The Big Blue

“Except under abnormal conditions the camp site under these old trees [by the Big Blue] was an oasis, comfortable and even luxurious with fresh-water clams from the river, berries from the woods and even wild honey from an occasional bee tree.Given the added fillip of a pretty girl or two, it became a treasured memory to the ‘army of boys’ who traveled west. It may well be stressed, just here, that the bulk of the gold migration was young,–splendidly, adventurously, pitifully, young, the average age being estimated as less than twenty-five years; and nothing short of a comprehensive avalanche could have prevented a certain amount of love-making.

Here at the Big Bluewhere the evening camps smelled pungently of wood smoke; where the declining sun distilled the nostalgic fragrance of wild grape, renewing memories and fostering hope; where the prying moon rose two hours high before it got so much as a peep at the camps within the perfume=med woods–here romance flourished. Many and many a lifelong comradeship was blossoming by the time the river was crossed at last and the wagons moved on into the shimmering distances ahead.