Page:Mexico, California and Arizona - 1900.djvu/440

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420
OLD MEXICO AND HER LOST PROVINCES.

water, by means of a flume and ditches, from the river at the canon's mouth down upon several thousand acres of land under cultivation. In the spring-time, he told us, all this bareness is hidden by a perfect carpet of flowers, chiefly a small orange-scarlet poppy. His sheep at present seemed living on air. He had among them some Angora goats, a hardy animal, once very profitable, but now, since the decline in alpaca goods, being used by him for food.

The Kern River tumbles down a gorge four miles in length, between granite walls six hundred feet high. Its water is translucent green in deep, untroubled pools, again churned into milk-white floods, with black bowlders among them. The canon is all but impassable. It acts like a funnel, and produces a local disturbance of its own on the atmosphere. While all around is still, a column of air will blow out of it, and, striking the table-land a quarter of a mile away, raise a chronic dust at the point of contact, like a cannon-shot.

Driving across the front of it we were nearly blown out of our wagon. We descended into it, nevertheless, and upon this experience returned to dine on ribs of Captain Jack Barker's Angora goats, and then take the railway and cross the Tehachapi Pass.