THE LASSEN ROAD
Rumor had ten
thousand tongues along the trail to California. "No grass at the Sink
of the Humboldt—no water at the desert wells—early snow falling in the
mountain passes!" The weary men and women listened to tales of
alternative routes, guaranteed to flow with milk and honey-tales of
low, easy passes through the northern ranges of the Sierra.
the time the earliest gold-seekers had endured the first two hundred
miles- along the Humboldt—the dust, the Indian raids—the death of
stock, friends and almost the death of hope—they gave eager ear to the
talk of a "new" road: Lassen's Road—named for a pioneer who in 1844 had
built the first civilized habitation north of Marysville. It branched
off beyond the big bend southward that the Humboldt River made, and
pointed northwest across Black Rock Desert, through Cedar Pass or
Lassen Pass and struck into the valley of Pit River. Some authorities
claim that almost half the gold-seekers of '49 were deceived into going
this way and exchanging forty miles of Carson Desert for one hundred
miles of grimmer waste country.
was left of the Washington City "Company" yielded to Captain Bruff's
persuasive oratory and chose this route. After thirty-five miles of
deep sand and sagebrush, hardly able to crawl for thirst and fatigue,
they came to water—Rabbit Hole Springs (below).