint in his arms.

One hundred miles south of Los Angeles you cross the great Colorado desert. Although a desert, this vast tract of country is full of interest. But of these interests in desert traveling we will speak in connection with our journey through Arizona.

On this desert, shorn, if not of its name, at least of its terrors, by the annihilating iron horse, and the civilizing palace car, one gets the first intimation of the peculiar scenery of Arizona. Looking from the ear window to the east, a distant range of mountains, different from anything you have, perhaps, ever seen, attracts you.

‘‘“Domes and half domes,’’

‘‘Pinnacles and peaks;”’’

truncated cones, pyramids and spires; castles in the air (with solid foundations, which none but a strong


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miner's will can move) with bases of hidden gold and silver, salute you. This is the scene that contrasts so forcibly with your desert. And this variety is what makes the desert so interesting in itself. We all know the charm of variety—of change. In the direction you are now looking lies the famous ‘‘Needles’’ of the great Colorado River. In the distance are the famous ‘‘Chimney Peaks;’’ further down is the ‘‘Castle Dome;’’ and by imagination's sweet charm, or in recollection's powerful east, you see the capricious, the whimsical, the wonderful Colorado River.

This is the view that greets the traveler's eye and cheers his spirit as he nears Arizona, and for three hours before reaching her initial point, Yuma. Let it be in the grey of the morning, and the peculiar hazy blue, like a sea vapor that hems the different mounts and ranges in, reminds you of the Blue Mountains of Jamaica in the West Indies. Let it be in the evening's golden hue of an Arizona sunset, and the rugged outline fringed with gold and crimson, and the whole fretting on the azure blue of the firmament, is a scene to charm the soul and puzzle the senses.

From here I started to make a two month's tour through the northern part of the Territory, the results


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of which will be embodied throughout my book in connection with my southern trip; and from which trip I returned to Yuma on the first day of December to await the arrival of the Aztec party.

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