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[50] Ranier,--a magnificent snow peak,--and could count around us some thirty mountains, with more or less snow upon them. We remained one day at the divide, examining the country on foot, and then returned by about the same route we had before taken. The day after I reached the main camp I received an express from the officer I had sent into Steilacoom, informing me that most of his animals (horses) had broken down, and that there were no mules at Steilacoom to replace them. Therefore I at once determined to reduce the size of the party. I sent in the whole escort, and others the next day, so as to reduce the number from sixty-nine to thirty. I have mules enough to carry ninety days provisions for this number, and can now travel much more rapidly. The day after the escort left, I moved camp from the Wenass River to the main Yakima,--about fourteen miles northward,--and started the next day, with the same party as before (with the addition of Mr. Gibbs), to examine the Sinahomis Pass. Our first two marches were of no peculiar interest,--passing through a rather wide valley covered with an open growth of pines. In the third march we struck the mountains. (the valley giving out), and had a terrible road, much obstructed by fallen timber and brush, and with some very respectable mountains to pass over. We passed by the foot of a beautiful lake (Kitchelas) in which this river heads: it is some four or five miles long, and about one mile wide, surrounded by very lofty mountains. About two-thirds of the way up the last mountain we ascended, we passed between two small lakes, and, looking down from the top, saw at our feet, some one thousand feet below us, still another,--Willailootzas. We passed over the mountain and encamped some distance down on the farther side, in the bed of an old lake. You may imagine what kind of weather there is among the mountains, when I tell you that nearly every morning at sunrise the thermometer stands at 32°. We remained at

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Fort Steilacoom (Washington, United States) (2)

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George Gibbs (1)
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