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Expanded Diary of Pedro Font

Wednesday, December 27.—I said Mass. Very early in the morning the courier was dispatched to the mission of San Gabriel to give notice of our coming and to ask for saddle animals from there to relieve ours. We set out from the flat and pass of San Carlos at a quarter to ten in the morning, and at half past two in the afternoon we halted at the beginning of the valley of San Patricio [Footnote 165] near the source of its arroyo, having traveled some six leagues, about three to the northwest, and the rest to the west-northwest.—Six leagues.

Here the country is better than the foregoing, for after leaving the Pass of San Carlos this country completely changes its aspect, in contrast with that left behind on the other side. From a height near the place whence we set out, formed by large stones, rocks, and boulders, through which the road runs and which form the Pass of San Carlos, as if the scenery of the theater were changed, one beholds the Sierra Madre de California now totally different —green and leafy, with good grass and trees, in the distance looking toward the South Sea, whereas in the distance looking toward the California Sea it is dry, unfruitful and arid, as I have said.

As soon as we reached the top of the rocky pass of San Carlos we entered level and good country, from which one sees to the north-northwest and northwest the same Sierra Madre, very high and white with snow; and this Sierra Nevada continues beyond the mission of San Gabriel. After going a league we entered a valley, which the last time they called Valley del Príncipe, [Footnote 166] formed on the right by the Sierra Nevada which I have mentioned, with others, and on the left by another spur of mountains, very high and full of pines, which appears to run toward San Diego. All the valley has plentiful and good grass, with shrubs and fragrant herbs.

After leaving this valley we entered a growth of low brush and then we came to the canyon, which is very narrow and is formed by the same hills and branches of the Sierra Madre. Near the camp site [Footnote 167] we found three small huts of Indians with many shucks of acorns, which constitute their food, but we did not see a single Indian. In the canyon we saw many pretty and fragrant plants, and at the camp site there were many rose bushes, the first ones which I have seen in those lands. Their roses are small and have only five petals, but they are very fragrant, although at this season they were withered, and they had only the red seed pods. I ate some of them and they had a rather agreeable taste. There are also live oaks and other trees. Today the weather was fairly good.

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