Page:Mexico, California and Arizona - 1900.djvu/422

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402
OLD MEXICO AND HER LOST PROVINCES.

The first treasurer of the county is said to have carried the records of his office in his hat, and, being a person given to travel and of an absent mind, he scattered these documents far and wide behind him, even to the confines of Utah and Arizona.

At Visalia I first observed "Spanishtown," a community which begins to appear regularly alongside of "Chinatown" as we go southward. It is composed of persons of Mexican blood, poor, shiftless, and not always of the most reputable character.

Charming views of the high Sierras, now powdered with the first snows of winter, are had. The surface is more rolling than at Fresno, and strewn with fine clumps of chestnut-oaks. There are big trees back in the great mountains equalling in size those of the Yosemite. Lumbermen at work there cut down numbers which, though insignificant as compared to the very largest, are monstrous in themselves.

The water for the irrigation of this district is drawn out of Kings, Tule, and Kaweah rivers by companies, who give to their principal canals such names as the People's Ditch, the Last Chance Ditch, the Mussel Slough Ditch, and the Lower Kings River Ditch. The main ditches or canals range from twelve to forty feet in width. Wing dams confine and direct into them such portions as are desired of the wide, meandering rivers.

A California river of the south is something of a curiosity. Extravagantly wide, it is in compensation preposterously shallow. Only a few last over the dry season at all; the most evaporate and wholly disappear. Their dry beds, variegated by a few islets studded with sycamores, are more like wagon-roads than the beds of rivers. Sometimes these exhausted water-courses differ in color from the surrounding soil, and are seen stretch-