Two Pictures of an Unknown Bit of
the Monterey Coast
from the Overland Monthly, Vol. XXX, No. 178, October 1897

By Harold Fairbanks, Ph.D.
L. Maynard Dixon

Harold Wellman Fairbanks (1860-1933) was an expert on the geology and geography of the Pacific Coast, and author of over 40 books and articles. His published works include Stories of our mother Earth (1899), Home Geography for Primary Grades (1902), Physiography of California (1903), and Stories of Rocks and Minerals (1903).

Maynard Dixon (1875-1946) was one of the great artists and illustrators of the American West. The illustrations that appeared of the Overland Monthly during the 1890s represent some of his earliest published work; his star rose considerably after his marriage to photographer Dorothea Lange in 1919.

There is a wealth of information about Dixon at

IMAGE: Watching Demas

Watching Demas




THE region about Monterey, historic capital of California, with its woods and sandy beaches and beautiful drives, is deservedly famed as the most attractive one on the whole coast of California. But few are aware, however, that within easy reach is a stretch of the grandest and wildest scenery, with ocean and mountain views of surpassing grandeur. This piece of mountainous coast is a terra incognita to all save a few scattered stock raisers who live by themselves in a world of their own. They pack in their supplies over the rough and dangerous mountain trails, many of them going out but a few times in a year. Wild and picturesque, and rendered doubly attractive by its inaccessibility, there is no more inviting region in the whole Coast range for a summer's outing.

Santa Lucia mountains embrace nearly the whole of this almost unknown region, stretching south from the town of Monterey and lying between the Salinas valley and the ocean.

The best general idea of these mountains, without actually making the acquaintance their rugged trails, is obtained from the deck of one of the little coast steamers. Going-south from Monterey, the boats pass this part of the coast in the night, but the north bound ones leave San Simeon about two o'clock, and during the long summer afternoons one can sit upon the upper deck and obtain a good idea of the grandest and wildest stretch of the California coast.

From San Luis Obispo to San Simeon there is a strip of beautiful rolling country between the Santa Lucia mountains and the coast. After we leave San Simeon, bound north, the range gradually rises higher and. approaches the ocean until it finally crowds out all the patches of level land. The crest of the range attains an elevation of over four thousand feet, which it maintains for many miles, the mountains rising with steep unbroken slope from the great cliffs at their base.

During the whole of the afternoon we steam close under this mountain wall. Its rugged slopes, deep cañons, and precipitous cliffs against which the ocean perpetually dashes, are full of ever-changing interest, while here and there we catch sight of a house and little patch of cultivated land outlined against the mountain background, indicating that this fastness is not without its inhabitants. Darkness comes down before we pass Carmelo bay and it is late in the evening when Point Pinos is rounded and we tie up at the little pier at Monterey.

IMAGE: Santa Lucia Mountains, from mouth of Mill Creek


From Monterey we will now retrace our steps, and with a good pack mule and sufficient provisions for two weeks, attempt to make our way down the coast through this region which seems so inviting.

A winding, hilly road has been built down the coast for forty miles to a point a little below the mouth of the Sur river. As far as this, outing parties sometimes go, but beyond, none ever venture. Little do they dream that they are just on the threshold of the real mountains. It is just as well perhaps for the average summer tourist that he does not attempt to go farther, but for the venturesome spirits who are willing to leave their comfortable wagons and either pack a mule with their outfit and walk, or if able, fit out fully with saddle animals, a trip through to San Simeon will never be forgotten. The trails are rough and hard to follow, the cañons deep and precipitous, while the occasional fogs frequently cause one to lose his way, yet to the lover of nature in her primitive aspect there is an abundant reward. To the artist there is a never-ending panorama, while the botany of the State is perhaps nowhere less known or more interesting, as is also the case with the geology. The redwood is generally supposed not to extend south of the Santa Cruz range, but in all the large cañons of the ocean slope of the Santa Lucia mountains its giant trees are abundant.

Although the first forty miles from Monterey are easily passed over, yet the steep and narrow road, with the mountains rising close on the left and the rugged granite cliffs on the right, presents such an ever varying picture that one cannot grow weary. Scattered houses appear here and there, but in general they are not very pretentious and rarely show signs of ever having seen a coat of paint, while their mossy roofs and general storm-beaten aspect seem to show that the conditions of existence are not any too favorable along this open coast. Where possible they are set in sheltered spots, or if such are not obtainable, cypress hedges have been planted for protection, but the gnarled and knotted character of these, as well as of the stunted redwoods which have obtained a foothold on the little flats out of the protecting shelter of the cañons, shows only too plainly the effect of the cold ocean winds and storms.

As we approach the Little Sur river, the projecting shoulders from the mountains reach down to the ocean cliffs, and our road leaves the immediate coast line for a long ascent which takes us over one of the spurs and down to the river. As we reach the top, Piedra Blanca bursts into view. It is a vast pile of almost white marble, and from its size as well as color stands out as does no other in this part of the mountains. Passing down a steep zigzag grade, we reach the valley of the Little Sur, which is nevertheless a stream of no mean size. To our left, half hidden in the woods, is a small school-house, showing that hiding away somewhere in these wilds there are children enough for a school district. We cross the river and ascend the south fork under the dense shade of the redwoods, past the remains of numerous camp-fires, and finally begin another long climb which is to take us over a divide to the main Sur river. At the summit a road forks to the right, leading down to the Point Sur light house. The light house is on an interesting promontory rising nearly four hundred feet and almost surrounded by the ocean. It is climbed by the means of a stairway, beside which there is an inclined railway for hauling up wood and supplies.

IMAGE: Near the Mouth of the Sur River


A Spanish grant is located about the mouth of the Sur river. The greed of the Spaniards leading them to this almost inaccessible spot is rather surprising. It is still almost in a state of nature, but roamed over by thousands of cattle. The ranch buildings consist of old sheds and tumble-down adobes peopled with geese, chickens, hogs, calves, and Mexicans of all ages and conditions.

For a distance of eight miles before entering the ocean the Sur river flows parallel with the coast with a high ridge between. The valley is filled with poplars and redwoods, and the road winding through these and along the stream offers many scenes of great beauty. At last the valley narrows, and the stream, turning abruptly to the east, is seen to issue through a precipitous gorge from the higher mountains beyond. The road winds up the mountains, leaving the stream just below the gorge, and finally on the top of the ridge we draw up at Post's postoffice. This is a typical mountain ranch and postoffice. The neighbors gather in at each mail and read and discuss the latest news.

The public road ends here, and for the steep and narrow trails before us only the most sure-footed animals can be used. The mountain-trained animals themselves sometimes come to grief where the trails are not kept in repair, accidents being not uncommon. The packs must be arranged with care and made up as narrow as possible; for there are places on the trail, in cuts along precipices, where the animal is liable to be crowded off if badly loaded. Our trail begins at an altitude of about one thousand feet on the slope of the mountains, and after winding in and out of the shallow ravines for two miles, we all at once emerge on the open mountain slope and there bursts upon our view one of the grandest scenes imaginable. Away below, so far in fact that we can but faintly hear the ascending roar of the breakers, sparkles the blue ocean. So precipitous is the descent that from certain places a bowlder if once started will never stop until the water is reached. The gently circling coast is seen to extend away to the south for twenty-five miles. From it rises the steep mountains thickly furrowed. with deep cañons, all of which we shall be obliged to cross.

IMAGE: Settler's Cabin overlooking Big Cañon


An uncertain factor that must be taken into account when making this trip is the fog. It rarely rises to an elevation greater than eight hundred or a thousand feet, but as a large part of the trail lies above that altitude, it does not seriously interfere. There is no better place to get thoroughly lost than to be caught in this fog, because of the numerous branching cattle trails running everywhere. On my reaching the point mentioned on my first trip into this region, dense fog lay below on the ocean and a most beautiful sight it presented as we looked down on the ever-changing mantle. Billow upon billow, the depressions mottled with shadow, seemed slowly rolling in from the infinity beyond. Drifting with the faint breeze, it hugged snugly against the mountains and most enchanting was the effect produced as we stood there upon the mountain side in the bright sunlight with the clean cut fog-lines marking every cañon and indentation in the mountain contour.

If one is in a hurry Slate's sulphur springs can be reached from Post's in a day, but it is better to take time over these trails — for we are either descending into the cañons or climbing out nearly all the time. In its windings the trail almost doubles the direct distance, but there is no monotony. From the warm mountain slopes with the far reaching views the trail winds into the cañons, past cliffs and precipices, to the cool shady depths of redwood, ferns, and running water. These contrasts are as striking as they are acceptable, and the oft recurring chance for a moment's rest and a drink of the purest mountain water is seldom slighted. Every few miles we pass a little ranch on the mountain side or in the shelter of a protecting cañon, and we cannot but wonder how a living is ever made. Many places are deserted, but others are most inviting and cause one to long for a whole summer's stay. The mountains rising above, the majestic redwoods creeping up the cañons, and the wide sweep below to ocean and ocean cliffs, cannot soon be forgotten. On the prosaic side it is a wonder at times how the land can: be cultivated and everything kept from rolling down the mountains. Sleds are the only vehicles used, and by grading trails they are fairly serviceable. Stevens's cañon is the largest and most picturesque one to be crossed before getting to Slate's. After an almost interminable winding in and out of the cañons, being in sight of the ocean the greater part of the time although 600 to 1500 feet above it, we at last descend along a good trail to Slate's warm sulphur springs. Here is a narrow, picturesque mesa extending along the ocean between the cliffs and the mountains. Hot sulphur springs issue in great numbers from the cliffs for nearly a quarter of a mile. The first trout stream south of the Sur river comes dashing down a rocky cañon close to the springs, and just before entering the ocean makes a picturesque fall.

IMAGE: The Cruikshank Ranch


So far the trail has been a comparatively good one as mountain trails go, but now we have reached a section which is very little traveled, and for the next fifteen miles through the roughest and wildest portion of the mountains we have to pick out the little used horse trail from those made by the cattle which run almost everywhere. Over this portion a guide is almost absolutely necessary, particularly if it happens to be a foggy day; for then a stranger is sure to get lost. From Slate's springs the rough trail ascends nearly a thousand feet to get around the head of some immense cliffs leading down to the ocean. After zigzagging up and down where it is so steep that a loaded animal makes very slow progress, past precipices below which lie the bleaching bones of cattle that have fallen off the trail, and through cool cañons where the moss hangs in long festoons, we reach Dolan's place, a little cattle ranch.

For a long distance we skirt the ocean, cross another cañon, and then wind up the mountain side for two miles over a steep trail, until, crossing a spur of the mountains at an elevation of a thousand feet, we are confronted by a deep gorge. This is Big Cañon, or Cañon Diablo, as it is otherwise known, and is the wildest and deepest of any along these mountains. The stream heads in two branches near the summit of the range, which has here an elevation of over four thousand feet though not more than three miles from the ocean in a straight line. The numerous springs on this slope of mountains unite to form two roaring streams, which come together about half a mile from the ocean and pass through an almost precipitous gorge. Cool, dashing trout streams these are, with a large volume of water in the dryest part of the year. The cañons are thickly studded with giant redwoods for several miles, and towards their upper parts picturesque falls occur. Three fourths of a mile up the left hand fork is a warm sulphur spring, the properties of which have never yet been tested. Not only are the streams filled with trout, but quail abound in prodigious numbers and deer are frequently met. As we begin to descend from the north into the cañon we come upon a charming view from where stands an abandoned settler's cabin. The leaning shake building, broken fence, the encircling redwoods, and the vista southward into the cañon, up which drifts an occasional shred of fog, and the rocky summit beyond, form a beautiful picture.

Several hours of hard climbing are required to cross the cañon; for to avoid the precipitous lower portion, the trail passes above the point of union of the two streams and we are really obliged to cross two cañons. A long steep climb through giant ferns and up a long smooth ridge brings us up to an elevation of two thousand feet and among the pines which cover the upper stretches of the mountains.

Cattle trails lead everywhere and at the time of our first trip into this region a whole day was spent vainly trying to pass Cañon Diablo with our horses. After following up every trail but the right one, all seeming to end in the brush, we finally left our animals and climbed down and up the almost precipitous walls of the cañon some distance below where we afterward discovered that the trail crossed.

From our height of two thousand feet we are far removed in one sense from the ocean although it lies at our very feet. The moist breeze is gone and we have instead the dry piny air of the mountains. With the ocean cut from view one could easily believe himself miles away, in the very heart of the mountains. Trails lead everywhere, and it is after much delay and experimentation that we find one which will take us across the next cañon. Two ways are open to us, either to descend a thousand feet and then climb up as much again, or go higher up around the head of the cañon, in the latter case traveling among the pines for a number of miles.

It was my fortune once to stand on the summit of the range at the head of the south fork of Cañon Diablo just as the sun was setting. We were crossing from the head of San Antonio river to Mill Creek, and owing to the toilsome and rugged ascent from the east, had not reached the summit as early as we should have in order to gain a camping place before dark on the ocean slope where grass and water could be obtained.

From the divide the ocean view was almost indescribable; the pine-covered ridges fading away downward in the growing haze the somber shadows of the cañon recesses and away below, seeming far in the smoky light, the shimmering sea, in which the sun was just sinking, — all taken together presented a picture not often seen. To the east of us lay the sources of the deep and more barren cañon leading down to the Arroyo Seco and the San Antonio. Hastening to descend before darkness came on, we noticed scattering potatoes along the trail, and soon came upon a man leading a horse with a pack on his back. The pack would not stay in place and the precious potatoes had been scattered. Stopping a moment to help him arrange the load, we pushed on. The poor fellow had, we learned, invested in a school section on the summit of these mountains and had been up to look at it, but had lost one horse over a cliff and was thoroughly disgusted.

Darkness came on, but with the rising moon we were able to keep the trail. We at last reached the rocky depths of a cañon, but found no grass, so stumbling along the rough trail on the densely shaded mountain side, we had a magnificent view of the depths of Cañon Diablo and the opposite mountain side, which were partly lighted by the moonlight. Leaving the woods finally and skirting the precipitous walls of one of the forks of Mill Creek, we followed down one of the gently sloping pine ridges already referred to and about ten o'clock came upon the ranch of a Portuguese, where we obtained water and hay for the horses.

Winding around the mountains in the direction of Mill Creek Cañon, on the following day we came out all at once to a little bench of level land where was situated a small building resembling a school-house. We could hardly believe it until the ringing bell and the eight or ten trooping children made it certain that even here in the wilderness, apparently outside of all signs of civilization, the State's educational system had reached. The wonder was where the homes of the children could be

We occasionally passed a house with its little patch of cultivated land on the steep mountain side, and it must be that others were hidden away in more out of the way recesses.

IMAGE: A Vaquero


In descending to Mill Creek, we followed down a long ridge and then turned into the cañon about three quarters of a mile from the ocean. Reaching the roaring stream, we followed it down under the shade of the redwoods across a rustic bridge and finally came out on a cleared spot where four immense limekilns are situated. Towering above on the left were immense cliffs of marble from which the lime was burned. We continued down the cañon from the kilns over a broad and evenly graded road to the south fork and thence through a group of deserted buildings to the mouth of the creek. Here a bold point projecting into the ocean has been leveled off and machinery erected for loading by cable the ships anchored off in the ocean.

Of the many beautiful and charming retreats along this wild coast none are lovelier or more picturesque than Mill Creek Cañon. The mountains rise over four thousand feet in a very short distance and are deeply gashed by the two forks of the clear cold stream. The view of the ocean cliffs from the landing is grand, as is also that up the cañon toward the summit. At present this place is entirely deserted, while the young trees and bushes over-growing the road and the general air of decay add to its romantic nature. From Mill Creek our trail keeps close to the ocean for several miles, past Vicente creek and then down along the base of the cliffs to avoid the cañons. Following this we came upon a strip of nearly level land bordering the ocean for five or six miles. It is known as Pacific valley, the home of several families.

IMAGE: An Indian Vaquero


Here to our astonishment we found wagon roads and were puzzled to know how wagons could have reached this spot with only the roughest of trails across the mountains. It appeared that the people of these isolated districts are in the habit of getting their supplies once a year from San Francisco. Several club together and buy a bill of of goods and in the fall during a spell of quiet weather, one of the little freight steamers will stop at different points and land the supplies. This is not always accomplished without danger and loss as the freight has to be sent ashore in small boats and accidents frequently happen in the breakers. In this manner the wagons were taken to this remote valley.

From Pacific valley we again took up the trail, and soon found ourselves in the rugged mountains which almost overhang the ocean We climbed upward along the ridges for several miles, following a part of the way an old road to the Cruikshank mines, and then turned off to a dim trail. None but a mountaineer could follow such a trail. It leads up to an elevation of two thousand feet along the brink of an almost precipitous descent to the seemingly glassy ocean away beneath. What a glorious view is obtained from different points of this trail! Away to the south thirty-five miles we could dimly see the outlines of the white rocks at the Piedra Blanca lighthouse; to the north the mountains finally blend with the sea. Below, so far down that we could hear no sound of the breakers, we could see them dashing against the rock-bound coast, while faintly now and then the screech of the sea gull rose on the quiet air.

The trail now took us past what is locally known as the Volcano, a great mass of crumbling lava which flowed out ages ago. Passing this open rocky stretch, we descended into another of the deep cañons, dark and cool with its rushing water tempting to rest. To climb out we had to ascend a thousand feet, which brought us to the summit of another ridge, from which we gradually descended to still another gorge. From this we climbed through the dense timber to a pretty little table land. facing the cañon and bounded beyond by higher mountains.



We had at last reached the famed Cruikshank ranch. This is the earliest spot settled by Americans in all these mountains, and it is not to be wondered at; for, although most difficult of access, for beauty of location there is nothing to compare with it. It is a typical mountain retreat and would satisfy the most exacting of recluses. It lies at an altitude of twelve hundred feet above the ocean and about two miles distant. The little flat is framed in a setting of pine-covered mountains, rising over one thousand feet higher, while on the lower side it is cut off by an abrupt descent of three hundred feet to a cool redwood cañon. On the west opens the endless vista of the Pacific. At the corner of the clearing nearest the cañon there is a group of tall slender redwoods, and a little above, overshadowing the large spring of cold water, is a weeping willow. The old house is made entirely of split lumber and is now partly overgrown with vines. Around it lies the orchard and vineyard, containing all the fruits which can be grown in that climate. This old and romantic place is sadly dilapidated now, but is most attractive to the lover of quiet beauty. It is seventeen miles by trail to the nearest wagon road and is thus all but secluded from the world. A trail leads down from the ranch to the ocean cliffs, where there is an attractive soda spring. The spring is reached with some difficulty but it is well worth the effort. It is richly impregnated with carbonic acid, iron, lime, magnesia, and other minerals. The deposits from the water have formed a beautiful terrace on the steep slope facing the ocean. On the lower side the terrace is about twenty feet high and on the top it is flat. The spring issues from the center and flows down over the vertical face, leaving a deep red stain. A little above are interesting stalactitic caves.

From the Cruikshank ranch there are two trails to the outer world. One continues down the coast and the other crosses the mountains by the Cruikshank mines to Newhall and Jolon. If we take the coast trail, it leads over a projecting mountain spur on the south and then, after several miles of zigzagging along the steep slopes one thousand feet above the ocean, finally descends in order to cross the cañon of Salmon creek. A rather tiresome climb takes us upon the mountains again, but it is only six miles more to the end of the road leading up to the coast from San Simeon. We soon come in sight of a sloping mesa at the foot of the mountain proper and make out two or three scattered houses. Here we can exchange our saddles for wagons, and after crossing San Co Po Jo creek, have a drive over an open rolling country, a part of the Hearst ranch, to the town of San Simeon.

1 See also "Over the Santa Lucia," by Mary L. White, in the OVERLAND for November, 1892, and "The Last of the Vaqueros," by Allan Owen, in the March, 1896, number.



The sun came up upon the left,
[Over the hills] came he:
And he shone bright, and in the night
Went down into the sea.

Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

MARTINEZ went away to San Francisco and left me in Monterey, beautifully puffed with poison oak — which grows among the huckleberries. But Santiago, seeing that my plight was sad, took pity on me and steamed a brown tea of yerba 'l oso1 and salt, which he cured me with, most miraculously, in three days. And after he had learned that I could make a complimentary sketch of him on short notice, — he knew he was handsome, — and also that my gear was otherwise harmless, he invited me "down the coast" to help him bring in some horses.

"Down the coast" is a saying in Monterey that attracts the stranger's attention. It is of a far, sad land, with a veil upon it which is not pierced by explanations. If anything is down the coast, that is all that need be said of it. You hear that Down the Coast is a place of pine-trees and fog; and that there are two divisions of it: First, where there is a road, and second, where there is no road. The first is the introduction, so to speak, but the second is the "real thing," and certainly not meant for fat people.

Santiago was a younger son of a noble Spanish house, and had many brothers and uncles and cousins, who among them held a large estate, decrepit with litigation. He was of a sharp-nosed, sharp-chinned, sharp-eyed type; and he was lithe and knew how to ride, — a fine "caballero," as the girls called him.

So it came about that upon a morning in July he overtook me at the far end of the introductory staging (which does not count) with his little roan mare, and we covered a rough thirty miles that day, riding and walking by turns.

That was a drear stretch, alternately foggy and glaring hot. The rocky hillsides were ranged by straying, wild-eyed cattle of a long-horned New Mexican breed, and grown over mostly with sage brush, lupines, and a flimsy kind of yucca, with chaparral far above. The trail was interestingly capricious, and untrustworthy with the crumbling rocks of the coast hills; and along it we scrambled, occasionally crossing little redwood cañons that guided small streams dashing downward to the sea. Santiago had a spasmodic way of letting loose stray verses of plaintive Spanish ditties, (for my life I could not catch them,) which seemed to belong naturally with the surroundings; and one especially which always ended,

"Adios, burrito, siempre respondes, 'Yes.'"

"Ranches" — they could not be called so elsewhere in California — we came upon along the trail at intervals regulated by the occurrence of good cañons. Their little garden-patches, literally patched to the hillside, stood up at independent angles. And between them were barren, crooked miles. There the trail ran out upon and around the bare shoulders of the hills, and along beside the sea that rumbled beneath, with the top of the narrow range high upon the left, shutting out the dry cañons, and further, the glad valleys, that lie beyond. That is the end of all things; the next door to Nowhere.

IMAGE:The 'Wagon Road'


"At the turn of the lane" after such a stretch we came suddenly upon a good thing, a haven, which was Bert Stevens's place,

That just divides the desert from the sown.

Far beyond it lies the fairest, coolest cañon for miles. And we rode down beside the little orchard, the blackberry vines, and the beehive, to the log trough by the stable under the redwoods. "Bert" bade us enter and eat venison, and thick white bread with honey, — so we were happy. His sitting room (for he had one with a big stone fireplace, of course) was littered with New York, Chicago, St. Louis, and San Francisco papers, over which he wagged his gray beard and puffed, or rather popped, his briarwood. He was a hermit almost, for he was a lone bachelor, and seemingly a woman-hater, — if there is such a thing, — a philosopher somewhat, and a good talker, too, for he was evidently well read. Also, he was a good cook, as we were then delighted to realize, and no doubt a good shot, as his row of "shootin' irons" looked like old friends. We talked at length, Santiago giving him all the news, — for a man is glad of company "down the coast," and the parting guest is not speeded.

That evening, as the sun was quivering on the far edge of the sea, we passed through "The Springs" (the great-natural-hot-sulphur-springs-health-resort where nobody comes who does not have to) and on beyond, up and around through a little cañon, half a mile, to the next hill. It was a long sway-backed one, and in the sag were the house and vineyard of Don Demas, elder brother to Santiago. There we did eat and sleep!

Never was man like unto Don Demas. Happy-go-lucky always; jolly or furious as the case might be or the occasion prompted. Once when he took me out to help him herd stock, he said, after looking thoughtful for a while: "I am very excitable. If I swear at y'u y'u know it iss not insoolt. I am very excitable."

The folk called him "Deemus," which was picturesque, and did very well, as he answered to it. They liked him, too. He had a house built all of home-made lumber, split from the redwood in the cañon beyond the hill. It had but one room, furnished with a table down the middle from door to door, a bench, two chairs, two beds, (a curtain around his own,) two guns, and a pile of harness, tools, saddles, lumber, riatas, boxes, groceries, and deer skins. He also had a wife, — with red hair and a kind heart, — some "chicks and turks," a cross old collie, two jolly hounds, and a band of wild horses and wilder cattle upon the hills.

As for Demas's personal appearance, it was mostly tatters. His square, springy figure seemed to appear best when worst clothed. His affection was divided between two hats, — but what they had been at first I could never learn, — a black felt arrangement of scollops that wilted about his ears and over his eyes; and a thing he called his "cap," — an awful example of what the other was coming to, — a crown with sundry pieces of brim. Whenever they were ill-adjusted he would doff the thing and tear off a piece.

The seasons pressed hard upon Demas. There was no mañana with them, — everything was now. And he must make some more lumber to complete his house; he must build a pig-sty; he must cut his barley, which was ripe long ago, and meanwhile have the barn built to put it in; he must go to town for many things. (And at this last Isabelle looked sad. She had married "Deemus" to keep him straight, she said; — but when he went to town — !) But if luck was hard he would say, "Y'u must n't let little things like that trouble y'u," and smile a sweaty smile. Laziness may be the Spanish nature, though if it is so it was not noticeable in Don Demas.

Dear to my memory also is Juan Pate. After the lamp was lit he would come up from "The Spring," walking through the vines between the baying hounds, to play a game of cribbage or Pedro with "Deemus." There was something sternly lovable about the fellow, — the hard kindliness that his lean jaw and keen gray eyes expressed. His hair arid moustache were the color of dust; and his whole bearing was the quiet, deliberate way of the man who can handle horses. He spoke Spanish like a Mexican; and his English rarely betrayed his Irish parentage by a slight turn of phrase. Beside, Juan Pate was more a gentleman in his way than many a man who is more used to evening dress. He is such a man as only Owen Wister can fitly describe.

One day when the brothers were discussing a suitable site for the barn beside the "orchard" fence, Ole Man Dolan rode over to remark that he would like some fresh beef. From his talk I judged that he was from near Blarney Castle: — He never seen Deemus lookin' so well; and how was Deemus's wife? The orchard was lookin' nice, too, and that corn was comin' up bully, (which it was not,) and would sure yield a fine crop.

IMAGE: Visions of Twilight


Meanwhile Santiago whispered in my ear that the Wild Man, as he called him, had the joy of a fabulous fortune: fifteen thousand or so, and maybe twenty! I sketched him, whereat the caballero wriggled with glee. Dolan also had a nice young wife, — number Two or Three, — a "raft o' kids," and a very ram-shacklety little place. Also, any number of pigs; and if they were not kept in the parlor they had the next thing to it, for they swarmed at the front door and at the back.

So, several days later, one morning when the sun got up to where he could see down upon the sea side of the hills, he found us — the brothers, Juan Pate, and me — half-way to the top among steep slopes of dangerous footing, where the wild oats grew tall. And Pate was saying: "You'd ought to get a deer over to that cañon if you 'd get up here about four o'clock in the morning. See, — there 's tracks now. No, them over there 's hog tracks."

We came upon a little band of horses, and after some skirmishing Juan roped a spry chestnut mare, changed his saddle to her, and up we went again while the sun scorched us merrily. The cattle, were somewhere up there in the chaparral, and as there were several ways to reach them Pate chose one which demanded close attention. Over ridges and through gulches, under and between menacing arms and elbows of oak, and up-hill again, we went, with Pate in the lead, and all of us swearing in the best of humor.

Santiago grinned now and again, asking "How d'y'u like thiss, Kid? I show y'u some mountains now!"

I said that eastward of the plains he might find greater, — but that was a fable to him.

Finally our way was through the passable part of a chaparral thicket and out on a steep hillside of crumbling rock and sliding sand, — impassable rocks above, impassable chaparral below. And here, as it was all horse or man could do to stand alone, we dismounted and led our broncos. With the sand shooting away from under your feet, and your horse trying to run up your spine, it was something like exercise. When we made a half-way stop, with a few remarks I asked what in blazes they had brought me to.

IMAGE: Vaquero of Monterey


"O," said Demas joyously, "this is a wagon-road, — wait 'll we get a little higher up!"

So higher up we got, and over the top of the ridge even Pate the strong was glad to rest in the shade of the pines.

Fresh tracks in the trails along the hill led us through a gap and some chaparral beyond the head of a rocky gulch, where Pate's bulldog found that the cattle we sought had taken up an impregnable position in a dense bunch of chaparral. As I was not expected to be of much use, Demas gave me his gun to lug, — he had characteristically brought it along in case he might see a deer, — and presently a stirrup, with a moderately heavy tapadero upon it, which had come off among the rocks. Our column had formed a semicircle in extended order, and the engagement began with much yelling, crashing of brush, and random rock-throwing. Pate sent in the dog; we heard barkings and bellowings, and soon he came out with a knowing twinkle in his eye, licking his chops. At last, after much working around, and more noise, the enemy suddenly evacuated the stronghold, and I saw the beginning of a splendid dash, in which I madly joined. To me, the rest of it was, and is still, a terra cotta and green blur of cow, man, horse, dog, rocks, and chaparral.

When the vision passed I found myself half a mile down the hill and their trail lost among red rocks and brush. So I went on and down, over more rocks and through more brush, until the rocks would no longer let me pass, nor the brush let me through. Far away below there was Demas, wildly gesticulating to me, (and no doubt saying things that were "not insoolt,") and then he disappeared suddenly over the verge of the hill.

I sat down in the shade of a manzanita and had a talk about it with my horse; but he did not seem to think much of the case in any way, so I tightened the cinch and went back. Before I got out I could hear water running in gullies that were dry when I reached them. Further down Juan Pate hailed me from under a little bunch of oaks, where he was keeping a lone watch over the silence of the great cañon below. There the brothers had followed in the disappearance of the desired cow, and Pate was expecting as unexpected a reappearance. He was evidently ill pleased, and refusing to talk, took a nap while I regarded his great back and shoulders, and the opposite side of the cañon with almost equal wonder. The panting dog whined, and explored the neighboring gullies for water.

Then came a far faint shout from the unknown below: "'um 'own! 'um 'own!" I woke Pate; and as he went break-neck around the scoop of the hill beyond, I admired again. And taking my uselessness at heart, I followed the trail for home, where the madam scolded me well for deserting the cause.

Next day I saw the Cause, and was still more willing to desert. After scuffling and scrambling through the lupins, in the bushes, and along the brinks of gulches, with Pate and Santiago attached with riatas, and the bulldog to an ear, — after nearly hooking Santiago and his mount into an arroyo below — she landed in the bottom of it herself by rolling down the bank, — Pate and his horse sliding after at the end of the riata. And there, as she would not be dislodged, we made her into good wild beef-steak and quarters.

Mrs. Demas and one of the misses from the Springs came down to officiate, and right there beside the little stream we had a barbecue, and gave the dogs the bones; for — paradox! — in this land of cattle fresh meat is a rarity, (though that is no pun,) and milk and butter ditto. In fact, venison is more common than beef.

"We must make a trip to Big Cañon for a fish and a hunt," said Demas; so after "mañana" in the true Spanish style, he finally "threw up his job," and we started. if was sunset as we went down into the shadowy depths of Big Cañon, amid the tall brush, scouting for deer on the way. It was nearly dark as we rode in among smouldering logs and blazing manzanitas where someone had been burning off the undergrowth; and Demas was telling of his chase of the "terrible big buck" he just did n't get, when we came suddenly upon Ole Man Dolan at his lone campfire by the creek.

IMAGE: 'Ole Man Dolan'


He was a bit grumpy at first, for Big Cañon was his own preserve, and we were a hunting party; and I had made some rash remark about the wickedness of charring the beauty of the hills with fire. Demas whispered that we must get him in a good humor, and so we did. Permission to hunt asked and given, he made us welcome at last and we partook of his meat. We built a merry fire, and told funny stories until late. And when we ceased our noise and laughing to sleep, we heard the stream softly laughing at us, gurgling by under the silent heavens and the myriad stars.

My arising was simple in the morning, for I was not hampered with a blanket, and I came up standing with one jump. The Wild Man observed me blandly, and at breakfast remarked: —

"He's a mighty soople young man, — did ye see the way he got up this mornin'? An' slep' all night without no blanket, too. Y'u'd never take him fer a city feller, now would ye?"

"Oh you are joshing!" said I modestly. Whereat Dolan remained solemn, while the brothers whooped with merriment. And I have never known what the joke was.

That was fish day, for there were many glittering trout in the green waters of that stream. I was delighted to find the "brown hackle" fly I had made with some dog hair and turkey feathers stand the critical test wondrous well, for it was nonsense, they said, to angle for trout with anything but worms or grasshoppers. But where is the art in that?

Fishing ethics command you, "Throw back the little ones"; and when, on comparing catches, I quoted the rule to Santiago I was as surprised as he to find the idea altogether new to him.

The celebrated "Man and Woman Tramp" took lunch with us that day. The brothers were delighted and talk was eagerly prolonged. Now, to me, there was nothing remarkable about these two, — a young man and a very young wife from "south o' Market," as we say in San Francisco, — but all the neighborhood was aflame with excited curiosity.

"Did you hear about the man and woman tramp comin' down the coast?" they would ask; and daily note was kept of their progress: — "Now they are at So-and-So," or "They expect to make Somebody-or-Other's tomorrow." "They say they are man and wife, and what do you think about it?"

It seemed they were taking a pleasure trip afoot, over this rough trail, — a queer honey-moon, surely, with the poison-oak! But it was more romantic to believe it an elopement, which was not improbable.

So we departed from that place, and on the bare top of the hill met Pate and another vaquero, who rode back with us. On the way Demas shot a deer, down the hill among the brush, the rest of us watching him from above. The hills ended here abruptly in great bluffs, yellow and gray against the shimmering sea, which reached away and away to nowhere. Even big Juan next me seemed but a midget. And over and beyond everything the great sky was empty, but for the sun that stood upon its western rim and sent long shadows from us into spaces unfathomed.

After other "mañanas" this look at such an odd bit of life among the quail, the cottontails, and the rattlesnakes in the sagebrush, was ended by a return to town.

Santiago stopped with a friend on the way in, because he could not travel on Sunday and as Demas's horse gave out after I had left him talking with a friend, I did not see him there until the next day. He was standing before a grog-shop, looking happy. (I thought of his Isabelle.)

"Come and have a smile with me," he said, grinning, "it won't hurt y'u."

"No, thank you, boss," I answered, "I've just had one."

And there I left him.

1 Bear berries.