across the plains, as they would be perfectly secure and sheltered, and the pasturage is excellent. This, however, is the case all through these mountains, for waving grass, gemmed with flowers of every hue, covers them to their summits, except in the region of snow. The Cuchada led us up a succession of valleys of an easy grade. We were now travelling on an Indian trail; for the wagon trail, which I believe was made by Roubideau's wagons, deviated to the right, and went through the pass named after him. This pass is so low that we perceived through it a range of sand hills of moderate height, in San Luis valley; to have gone through it, however, would have occasioned us the loss of a day in reaching Fort Massachusetts, though it is the shortest and most direct route to the Coochatope; and Mr. Beale's views constrained him to take the most direct route to Fort Massachusetts, where he expected to obtain a guide through the unexplored country between New Mexico and Utah, and also to procure some mules. We were therefore very reluctantly compelled to forego the examination of Roubideau's Pass.

Encamped at noon at the foot of a remarkable rock, watered at its base by the Cuchada; it resembled the ruined front of a Gothic church. Encamped for the night six miles farther up the valley, and near the summit of the Sangre de Cristo Pass. An excellent wagon road might be made over these mountains, by the Sangre de Cristo Pass, and a still better one through Roubideau's.

The grass around our encampment was really magnificent; it was in a large mountain meadow, watered by numerous springs and girt in by dark pines. Through an opening in the mountains, to the eastward, we could see the sunny plains of the Arkansas and Huerfano, with its remarkable butte, whilst around us heavy clouds were collecting, giving warning of a storm and wet night. We made ourselves shelters and beds of pine boughs. The Delaware had killed a fat antelope, which furnished us a hearty supper; and we sat around our fire, until a late hour, well pleased with having accomplished in such good time and without accident the first stage of our journey, for we expected to reach Fort Massachusetts at an early hour next day. Day's march, 26 miles; total distance, 668 miles.

June 5. The rain fell at intervals all night, but the clouds


P. 30.


the Sangre de (risto M's

dispersed before dawn, and the sun rose in a bright and clear sky; the plains, however, were concealed under a sea of snowy mist.

Continued our course to the southwestward through thick pine woods, and in one mile we reached the head waters of Sangre de Cristo Creek, flowing into the Del Norte after its junction with the Trinchera. The Sangre de Cristo mountains, and the Sierras Blanca and Mojada, were covered with snow. We fol. lowed down the Sangre de Cristo, which every moment in. creased in size, its clear and icy waters leaping over rocks, and the mountain sides were covered with tender grass, strawberry blossoms, and violets.

On our maps, the Sangre de Cristo is improperly named Indian Creek, which is a fork of the Sangre de Cristo, and is not named at all on them. Up Indian Creek, I am informed, there exists an excellent pass from San Luis valley to the plains on the eastern side of the mountains.

After crossing Indian Creek, we halted a few minutes to make our toilets previous to our arrival at Fort Massachusetts; and, although our hunter had just ridden into camp with a haunch of fat venison behind his saddle, and our appetites, which were at all times excellent, had been sharpened by a long mountain ride without breakfast, we were too impatient to reach the fort to lose time in camping. We arrived there late in the afternoon, and received a warm and hospitable welcome from Major Blake, the officer in command, Lieutenants Jackson and Johnson, and Dr. Magruder. An incipient rain-storm made us feel sensible that we were still in the vicinity of the Sierra Mojada (or Wet Mountains), which well merit the name, for rain fell every day that we were in or near them; on the highest peaks in the form of snow, and lower down in hazy moisture, alternating with drenching showers. This humidity gives great fertility to this region, and the country bordering on the sides of these mountains, as well as the valleys within their recesses, are unequalled in loveliness and richness of vegetation. To the settler, they offer every inducement; and I have no doubt that in a few years this tract of country will vie with California or Australia in the number of immigrants it will invite to it. It is by far the most beautiful as well as the most fertile portion of New Mexico, and a remarkably level country

unites it with the western frontier of the Atlantic States. As soon as this is thrown open to settlement, a continuous line of farms will be established, by which the agricultural and mineral wealth of this region will be developed. Communication will then be more rapid, and instead of the mail being, as it is now, thirty days in reaching Fort Massachusetts, it will be carried through in eight or ten.

Messrs. Beale, Riggs, Rogers, and myself quartered at the Fort; the men encamped two miles below on Utah Creek, in a beautiful grove of cottonwoods.

A tent was sent to them, and with fresh bread and meat they were soon rendered perfectly comfortable. There was excellent pasturage around their encampment, on which the mules soon forgot the hard marches they had made since leaving Westport. Day's trável, 25 miles; total distance from Westport to Fort Massachusetts, 693 miles.

June 14. As it was found impossible to obtain here the men and animals that we required, and that it would be necessary to go to Taos, and perhaps to Santa Fé, for this purpose, Mr. Beale and Major Blake left for the former place on the morning after our arrival at the fort. Taos is about eighty, and Santa Fé about one hundred and forty miles to the southward.

During our detention at Fort Massachusetts, I took frequent rides into the mountains on each side of it.

This post is situated in a narrow gorge through which the Utah rushes until it joins the Trinchera, and is a quadrangular stockade of pine log pickets, inclosing comfortable quarters for one hundred and fifty men, cavalry and infantry. Lofty and precipitous mountains surround it on three sides; and although the situation may be suitable for a grazing farm on account of the pasturage, and the abundance of good timber may render this a convenient point for a military station, it is too far removed from the general track of Indians to be of much service in protecting the settlements in San Luis valley from their insults and ravages. The Utahs, who infest the Sahwatch mountains, enter San Luis valley by the Carnero and Coochatope Passes from the westward, and by those of Del Punche, Del Medino, and Del Mosque from the northward and northeastward, and a post established at the head of the valley of San Luis would be much more effective in keeping these marauders in check, as it would there be able to prevent, if necessary, their

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