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The Atlantic to the Pacific: What to See and How to See it (1873), by John Erastus Lester

Salt Lake City to San Francisco.

Salt Lake to San Francisco.—At Ogden we take the cars of the Central Pacific Railroad, continuing our journey. We have the Great Salt Lake to our left, and on our right the great mountains, from the sides of which the roadbed has been hewn, and far up the faces of which can be seen the marks which fix the height of the once even larger inland sea than that which we now look upon. Hot springs are in View, clouds of sulphurous vapour rising from them. Passing through fine farming lands, now rich in promising crops of wheat, barley, and corn, we reach Willard City, near which are many evidences of volcanic eruptions in extinct craters. We reach in succession the thriving Mormon town of Brigham City, and Corinne,1 on the west bank of the Bear River. The latter place has already grown into some importance as the distributing dépôt for Montana; and, as it is situated in the midst of a fine farming country, there is here the foundation of a healthy growth. Stages start from here to Virginia City (358 miles) and Helena (482 miles) daily.

1The National Park of the Yellowstone.—At present, and until the completion of the Northern Pacific, or a railroad north-west from Cheyenne, the Yellowstone country is reached from Corinne, as the nearest railroad point. This national park includes the falls and cascades of the Yellowstone, the great lake of the same name, and the unequalled geysers, which are situated in the valley of that river. This domain, the scenery of which rivals in some respects the Yo-Semite, has been by act of the American Congress made for ever a ‘place of public resort and recreation.’ Tourists from all parts of the world will be attracted here, whenever better modes of conveyance are furnished; and even now, every summer, there are those with a liking for rough frontier life who make the journey. All who have visited the Yellowstone country express themselves as amply repaid for the privations which it entailed, by a view of those wonderful developments of nature.

The great falls in the river are 350 feet in perpendicular height, and in other parts of the stream there are rapids and cascades equal to those of Niagara. The Yellowstone Lake is undoubtedly the most elevated sheet of water of like extent on the globe. It lies at an elevation above the sea of 8,337 feet, is 25 miles long, and from 70 to 80 miles in circumference. It is situated within the territorial limits of Wyoming, upon a broad plain between two spurs of the Wind River Mountains. The waters of this lake are so warm that they do not freeze in winter, but not so warm or so charged with sulphur as to prevent the existence of fish in them, although, from the many near-by hot sulphur springs and geysers, streams flow into this lake.

The geysers in this section can be counted by many hundreds, throwing columns of hot-water and mud into the air to the height of from 60 to more than 200 feet. These geyser fountains are from five feet in diameter down to a few inches. Often large stones, mingled with mud and smaller stones, are thrown high in the air and scattered in all directions. Pools of boiling water and springs of sulphurous vapour meet the tourist at every step.

N. P. Langford, one of the explorers of this section, thus closes an account of these geysers:—

‘They are but a reproduction, upon a much grander scale, of the phenomena of Iceland. A wider field for the investigation of the chemist than that presented by the geysers may be found in the many-tinted springs of boiling mud, and the mud volcano. These were objects of the greatest interest to Humboldt, who devotes to a description of them one of the most fascinating chapters of “Cosmos.” It would be rash for us to speculate where that great man hesitated. We can only say that the field is open for exploration, illimitable in resources, grand in extent, wonderful in variety, in a climate favoured of Heaven and amid scenery the most stupendous on the continent.’

The next interesting point is Promontory, where the track-layers of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific met in completing the two roads. This was the scene of the ceremonies, grand yet happy, solemn yet full of gaiety, which took place at ‘the driving of the last spike.’ The actual junction of the two roads is five miles west of Ogden, although the latter place is now the apparent union. The proposed new dépôt buildings will be erected at the point designated by Act of Congress as the junction.

From the hills here the best view is to be had of the Great Salt Lake, which stretches away to the South, a vast sea. This lake is 150 miles long, and 45 wide; contains several mountain-like islands, as Church, Antelope, Fremont, Stansbury, and others of less size. Of these islands, one is stocked with horses, one with cattle, and another with sheep. The waters are so impregnated with salt, that a person easily floats upon the surface. There flow into this sea the waters of Weber, Jordan, Bear, and other rivers: and yet there is no visible outlet. Its waters are reduced by evaporation; and in the summer the salt that is left along the margin is carried away by wagon-loads. Some people assert that there is a hidden stream, which continually flows from the lake; but one fact remains to be explained,—how the waters are now some 12 feet higher than when the Territory was settled, fields where the early pioneers planted their grains being now under the waters.

Further along in Utah, we pass through the ‘Great American Desert,’—a vast waste of about 60 miles square, which without doubt, was at some remote day, the bed of a vast saline lake. Beyond this we mount the long rough ridge of the Goose-creek Range, the presence of a vegetation, which becomes more and more abundant as we advance, indicating that we are out of the Desert. A few miles on, we find ourselves at Toano, in Nevada, where the second division (the Humboldt) begins. The station is so located, that in time it must become a distributing point for several mining-districts. The road now begins to climb Cedar Pass, toward which, the emigrants of former days looked with longing eyes, and through which they toiled after enduring the hardships and. exposures of their march across the Desert. Through the pass we enter the Humboldt Valley. The country around looks very dreary; the stream is a mere muddy brook; there is some snow still upon the ground; the air is cold, the sky cloudy: so we resign ourselves to a day of very uninteresting travelling, only brightened by the hope of soon reaching the Sierras. We stop now and then at stations, the positions of which seem to us strange, but which we suppose to be determined by the proximity of towns or the wants of the railroad. The valley of the Humboldt river is a fertile section, but is sparsely settled. The river, rising in the mountains of the same name takes a westerly course of some 250 miles. Near the station called Brown’s, we see the ‘Sinks of the Humboldt,’—a series of lakes into which the Humboldt and other rivers flow, but which have no visible outlet. During the rainy season these lakes are all united, becoming a sheet of water, which covers several hundred square miles.

All day long we have run through a very unpromising country, unpeopled and unknown. Such stations as are required for the service of the road must be erected at the proper intervals along the line. Winnemucca is such a one, for here a division begins; and the employés of the company are almost the only residents. Night still finds us out in these vast wastes. As to-morrow is to be one of grand sight-seeing, we must console ourselves with the reflection that the tameness of this part of our journey is to prepare us for the passage of the wonderful Sierras. A good night’s rest refreshes us; and an early hour sees us up, and looking around to find out our position, as the mariner out upon the ocean daily takes his ‘observations.’

Humboldt Cañon, the next noted point, does not possess the interest that is found in either Weber or Echo Cañon; but still, at some points, there is a grandeur which impresses us as we look up its bleak, brown, naked walls. These rock-faces rise so high, and press the foaming river so close, that we seem to be rushing into an abyss, out of which there will be no escape. We observe here and there seams of iron ore and copper, which tell of the riches held in store by these brown old hills. Red Cliff, the highest point, is a narrow gorge, about twelve miles in length, which seems to have been opened by Nature that we may pass, though she grudged us the needed space for river and road-bed between the frowning crags.


Battle-Mountain Station, the freighting-point for a large mining-district, lies in a barren, clayey country, with little to see save dark hills far away, and the bunch-grass scattered over the plain. The station-house is a creditable frame building; and by cultivation and irrigation a good garden has been made to the west of the hotel, and a fountain throws up its sparkling waters, —a refreshing sight to the weary traveller who has just passed over the barren wastes. From this station the names of all Westward bound passengers are telegraphed to the San Francisco papers.

During the night, we entered the Valley of Truckee. The river of that name has its rise in Lakes Tahoe and Donner, and flows by two branches, until, near a town named from the river, they unite, and empty into Pyramid Lake. I refer to this little valley, only ten miles long and about two wide, because here it was that the early pioneers, both themselves and teams exhausted and nearly dead from their toils in the desert, found a resting-place, where green fields furnished food for their horses and cattle, and where cooling waters and shady trees gave them strength and hope.


Reno, a somewhat ‘noisy’ place, deserves special mention. It is situated 1,620 miles west of Omaha, and 154 east of Sacramento. This lively town is said to contain 2,000 inhabitants, has a little paper called ‘The Crescent,’ and vaunts itself upon its greatness.

What gives to Reno its importance is, that it is the nearest point on the Central Pacific Railroad to one of the great silver-mining districts of Nevada.


Virginia City, Nevada.—Twenty-one miles almost due south of Reno, on the side of Mount Davidson, at an elevation of more than 6,000 feet, is situated Virginia City, and, adjoining it so closely that one cannot tell the dividing line, is Gold Hill. These two mining towns have become well known wherever mining shares are bought and sold. They together contain more than 20,000 inhabitants, three-fourths of whom dwell within the corporate limits of Virginia City. In the summer of 1857, Joseph Kirby discovered gold at the base of Mount Davidson in the sand and gravel which had been washed down from the mountain, and for two years he, with a few others, continued to work these ‘placers.’ On February 22, 1858, the first quartz claim was located by James Finney. He was known among the miners as ‘Old Virginia,’ and as the section became peopled and mines were opened, the settlement took its name of Virginia City, in honour of the old miner. In June 1859, rich deposits of silver were discovered by Peter O’Reilly and Patrick M‘Laughlin, in making an excavation into the hill as a basin to hold water to be used in their placer mining.

These early-acquired rights becoming more valuable by development of the mines, a man by name of Comstock sought to purchase the titles of those miners who were in possession. He succeeded in acquiring most of the rights in what has since proved the richest silver-bearing quartz vein in the world, and the ‘Comstock Lode’ has become famous in the money centres of Europe as well as America. This lode extends in an irregular and broken vein along the mountain side for 25,000 feet, at some points having a width of 200 feet, while at others the walls nearly close up. The untiring hand of the miner has already made the hill look like a honey-comb, and he has carried his shafts under the city in all directions. Upon this lode are now located seventy claims, bearing familiar names on the share list, as Gould and Curry, Savage, Hale and Norcross, Yellow Jacket, Belcher, Crown Point, &c.


From Verdi, we enter the Truckee Cañon, toiling up the eastern side of the Sierra Nevadas. Presently, and while we are in the depths of the cañon, we cross the western boundary of Nevada, and enter the ‘Golden State,’ whose borders soon greet us with hills covered with grand old trees, with grassy levels along flowing streams, with the pleasing song of birds, a cooling breeze, and a clear sun.

Truckee, a bustling town, is our first stopping-place. In the midst of a heavily-timbered country, its wealth is in its saw-mills, turned by the waters of the Truckee river, and huge piles of boards and timber now encumber the ground and block up the streets. The town is elevated 5,845 feet above tide-water, contains between 2,500 and 3,000 people, and has a newspaper (the Tribune), schools, and churches. The houses are all built with regard to the snows of winter, traces of which are even now seen in great drifts upon the northern sides of the buildings and lumber-piles.

Here we enter upon the Sacramento division of the Road; and, having improved the thirty-minutes’ stop in looking about the place, the bell summons us to our seats in the train, which from this point is to be drawn by two powerful engines up the steep sides of the hills to the summit of the Sierras.

The Truckee Region.—From Truckee to Summit, in a distance of 15 miles, the road rises nearly 1,200 feet, or about 80 feet to the mile—a grade sufficient to require the most powerful engines to draw the cars. Our pace is slow indeed; but we must bear in mind that we are now doing what, a few years ago, the engineers themselves despaired of accomplishing—crossing the Sierras in a railroad car.

The morning sun is casting his early beams upon the landscape, lighting up the great pines and firs, causing the snow-clad mountains to glisten, the tumbling waters of the river to sparkle, and the surface of Donner Lake, seen now and then between the hills, to shine like a mirror. Eleven miles beyond Truckee we enter a cañon called Strong’s, and climb its tortuous course, rising higher and higher, until we see far below us the lake, the line of the road, and hills which, a little while since, presented themselves to us as apparently impassable barriers. We now enter a line of well-built sheds, covering the track, and framed, boarded, and braced to protect them against the fierce snows. From openings in the sides we catch glimpses of a landscape so lovely that we all regret that necessity compels the erection of these ugly sheds, so dark and gloomy, for most of the way, that we cannot tell shed from tunnel. Some Yankee will find a way to open this beautiful landscape to view during the summer; while in the winter the road shall be protected from those great, drifting snows for which the Sierras are so noted.1 Even as we are passing (May 16), the snow still remains in huge piles against the sides of the sheds, while all along inside it lies in a drift from two to four feet deep. After snorting and puffing, whistling and screaming, for an hour and a quarter, our pair of iron horses stop in the snow-sheds at the station called ‘Summit.’ Here we have a good breakfast, well cooked and fairly served; although we could not expect to find so many waiters as are required to attend a rush of passengers, with appetites sharpened by mountain air and a long ride, all with one voice calling, ‘Steak! coffee! bread! trout! waiter! a napkin!’ Even a company of regulars would be somewhat disconcerted at such a confusion of commands.

1These sheds have, since the above was written, been fitted with reat doors, which will be opened during the summer.

Looking about the station, a single building perched here upon the mountain, we perceive that near by are many higher hills, peaks of the Sierras, whose bare and craggy sides lift themselves one upon another until their tops, snow-clad, are lost in the clouds. Here these great granite hills form the ‘divide’ which determines the course of many mountain streams, all of which to the West, by many windings, find their way to the Sacramento.

The descent of the mountains begins at Summit, and from our elevation of 7,042 feet above the sea we make a down-hill run to Sacramento valley, distant 105 miles, and generally elevated only 250 feet above the sea. No steam is now required in moving the train; it is propelled down the steep grade by its own momentum, and the brakes are applied to prevent the speed from becoming too great. By the breaking of a wheel or an axle we should be hurled down into the chasm below. No train is sent from Truckee without having the air-brakes as well as the hand-brakes and every other precaution against accidents, attached to the cars. With all the care and all the devices for controlling the train, great risk is run upon such a fearful grade, but your car glides so quietly and steadily that unless you look out of the window nothing unusual would be perceived.

From Summit to Dutch Flat (38 miles) we descend 3,639 feet, and to Colfax (51 miles) 4,621 feet—grades which, only a few years ago, were considered insurmountable. As we glide along, we catch occasional glimpses of the Yuba River dashing between the hills; and, further on, the Bear River, winding its way towards the Pacific. Losing sight of these views, we soon reach the head waters of the American River, and, passing several unimportant stations, we reach Emigrant Gap, where the old road, so long and weary to the pioneer, crossed the mountains. By a tunnel we pass under the old trail, and rush on down towards the valley; and, after a ride of about a dozen miles, we enter the Great American Cañon. Here, between almost perpendicular walls 2,000 feet high, the river, hard pressed by the hills, roars and tumbles, impatient of restraint. So smooth and sharp-cut are the sides, that we can stand upon the brink, and look down into the waters. From the cars, occasional views, grand and imposing beyond description, rivet our attention. We stop a few minutes at Dutch Flat—a pretty town of miners, whose cabins are adorned with tidy gardens and little orchards.

How differently are we crossing these mountains from the emigrants of even a few years ago! Then, inch by inch, the teams toiled to gain a higher foothold, or toiled equally hard to keep a foothold, as, inch by inch, they climbed down the rugged passes; now in luxurious coaches, with horses of iron, with a skilled engineer for a driver, we are carried along in comfort. Then and now! Who of us on this train can know of those toils and hardships? and who of those pioneers could have dreamed that this day the steam-engine would be crossing the Sierra Nevadas?

The tunnels and snow-sheds continue for 31 miles; the longest tunnel being 1,659 feet, and many ranging from 100 to 800 feet in length.

The snow-sheds upon this road are entirely different in their construction from those on the Union Pacific: here they are framed and erected as permanent structures, at a cost of about 10,000 dollars per mile. Knowing that the snow falls here from 16 to 20 feet deep, and that great avalanches of snow and ice rush down from the mountains into the valley, we can understand the necessity for these structures. They are so built—either with sharp, sloping roofs, or against the side of the mountain—that the snow passes over them, while the trains, as through a long tunnel, pass in safety. Precautions are taken to prevent fires and accidents, watchmen being stationed at frequent intervals, with water and an engine always in readiness.

Hydraulic Mining.—All along the road now, for miles, we see little ditches filled with running water. These are dug around the sides of the hills, tapping the river near its source, where perpetual snows furnish a constant supply, and are carried on and on to the various mining ‘claims’ below in the valleys. These claims are located upon what is known as the Blue Lead, which extends from Gold Run, a few miles beyond, through Nevada County, into and through a part of Sierra County, and constitute the best large ‘placer-mining’ district in the State. The whole tract was, without doubt, the bed of a once large mountain stream, which has piled up these great beds, within which are the fine particles of gold, worn away from the great quartz mountains by the action of the water upon them. Petrified trees are now found like those growing upon the hills around—pines, oaks, the manzanita, the mahogany, and others—in this peculiar formation, which is from one to five or six miles in width. From these ditches the water is taken in a ‘telegraph,’ which is a long, narrow flume of wood, extending out over the claim; to this hose with a nozzle is attached, from which the water spouts in a constant stream, and is by the miners directed against the hillside. By this action the soft dirt is washed away from the gravel, and, forming one liquid mass, is carried through a ‘tail-race’ into long flumes, often miles in length. Within these flumes are placed ‘riffles’—little slats attached to the bottom of the flume, for arresting the gold, which by its own gravity seeks the bottom. Along the flumes, at intervals, are stationed men, who throw out the large stones and pieces of rock from which the dirt has been washed. When the ‘riffles’ are supposed to be full, the water is turned off, and the dirt, which contains the particles of gold, is taken out.

The next process is the use of the ‘long tom,’ which is a sheet-iron box with a duplicate bottom extending diagonally over a little more than half the box: This secondary iron plate is perforated with holes; and under it, in pockets made by two cross-slats upon the bottom, is placed the quicksilver. This ‘long tom’ is now attached to a sluice-way, and the water turned through it. The dirt which has been taken from the riffles is shovelled upon this perforated plate; the particles of gold fall through, and unite their atoms with the quicksilver. This process of throwing the dirt upon the plate, washing away the sand and rock by the flowing water, and the taking up of the gold by the quicksilver, is continued until the ‘quicksilver is full,’ as they term it. Then the amalgam is removed, placed in a retort, heated to some 480° Fahrenheit; when the quicksilver is sublimed, and passes away in a vapour, leaving the gold.

Of course such mining is very expensive (vast sums having been laid out in building the ditches and flumes), and can never be an economical mode; for, with every precaution, much of the gold is carried away. After the last riffle is passed, the ‘slum,’ as it is called, is carried into the streams which empty into the great Sacramento, the waters of which are now muddy and dirty from the vast amount of sand, clay, and loam washed into it, as each miner, by his ceaseless labour, wears away the hills and the mountains, and carries them by his flumes into the rivers. It is a strange sight to look around and see what this constant flow of water has done in so short a time; and then we are enabled to understand some of those great changes which Nature has wrought by her rivers flowing on for ages and ages.

Since the miners began their work in California in 1849, they have levelled hills, often 300 feet in height and hundreds of acres in extent, and carried them into the valleys; they have denuded whole counties, and now only the waterworn surface and jaggy sides of the bed-rock are to be seen; they have turned the course of great rivers and dug their beds over and over; they have thrown the surface of the plains into ridges; and all this for the gold which they held.

I have described what is called ‘hydraulic’ mining, and which is to-day one of the chief industries of the State. Often water is brought from 100 to 150 miles, to be directed against the side of a hill which the miners suppose to contain gold, or to cover a bed of ‘pay dirt,’ as they call auriferous earth. So long as gold is found, just so long will there be men who will put capital into the enterprise.

In the earlier days all the miners used simple devices, as the ‘cradle,’ the ‘pan,’ &c., by which they accomplished the results I have described, of separating the gold from the earth. This was called ‘placer’ mining, and is the term used still to designate mining upon a small scale and with rude devices. When a river-bed or a stratum of ‘pay-dirt’ has been dug over and the gold taken out, the mass which is left has received the name of ‘tailings.’ All through the State to-day, the Chinamen are again going over these heaps of dirt and stones—the tailings—and by their patient and careful toil are finding gold enough to give them a living. These instances are almost the only ones of ‘placer’ mining in these days. ‘Hydraulic’ mining is not as extensively carried on as formerly, and as I have said, ‘placer’ is almost entirely abandoned. Quartz mining is the form now prevailing,. and this is described in a subsequent page.


But we are nearing that famous ‘tumble’ down the mountain, called ‘Cape Horn;’ and we must stop our talk upon mining and miners, and observe the grandeur and beauties of our ride for the next few miles, that my readers may know how to ‘double the horn.’


Cape Horn.— People who are naturally timid shrink from looking out of the cars down into the deep chasm on our left, or up upon the dark, bleak mountains which all around rear their craggy, snow-capped crests far into the very clouds. Even the cunning Indian failed to make a trail directly across this hill. As we round the hill, we see far, far below us, the river, which looks like a little brook; and what appears to be a little plank spanning it, is really a large turnpike bridge. We turn sharply to our right, and lose sight of the river; and as just across the chasm we see the road-bed, seemingly within a stone’s throw, we look anxiously for some way to reach the other side. As we move along the brink of the precipice, we look down a thousand feet into the valley below. Gliding slowly on, a turn to our left brings us upon a trestle 878 feet long and 113 feet high, which is to take us safely over this gorge, and to the road-bed which we saw so near us, yet so unattainable. When this section of road was built, the Chinamen were lowered down by ropes from the mountain peaks, and in this position gradually hewed out a foothold; the foothold enlarged to a working-place; and the working-place, after much labour, to the road-bed over which we are passing in safety. No one can view this point without being struck with the herculean labours which accomplished this result, and without rejoicing that American skill and energy directed it, and thus in the passage of the Sierras achieved the triumph of railroad engineering.


While we have been looking, admiring, and wondering, we have reached the pretty town of Colfax. As this is the point for distributing freight for Grass Valley, Nevada, San Juan, Little York, You Bet, and other mining towns and camps, the company has erected large and substantial dépôts for the merchandise, which is taken by ‘fast freight expresses’ (four-horse wagons carrying a light load, and driven at a rapid rate by relays of horses) to all the interior points. Stages also are ready at the station to convey the passengers and mails.


Eighteen miles further on, we stop at Auburn, the county seat of Placer County, containing a thousand people and many neat and substantial buildings. Although the place has no air of business, still the houses, seen from the cars, indicate home-comfort in their neat and well-kept gardens and orchards. We pass for some dozen miles the scenes of early mining operations, where, even now, some of the ‘old settlers’ may be seen at work.


At Rocklin, the Company has a machine-shop and round-house, which are built of handsome granite found near by. As we leave this place, the foot-hills of the great mountains, down whose sides we have been picking our way, are left behind us; and, although the land is still rolling, we see beyond the plains of the American River Valley. We make good time over the meadows, across the marsh-lands of American River upon trestle-work, and the river itself upon a bridge of wood, and now are in the suburbs of Sacramento, the ‘Queen City of the Plain.’ Orchards and gardens are upon either side; flowers send us choice perfumes; the fig-tree lifts its great green leaves to the sun; the soft balmy air fans our cheeks—all telling us of Summer. What a change! Only a few hours ago we were up in the snows of the Sierras, so cold that we needed a fire in the cars, and our overcoats on besides; now we are in the land of flowers of almost tropical luxuriance.

Passing the great brick repair-shops and dépôts for supplies of the Company, we are soon taken into the station upon the banks of the Sacramento River. Until the year 1870 this was the western terminus; but the completion of the Western Pacific to San Francisco brought about the union of the two roads. The distance from here to Omaha is given at 1,770 miles; and from here to San Francisco, by way of Oakland, 138 miles.

As we stepped from the cars upon the platform, what a scene presented itself! Here are gathered persons of every nation, speaking every tongue—a jargon of languages. Here were merchants and mechanics of the city and the country; old miners from the ‘diggins;’ fashionable belles who were to take the cars for the city near the ‘Golden Gate;’ young men ‘with no particular occupation;’ old men ‘waiting for a chance’—altogether the most cosmopolitan people I have ever met. As the train waits thirty minutes, we pass around among the people, observe them and their ways, talk to some, and ask the price of the nice fruits and flowers.

At the stations along the Central Pacific, as persons entered the train, they would inquire of those they met, ‘Are you bound for Frisco?’ Here everyone is inquiring of his friend, ‘Are you going to the Bay?’ We see some substantial stores and blocks along the street fronting the river. The great State House, with its lofty dome, stands out from the other buildings; but, save these, we see little of the city.

Here the ‘overland express’ is made up, with several coaches added; and we push out of the station, and run for some distance along the river. We soon begin to see what looks strange to a Yankee; that is, the windmill pumping water into a large tank, built sometimes upon the house, often upon the barn, and oftener upon stilts. Fine vineyards skirt the road; and great fields of wheat stretch away from the river.

Crossing the great bridge over the San Joaquin River, we push on through a rather uninteresting country. Occasionally we catch a view of Mount Diablo far away towards the Pacific, and the snow-caps of the Sierras far behind us. Just ahead we see high hills, which seem to offer another barrier to our progress; but our train winds itself along, twisting in and out through this coast-range, until it finds its way out by Livermore Pass.

Presently the station Niles is announced, which is the junction of the San José branch. It is now too dark to see the country; and we can only wait to hear the glad sound—Oakland! While we are wishing, the conductor cries out ‘Oakland!’ and many passengers prepare to leave at this ‘Brooklyn’ of the Pacific coast. The train reaches the boat which is to carry us across the Bay of San Francisco, by running out for some two miles upon trestle-work to the deep water; and while we are slowly crawling over this bridge, I collect my ‘traps’ and prepare to leave this ‘car-home.’ As soon as we reach the deck of the ferry-boat we peer into the fog, trying to get a glimpse of the lights across the Bay. We are told that the cold wind which blows in our faces, and the fog which hangs over the Bay, are quite frequent in summer, usually coming up in the afternoon. A sail of twenty minutes brings us to the wharf at ‘City Front,’ whence we are driven to the hotel. Here we find rooms, all in proper order, awaiting us; for we had done what every one should do—telegraphed the day before for accommodations.

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