When we left Mr. Johnson last week, he had been describing his circuitous method of ascending and descending the bluffs near Alder Point.

… “I am still but a short distance from Eel river. This river is a terror to those who have it to ford. No bridge – no ferry – it must be forded. Had it not been for this river, I should have started on my journey east the first of May [instead of on the first of June]. The rainy season had been longer in duration than in past seasons.

“When I arrived at the river there was a man, with a wagon and four horses ladened with goods. He was in conversation with another person. The teamster came to me and said: ‘We had better get this man to pilot us across, it is dangerous for us to ford.’ ‘What does he ask to help us across?’ ‘Two dollars each,’ said the teamster. ‘Where is this ford, I would like to look at it.’ ‘It is a few rods, just below the bluffs,’ replied the teamster.

“I went down to the bluff, to the river, looked at it a short time. I then took Fanny, my horse, from the wagon, got upon her back and rode into the water, and finding it much better than I expected, continued across. Returning, dismounted, put Fanny back into the carriage, got on and drove down the bank into the river and crossed over all right. The man with the team had just got to the river. I sang out: ‘Teamster, come across and save your money.’ He dared not do it, but gave the man two dollars needlessly, to guide him across. He might have known that if I could cross with my light load he could with his heavy wagon.” …

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, in which we hear the rest of Mr. Johnson’s tale from that particular day, during which he has a run-in with a rather vicious stagecoach driver.