"Our horse was by this time rested, and well fed; and, having saddled him and shouldered my rifle, I mounted and rode off. I kept around the mountain-foot, going by the eastern side. I crossed several rivulets resembling the one on which we had encamped; and noticed that all these turned off toward the eastward, making their way to a main stream.
By settlement he had possessed himself of a large and fertile district, sloping from the mountain-foot along the banks of the swift Blue River, a tributary of the San Joaquin. And this was not all; for he also claimed the ownership of the upper valley, the whole of the mountain gorge and spring head, whence that sparkling water flows.
Some went back to the mountain-foot for the mules and Mexicans; while the rest of us strolled about the house and grounds every now and then stumbling upon some new object of wonder. We were impatient for the coming of night, for we were wound up to a pitch of extreme curiosity, and longed for an explanation of what we saw around us.
Throwing aside all thought of such an encounter, they struck down the mountain slope, determined on crossing the plain. It was sunset when they arrived at the mountain-foot, and another night was passed there.
Already the curtain had risen high enough to disclose hoary cliffs and precipices, with steep grassy slopes between, and crowned with fringes of dark pines; which latter, although goodly trees, looked like mere shrubs in their vast setting. Rills were seen running like snowy veins among the slopes, and losing themselves in the masses of debris at the mountain-foot.
As the path leading along its edge, and hitherto comparatively level and smooth, now changed to a difficult ascent up a rough rock-strewn ravine, they encamped at the mountain-foot for the first night of their journey. Next day was spent in ascending the mountain; following the ravine up to its head, where were found the sources of the stream.
To remain where we were would be impossible. There were a few patches of vegetation on the different runlets that filtered away from the mountain-foot. There were clumps of willows growing along these, but not enough of grass to support any stock of game upon which we could live, even were we certain of being able to capture it.
The northeasterly wind, which had risen as the sun rose, now blew more keenly, wreaths of white foam rode on the crests of the waves, though these did not beat wildly and stormily on the mountain-foot, but rolled heavily to the shore in humped ridges, endlessly long, as if they were of molten lead.
When the bird saw him, it took fright at him and flew right away; whereupon he stood up and looking right and left, saw nothing but the carcasses of dead men, mummied by the sun, and exclaimed, 'There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! Then he looked down the precipice and espied the merchant standing at the mountain-foot, looking for him.
As they walked back along the mountain-foot, a fox stole out from the rocks and skulked towards the marshy lake, no doubt in search of prey. This fox was the Canis Azaræ, a most troublesome species, found all through South America. He is the great pest of the Puna shepherds, as he is a fierce hunter, and kills many of the young lambs and alpacos.