To the Gulf of Cortez by George H. Gould

About a year ago, my brother, who is a very sagacious physician, advised me to take the fresh liver of a mountain sheep for certain nervous symptoms which were troublesome. None of the local druggists could fill the prescription, and so it was decided that I should seek the materials in person. With me went my friend J. B., the pearl of companions, and we began the campaign by outfitting at San Diego, with a view to exploring the resources of the sister republic in the peninsula of Lower California. Lower California is very different from Southern California. The latter is—well, a paradise, or something of that kind, if you believe the inhabitants, of whom I am an humble fraction. The former is what you may please to think.


At San Diego we got a man, a wagon, four mules and the needed provisions and kitchen—all hired at reasonable rates, except the provisions and kitchen, which we bought. Then we tried to get a decent map, but were foiled. The Mexican explorer will find the maps of that country a source of curious interest. Many of them are large and elaborately mounted on cloth, spreading to a great distance when unfolded. The political divisions are marked with a tropical profusion of bright colors, which is very fit. A similar sense of fitness and beauty leads the designer to insert mountain ranges, rivers and towns where they best please the eye, and I have had occasion to consult a map which showed purely ideal rivers flowing across a region where nature had put the divide of the highest range in the State.

My furniture contained a hundred cartridges, a belt I always carry, given by a friend, with a bear's head on the buckle (a belt which has held, before I got it, more fatal bullets than any other west of the Rockies), and my usual rifle. J. B. prepared himself in a similar way, except the belt.

Starting south from San Diego, we crossed the line at Tia Juana, and spent an unhappy day waiting on the custom house officials. They, however, did their duty in a courteous manner, and we, with a bundle of stamped papers, went on. The only duties we paid were those levied on our provisions. The team and wagon were entered free under a prospector's license for thirty days, and an obliging stableman signed the necessary bond.

The main difficulty in traveling in Lower California lies in the fact that you can get no feed for your animals. From Tia Juana east to Tecate, where you find half a dozen hovels, there is hardly a house and not a spear of grass for thirty miles. At Tecate there is a little nibbling. Thence south for twenty-five miles we went to the Agua Hechicera, or witching water; thence east twenty-five miles more to Juarez, always without grass; thence south to the ranch house of the Hansen ranch, at El Rayo, twenty-five miles more. There, at last, was a little grass, but after passing that point we camped at Agua Blanca, and were again without grass for thirty miles to the Trinidad Valley, which once had a little grass, now eaten clean. Fortunately we were able to buy hay at Tia Juana, and took some grain. Fortunately, also, we found some corn for sale at Juarez. So, with constant graining, a little hay and a supply of grass, either absent or contemptible, we managed to pull the stock through.

Besides our four hired mules there was another, belonging to our man, Oscar, which we towed behind to pack later. The animal was small in size, but pulled back from 200 pounds to a ton at every step. Its sex was female, but its name was Lazarus, for the overwhelming necessity of naming animals of the ass tribe either Lazarus or Balaam tramples on all distinctions of mere sex. We started, prepared for a possible, though improbable, season of rain; but we did not count on extreme cold, yet the first night out the water in our bucket froze, and almost every night it froze from a mere skin to several inches thick. To give an idea of the country, I will transcribe from a brief diary a few descriptions. Starting from Tia Juana, we drove or packed for nearly 200 miles in a southeasterly direction, until we finally sighted the Gulf and the mountains of Sonora in the distance. At first our road lay through low mountains, in valleys abounding in cholla cactus. From Tecate southward, the country was rolling and clotted with brushwood, until you reach Juarez. Juarez is an abandoned, or almost abandoned, placer camp. Here, amid the countless pits of the miners, the piņons begin, and then, after a short distance, the pine barrens stretch for forty miles. Beyond again you pass into hills of low brush, and plains covered with sage and buckweed, until finally you cross a divide into the broad basin of the Trinidad Valley. This is a depression some twenty miles long and perhaps five miles wide on the average, with a hot spring and a house at the southwestern end, walled on the southeast by the grim frowning rampart of the San Pedro Martir range, and on the other sides by mountains of lesser height, but equal desolation.

We had intended at first to strike for the Cocopah range, near the mouth of the Colorado River, and there do our hunting. Several reasons induced us to change our plan and make for the Hansen ranch, where deer were said to be plenty and sheep not distant; so we turned from Tecate southward, made one dry camp and one camp near Juarez, and on the fifth day of our journeying reached a long meadow, called the Bajio Largo, on the Hansen ranch. We turned from the road and followed the narrow park-like opening for four miles, camping in high pines, with water near, and enough remnants of grass to amuse the animals. This region of pine barrens occurs at quite an elevation, and the nights were cold. The granite core of the country crops out all along in low broken hills, the intervening mesas consisting of granite sand and gravel, and bearing beside the pines a good deal of brush. Thickets of manzanita twisted their blood-colored trunks over the ground, and the tawny stems of the red-shank covered the country for miles. The red-shank is a lovely shrub, growing about six or eight feet high, with broom-like foliage of a yellowish green, possessing great fragrance. If you simply smell the uncrushed shoots, they give a faint perfume, somewhat suggestive of violets; and if you crush the leaves you get a more pungent odor, sweet and a little smoky. Also, the gnarled roots of the red-shank make an excellent cooking fire, if you can wait a few hours to have them burn to coals. All things considered, the pine barren country is very attractive, and if there were grass, water and game, it would be a fine place for a hunter.

From our camp at Bajio Largo, J. B. and I went hunting for deer, which were said to be plentiful. We hunted from early morning till noon, seeing only one little fellow, about the size of a jack rabbit, scuttle off in the brush. Then we decided to go home. This, however, turned out to be a large business. The lofty trees prevented our getting any extended view, and the stony gulches resembled each other to an annoying degree. At last even the water seemed to flow the wrong way. So we gave up the attempt to identify landmarks, and, following our sense of direction and taking our course from the sun, we finally came again to the long meadow, and, traveling down that, we came to camp. Here we violated all rules by shooting at a mark—our excuse was that we had decided to leave the vicinity without further hunting; and, at all events, we spoiled a sardine box, to Oscar's great admiration.

In order to get a fair day's journey out of a fair day, we had to rise at 4 or 5 o'clock. Oscar once or twice borrowed my watch to wake by, but the result was only that I had to borrow J. B.'s watch to wake Oscar by; so I afterwards retained the timepiece, and got up early enough to start Oscar well on his duties.

The question of fresh meat had now become important. We left Bajio Largo and drove to Hansen's Laguna, a shallow pond over a mile long, much haunted by ducks. Here we made a bad mistake, driving six or eight miles into the mountains, only to reach nowhere and be forced to retrace our steps. Night, however, found us at El Rayo, the Hansen ranch house, and, as it turned out, the real base of our hunting campaign. The Hansen ranch is an extensive tract, named after an old Swede, who brought a few cattle into the country years ago. The cattle multiplied exceedingly, to the number, indeed, of several thousand, and can be seen at long range by the passer-by. They are very wild and gaunt at present, and will prance off among the rocks at a surprising rate before a man can get within 200 yards of them. Ex-Governor Ryerson now owns these cattle, and his major-domo, Don Manuel Murillo, a fine gray-haired veteran, learning that I had known the Governor, gave me much friendly advice, and sent his son to guide us well on the road to the Trinidad Valley and the sheep land. He also provided us with potatoes and fresh meat, so that we lived fatly thenceforth.

Our track lay past an abandoned saw-mill, built by the International Company. Thence we were to go to Agua Blanca, the last water to be had on the road; for the next thirty miles are dry. The saw-mill was built to supply timber to the mining town of Alamo, some twenty-five miles south. The camp is now in an expiring state and needs no timber, but is said to shelter some rough and violent men. The road from the mill was deep in sand, and our pace was slow. The darkness was coming cold and fast when we finally drove on to the water and halted to camp.

Two men were there before us, with a saddle-horse each, and no other apparent equipment. When we arrived, the men were watering their animals, and at once turned their backs, so as not to be recognized. Then they retired to the brush. We supped and staked out the mules, and then sent Oscar to look up our neighbors. Oscar went and shouted, but got no answer, and could find no men. We thought that our mules were in some danger, and J. B., who is a yachtsman, proposed to keep anchor watch. So Oscar remained awake till midnight, when he awoke me and retired freezing, saying that he had seen the enemy prowling around. I took my gun and visited the mules in rotation till 2:30. Then J. B. awoke, chattering with cold, but determined, and kept faithful guard until 5, when we began our day with a water-bucket frozen solid.

All our property remained safe, and a distant fire twinkling in the brush showed that our neighbors were still there. After breakfast Oscar again sought the hostile camp, and finally found a scared and innocent Frenchman, who cried out, on recognizing his visitor:

"Holy Mary! I took you for American robbers from the line, and I have lain awake all night, watching my horses."

From Agua Blanca we drove across the Santa Catarina ranch, for the most part plain and mesa, covered with greasewood and buckbrush. This latter shrub looks much like sage, except that its leaves are of a yellow-green instead of a blue-green. It is said to furnish the chief nutrition for stock on several great ranches. Certainly there was no visible grass, but buckbrush can hardly be fattening. Toward night, we crossed the pass into the Trinidad Valley and drove down a grade not steep only, but sidelong, where the wagons both went tobogganing down and slid rapidly toward the gulch. The mules held well, however, and before dark we were camped near the hot spring at the house of Alvarez.

Our friend, Don Manuel Murillo, had recommended us both to Alvarez and to his sister, Seņora Paula, but both of these were absent. Don Manuel had also urged us to get the Indian Anastasio for a guide.

"For heaven's sake," he said, "don't venture without a guide. You may perish from thirst, as others have done before you."

We tried at first to hire burros and let our mules rest, but the Indian who owned the burros stated that his terms were "one burro, one day, one dollar"—an impudent attempt at robbery, which we resented.

We interviewed Anastasio, however, who said he would start at any moment; and, leaving Oscar to guard the wagon, we packed two mules, saddled two more for J. B. and myself, and, giving Anastasio the tow-rope of a pack-mule, we started after him. Anastasio was the most interesting figure of the trip, and I must be pardoned if I go into some detail about him. He spoke some Spanish and understood a good deal. When he did not understand, he never stated that fact, but either assumed a stony look or answered at cross-purposes; so that we did not get to know a great deal about each other for some time.

He had, too, a lingering remnant of the distrust of horses and mules that his ancestors must have felt in Spanish times, and when his pack-mule got a stone in her hoof, he observed it with anxiety from a distance, but could not summon resolution to meddle with so serious a matter.

Moreover his measure of distance was primitive. I would ask, for instance, how many miles it was to our next stop. He might say three miles for an all-day journey of six times that length, or he might tell you that we were nine miles from a spot which we reached in half an hour.

I then substituted leagues for miles, thinking that the Mexican usage would be more familiar to him; but at last Anastasio said, rather impatiently, that all this business of leagues and miles was rather confusing and outside of his experience. We would reach the next water shortly before sunset, and that was all the calculation he was accustomed to, and quite close enough.

Aside from his knowledge of Spanish, Anastasio was indeed a fine representative of the best of the stone age, and as we journeyed on, one got an excellent idea of the life of the savage here in early times. About 3 o'clock in the afternoon, we reached the only water spot on the trail. Anastasio parted some withered reeds, and, looking earnestly, said, "Dry." A short distance further up, he repeated the word, and yet again, till, at his fourth attempt, he said, "Very little," and we camped. By scraping away the mud and grass, we got a small gravelly hole, and dipped out the slowly seeping water, a cup at a time. We thus managed to give each of the mules a little in a pan, and to get a canteen full for cooking.

Then I noticed Anastasio gathering wood, which I thought at first was for general use, but I found it was a private pile, to be used, so to speak, for bedding. Anastasio did not take the ax to secure his wood, but smashed off mesquite branches with a rock or pulled out some old root. He quite despised piņon and juniper logs, saying they gave no heat—meaning, probably, that they burned out too soon.

We turned in soon after supper, and the night was cold. Anastasio said he feared snow. The reason for his fear was soon evident. My bed was about twenty feet from Anastasio's, and during the night I would turn and watch him. He carried but one small blanket of about the texture of a gunny sack. He lighted a long smouldering fire, stripped himself naked, except a breech-clout, and, with his back to the coals and his front protected by his gauzy blanket, he slept until the cold roused him, when he put on more wood and slept again. I offered him four pairs of warm horse blankets to sleep in, but that was not the thing. He said that he needed to have the fire strike him in the small of the back, and that he slept in that way always. So throughout the night, in my wakeful moments, I saw the light reflected from his mahogany person. Evidently snow or cold rain would be disastrous to people who need a fire all night; for, with no covering against the cold and with fires extinguished by storm, they might easily freeze to death.

We were packed and marching at 7:30 next morning, and to those who know the inwardness of packing in winter, that statement means a good deal. It means, for instance, that J. B. got up, at my summons, long before dawn and cooked a splendid breakfast, and that the mules were caught and grained and saddled, and the packs made and lashed, by the earliest sun.

J. B. was a wonder. He seemed to enjoy giving his fellow mortals the best breakfasts and suppers—for we never had any midday meals—that our supplies could furnish. Always rising at the first call, in the dark, sometimes with an accompaniment of snow or rain, he managed the commissariat to perfection.

I in my humble way packed and saddled and did other necessary work, and Anastasio regarded us with benevolent curiosity, though always ready to get wood or water or mules when we asked him to do so.

We were now approaching the true desert. This term is not restricted to the broad level sand wastes along the Gulf, but includes the arid and waterless mountains adjacent, and this must be borne in mind when the Mexicans tell you that sheep are to be found in the desert.

We passed the last of the brushy hills, and, crossing a small divide, came over slopes of volcanic cinders to a little water spot with dwarf willows and grass. This was our hunting camp. The country through which our route had lain heretofore was altogether granitic, though one could see hills apparently of stratified material in the distance. Toward the desert, we met beds of conglomerate and trachyte, and mountains covered with slide-rock, ringing flint-like clinkers from some great volcanic furnace. But doubtless some accurate and industrious German has described all this, in a work on the geology of the peninsula, and to that valuable treatise I will refer you for further facts.

The vegetation had somewhat changed. There were more cactuses, particularly the fleshy kind called venaga, though I noticed with surprise the absence of the great fruit-bearing cactuses, the saguarro and pitaya, all along our route. The Spanish daggers were very numerous, as were also mescal plants, both of these forming veritable thickets in places.

The venaga cactus is similar to the bisnaga, found in other parts of Mexico, except in the disposition and curvature of the thorns. They are stumpy plants, growing from a foot to three feet or so in height, and a foot or more in diameter, like a thickset post. Those of us who delighted in Mayne Reid's "Boy Hunters" will remember how the adventurous young men saved themselves from dying of thirst by laying open these succulent cactuses with their long hunting knives and drinking the abundant juices. I have often and faithfully tried to perform the same feat, out of reverence for my heroes, but failed to find anything juicier than, say, a raw turnip—by no means satisfying as a drink. The venagas are found on the mountains where sheep haunt, with their hard prickly rinds broken and the interior hollowed out, and Anastasio said that the sheep do this by knocking holes in the cactus with their horns and then eating the inside.

This cactus country makes the third variety of wilderness encountered in the peninsula. There are four: first, and best, the pine barrens; second, the brushy hills and plains, covered with sage, greasewood and buckweed; third, this spike-bearing volcanic region; and fourth, the appalling desolation of the acknowledged desert.

The moment we had unloaded and watered our animals, Anastasio and I set out to look for deer. Anastasio wore the spotted and tattered remnant of a frock-coat, once green, given him by an Englishman, of whom I shall say more later. He had guarachis, or sandals, on his feet, bare legs, a breech-clout, and on his head a reddish bandanna handkerchief in the last stages of decay; and as he peered over some rock, glaring long and earnestly in search of game, he reminded one of those lean and wolfish Apaches that Remington draws in a way so dramatic and so full of grim significance.

Anastasio was fifty-one years old and had no upper incisors, but the way he flung his gaunt leathern shanks over those mountains of volcanic clinkers, armed with the poisoned bayonets of myriads of mescal, cactus and Spanish dagger, was astonishing.

I told him that I was not racing and that he would scare the game. In fact, he did start one little fellow, but he said he always saw the game first, and for this day I was quite powerless to hold him in; so I decided to return to camp before dark. This disgusted Anastasio greatly. "In this way we shall never kill," said he. "We are going to suffer from hunger." I assured him that we had plentiful supplies, but he had come for meat. Unbounded meat had been the chief incentive for his trip, and hungry he was determined to be.

The next day J. B. set out early with the red man. I arranged camp, and two or three hours later took what I supposed was a different direction, but soon encountered the pair returning. J. B. had a painful knee, and Anastasio had started his racing tactics and kept them up until J. B. was quite lame.

The Indian reported that he had seen sheep. J. B. had used the glass without finding them, and then Anastasio had captured it and looked through the wrong end, nodding and saying he could count five, very big. This, I am sorry to say, was false and affected on Anastasio's part, and J. B. was skeptical about the sheep altogether; but I knew how hard it was to find distant game, when you don't know exactly how it should appear. To reach the supposed sheep, the mountain must be climbed and the crest turned, for the wind permitted no other course. J. B. did not feel up to the task, and I directed him to camp. Anastasio and I climbed for about four hours, and reached a position whence his sheep would be visible. He was now discontented because J. B. had not lent him his gun. No request had been made for the gun, to be sure, but I confess that a request would have met with my earnest opposition in any event. Evidently Anastasio's expectations of fresh meat were now so dim as to cast serious shadows on my skill as a hunter; but, resigning himself to the inevitable, he crawled to the summit of the ridge for a view. He stared long and said he could make out one ewe lying down under a juniper. I tried the glass. He was right. His unaided sight seemed about equal in definition to my field-glass. On this occasion he declined to use the glass, even with some appearance of disgust. We could get no nearer unseen, and, though the distance was very great, I decided to risk a shot.

I fired, in fact, two or three shots at the ewe, alarming her greatly, when from beneath a cliff which lay below us a band streamed out. Two big rams started off to the right. Anastasio and I ran down a bit, and I tried a long shot at the leading ram. The distance was great, and the run had pumped me a little. I missed. The second ram was still larger. He stopped a moment at 150 yards and I dropped him. Anastasio grunted satisfaction. I swung to the left, where the rest of the band was journeying, sighted at the shoulder of a young ram and fired. The ball passed through my intended victim, dropping him, and entered the eye of a yearling ram who stood behind, thus killing two rams at one shot—a most unusual accident.


The rest of the band were now quite distant, and, though I fired several shots, at Anastasio's desire—he said he wanted a fat ewe—none took effect.

I cleaned the sheep and skinned out the big head. Anastasio took one small ram entire on his back, supporting it by a rope passed over the top of his head, and started down with it, while I followed after with the big horns. It was 1 o'clock. The head might have weighed thirty-five pounds fresh. It grew to weigh 1,500 pounds before dark. Stumbling down through the slide-rock, with legs full of venomous prickers, I passed below camp without noticing it, and was well on the other side, when I thought I had gone about far enough, and shouted. J. B.'s voice answered across a small hill, and I discovered that he had never reached camp at all, but had found a water spot, and wisely decided not to leave it without good reason.

I scouted a bit to the west, but found unfamiliar country, and, as the sun had set, we were seemingly about to stay by that water all night, when I turned around and saw a pale column of smoke rising above the crest of the ridge against the evening sky.

At once we marched around the ridge, and, as we rose over the divide, we saw the whole hillside flaming with signal fires. Our dear old Anastasio had become alarmed and set fire to fifteen or twenty dead mescals in different places to guide us home. God bless a good Indian!

With vast content we prepared and ate a luxurious supper. Anastasio, however, fearing that he might be hungry in the night, impaled all the ribs of one side of the ram on a pole and planted it in a slanting position over the fire. Thus he was enabled to put in his time during his wakeful moments, and face the prospect of a remote breakfast without discouragement.

The next day, I spent the morning in washing, resting, and cutting spikes out of my legs. Anastasio packed in the second small ram, and ate ribs and slept. Then, in the afternoon, we got the rest of the big fellow down. Anastasio, to make his load lighter, smashed off the shanks with a stone, although he carried a knife in his belt—a striking trick of heredity.

And then we talked. "The Trinidad Valley is not my country," said Anastasio; "this is my country. Yonder, under that red rock on the mountain side, about five miles away, there is a spring in the gulch on the edge of the desert. I was born there, and lived there twenty years with my father's family. Here where your camp is"—about twenty feet square of slide-rock level enough to stand on—"we sowed crops. We scraped a hole between the stones with our hands, put in squash seeds, watered them by carrying water from the spring in our hands and raised several hills."

So he went on, not in so connected a way, but showing, bit by bit, his manner of life. His tribe, which he called the Kil-ee-ou, must have been very restricted in numbers at best. His territory was a few leagues of desert, or almost desert, mountains, every yard of which he knew by heart, while just over the ridge dwelt the Cocopahs, his mortal enemies. Sometimes a score of men armed with bows would start a tribal hunt for deer, though the sheep were beyond their means of attack. Sometimes they journeyed a few leagues to the Gulf to eat mussels. We could see the great blue sheet and the leagues of salt incrustations glimmering white on the hither side, and at one spot on the horizon the blue peak of some Sonora mountain rose out of the seeming ocean.

But a few deer and mussels and a half dozen hills of squashes could not fill the abyss of the Indian appetite. The stand-by was roasted mescal. These plants grow in great numbers in the country adjoining the desert, and at every season there are some just right for roasting. The Indians selected these and cooked them for two or three days in a hole in the ground, by a process called tatema, similar in principle to a clam-bake. This roasting converts the starchy leaves and heart into a sugary mass, so that the resulting food is something like a sweet fibrous beet. The Indian's life really lay in gathering and roasting mescal. And when a storm prevented the necessary fires, the tribe passed days, often many days, without food.

So much for Anastasio's early life. A year ago, he told us, he went hunting with two Americans. One of them came from under the earth, where there were six months of night, and had passed two seas and been a month on the train. We supposed, from this, that Anastasio had served as guide to an Englishman, whose home he described at the Antipodes. The six months of night were, perhaps, represented by the London fogs, and, if he passed a month on the train, he must have come by the Southern Pacific. The Englishman had presented Anastasio with the very undesirable gaberdine I have before described. Anastasio said that the Englishman shot quail in the head every time with his rifle, but on meeting a band of eleven sheep he fired nine shots without hitting. Anastasio said he trembled, but I incline to think that the Indian had run him out of breath. Finally the Englishman secured two ewes and a lamb, after three weeks of hunting.

Look at my fortune! A single day on the mountain, and three rams to show for it; one with horns that are an abiding splendor—sixteen inches around the base and forty-two inches on the outer sweep.

I thought at first that the horns made more than one complete spiral, but, on leveling them carefully, I saw that the entire curve would not be complete without the points, which were smashed off. In this connection it is only fair to consider that I carried my lucky bear's head belt, and invariably sacrificed to the Sun, as several ragged garments, hung on spikes and branches, may still testify.

The weather threatened storm. J. B.'s leg would not permit him to hunt. Anastasio was full of meat, eating roasted ribs night and day, beside his regular meals, and we decided to retreat.

I noticed that the sheep hides had little of the under wool that the Northern sheep have in December, nor were the animals fat, though the flesh was sweet and tender, and the livers had their desired medicinal effect.

Anastasio said it was customary to hunt in summer, when the sheep were fat, and were compelled to resort to the water holes. Aside from the meanness of taking advantage of the animals' necessities, the summer is a bad season for hunting, both because the flesh is rank and spoils quickly, and the heat and insects are intolerable.

We packed our mules in a gentle rain, and Anastasio made a great bundle of rejected meat for his own use. To get rope, he slightly roasted the leaves of the Spanish dagger, tore the hot spikes in shreds with his tough fingers and knotted the fragments into a strong, pliable cord.

In two days we were again in the Trinidad Valley, and in two days more—one of them passed in facing a cold, driving storm, of great violence—we had reached our old friend, Don Manuel Murillo, at El Rayo. Here we lay over a day to rest the animals, and Don Manuel again played the part of a good angel in letting us have some hay.

I tried a shot at a duck on a little pond. The shot was a costly success. The duck died, but I had to wade for his remains through many yards of frozen mud and dirty water. The duck, though lean, was tender. My last hunt was for deer at El Rayo, with a boy of Don Manuel's for guide. Toward noon I saw two deer and shot them. I do not at present know just how to class them. The tail is that of the ordinary mule-deer, or blacktail, of Colorado and Montana, but there is no white patch on the rump.

The most of the deer in Lower, as well as in Southern, California have little white on their rumps, as in these specimens, but the upper surface of the tail is generally dark. The majority of the animals also are smaller than the typical mule-deer of our Northern States, but whether the differences between the two are great enough and constant enough to form a defined variety, some more competent naturalist must decide. Pending authoritative decision, I will submit, as a working theory of a purely amateur kind, this suggestion: that the Mexicans are right in saying that the northern zone of their country contains two varieties of deer—one a large animal, called "buro," identical with our Northern mule-deer; the other called "venado," a mule-deer too, but only a cousin of the "buro," much smaller, and with the white parts of the mask, throat, rump and tail either absent or much diminished in extent.

Our journey home was accomplished in the worst weather. Snow, cold rain, gales of surprising fury, made life a struggle; but we jumped at every chance for progress, and finally crossed the line twenty-five days after we had left it—tired, ragged, dirty, but with our mules alive and our hearts contented.

Our experience of the peninsula indicated that there were few inhabitants of any kind, brute or human. We saw hardly a dozen rabbits on the trip. There were some quail and many ducks, but the latter were visitors only. Deer were very scarce, and there were but a few half-wild cattle visible.

As for human beings, there was not an inhabited house on our road from Alvarez Place, in the Trinidad Valley, to El Rayo, a distance of fifty-five miles; nor from El Rayo to Juarez, twenty-five miles more. Indeed, except for the few hovels at Tecate, the houses for the rest of the way were hardly more numerous. And yet we had a strong impression that the country had nearly all the population it could support. Given a moderately dry year, and the part of Lower California which we visited can be thought fit only for bogus land companies and goose-egg mines; or, yes, it might be an ideal spot for a health resort or a penal colony.